• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 12, 2014
  • Season #: 1
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 1002 Ratings

User score distribution:

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  1. JJJ
    Feb 27, 2014
    Could be a good show; unfortunately it pitifully degrades the subject matter by hacking better writers and taking itself way too seriously. The women (including a dead woman) are propped around as decor and are solely defined by what they do with their 'girl parts'. People think that makes the show 'deep', 'dark' ,' grim' and profound. Nothing profound or fun about male brutality and female victimization except writer and director indulged a little too much in their own porn, fetish and power fantasies. Expand
  2. Jan 19, 2014
    Louisiana, two dysfunctional cops, a fiendish killer, a psychobabble script….may I suggest that James Lee Burke get a screen credit and a fat royalty. Speaking of credits, I’m certain there is a production designer, but you can’t tell from watching. Of course there is a scriptwriter, but unfortunately, the script is as poorly constructed as the wigs that serve as visual time machines, and the dialogue between Cohle and Hart is so poorly conceived it is painful to hear. I know that I am swimming against the tide of public opinion, but unless this series gets infinitely better, I think you will find that the tide will turn and my review will be the first of many that will suggest that you meet your need for entertainment elsewhere. For example, if you are looking for a good mystery, set in Louisiana, featuring two dysfunctional cops, read a James Lee Burke novel. Expand
  3. Feb 24, 2014
    I wanted to like this show, but as the episodes went on I became extremely disappointed. There is nothing particularly original about it. Two macho detectives who drink and have sex with women are on the hunt for a serial killer with weird fetishes. That's it. Besides the two main characters, everyone else are film noir clichés. Moreover, the women in the show are paper-thin characters who are mainly there for the obligatory boob shot. The pacing of the show is a problem as well. I don't mind slow-moving story lines, but True Detective really pushes it. I guess I will be one of those few people who will go to my grave trying to understand why this show is getting high praises. Expand
  4. Jan 19, 2014
    Incredibly slow moving and sullen, dark...very depressing. Lots of drinking by the detectives, makes you wonder how they function to solve this crime. Good acting but the story doesn't move fast enough for me.
  5. Feb 17, 2014
    It kills me to write a mixed review, given how rare it is to find such a well-written show anywhere on television. The acting is superb, and everyone's rightly praising Matthew McConaughey (though I get so distracted by his reliance on puffing away on cigarettes - I'd love to see him do the role without them.) Woody Harrelson is every bit as good, in a less 'dramatic", less darkly philosophical role. Which brings me to my two problems. One: It takes itself way too seriously. Never mind plot points that are completely ludicrous, which we're not supposed to question because this is SERIOUS. Look, even Shakespeare's tragedies were leavened with a dash of humor now & then! Second: If I were a woman, I'd be horrified by how women are portrayed here. I've kept on watching, but that first episode couldn't get enough of those grotesque shots of a desecrated dead woman from behind .... And what about the ones who aren't dead? Hysterics, nags and hookers. Someone else here said HBO needs some female feedback. I'll second that. Expand
  6. Feb 27, 2014
    After seeing all the positive raves for this Twin-Peaks-meets-True-Blood clunker, I start to understand why TV gets away with being as bad as it is. Come on people, there isn't anything here that isn't both pretentious in its take-the-time-to-appreciate-my-brilliance pacing and cliched in its every creaking suth'n gumbo plot and dialogue. Isn't there some National Association for the Advancement of Swamp Folk that can sue this thing off the air? I used to be a huge Matthew McConaghy fan, but 59 ways to product-place a friggin cigarette does not a characterization make. I gave it two episodes to see if the pilot was just a stumble out of the gate, but it seems to be tapering off. Enough already. Expand
  7. Feb 12, 2014
    i know i have good taste in TV shows. i loved Breaking Bad, The Wire, Homicide: Life on the Streets, E.R., The Sopranos, The Cosby Show, Cheers, All In The Family, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Perry Mason, I Love Lucy -- so i know good TV when i see it -- right now i'm really having a hard time reconciling these reviews. this show freaking drags and i don't see the ill chemistry between Woody and Matthew everyone is talking about. i just don't get the hype. Expand
  8. Jan 24, 2014
    In a word: riveting - like a rivet straight into my forehead. I gave this a "4" because of the visual imagery and the acting.
    But ... wow is it slow. I suspect some 90 year olds on walkers go faster than this piece of crap storyline.
    For example, the most substance so far in the script is the tacit substance abuse of the McConneghy detective.
    To be fair, its visual appeal and to a large
    extent, the acting, is very impressive.
    And it starts out interesting enough, but about halfway through the second episode I had to ask myself things like: "Do I care?" and "Why are they spending so much time on... NOT THE MURDER."

    So if you want to watch something visually appealing, but completely intellectually vapid and focused almost exclusively on the lives of people who just incidentally happen to be detectives, then this might be great to watch!

