TV REVIEW: True Detective – Season 1 

In news that’ll shock no one, life is complicated and as much as we all want it to be simple and stress free, events arise that put us through emotional turmoil and change us in both positive and negative ways. AMC’s Breaking Bad captured this to an extent though not many of us can say we’ve been diagnosed with cancer which led us to become a meth kingpin. That’s where True Detective comes in.


True Detective is a HBO crime drama series, something that the network is pretty much the king of after success with The Wire and The Sopranos which are arguably two of the best shows ever made. The show’s engineered as an anthology meaning that each season has its own separate story which has helped shows like American Horror Story to tell a complete story and bring new concepts to keep it fresh. Season 1 of True Detective follows Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) , a pair of Louisiana homicide detectives who are investigating the murder of a young prostitute that spans over a 17 year period which leads to the show flipping between 1995 and 2012.

It’s been reiterated by a lot that have watched this show but it has to be said that the show focuses on more than just the crime at hand, dealing with the personal lives of both detectives that takes up a large chunk of time while the murder gradually becomes of more importance as the show goes on which gives it a good momentum. At no point did I feel bored or like I was losing interest, it was a continuous of urge of finding out what was going to happen next in the case or how the characters were going to handle their situation.

First things first, it would be impossible and near enough a crime to not mention the wonderful performances by McConaughey and Harrelson. At first glance Rust Cohle is a perfectionist, analysing every detail of a crime in a ledger that leads to him being called the taxman by his fellow detectives. However as the show progresses, you realise the layers of complexity to this character. McConaughey was originally chosen to play the role of Martin Hart but thankfully he managed to put up a great argument which lead to him playing Cohle and thank god that happened. Cohle is a lone man, an introvert of sort who has a troubled past that is slowly revealed to the viewers which I won’t spoil for obvious reasons but once you find out, you’ll not be surprised why he acts the way he does.

His realistic attitude results in a strained friendship with Harrelson’s character, a family man who just wants his family to be happy and, while not completely happy with his life, is content with the repetitiveness of it. This chemistry between the two characters never dies down and is vaguely reminiscent of the one seen between Breaking Bad’s Walter White and Jesse Pinkman and both shows greatest moments come from the scenes where both characters are on screen, usually at one anothers throats.


The difficulties we face in life, like I said in the intro, define and change who we are and it’s something that bares some truth in True Detective. Themes of adultery, murder and death are just a few that are touched upon and unlike other shows that might just point out “this is bad”, the themes play out over the 8 episodes of the show and always feel omnipresent, never in your face but there nonetheless. These themes work well because of the cast of characters presented to us like the aforementioned Rust and Martin but there’s other characters that regardless of how much screen time they have still make an impact on you. Whether or not you’ve experienced anything that is touched upon, the show handles them in such a way that you understand both sides and can come to your own conclusion.

It may come as a relief to some that True Detective not all talking about feelings or searching for clues. It’s not an action heavy show but whenever anything like that happened, you savoured every second such as the ending to episode 4. Without spoiling anything, Rust has to return a favour to a biker gang to find out more info concerning their case. What we get is a 10+ minute track shot, putting Rust and everyone involved in total danger, even if you have no clue what the hell is going you’ll feel the non stop suspense from the start to the very end. Every action scene is handled and directed perfectly, feeling more like a film than a TV show.


And that’s what I took away from True Detective. It’s the first TV show I’ve watched that felt like a film, that looked like one and had the same impact to me. There wasn’t a cliffhanger or any loose ends, instead it was a complete story full of some of the best performances on television along with the top notch writing expected from a HBO drama. With Season Two currently airing, there’s no doubt that this show has the potential to be one of the greatest ever made.