True Detective Season 1, Episode 1

WARNING: Spoilers for True Detective Season 1, Episode 1

True detectivePhenomenal. That’s what I thought of the first episode of the new HBO series, True Detective. The show impresses from the very beginning, with cinematography that looks like it’s straight out of a David Fincher movie.

This movie reminded me a lot of Zodiac, in fact. It’s pace and tendency to skip around in time period weren’t the only similarities. It also had a matter of factness to the detective work and the murder itself.

McConaughey and Harrelson made their parts look effortless and incredibly naturalistic. The problem actors often have when they get as famous as those two are, is that the audience can easily have a preconception of what their characters will be. This certainly wasn’t the case for me in this show.

The show opens on a ritualistic murder of a young woman using a lot of pagan symbolism. Throughout the show, they keep referring to it as occult, but to me it seemed like it was more pagan than satanic.

The show is told in an interview style, obviously taking place in 2012, while the crime took place in 1995. McConaughey has become a drunk and Harrelson is now a private investigator. The way both men are being questioned makes me think that the new detectives suspect them somehow.

I’m not usually that interested in crime shows on TV. I watched NCIS for a long while, but CSI and the rest of them leave me cold. Crime movies, however, tend to be far more interesting. There’s Zodiac, as I mentioned above, along with the fantastic Memories of Murder. This show seemed to fall far more into the movie crime family than the serialised crime that we see on TV so much.

The rest of the show followed the two detectives as they perform the initial interviews of anyone who could have been in the victim’s life. Not too much was revealed about the crime. Instead, we learned far more about the two detectives themselves. McConaughey and Harrelson had great chemistry as Rust and Marty. While not being best buddies, there was a grudging respect there that was a lot more interesting than any back-slapping.

I’ve mentioned it before, but HBO just know how to make quality television and I’ll be waiting to watch the next episode in a week’s time. My TV watching schedule is going to get a little full with all of the new shows starting in mid-season. It seems like mid-season has become the time for the interesting shows, after the mass market has been sated in September.


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