There’s plenty written about the show True Detective. It’s surprising and encouraging how well-received HBO shows are and how well-made as well (an important distinction that I don’t think Netflix has achieved yet). Fine words were, for instance, written on The Atlantic, AV Club, and spoken on the /Filmcast. I was also not aware of some of the short stories that the writer of the show, Nic Pizzolatto, has published previously, and the movies that its director, Cary Fukunaga, had made, including Sin Nombre in 2009 and Jane Eyre in 2011. True Detective currently rates a 9.5 on IMDB.com, in my eyes a pretty much perfect score.
When I first saw the trailer to True Detective, I wasn’t at all sure that I was going to like it. But like with most HBO shows (6 Feet Under comes to mind), the addiction tends to grow. If you like the intermingling of crime and mind**** going on in this series, you may also like Top of the Lake, a New Zealand show following a female detective investigating the disappearance of one child. Both are, in my view, difficult to digest over time, but well worth watching.
True Detective works for me because it’s never what it appears. It works by introducing layers, like an onion, and peeling one away after the other. And much like that onion, each layer results in more drama as well. Tonight’s episode is the final episode, which I haven’t seen and would never want to spoil for you. Nevertheless, I will write about some details that you may not want to read if you are planning to watch this show and haven’t yet.
True Detective follows two detectives that come across a murder. That is layer one, but it is recounted years after to other detectives in an interrogation room, something that becomes another layer over time. Both detectives, played by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, have their own back- and ongoing stories (two separate layers). The murder itself turns out to be deeper than previously thought, which is another layer to explore. There is also the mysticism that is revealed throughout, and that may be the the mind**** that I’m referring to must of all. This feeling that none of it matters, them solving the case, them attaining temporary happiness, that human condition that plagues us all.
It may be similar to the feeling I get with Game of Thrones, where it doesn’t matter that we build an affection for a group of characters. Nothing prevents the writer of the show and books to kill them off in a most gruesome manner. True Detective is not like that, but it is still incredibly dark.
Someone mentioned on a recent episode of the /Filmcast podcast, that this is all a manifestation of how we feel about the world today. With so many threats from the planet, the economic crisis, wars, and more, we are becoming increasingly more cynical and hopeless, and these are the offspring of writers channeling that despair. Well, I don’t know if that’s an exact interpretation of what was said, but it’s how I understood it.
All that said, please watch True Detective. I can’t wait for the final and I certainly can’t wait for the next season, who’s characters are still a surprise.