True Detective

Season 1 Episode 1

The Long Bright Dark

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jan 12, 2014 on HBO

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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  • Darkness Becomes You

    HBO continues to reaffirm itself as the home of quality as exemplified by its new series True Detective. Meant to be an anthology series much like FX's American Horror Story, the eight episode first season follows two mis-matched detectives in Louisiana assigned to an occult murder of a young prostitute. Now i know that sounds familiar in and of itself, and many like myself may only tune in for the first hour just to see the greatly reinvented Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as the leads but let me tell you that True Detective is like nothing you've seen before. Taking elements of film noir and transposing them onto the small screen True Detective feels as lived in as its 90's Louisiana setting. The art direction and cinematography add a layer of aesthetic that few other crime shows can boast about (except maybe NBC's excellent Hannibal) but True Detective deals with much more than solving the case, in fact that's probably the least interesting part of the show. Delving into the psychology of its two leads and how living in an environment where they must solve such cases shows in the morose and introverted Rusty Cole (McConaughey) and the family man Detective Hart (Harrelson). The interplay between them in one hour is more dynamic than many shows of the same variety garner in a a few years on the air. Not to mention the greatness of the supporting cast: Tory Kittles (LaRoy from Sons of Anarchy), Brother Mouzone from the Wire, and even the actor who plays Lester Freeman pops up for a spell in the first hour. The narrative is particularly interesting as the first episode swings back and forth between 1995 when they're first assigned to the case as well as in 2012 when being interviewed by CID agents who had lost the case files in Hurricane Katrina. True Detective works on almost every level from mood, to mystery, to suspense, to atmosphere, to character, and just works as a piece of storytelling. What may come off as stunt casting of two big named actors feels like anything but and I hope to learn much more about the inner workings of both of the detectives in the remaining seven episodes of the season. I won't get too much into the plot details as I believe that if you read this I want the main thing you take away from it is to watch this show. If you're not impressed and slightly put off by the sheer quality oozing out of this new show, then I'm clearly crazy but seeing the genre given this good of a breath of fresh air is, for a crime show fan like myself (when the genre is already so saturated with shows like it) that this show I hope continues to stand out. The premise itself that each subsequent series would be a new case and new actors lets me see this as a franchise that could easily end up giving HBO a great start of the year drama which they need with Boardwalk Empire, the Newsroom, and Treme all bowing out soon the more great hour long dramas they can not force into existence the better. But you should really give this show a shot even if you're not a fan of the genre even just to admire the way the world in which these characters inhabit looks. My only bit of criticism is that the female characters (mainly Michelle Monaghan who play's Harrelson's wife) isn't really given a whole lot to do beyond cop wife cliches but hopefully that can be remedied in the weeks to come. Can't wait to see where this show goes from here.