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True Detective (2014)
The world needs bad men...
"You're not gonna win the Oscar, no matter how hard you try."
8 episodes. 2 Hollywood actors. 1 director. 1 writer. 1 extraordinary show.
From the mind of Nic Pizzolatto comes True Detective, a dark, profound and masterful crime thriller set in the bayous of Louisiana. Written with a philosophical and sharp acuity, True Detective tells the story of two detectives (Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson) and their 17- year manhunt for a deranged serial killer.
This is not an ordinary cop show. It isn't about tidy cases, chasing perps or trailing leads. There isn't red tape, standard procedures or closure at the end of the day. What you will find is broken marriages, darkness inherit in the human soul, and philosophical notions on the meaning (or lack thereof) of life.
McConaughey and Harrelson as Rust Cohle and Martin Hart make an unlikely and surprisingly fascinating duo. Cohle is a dark, abstract individual, living alone, full of loss and discontentment with life. He has visions and hallucinations from his 4 years undercover in narcotics. However he is also very smart, rational and lucid, understanding who he is as a human being and his place in the universe. Hart is a seemingly responsible, everyday family man that takes his job seriously. He has a good heart, but through his need for control, manipulates people to his own selfish and destructive ends. They are both dark, bad men. But as Cohle says, "The world needs bad men. They keep the other bad men from the door." There is a yin/yang, religious/atheist, rational/irrational relationship that is both thoughtful and humorous to watch.
True Detective is a self-contained 8 episode anthology series. Each season will feature a new cast and story, completely unrelated to the previous one. This is the future of the story-telling medium. 8 episodes allows Hollywood actors to commit to the show without a huge time commitment. 1 writer keeps the story uniform as there's no writer's room or a panel of writers changing each season. 1 director and cinematographer keeps the vision clear and consistent.
Director Cary Fukunaga does a remarkable, Oscar-worthy job. The realism, tone and pacing are on par with anything I've seen on screen. The 6- minute tracking shot at the end of episode 4 is one of the best single shots in television history.
This is as good as it gets for modern television. After Breaking Bad I wasn't sure how long I'd have to wait for something this good. I didn't expect something this masterful to come along so fast. If you're an action fan, don't like to think too much, or want closure each episode, this show is not for you. But if you want to be challenged, to watch a show that makes you think, doesn't give you all the answers, and keeps you up at night, then you're in for a thrill ride.