People who know me know I’m no expert when it comes to television. I don’t watch much of it as I’m well aware that most of it is complete crap. However when True Detective was recommended to me by lots of people (including this guy) I thought I’d give it a go. It tells the story of the investigation into a horrific, apparently ritualistic murder in back country Louisiana. And you know what? It’s excellent. Here’s why:
1. The cast
This isn’t your usual TV show filled with washed up film actors. True Detective stars Woody Harrelson and current Oscar nominee Matthew McConahey as detectives Martin Hart and Rust Cohle. And they’re excellent. Harrelson’s Marty is on the surface a reliable family man but with a ton of issues while McConahey’s Rust is probably the most interesting TV character I’ve seen in years. Rust is an ex undercover cop who has a worldview that is both shocking and fascinating. In his own words “I’d consider myself a realist, alright? But in philosophical terms I’m what’s called a pessimist… I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution”.
2. The setting
True Detective is set in rural Louisiana, a place that is totally alien to me. Sex and religion are it’s two chief past times and it’s the juxtaposition of the two that give True Detective it’s own strange undercurrent of feeling. The weather is hot and humid and the landscape is desolate due to a combination of poverty and damage from hurricanes. It’s here we see the two protagonists butt heads and try to find meaning in a heinous crime. I assumed Louisiana was all Mardi Gras and those boats with the big fans on the back so seeing more of it is certainly eye opening.
3. The story
The central conceit of True Detective is that the two cops are being interviewed in the present day about the murder case they investigated in 1995. Is this because there’s a similar killing that the cops need help with? Is it because there was something not right with the 90s investigation? These are questions that you’ll want to get answers to. Which doesn’t detract from the original case as we see Marty and Rust delve into the sordid underbelly of Louisiana’s many churches, brothels, and politics.
4. The production
This isn’t your usual cheap, rushed TV show. Real effort has been made to make True Detective look, sound, and feel like a product that a lot has been put into. From the excellent cast to the wonderful cinematography and score this is a quality production through and through. Take for example the end of episode four which has one continuous shot that lasts for minutes and is truly jaw-dropping. This is the kind of aspect that elevates the show above it’s peers. I’m looking at you Two and a Half Men ( a show that could be improved instantly with some ritualistic murder).
5. The title sequence
It’s just brilliant. Like a James Bond credits sequence directed by the devil himself. Here, have a look:
To sum up – I’ve only seen the first four episodes and I’m hooked. If the rest of the season can maintain this high quality then we could be looking at a true classic. You’re welcome.
True Detective airs on Sky Atlantic on 22nd of February. Have you seen it? Are you from Louisiana? Let me know in the comments below.