TV Review: HBO’s “True Detective” Episodes 1-4

true-detective-posterCreated by: Nic Pizzolatto
Directed by: Cary Fukunaga
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts, Tory Kittles
Rating: TV-MA
Running Time: 60 minutes
Premiered: January 12, 2014

Episode 1: 3 out of 5 stars
Episode 2: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Episode 3: 3 out of 5 stars
Episode 4: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“True Detective” follows two Louisiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division homicide detectives as they hunt for a serial killer across seventeen years. The show flips back and forth between 1995 and 2012. There are extended flashbacks used with Det. Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Det. Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) being interviewed separately and are the grounds for the whole story. I liked the fact that “True Detective” takes the approach of a mini-series, which is becoming a popular format after shows like “American Horror Story”.

The show is very dialogue heavy and character driven. It is also edgy and quite provocative. I am a big fan of director Cary Fukunaga (2010’s “Jane Eyre”). I think he has a great vision for this show and he really does great things with this mini-series. Louisiana is also used almost as another character and intertwines well with the characters and the story. The performances are not good but quite amazing. We all know that McConaughey and Harrelson are great actors but these roles are perfect for them and they simply nail it.

The first episode of “True Detective” is spent introducing us to characters of Cohle and Hart. We start with them getting the case for the ritualistic murder of a former prostitute. Their investigation for the case is started and we get the lowdown. The story is well setup here and I liked the characters. I find that I don’t like a show’s characters I usually do not enjoy the show no matter how good. I think though there could have been a little more added to this episode since I was left wanting a little more…but I guess that was the point.

The second episode really get deeper into both McConaughey and Harrelson’s characters. You start to learn a lot about them and some of their secrets. The story starts getting some steam and you are drawn into trying to figure out what is going on and where they are going with this show. This episode also has Alexandra Daddario (“Texas Chainsaw 3D”) and she is quite a sight. After the first episode, I have to admit, I wasn’t really racing to place the next right away. After this one, I immediately had to watch episode three.

Episode three really gives deeper into our characters. We learn more of their flaws and their unique views on the world. There are some interesting details of the investigation revealed in this episode. There is also a bit of tension revealed between the two partners, which gives an interesting dynamic. Hart also experiences some relationship issues (and I am sure it is not the end of it either). There was some decent reveal about the investigation in this episode as they track the killer. Thought it ran a little slow compared to the first two episodes, it was equal with the first episode.

Episode four is packed with tension between Hart and his wife, as well as investigation details. It also goes deeper into Cohle’s issue with drugs and his background. I love the dialogue in this episode, not that it is weaker in earlier episodes but this particular episode is really sharp. I liked seeing the partners team up and work together closely. Another aspect of love about this show is the car drives. They always seem to have these deep conversations while driving and McConaughey leaves you speechless. This was probably my favorite of the four episode to date. Let’s just say shit goes down and it is quite freaking intense!

So I found that I am not completely in love with this show but with these performances and the Louisiana feel, I am hooked. There is something very simple about it that draws you in. It is very slow-moving but I am sure that there is going to be a solid payoff worth waiting for. I am dying to see where they are going to go with the remaining episodes. In fact, I can’t believe we are already half-way through the series but I am in and very anxious to see where we go from here.

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