Thursday, March 13, 2014

True Detective - A review

I’ve just finished watching ‘True Detective’ on HBO On Demand.   Personally, I think this eight part series was brilliant and I’m glad I ignored some of the early reviews about the first episode which tended to be critical, especially with regard to some of the dialogue between the two cops. Rustin Cohle’s philosophical ramblings were an integral part of his character which played fittingly into the story line and provided a perfect foil for the down-to-earth attitude of his partner, Marty Hart.

I’ve always been fascinated by what makes people tick.  Why they do the things they do or how they respond to various situations. It‘s a subject I like to explore in my writing so I was pleased to discover that, despite the title, the show was not a run-of-the-mill cop show with the focus on the crime, but more of a character study of how the stresses of the job and an obsession with a particular case taken together with the individual personalities played into their everyday life. 

The story is told partly through separate interviews between the two original detectives and two new investigators seventeen years after the case has been closed and partly in flashbacks of the initial investigation. I particularly enjoyed this structure of the episodes which allowed us to see the contrast between the way events were recounted by Hart and Cohle (exactly as they had been reported years earlier) and how the actual events played out at the time. It is an interesting reflection of the attitude towards truthfulness. We know we shouldn’t lie, but when telling the truth seems to cause more hurt than lying or, in the case of the detectives, would prevent them getting the information they need to solve crimes and keep the guilty off the street, where should we draw the line?

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away as I’m not sure the show has aired outside the US yet and I’d hate to spoil anyone’s viewing. But when you add in the amazing performances by Matthew McConaughey (Rustin Cohle) and Woody Harrelson (Marty Hart), locations in Louisiana which add an extra layer of atmosphere to the story, and the haunting music by T. Bone Burnett, I just wish there was still more to come!

Apparently the idea is that each future season will have a different focus and cast. Given the level of acting in this first series - there is talk of potentially both actors being nominated for an Emmy for Best Actor in a Miniseries - it will be interesting to see who is up for the challenge of taking on the second series. Talk about a tough act to follow! 


  1. Interesting, Mel! Thanks for the review. Sounds right up my alley--and I love Woody Harrelson :-)

    1. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did DV. Definitely worth a look.