• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 12, 2014
Season #: 1, 2
True Detective Image
Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 41 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.2

Universal acclaim- based on 1329 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: A 17-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana begins with Detectives Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) joining the search in this eight-episode anthology series.
  • Genre(s): Drama, Action & Adventure, Suspense
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: Robert Lloyd
    Jan 10, 2014
    100
    True Detective runs slow and steady without ever seeming to drag. Even minor characters get room to breathe, and seem independently alive; the briefest scenes seem to imply life beyond the frame.... The dance [Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson] do together here is work of a very high order, and all the reason you need to watch.
  3. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Jan 2, 2014
    100
    The acting--by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson--is off the charts. The writing and the concept, by series creator and novelist Nic Pizzolatto, undulates from effectively brash soliloquies to penetratingly nuanced moments carried by sparse prose. Lastly, director Cary Joji Fukunaga has created a beautiful, sprawling sense of place (the series is shot and set in Louisiana).
  4. Reviewed by: Sara Smith
    Jan 13, 2014
    100
    After True Detective, all the other TV cops hunting serial killers are going to look like copycats. It’s that the taut script and spot-on dialogue takes us on a ’90s noir roller coaster ride of Shakespearean tragedy with fearless literary aspirations, delivered by two actors at the top of their game.
  5. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Jan 10, 2014
    90
    The crime they're investigating often takes such a back seat to the show's tricky structure and the all-pervasive angst you may once again wonder what exactly HBO has against the notion of narrative urgency. But be patient with this slow-burner of a disturbing, demanding drama. These detectives are truly fascinating.
  6. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Jan 10, 2014
    80
    Happily, Harrelson and McConaughey play the characters well enough, and the script is crafted ingeniously enough, that we want to know where it all goes next--and don't focus on the likelihood it will be no place good.
  7. 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.

See all 41 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 22 out of 191
  1. Jan 13, 2014
    10
    Just another lover of "True Detective". Yes, it does remind me of several other detective/procedural series on TV but it is so much moreJust another lover of "True Detective". Yes, it does remind me of several other detective/procedural series on TV but it is so much more subtle, so much better acted. Harrelson and McConneghy are far from being among my favorite actors but on "True Detective", they simply show how it is done. Excellent! Expand
  2. Mar 16, 2014
    10
    Sometimes I will watch a tv show and from the beginning I will have to force myself to push through boring dialog. From the start of this showSometimes I will watch a tv show and from the beginning I will have to force myself to push through boring dialog. From the start of this show to the end I WAS GLUED! I wanted more and more and more. The characters were amazing the story was very clever and kept me thinking. I really hope if they continue with new detectives they sit down and think very hard about how they can top this. This is one of my favorite series thank you HBObasedgod Expand
  3. May 6, 2014
    10
    This review is directed towards Emily Nussbaum. These are my counterarguments; I realize she probably will never read this, I just had toThis review is directed towards Emily Nussbaum. These are my counterarguments; I realize she probably will never read this, I just had to respond.

    1. Her biggest problem of this show as that it represented two macho cops bending the rules and getting results. She see this as typical. I will love to know her reception of Claire in homeland, and the main character in Zero Dark thirty. Why is it when there are a character that is passionate and aggressive, he is considered macho but then it is a female it is considered heroic, or daring. I love homeland by the way, and Zero Dark Thirty was awesome. I enjoy great female characters, but it is really bothersome to see critics love strong female characters like Claire but view Rush and Marty as mucho. Obviously her review has had great influence because this type of talk is all over. Every male is not a claim, cool Saul from homeland; there are effective people like Rush and Marty, and these people are as interesting are females character like Claire. That Macho criticism is weak, and it needs stop.

