Alright, alright, alright. Matthew McConaughey has had a pretty unrealistic year, previously derided for being that topless guy who makes up for his lack of acting chops with washboard abs, McConaughey has suddenly become This Year’s Biggest Actor™. It seems almost as if he woke up one day and decided to act for a change, thereafter he built a solid reputation on the back of The Lincoln Lawyer, Mud, Killer Joe and The Wolf of Wall Street (a cameo in which he managed to steal the limelight from Leo DiCaprio), swiftly followed by a plethora of awards – including an Oscar for his inspired performance as a HIV-infected rodeo cowboy in Dallas Buyer’s Club. McConaughey didn’t stop there though, conquering the film industry wasn’t enough, TV had to be dominated also.

True Detective season 1 is a Louisiana-set miniseries, following McConaughey’s Detective Rust Cohle and Woody Harrelson’s Detective Marty Hart as they look back on a case they investigated 17 years prior. Cohle is a bedraggled, whiskey-soaked down and out, whereas Hart seems only to have changed as much as aging will do to a person. Time shifts between the original case in 1995 – where Cohle and Hart exchange barbs in the same vein as any buddy comedy pairing may – to a 2012 interview room, where they individually run through the case with two police detectives. True Detective shows us both their statements whilst being interviewed, and the truth of 1995’s case allowing the audience to attempt to unravel a web of deceit, rivalry and nostalgia.

Created and written by Nic Pizzolatto, True Detective is expertly thought out, beginning as an investigation into a pretty gruesome murder – the victim is found blindfolded, in a field still ablaze, with an unfamiliar symbol carved into her back and a crown of antlers around her head – but quickly descending into an obsession for Cohle and a chore for Hart. Director CaryJoji Fukunaga excels, in particular during episode 4’s ending, where the director has the outright nerve to effectively piss on the expectations of TV direction and keep the camera rolling for a 6 minute sequence which intakes drug busts, murder, kidnap and a biker gang. Without spoiling things it may very well be the best ending to a TV episode since Tony Soprano took his family out to dinner during The Soprano’s finale.

A lot has been said about True Detective’s final episode, as is expected in this age of internet discussion, but I personally felt it did a fine service to the show as a whole. Every TV show struggles to find an acceptable ending, and not every show manages to end with a high on par of Dexter’s season 4 (SPOILER: The Trinity killer leaves Rita dead in a bath of her own blood), and some unfortunately manage to evoke Dexter’s final season (SPOILER: he becomes a lumberjack, I kid you not… a lumberjack), but True Detective falls somewhere in between, riding a small clichéd wave to a fairly pleasant ending, it’s not Breaking Bad explosive, but it doesn’t need to be.

With rumours abound for a season 2, it seems the show is going to have its work cut out to match its first season, Harrelson and McConaughey won’t be returning, but will be staying on as executive producers. Lead by excellent performances from its two main actors, a gloriously penned storyline, some extremely brave directing and a gorgeous cinematography, True Detective is an engrossing delight. McConaughey has expertly cracked the TV and film industry in a single year, next stop: Broadway?

About The Author


Unashamed film and tv geek, liable to inundate people with shinfo on a regular basis. Proud to be defined as a tattooed vegetarian - reluctantly accepting the hipster tag. Love listening to Motley Crue, Elliott Smith, Frightened Rabbit, The Wonder Years and Childish Gambino. Favourite shows are Sopranos, Community and It's Always Sunny in Philidelphia. Still haven't finished Lost, please don't ruin it for me.