A few days ago I was on my HBO Go account scrolling through, looking for something to watch. I went to the television shows and remembered that there was a series people were raving about when it came out that I had not seen. I put on episode 1 to see what the hype was all about, and 8 hours later I finished that season. The hype was well deserved.
True Detective season 1 is a great series. I specify season 1 because the show has contained stories that only last the length of a single season. This season follows officers as they talk about a horrific murder case that happened back in 1995. As they explain the story we find out the details of the murder case and learn a lot more about our characters.
The characters in the series are fantastic. We have Woody Harrelson who plays Martin Hart, a conventional detective character who just does his job. We also get Matthew McConaughey who plays Rust Cohle, who is a lot more complex. He’s a very quiet and awkward character that has a pessimistic outlook on the world. Michelle Monaghan plays Maggie Hart, who is Martin’s wife. Other than them there are a lot of supporting characters that come in and out of the story.
This series is carried largely by our two lead characters. Their chemistry is out of this world good. The dialogue is delivered in a believable way that always has my attention. Woody Harrelson does most of the talking during these conversations, but whenever McConaghey decides to chime in, it’s impactful. It’s even more intriguing knowing that these characters couldn’t be anymore different. They are polar opposites and they really don’t like each other. Martin complains about Rust not talking, but also complains when Rust says something, because it’s usually depressing.
The narrative of True Detective is absolutely beautiful. It is well paced with twists and turns that you won’t always see coming. The dialogue challenges the audience because not all of the information is spoon fed to you. There really isn’t a lot of exposition which forces people to pay attention to the details of the story. The character development took a refreshing turn as well. In these buddy cop type of movies/shows they tend to follow the cliche of not liking each other and eventually growing to be good friends. That never happens here. While their relationship does certainly change through out the course of the season, it’s not always a turn for the best. It created a new dynamic and also emphasized that two people don’t need to be best friends to get a job done.
Even the directing in the series is fantastic. True Detective is shot in a way that gives it more of a cinematic feel. It fits the tone of the show and makes sense when you consider the leads in the show are big movie stars. There’s an especially amazing tracking shot involving McConaghey trying to get out of certain location, that I thought was outstanding. There’s also a lot of horror imagery sprinkled into the crime scenes that compliment a satanic element of the story.
Overall, I couldn’t really find anything I didn’t like about this show. It has everything I look for in a great series and was executed in a way that blew my expectations out of the water. The acting is great, the story is great, the direction is great. While I believe Breaking Bad is the best long running television series of all time, True Detective season 1 is the best single season of television I can remember watching. If you have access to HBO and have not seen this before I suggest you check it out immediately.
True Detective season 1 gets a 100/100 and is awarded the title of…