    2. "Dorm talk," is what Nussbaum refers to Rush philosophically arguments and rants as. Obviously, this macho cop has nothing sustainable to say about how he views the world because he is just a macho hot head. Rush philosophy is representative of how many people feel about the world. Also, people engage in conversation of such in everyday life; it is not all about going to work and coming home for everyone in the world. It is interesting (sorry about so many Homeland references, but it is my favorite show) to see people like Carrie, who are almost robotic in their professional pursuits. Carrie rarely engage in political debate about the American government, and when she does, it is brief because Carrie knows who she is. Rush is still trying to sort through many philosophical problem himself, so to him he is not just "dorm talking," he is addressing issue in his life. Plus, Rush is the only person like that in the show, everybody else is earthly--the good and the bad. Nussbaum does not want to respect or even listen to Rush's philosophy because she does not respect the character, and judges him as a macho hothead.

    3. Nussbaum best argument is that the show is missing strong women characters. I would argue that Marty wife, as a character, makes more sense than the Hungarian Queen in Game of Thrones but that is an argument for another day. I accept Nussbaum's claim that there are know strong women characters in True Detective and I will go on to say, there are no strong supporting characters in True Detective at all. This not Game of thrones (which is a great show). True Detective spends more time on the two lead characters than any other show on TV, including Homeland season one. We know the other characters through Marty and Rush, and only through them. This is an intensive character study because we will never see these guys again, and the show is about their relationship, first and foremost. The Villain is not even a strong Character. To pull of a show like this, you need wonderful two wonderful actors, and strong character development, and you have it here. Yes, on a show like Game of Thrones, there are many people to keep track of and many ambitious minds to try to understand, but there are no two characters in Game of Thrones, or any other show this year that are more fun to track than Rush and Marty. This was the highlight of television in 2014 so far. Can't wait to see the end of Hannibal, Nashville, and the Americans.

    Lastly, Walter White can kill children, and people can cut heads and hands off but a naked human being is too racy, please stop with that criticism.
    Expand
  4. Mar 14, 2014
    10
    I loved this from start to finish. The writing is good throughout and has a lot of philosophical and emotional depth to it. There is also aI loved this from start to finish. The writing is good throughout and has a lot of philosophical and emotional depth to it. There is also a constant mass of things you`re not really told about as a viewer, forcing you to pay attention but also to think for yourself, for all the good it`ll do you. There is no clear bad guy to focus your antipathy toward, except in the last episode, and the protagonists are far from easy to sympathize with in their own right. And even at the end you are left unsatisfied because most of the really bad people were not caught, just the demon Harrelson and McConaughey had been trying to find for 17 years.
    Critics think this is True Detective taking itself seriously, when it`s really just an intelligent writer not trying to pretend the world is better than it is, and choosing not to joke it away. In the end this makes it not so much depressing as simply neutral, but with a lot of emotion in it regardless. It dares to not explain important things to its viewers, perhaps expecting them to be able to figure some stuff out by themselves, while it deals with enormous subjects almost effortlessly, as if it`s the most natural thing in the world.
    Which brings me to the acting, which is some of the best I have seen from both Harrelson and McConaughey. They both look and act as if they have utterly disappeared into their well written roles. The supporting cast is also good and along with the southern setting and atmospheric sound of the series it really does transport you as if it was a novel and not a television program. My only problem was that I had to turn the volume really high to be able to make out what McConaughey was saying a lot of the time, what with his throaty way of talking.

