I’m a skeptic when it comes to even the best TV shows; they all seem to possess this reflex manufacture of forced sub-plots and useless information merely to stretch a simple idea in to a multiple season behemoth; irking me to no end. Sure a lot more detail can be presented this way, but what’s on display usually sings more to the tune of consumerism than quality. True Detective has broken that mold for me; it is the only show I will make an effort to own i.e. the only one I’d love to revisit.
Most of my admiration stems from the fact that I’m generally drawn to a well-crafted crime-investigation story that interweaves an environment highlighting how messed up our world is; David Fincher is a master of those. This is such a focused production, possibly because the creators knew from the outset that the lead actors will not be returning for future seasons. As a result, the makers seem to have added layers of this literary quality to the leads rather than unnecessarily elongating the narrative they are a part of.
The fact that this is a methodical detective tale that focuses on the characters rather than a jaw-dropping twist harkens back memories of David Fincher’s Zodiac. But this product is its own beast. Top notch- production value, grim settings, and a meticulously constructed background score makes this a shining example of greatness few movies would struggle to match let alone the TV binging universe. A technical highlight in the production is an excellent continuous shot of a shootout/escape (end of episode 4) that is among the best in the business.
The two leads charismatically carry this episodic crime-procedural on their shoulders aided by some of the best writing to grace the small-screen. They form a darkly resonating duo that hates each other’s guts, making them engaging to follow. So much so, that the mystery of the plot steps aside to the closure of their individual arcs. I was captivated by Matthew McConaughey’s acting & character again following the greatness he displayed in Dallas Buyer’s Club. His work here is equal if not better than that in my opinion; playing a wreck of a man who is infinitely alluring. The supporting cast is also impressive; Michelle Monaghan stands out in that department as a headstrong woman who braves the elements rather than taking it on the chin.
Overall, True Detective is expertly put together and unashamedly accepts its singular focus and presents two excellent leads; one at the height of his art. This is essentially an 8 hour movie full of nuance & reflective qualities of the highest order.