True Detective : Season 1

  • Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 12, 2014
Season #: 1, 2
User Score
9.2

Universal acclaim- based on 1451 Ratings

User score distribution:

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  1. Jun 5, 2014
    6
    The rather banal hunt for a particularly deranged serial killer is not what drives this series, which is basically a character study of the two cops investigating the case and the development of their relationship during 17 years.

    "Character study" can be the kiss of death in a cop story, but here we have two interesting personalities. Especially Rust Cohle, the character played by
    The rather banal hunt for a particularly deranged serial killer is not what drives this series, which is basically a character study of the two cops investigating the case and the development of their relationship during 17 years.

    "Character study" can be the kiss of death in a cop story, but here we have two interesting personalities. Especially Rust Cohle, the character played by McConaughey. Cohle is a pessimist cop with a nihilist approach to life. He thinks that most of humankind is trash, an idea probably shared by most cops, but he is extremely clever and articulated in expressing his opinions. He speaks in an annoyingly low, flat monotone, uttering long and complex sentences that exasperate his colleague Marty Hart, played by Harrelson.

    Sadly enough, Cohle may have a good point. However, his wisdom, fundamental decency and dedication to his work do not bring him any satisfaction. Despite understanding well the flaws of humankind, Cohle is leading a depressing life, like the people he despises.

    Hart is a more conventional character, but his "normality" plays well against Cohle weirdness. It is ironic how Cohle and Hart coming from different places at the beginning of their collaboration are shown as living in the exact same way at the end: lonely and alone.

    Unfortunately quite a few things do not work in the show. Among which, the need to explain Cohle nihilism with a personal tragedy, as if his misanthropic nature needed to be rationalised. Then, almost all the women in the story are whores, stupid and needy. Several young and extremely hot girls throw themselves at Hart, which is weird since he is not that attractive. Many others are for sale or would be, if not too old for business. Even Hart wife, played by Monaghan in the only female role of minimal substance, seems able to use only her sexuality to prove some sort of point.

    Finally, the monotone used by McConaughey, although effective to prove the emotional flat-line of his character, is extremely annoying and almost inaudible. Effective in the first episode, by the time I reached the last I could not stand it anymore.