    I marvel at the criticism of "feminists" regarding the female characters, when it`s a show about two men, one a single alcoholic with at least a couple of serious personal issues, and the other middle aged and cheating on his wife. And in a show in which all the men are either alcoholics, adulterers, child murderers or religious hypocrites, how does this criticism even begin developing in tiny minds? Perhaps I should complain about how True Detective treats the male characters and if anything it would have been sexist to portray women in a good light next to all these despicable men. You notice that the deranged serial killer and all his friends were men. Perhaps they should have been rewritten as female characters instead. In fact basically every single murderer, serial killer, rapist, drug lord and evil person in every TV series and movie made over the last few decades have been men. I demand reparations!
    You don`t have to like the women in the True Detective but how else was the betrayed wife supposed to have behaved? And which woman should have been artificially introduced into the life of the other man who was single by his own choice? The other female characters were all either children, prostitutes or witnesses, and all looked about right for the part. And even if they didn`t, is there some law now that all men must love and respect all women and pretend they are perfect saints, no matter how they behave? And if there is why isn`t there a corresponding one saying that all women must love and respect all men, even if they are exposing themselves in the park or are wife beaters? This hypocrisy is just enough to make my head hurt. Anyway, if this law does exist allow me to break it immediately by voting ten.

    In reality of course, True Detective is not about men and certainly not about women. It is about good and evil, life and death and a broken man finding light at the end of a very very long tunnel. Call it presumptuous, but I liked it!
    Expand
  5. Feb 11, 2014
    9
    True Detective is a true "Two-For" We get the show and also a Tour de force performance by Matthew Mcconaughey. If the writers can restrainTrue Detective is a true "Two-For" We get the show and also a Tour de force performance by Matthew Mcconaughey. If the writers can restrain themselves from waisting time with the unnecessary i.e. children in the bathtub. This show will be the best TV effort ever. Expand
  6. Apr 7, 2014
    8
    To me, it's more style than substance. It has an awful lot of style though. The eight episodes flow seamlessly as a visual novel. TheTo me, it's more style than substance. It has an awful lot of style though. The eight episodes flow seamlessly as a visual novel. The direction captures an arresting portrait of the unique rural locale. Matthew McConaghey reminds us that he is not merely the guy who's always being photographed on a beach somewhere, he can act. And the masterstroke, perhaps, is the music by T-Bone Burnett, which will surely make a killer soundtrack album.

    The plot itself, though, is a somewhat meandering journey of the two detectives through a murder case, and their return to the case years later. The case involves some pulp horror elements (unlike most viewers, I had heard of the King in Yellow before watching the show), but ultimately, the show isn't really about the case, it's more about watching the two detectives' personal lives dragged through the muck. The show started slowly, and honestly it took me to the fifth episode before I really started looking forward to watching (i.e. halfway through). The show's occasional graphic elements can be quite strong, and sensitive viewers will want to steer clear.

    In the end, it's an entertaining piece and superb technical filmmaking, and given that it's supposed to be an anthology series, it'll be interesting to see where it goes next. It's not the best thing HBO has put out though, not by a long shot.
    Expand
  7. Aug 18, 2014
    0
    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 soWhile 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

See all 191 User Reviews

Related Articles

  1. The Best (and Worst) New TV Shows of 2014

    The Best (and Worst) New TV Shows of 2014 Image
    Published: December 23, 2014
    We reveal the year's best-reviewed first-year series, as well as 2014's top TV movies, miniseries, and specials.
  2. Best TV Shows of the 2013-14 Season

    Best TV Shows of the 2013-14 Season Image
    Published: July 22, 2014
    Our look back at the 2013-14 television season includes all of the year's award winners as well as the season's highest-scoring programs.
  3. 2014 Emmy Nominations

    2014 Emmy Nominations Image
    Published: July 10, 2014
    Get a complete guide to this year's Emmy nominations, including lists of nominees in every major category and reactions from TV critics to this year's snubs.
  4. Episode Review: True Detective Season 1 Finale

    Episode Review: True Detective Season 1 Finale Image
    Published: March 10, 2014
    Find out what critics are saying about last night's season finale of HBO's True Detective, "Form and Void."
  5. Midseason TV: A Guide to Winter's New and Returning Shows

    Midseason TV: A Guide to Winter's New and Returning Shows Image
    Published: January 2, 2014
    Browse our guide to the most notable shows debuting over the next few months, including promising newcomers like HBO's True Detective and returning favorites such as Justified, House of Cards, Sherlock, and The Americans.