Matthew McConaughey should win another Oscar. It’s too bad he’ll have to settle for an Emmy, as long as folks don’t forget about True Detective by then. In the vein of other gritty cable shows like The Wire, Banshee, The Bridge, and The Killing, True Detective takes us deep into the psyche of those who pursue evil to its hole in the ground and work to stop it. For this first season of Detective, McConaughey plays Detective Rusty Cohle and Woody Harrelson plays his partner Marty Hart, and the darkness they’ve pursued for eight episodes over fifteen years is dark, dark stuff.
Honestly, this won’t be for everyone, just like Game of Thrones takes knights and dragons well past grade school yard stuff. True Detective shows us the evils of corruption, in the church, in the police force, in politics, in the community, and the way that our society isn’t safe until children are free to grow up without fear. It grimly highlights the pain of those who pursue the malevolent forces at work in some people’s souls, fed by their deviant lust and often the nurture they received growing up.
As much as the show’s enjoyment level comes from the pursuit of justice (and I will say that this doesn’t disappoint), the show’s strength is in the development of character for Cohle and Hart. It’s in their banter, their conversations (which develop over the eight episodes), and in their progression toward embracing their lives in fullness, not in the half-baked confusion we find them in at the beginning. These Nic Pizzolatto characters have punch, and Cary Fukunaga’s direction sets them up perfecto where they need to be. Like this…
Cohle and Hart discuss the stars in the night sky in one clip, comparing it to the epic battle between the dark and the light. Hart thinks that the dark is winning given the opaqueness of the night sky, but Cohle replies, “In the beginning, there was only darkness. Seems to me that the light is catching up.” This is the beauty of the show in a nutshell: while the darkness may be overwhelming and suffocating (and intensely hard to watch at times), the hope we have in the pursuit of truth and justice is a burning wick that refuses to go out.
True Detective’s first season was epic, and I can only hope that the second season, with new actors, will be equally as sensational.