    Eventually, this is a show where men use their brains and end up as heroes and women use their sexuality and end up – as usual – as victims.
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  2. Mar 11, 2014
    4
    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, andAfter 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
  3. Mar 23, 2014
    6
    First off, this is more of a character study than a police procedural. The thru line is the relationship between the two leads. The serial killer hunt is more of a sub-plot. So, you have lots of dialogue and personal drama going on. When there is some action (Ep 3 or 4) you can see what this show might have been. The ending is trite and more of a "we have to wrap this up somehow"First off, this is more of a character study than a police procedural. The thru line is the relationship between the two leads. The serial killer hunt is more of a sub-plot. So, you have lots of dialogue and personal drama going on. When there is some action (Ep 3 or 4) you can see what this show might have been. The ending is trite and more of a "we have to wrap this up somehow" resolution. Is it worth watching? Sure, just keep in mind what to expect. Expand
  4. Jun 20, 2014
    4
    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.
  5. Apr 9, 2014
    5
    A brilliant show has to have a decent (season) ending. For me that was unfortunately not the case. So instead of 8 Points I give it just 5. A wonderful meal is just not superbe with an awkward aftertaste. So what´s the aftertaste? A very foreseeable ending. The bad guy appearing behind the detective and attacking him on his own turf and then being shot. And how did Woody Harrelson get soA brilliant show has to have a decent (season) ending. For me that was unfortunately not the case. So instead of 8 Points I give it just 5. A wonderful meal is just not superbe with an awkward aftertaste. So what´s the aftertaste? A very foreseeable ending. The bad guy appearing behind the detective and attacking him on his own turf and then being shot. And how did Woody Harrelson get so fast within that maze to the same spots as McConaughey? What a coincidence. Expand
  6. Feb 24, 2014
    4
    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 charactersI 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
  7. Feb 21, 2014
    5
    The acting is superb, visually it’s stunning and atmospheric, and storyline is ok. What I think lets its down is the depiction of women. They are cast as the prostitute, nagging wife, sexually available needy mistress, weak desperate confidential informants and feckless and irresponsible mothers. Even the female victim was bound, naked, mutilated and an abused sex worker. It is alsoThe acting is superb, visually it’s stunning and atmospheric, and storyline is ok. What I think lets its down is the depiction of women. They are cast as the prostitute, nagging wife, sexually available needy mistress, weak desperate confidential informants and feckless and irresponsible mothers. Even the female victim was bound, naked, mutilated and an abused sex worker. It is also gender skewed on men with the cock fighting in the squad room, moody, selfish, gratuitous behavior. Only Matthew Mc character balances the two extremes and I would say he holds the series together. I feel it may be better with one lead detective (Matthew Mc) working through his angst and more focus on the storyline. I think its trying to be Nordic Noir with a commercial interface Expand
  8. Jan 20, 2014
    5
    It's absolutely all there: great performances by leads and supporting actors. Terrific directing. Incredible photography. Producers, writers, and the director should be congratulated. And yet...sometimes, no often, with certain television series especially on HBO, one can feel that it just isn't OK to express doubts. Like Treme' this is so intelligent, so grown up. How can it NOT beIt's absolutely all there: great performances by leads and supporting actors. Terrific directing. Incredible photography. Producers, writers, and the director should be congratulated. And yet...sometimes, no often, with certain television series especially on HBO, one can feel that it just isn't OK to express doubts. Like Treme' this is so intelligent, so grown up. How can it NOT be entertaining? How can it NOT be great? Indeed, most of the critics will tell you it IS great. Maybe I will be sorry later for writing this, but, this is a beautifully executed, atmospheric, serial killer story, too heavily influenced by Henning Menkell's work (without saying so) but without Wallander at its center. And that's what it is, a story about ritual serial killing and two cops playing the Wallender role. It does not make me love it or even care about its protagonists. I will keep watching because it is so intelligent but never look forward to it..oh and one slightly spoiler snark: the cops drive out to a burned out church in the middle of nowhere and there is the iconography of the killer and it is supposed to be what, a moment of insight? a thrilling but terrifying reveal? I lack the rhetorical power to say what happened there but I think, just maybe, at its simplest, it was unoriginal. Expand
  9. Feb 24, 2014
    4
    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 minuteHave 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
  10. Jan 27, 2014
    5
    Great potential to be a winner. McCon's acting is fantastic, his paralytic pain, and detachment. My rating would be a lot higher if the show didn't shove male masturbatory material in my face. As the mom says to her daughter in ep 3, "It's ugly. It makes something that should be nice ugly." Well, the story is not a pretty one, I concede, however the female characters could have more depthGreat potential to be a winner. McCon's acting is fantastic, his paralytic pain, and detachment. My rating would be a lot higher if the show didn't shove male masturbatory material in my face. As the mom says to her daughter in ep 3, "It's ugly. It makes something that should be nice ugly." Well, the story is not a pretty one, I concede, however the female characters could have more depth and dimension than the same old, sexually available (ass in face), dead and naked, happy hooker and nagging wife. Spread legs and shots of female body parts, even in opening credit sequence, are what hinders my experience of the show. What a shame. Expand
  11. Jan 24, 2014
    4
    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
    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".
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  12. Feb 27, 2014
    5
    This show has received such good reviews but I don't understand why. It has great actors and their performances are very good. The writing though is just OK, I feel the show is very slow and takes a long time to develop into something worth watching. So far I kind of have to force myself to watch the show, its not terrible it is good, just very slow, not nearly as interesting as Banshee orThis show has received such good reviews but I don't understand why. It has great actors and their performances are very good. The writing though is just OK, I feel the show is very slow and takes a long time to develop into something worth watching. So far I kind of have to force myself to watch the show, its not terrible it is good, just very slow, not nearly as interesting as Banshee or Black Sails as some examples. I think the show will turn into a great show very soon though. Expand
  13. Mar 13, 2014
    6
    I literally just finished watching the final episode about 20 minutes ago, and the first thing I want to say is this show is pretty slow, and the two main characters are both quite unlikeable. Through the whole thing, I was expecting to see a real evolution in the characters worse traits, but Cohle stuck to the "quite crazy guy" trope and Marty stuck to the "big brutish family man" trope.I literally just finished watching the final episode about 20 minutes ago, and the first thing I want to say is this show is pretty slow, and the two main characters are both quite unlikeable. Through the whole thing, I was expecting to see a real evolution in the characters worse traits, but Cohle stuck to the "quite crazy guy" trope and Marty stuck to the "big brutish family man" trope. Maybe I've just heard too much about this show before I got into it, about it's cults and the powerful story arc, how realistic it's characters are, but ultimately I felt underwhelmed by where they took this story. One thing this show *really* does well, however, is the technical side of things. I'd say the top moment for me was the end of episode 4 (season 1, for all you future-dwellers), and people who are on the fence about watching this show should at least get to that point before judging it. This probably isn't for me, but who knows, maybe I just need time to dwell on it to really understand the "greatness" of this show, and catch the second season next year if it comes out. Expand
  14. Dec 9, 2014
    5
    If you like your dialogue plagiarized from Thomas Ligotti and others this is the show for you. Also if you like woman being depicted as only whores and prostitutes and serve no purpose beyond gratuitous HBO nudity and being victims you will also like this show.
  15. Jul 14, 2015
    4
    Doesn't feel like an HBO show. They've missed the mark. I could see this as a CBS drama with it's ridiculous plot lines and forced seriousness.

    Colin Farrell is the most redeeming part of the show and he just plays the old washed out detective trope. It's likely the worst HBO show I've actually taken the time to watch. A poor mans follow up to an excellent show.
Metascore
87

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
    100
    The drama is quite riveting.
  2. Reviewed by: Emily Nussbaum
    Mar 27, 2014
    30
    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
    100
    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."