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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

What We’re Watching: ‘True Detective’

Promo poster for True Detective. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.
Promo poster for True Detective. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

With networks premiering a plethora of new pilots, it can be hard to decide what’s worth the study break. Hatchet reporter Eric Robinson takes a look at some of the season’s most promising shows.

True Detective

Airtime: Sundays, 9 p.m., HBO

Names you’ll know: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club, Mud), Woody Harrelson (Zombieland, The Messenger)

Premise: Two detectives, the brilliant if enigmatic Rust Chole (McConaughey) and the pragmatic Martin Hart (Harrelson) attempt to solve a ritualistic murder case, while dealing with their clashing philosophies.

Watch if you liked: Hannibal, The Killing

Overall grade: A-

In one of the many brilliant scenes, detectives Martin Hart and Rust Cohle are sitting in the car discussing a brutal murder. Suddenly, the conversation switches from murder to philosophy.

“I think human consciousness was a tragic misstep in evolution,” Rust says. “We became too self-aware. Nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself. We are creatures that should not exist by natural law.”

“Huh,” a visibly disturbed Hart deadpans. “That sounds god-fucking-awful, Rust.”

That is True Detective in a nutshell: dark, poetic, and comical. Unlike it’s genre breatheren The Killing and Broadchurch, True Detective has higher ambitions beyond giving us a crackerjack mystery show. The show capably deals with issues of masculinity, practicality versus intellectualism, and even religion, while also effectively setting up darkly human characters, a desolate and sometimes horrifying setting, and a mystery that should captivate for the entire season.

That isn’t even mentioning the great work done by McConaughey and Harrelson, both of whom deserve Emmys. McConaughey’s Cohle is unlike any other role he’s ever played, distant, uncharismatic, and completely disturbed. Harrelson fares well as Hart, a caring family man attempting to deal with the darkness that comes with his job – very much a la Walter White.

That isn’t to say that True Detective is for everyone though. It’s molasses pace is likely to turn off many viewers who crave a fast paced thriller. True Detective, at least not in the pilot, is not a true thriller. It’s a slow paced work of philosophical crime fiction that wants to deal with greater issues beyond whodunnit.

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