    For me, unless it starts actually spending some time on the murder (or murders) in the next episode or two- instead of the banal lifestyles of the two main detectives- I'd have to conclude that this is not anything more than a very boring drama, with a bit of drinking and sex to keep it only slightly interesting.
    I just cannot fathom how people can hail this show about "6".
  9. Jan 25, 2014
    Slow as a slug this show. I can't believe all these good reviews? What am I missing? I get set up the first for the first few episodes but unless this makes a drastic turn by bye bye!!! Cast means nothing without good writing and plot line. I am so lost with these 2 characters. Their back and forth banter does nothing for me. I'd rather watch paint dry.
  10. Feb 24, 2014
    Have been fans of Matthew and Woody for years, so was very excited about this series. After four episodes, I have decided to move on to another series for my weekly entertainment, and it pains me to do this. I don't get the high reviews and all the "amazing" ratings for this show. It is so slow, and after an hour episode, I don't feel excited about the next show. I mean, a ten minute diatribe about the fourth dimension and round flat circles? It just hasn't grabbed me. I finished last night's show and thought "I gave it my best shot - I really want to like it - but I don't - so I am moving on". Expand
  11. Mar 11, 2014
    Why is this show so popular? Who are the people giving it positive reviews?! Are they the people who watch Fox News? This is the first time I was sooo disappointed with a show that I just have to create an account to rate this.
  12. Mar 10, 2014
    This was pure dreck. Were they adlibbing the dialogue? No character development. A plot without focus. An ending that defied any logic. More holes in the story than can be sorted and explained. The final episode was so ridiculous that I laughed through most of it, "Slingblade" meets "Close Encounters" meets "Texas Chainsaw Massacre'....... Thank heavens it is over. More psychobabble would leave me in a catatonic state. One star for some very good music, the rest is just crappola. Expand
  13. Mar 10, 2014
    Too much talk and not enough..... ACTION....It lacked depth and detail about the killer himself.
    I was left waiting for something big to happen and was left hanging... Not DARK enough for all the TALK leading up to search for this Inbred Psycho.
    Just wasted 2 months of my time... I expected soooo much more!
  14. Jul 19, 2014
    Having seen the entire series twice, I am obliged to give it a low score to balance out the obnoxious super-fans.

    Good: some of the acting, the shooting/editing, the design, the opening song and credits. The show is stylish and addictive.

    Bad: when the writing is bad, it's terrible. Like F terrible. Some of the writing is off in a line or a moment, and some of the bad writing
    pervades the show. It reminds me of "The Killing" in this regard, and the showrunner on True Detective was a staff writer on The Killing. Expand
  15. Mar 16, 2014
    I have edited my previous review to make it shorter.
    The series lacked substance and was full of talking and unnecessary cinematography which went on for far too long. There was no real feeling of suspense or intrigue. The series attempted to be deep and meaningful with metaphorical and unrealistic dialogue, but instead lacked a sense of direction and focused solely on the uninteresting
    and unlikeable characters, their personal lives and companionship. Expand
  16. Mar 21, 2014
    Curious about my 3 out of 10 rating? No, its not a joke, read on.

    There are so many things wrong with True Detective as a tv drama. Let's begin with raising some important questions that define a show. Who are the characters? True Detective has unique, original characters that are well defined, interesting and well-developed. Are those characters likeable? No. No they are not. Matthew
    McCaughnahey plays an anti-social introverted, depressed anarchistic rogue of a detective who is painted to be brilliant at what he does. But he never does anything ... that anyone else with a badge couldn't do. And listening to his crazy ramblings about how people suck, and why everyone sucks, is amusing at first, but serves no point and gets old really quick. Woody Harrolson plays a more normal, cheerful detective. Who we soon discover is cheating on his wife, treats her poorly, has a big ego and looks down on others. Now I understand that not all characters have to be saints, and likeable in every way, but these two are the main characters, the protagonists of a weekly series. If you can't understand why they do things, and support and get behind them, then what can you do?

    Next question. Why do we care? Well, True Detective is a short series about these two detectives solving one case. It jumps back and forth between the past and the present, as they had thought they solved the case, but maybe they got it wrong. Is this interesting? Well, it could be, but its not, and it's really quite pointless. Now, if you're going to have an entire series dedicated to solving one case -- shouldn't that case at least be interesting? Yes it should, and is it? Well, parts of it are -- the art director does a good job with the Hannibal-like crime scenes, unlike hannibal, where we get to see the minds of the killers, and delve into their delusions and philosophys and learn what makes them tick. We don't learn anything about this killer. Why does he do it? All we're given is the murder scenes, and they aren't so original that they make us want to see more of them. By the end of the series we do learn the killers movie. Spoiler, his motive is that he's a crazy killer. Dissapointing? Yes, I think so. If you're going to go through the trouble of artistic, satanic ritual killings, shouldn't you at least have a motive for doing so? Yes... you should. So now we are devoting an entire show about 2 detectives whom we dont like, solving a boring case by a killer with no purpose.

