True Detective 1.1 “The Long Bright Dark” Review

Wow… Just what an amazing first episode for HBO’s new crime drama True Detective.  For those unaware, the show follows around two detectives (Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson) and their quest to hunt down a serial killer in Louisiana.  I’m a little late because the episode premiered during the Golden Globes this past Sunday, but boy do I wish I had tuned into this instead.

The show opens up with a taped off crime scene at a lonely tree in the center of crop fields where viewers are immediately hit with a dark and twisted ritualistic murder that features a naked girl in a fixed position with a crown made from branches and deer antlers on her head.  I thought that this opening was really well done and immediately sets a very dark tone that the show will hopefully embody throughout its entire first season.

The episode introduced us to partners Rust (McConaughey) and Martin (Harrelson) who, while having many differences, share a respect over their duty to the law and to one another’s brilliant skill set.  Rust is clearly the mysterious odd man out in the office, coming from Southern Texas and known as “The Taxman” for carrying around a larger than normal notepad while Martin is the family man who does his job well and is much more approachable. The two seem like an odd but fitting pair who can get the job done by combining their different methods and knowledge.

Martin and Rust

I thought it was interesting that the show is set both in the past and future and we discover that the case featured in the show actually takes place around 10 years beforehand and Rust and Marting are no longer partners or even speaking with one another. They are both back in the police station being interviewed at separate times to reflect on the case that is covered throughout this episode.  Martin makes some comment towards the fact that over seven years people change and things happen, but we are still in the dark about the reasons for their apparent falling out.  In the future scenes, Martin seems to still have his act together and possibly have some type of a job with the police seeing as he is in a suit and tie.  Rust, on the other hand, has seemed to let himself go; sporting long and messy hair, a mustache, and is still ripping through cigs while starting his drinking at noon.  This leaves viewers with so many questions about their relationship and time on the force, those “how did we get here?” type questions, but the big question, which even the two present day detectives ask their interviewers is, why is this important? What does it relate to?

In the shows closing moments, Rust questions why he was called in and we are shown a case file featuring a picture of a woman suspended from a bridge, naked, with the same symbols and deer antler crown as the body found in the past.  The two current officers say they are trying to figure out how this happened if Rust and Martin caught and locked this guy up so long ago.  And as if this premiere episode weren’t amazing already, McConaughey drives it home with the deliverance of one final line, “start asking the right fucking questions.” and we fade out to the burning drag he takes from his cigarette.

This first episode was really phenomenal and just feels like a show that has been missing from my life.  It’s dark, edgy, thrilling, and thought provoking which is pretty much everything I could want in a crime show.  I love the mystery to Rust’s character and felt like he was this badass southern rogue version of Sherlock that I want to see more of.  Both McConaughey and Harrelson killed it and I can’t wait for the second episode! I definitely recommend watching True Detective as soon as possible because it has already caught my attention and will hopefully only get better and become one of 2014’s best shows.

What did you think of the show? How do you think it looks going forward? Leave your thoughts and comments below!

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  1. #1 by JustMeMike on January 14, 2014 - 10:00 pm

    Looking forward to future comments from you.

    Actually they are being interviewed 17 years after they drove out to that field on the original case.
    They worked together for seven years, and haven’t talked in 10.

    But whether it is 10 years or 17 we are still intrigued by the fact that right now – we have no idea about how the first case was solved, or how and why the detectives fell out. And even less about the new case.

    JMM

    PS – I watched the GG’s too, in their entirety. But right afterwards, at 11:00 PM, HBO rebroadcast the True Detective. Keep this in mind if you have future commitments on Sunday.

    • #2 by Blaise on January 14, 2014 - 10:06 pm

      Thanks for the comment! Also thanks for the corrections! I knew I was off with those, I just remembered hearing they solved it in ’95 but didn’t catch whether it was supposed to be the current year or a little behind. I really enjoy the double time periods though and how they are two different cases but related, adding more mystery. This is the first show I have watched in awhile that has had me hooked in the opening 5 minutes or so. It really helps having a great duo like McConaughey and Harrelson. I’m excited to see where the show goes!

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