What do you get when you mix a tremendous cast, a chilling story filled with death, cults to weird gods, an incredibly grim atmosphere, and HBO? You get something really awesome. True Detective is that and more. This is one of those shows that can be used to make the argument that television is no longer what it was. Television has moved towards a serial nature and this show proves exactly why.
Two state detectives, “Rust” Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and “Marty” Hart (Woody Harrelson) try solving a series of murders and disappearances in Louisiana during the span of roughly 17 years. A murder by itself is not enough to keep people interested in the show. What makes this show captivating is the dialogue between the two lead characters. When you look at them, they couldn’t be more opposite from each other. This fact makes their conversations and philosophizing compelling. The story by itself is enough, but it’s the moments between these characters that make it interesting.
Now, I would like to make a disclaimer before I continue. This is not an action show. While it has some action scenes, this is drama through and through. It's equally about the journey that Rust and Marty go through (with each other and by themselves) as it is about solving the riddle laid before them.
The creator and writer of the show, Nic Pizzolatto, is relatively unknown in terms of television and film, having only written a couple episodes of the show The Killing before. He has written a couple of books and was born and raised in Louisiana, which is the main reason why the show works so well. Louisiana is the third, most important character, a lot like the gritty streets of New York or Chicago or the rainy back streets of London. The director, Cary Joji Fukunaga, whom I've never heard of or seen his work, has intrigued me enough to find out more about him. His work here is fantastic and along with cinematographer Adam Arkapaw, make the series alive.
The music is great, with a phenomenal mix of classic rock, blues, southern music, and even some hip hop thrown in for good measure. They did a great job in picking a fantastically creepy song for their intro, “Far From Every Road” by The Handsome Family. This song evokes an eeriness similar to what the show strives for essentially.
Anyone interested in great storytelling, fantastic acting, and doesn’t mind a slow burn, as it were, should be able to enjoy this show. Sure, the fact that it only has 8 episodes might make the end seem a bit rushed, but when looking at the whole package, no one should miss this show.