    Next Question. Is it exciting? No. Actually, its quite the opposite. a 60 minute series airing with no commercials, True Detective has all the non-stop suspenseful action of a Bus Stop in the Grand Canyon, during the winter. It moves at SNAIL pace... and NOTHING happens... and when something does happen, ITS NOT INTERESTING. You can fast forward through McCaughnahey's rambles, and Harrolson's extramarital discressions, and what are you left with? A weak show, with no action, and no intelligence to support its strong cast and well-written script.

    I don't recommend this show, to anyone.

    Who am I? Why should you listen to what I have to say?
    Well, I have been watching TV dramas since 1998, and have thus far seen
    188 dramas from start to finish. Over 10,000 hours of TV. Including shows from other countries.
    I've seen more TV, likely, than anyone you know, and anyone they know. So I may just be some guy, but I'm not speaking from my ass with this review. I do know what I'm talking about. And I DONT LIKE TRUE DETECTIVE. And Niether should you. Watch Hannibal instead.
  17. Mar 11, 2014
    After being fascinated by 6.5 episodes (it was clear something was wrong by the middle of the 7th), I was very disappointed in the 8th and final one. All that suspense lacked a coherent third act. I'm not going to quibble about what threads in the elaborate plot went anywhere -- few paid off. The finale was lacking even on its own terms: It was badly paced, haphazardly plotted, and sloppily scripted. Ignore the hype, set expectations low and enjoy the first 6.5 episodes. Expand
  18. Jun 11, 2014
    Absolutely dreadful: pretentious, preachy, faux-knowledgeable, trite, dumb.
    Everything that Fargo is not.
    Amazing that two outstanding actors could be talked into delivering some of the most cringeworthy monologues in the recent history of television.
  19. Mar 20, 2014
    una de las peores series del mundo el que escribio esto nisiquiera vio la ley y el orden monk sci nsci algo por dios es malisima!!!!!!!!! esta serie y ray donovan deberian ser prendidas fuego por que? porque el que escribio esta basura ni siquiera vio una serie ni busco ni nada solo hiso algo comercial y me parece que se nota que no sabe nada los tiempos para que es the office la series esa de mierda un asco!!!!!!!!!!!! Expand
  20. Mar 29, 2014
    The amount of positive reviews for this clunker is staggering. What am I missing here? I get it. McConaughey. Harrelson. Those guys can flat out ACT. But when I'm forced to watch them play out the most arduous script I've ever heard, time to move on. Seriously, every episode is constructed around a diatribe containing exhausting amounts of gravitas and psychobabble. This show takes itself way too seriously. The pacing is annoyingly slow to the point of feeling like it's a chore to get through the first few episodes. The plot is wayward and gets sidetracked by even weaker subplots before ever really establishing ITSELF! No direction. I especially love the lack of character development beyond these two. After half of the first season, I knew nothing of the victim or the killer and moreover, didn't care! I also enjoyed how the director helped me out by slapping a wig on the actors to show me that time had elapsed or jumped back. Thanks! This show is ASININE! Expand
  21. Jun 20, 2014
    I had high hopes for this, but in the end it failed.......big time. Too Weird and Unbelievable......and Too Bad. Have no desire to watch a second season.
  22. Mar 18, 2014
    This may earn me a bad reputation on here, which it shouldn't, but be that as it may someone has to say this: Although I've sat through the entire season, I still can't get over how laughably sexist the show is. The women of True Detective get three options: You're the extension of the man ("my family" "my wife/ex" "my children"), you're a stripper/prostitute/home-wrecker (for men), or you're dead (because of a man). Well, I suppose if you're lucky you're a really weird backcountry hick or extra or something. I'd really like to see some strong, stand alone females brought to this show. It's entertaining, which earns it a 2, but if True Detective ever hopes to reach Breaking Bad status, it may help to stop alienating your female audience and introduce some more complex female characters. Expand
  23. Aug 18, 2014
    While McConaughey and Harrelson do the best they can with this awful script, they can't save this show all by themselves. I found this show so boring and pointless that I couldn't finish the series. The characters are are unlikable and not terribly interesting (Harrelson is basically an **** and McConaughey is just ridiculous), and the supporting characters are pretty much cardboard cutouts of supposedly real people. The women exist merely as props or bouncing **** and ass, and after a few episodes it was really hard to care what was going on. Don't bother with a second season, because I can't imagine anyone could possibly still be awake after watching the first season. Expand

Universal acclaim - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Jeff Korbelik
    Mar 27, 2014
    The drama is quite riveting.
  2. Reviewed by: Emily Nussbaum
    Mar 27, 2014
    Whatever the length of the show’s much admired tracking shot (six minutes, uncut!), it feels less hardboiled than softheaded. Which might be O.K. if True Detective were dumb fun, but, good God, it’s not: it’s got so much gravitas it could run for President.
  3. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Feb 20, 2014
    HBO's program is not just an actor's showcase for two greats. It is dense, complex, rewarding storytelling, heightened by a sense of location from its writer and director that is mesmerizing and a character-driven storytelling aesthetic that brings to mind great films like David Fincher's "Zodiac" and Bong Joon-ho's "Memories of Murder."