Why You Should be Watching True Detective (2014)

Rust Cohle & Marty Hart, detectives extraordinaire~

Rust Cohle & Martin Hart, detectives extraordinaire.

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JUMPING ON THE BANDWAGON. If you haven’t yet readers, it’s about time you gave True Detective a good long look. HBO‘s recent crime thriller offering is sending faithful film and television viewers into raptures. So – why should you be interested in this sombre looking piece of work?

STRUCTURE & CONTENT. The best thing about productions like Homeland or House of Cards is the barrier they cross from repetitive weekly patterns into overarching stories that keep us riveted for entire seasons. True Detective revolves around Louisiana state police detectives Rust (Matthew McConaughey) and Marty (Woody Harrelson) as they recollect their hunt for a perturbing local serial killer over 17 years ago. Thusfar the gore hasn’t quite reached Hannibal levels of butchery but there has been plenty of disturbing images, sex, symbolism, and existential themes. They execute each of these elements with great visual flair. Viewers with a weak stomach and who prefer less challenging material in their choice of television drama should probably steer clear of this. 

SO IT ISN’T FUNNY… Sure, if you have a slightly morbid and deadpan sense of humour there are certainly scenes in which the clash of personalities will make you smile (darkly, snarkily). Basically: buckle down for serious but surprisingly watchable chemistry. 

MCCONAUGHEY AND HARRELSON HUH?  True Detective starts strong by letting us on to the shifting complexities of its protagonists. Side characters begin as archetypes but eventually begin to fill out as the show progresses, like watching a lightbulb slowly brighten. You’ll hear all sorts of things about the portrayal of female characters. My only word of advice: if something about it feels cumbersome, then it’s probably intentional. These guys aren’t fucking around.

I’m going to refrain from talking about Rust and Marty because they don’t need the publicity. They take this brilliant piece of storytelling to new heights with their personalities. Bravo.

ALL ABOUT THE CHARACTERS THEN. The dynamic between Rust and Marty is incredibly compelling, yeah, but there is a well defined story to keep us coming back each week. Everyone loves a good mystery, if the internet is any indication (#TrueDetectiveTheories tag, may contain spoilers). And it’s amazing how the show functions retrospectively; rewatching older episodes is a real treat.

CONCLUSION. You get the sense that True Detective doesn’t set out to overwhelm or outsmart you. It understands and carries itself with brooding charisma. I’m trusting them to see this through to the end – join me. You won’t regret it.

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