TV Recap: True Detective, Season 1

true detective

Warning: This post contains spoilers.

Bursting onto the scene early this year, HBO’s ‘True Detective’ has already gained an incredible following. Starring Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey and Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson, the series follows the lives of two Louisiana detectives, Rust Cohle (McConaughey) and his partner Marty Hart (Harrelson), as they investigate the ritualistic murder of former prostitute, Dora Lange, in a seventeen-­‐ year hunt for the serial killer responsible.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (Jane Eyre) and penned by ‘The Killing’ scribe, Nic Pizzolatto, ‘True Detective’ is a masterful display of filmmaking and narrative genius. The cinematography by Adam Arkapaw is mesmerizing, with his sweeping aerial shots and dark, moody lighting -­‐ and not to forget the gorgeously genius six minute tracking shot at the end of episode five. Episode one introduces us to the basis of the story while also giving us an insight into the two very different detectives. Rust Cohle, the leading detective in the case and also known as ‘The Taxman’ due to his oversized notebook, is an intelligent but solitary character who lost his wife and child when he was working as a narcotics agent several years back. He sees the case not only as a criminal investigation but also a philosophical review on such things as human morality, time and faith. On the contrary, his partner, Marty Hart has a wife and two children, although he has an occasional tendency to fool around with other women. The investigation is unequivocally detrimental to Marty’s family and his relationship with his wife, Maggie, played superbly by Michelle Monaghan. The series also plays out with dual-­‐storylines, interchanging from scenes of the Dora Lange investigation to a 2012 interrogation of Marty and Rust. true detective 1

The opening episodes pan out like a conventional crime-­‐thriller noir, as the two detectives hunt for clues and step closer to finding their man. As the detectives further investigate into their leads, Reggie Ledoux becomes a major suspect in the case. As Maggie struggles to communicate and cohere with Marty, she forms a close and intriguing relationship with Rust. But back on the investigation, the pressure builds on the detectives to find a solid lead as the task force threatens to pull them from the case. Marty and Rust tail Ledoux’s partners, eventually leading them to a group of small trailers, obscured in the woods. On the premises, they manage to find and kill Ledoux and his partner in a gripping action sequence. As the time transitions from 1995 to 2012, over the seven years Marty has managed to reconcile with Maggie, although he continues to sleep around with other women, this time with a past interviewee. As Marty destroys his own personal life, Rust continues to pursue the investigation that was dropped many years ago. Once again the time transitions from 2002 to 2012. Rust continues to investigate the Dora Lange case but wants Marty back on the job with him. After Marty dubiously agrees to begin working on the investigation again, they start interrogating and delving through old files, ultimately leading them to Billy Lee Tuttle: the prime suspect of the case.

As rumors of a season two develop, I think it is fair to say that it will be hard to equal season one’s extraordinary standard. Based on recent rumors, eager fans will haveto wait until 2015 for the show to return, but also with a few slight adjustments to the cast and crew of season one. The show’s creator, Nic Pizzolatto, has already given us a possible insight into the characters of season two, suggesting that it will potentially involve ‘hard women’ as replacements for the season one duo. Matthew McConaughey has already stated that he will not be returning to the show, which offers a challenging role to who ever attempts to fill his shoes. And it also appears season one director, Cary Joji Fukunaga, will be abandoning ship also. But for the time being, we can only wait in agony for further details to be released. But whatever season two brings, I am very eager to see where they take it – for better or worse.

True Detective aired from January-March 2014 on HBO.

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