Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Ratings: Metacritic – 87 (Universal Acclaim), Rotten Tomatoes - 84% 'Certified Fresh'.
'True Detective' is an American television series presented in anthology format. It means every season will come with a different story and in this case, a different director, cast, and characters. The events of Season One are set in the state of Louisiana in the southern region of the United States, bordered to the south by the Gulf of Mexico and follow two homicide detectives Ruste Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin Hart's (Woody Harrelson) pursuit of a serial killer over a span of seventeen years. The story has been interestingly laid out over multiple timelines. Among other aspects, a six-minute long take (uninterrupted shot) near the end of the fourth episode has drawn particular acclaim. The show has been lauded by critics who have commended its delivery style, pace, and atmosphere in having successfully revived people's interest in the anthology format of television shows.
The thing that people probably loved most is how the series neither rushes nor drags but unwinds steadily with art and balance. Its languid nature is evident from the very beginning, and people accustomed to and expectant of typical action-packed eventful single episodes will be a bit let down. The long car rides to and from crime scenes and potential leads let the detectives reveal more about their views and beliefs on life, faith, morality etc. The slow unraveling gives the audience time to acquaint themselves with the two protagonists, and to reflect on the various details of the case that are uncovered over time.
McConaughey's acting has been praised by fans and critics alike. During a particular interrogation scene, his tone and countenance morph from unsettlingly reassuring, to deadly calm, disbelief, realization, refueled determination, and rage. The inclusion of occult elements and practices have added to the sense of macabre and appealed to fans of the supernatural horror genre. Despite its gloomy nature, the show has its fair share of laughs. These come out in unanticipated bursts off of usual grim moments, and McConaughey and Harrelson have done a remarkable job in pulling it off with great finesse; just the right amount to keep in pace with the show's morose ambience.
The season has garnered some negative criticism due to the portrayal of 'shallow' female characters and some unwarranted explicitness, the latter of which I agree with. The heavy southern accent used by Cohle and Hart may be difficult for non-American viewers to grasp. Since the series is laden with plot-related dialogue, it is a good idea to refer to subtitles if you find yourself failing to keep up. I myself thought the victim being talked about for the first two episodes was called 'Dorlaine' (it's actually 'Dora Lange'). With its moments of suspense, silence, and dialogue evenly rolled out, it adds a relatively strong feel of realism to the overall experience and offers a respite from the regular fast paced television shows of today.