True Detective Season One (2014) TV Review “Outstanding”

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Every once in a while there is brand new show that grabs such a hold of pop culture. Recently we’ve had “Walking Dead”, “Breaking Bad” and “Game of Thrones” that’s been able to do that. We always wonder what could be that next TV show that could become something like those shows. Enter a premiere for a new crime drama called “True Detective”. Last night there was such a high demand for the finale that HBO Go crashed. “True Detective” in just its first season has become an instant smash hit across the boards. In a world where there are dozens upon dozens of look a-like cop shows this show that is a complete departure from what audiences are use too with police shows. But does the show live up to the hype and high ratings? Well it doesn’t, it surpasses them. This is easily the best new show on TV and not just limited to that statement but one of the best shows currently on TV. With incredible writing, fantastic acting, haunting tone, and a fabulous direction, this show is an incredible addition to HBO and I look forward to the future of this show.

True Detective follows the professional and personal lives of two Louisiana police detectives named Rust Chloe and Marty Hart, as their search for a serial killer spans 17 long years.

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What separates this from other more traditional cop shows is nearly everything you can think of. There is one case. This show doesn’t get bogged down in the formulaic “murder of the week.” This murder is also sadistic. This isn’t just one bullet to the head over a girlfriend that dumped him for another guy, this is a sadistic murder. This doesn’t get solved easy, while investigating it opens up a series of startling new revelations around the town and other seemingly connected cases involving what becomes more apparent involves a cult.

It continues to separate further with its two lead characters. Marty Hart is a more traditional detective and a traditional southern family man. He wants to do right by his family however he can’t fight his needs for a few drinks and a few loose woman to screw around with. He struggles throughout the show with these demons. Marty is played by Academy Award Nominated actor Woody Harrelson and this is by far one of the best performances of his career. He can be charming and immediately turn the switch and be angry and intense. Furthermore he has great on screen chemistry with his co star whom have a very up and down relationship.

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The other lead is Rusty Chloe played by the Oscar Winning actor Matthew McConaughey. It really is kind of sad being Woody Harrelson in this show because you know all anyone is going to be talking about it Matthew McConaughey because he absolutely steals this show. This is without a doubt one of the best performances of his career. He won an Oscar and he should win an Emmy Award for this too, I highly doubt any performance on TV will top his. His character is surrounded in mystery but is an excellent detective that doesn’t mind bending the rules to favor him. He is a very personal but very philosophical character that the viewer may wonder if he is a little insane too?

These two characters don’t even really seem to like each other in the beginning and tempers flare between the two in more than one occasion. At the same time they are the only ones that get one another. Many will look and judge at Rusty and even if Marty doesn’t like him all the time, he is one of the few people who gets what he is about. It may not sound like it but this far different than most cop duos on TV or on the big screen. The dynamic between the two is one of the reasons this show really succeeds.

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But without the efforts of show creator/writer Nic Pizzolatto this would never have been possible. Pizzolatto’s writing is nearly flawless. He has a really good grasp of story and character, making everyone as flawed as can be. No one in the show is morally centered and righteous. Pizzolatto creates characters that are human in nature while feeling fresh and original. You’re invested in the characters and the story from the get go and nothing ever drags or feels uninteresting. The character development that is written into the script is incredible by the end of the show these are not the same people you started off with. The story is intricate and deep. This show feels very coherent because of the fact it’s written by one guy and is directed by one other. Pizzolatto has a great career ahead and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

The term cinematic is thrown around a lot with both TV shows and video games in order for things to sound better than they are. However with this show and handful of others this term applies. The show really feels like an 8 hour movie and in terms of story structure and production look. This in part goes to the credit of the show’s creator Pizzolatto but also the director of the show Cary Fukunaga. Very rarely do we get a TV show directed by one man and here we are treated to such an event. He brings the vision of Pizzolatto to life with a creepy almost supernatural atmosphere that in turn is grounded by this realism and such dramatic heaviness. The look of the show compliments the tone of the script and really consistent because of this one director. He another man whose work I look forward to seeing in the future.

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I could go on and go praising this show to pieces and more than likely I’ll remember something else I wanted to say about the show but forgot about. There is so much to love about the show and who knows what we are up for next season. Since this is an anthology series we will no longer see our two detectives Marty Hart and the instantly classic character Rusty Chloe next season. Instead the next season will focus on a set of two new detectives and maybe the show will never live up to this first season. This is certainly a tough act to follow. The story is deep and involving and so many twists and turns that is focused on character development and dialogue with strong direction from the writer and director including fantastic performances from the lead actor this show blows away other crime shows with being daring and original. I can’t wait to own this series and this definitely filled the void waiting for the next season of “Game of Thrones”. Great first season hopefully it can continue this trend

Final Score

9.5/10

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