True Detective: Season 1 – How HBO (Momentarily) Revived the Crime Drama

Crime shows pollute TV. Ever since the inception of the genre! They’re popular, but VERY formulaic with copy & paste storylines. However, there have been exceptions and one was HBO’s True Detective: Season 1.

To be clear, this is about True Detective: Season 1. Not lackluster Season 2, nor semi-redeemable Season 3. This is about Season Numero Uno. Originally conceived as a novel by writer/creator Nic Pizzolatto, the shifts in time and perspective made him rewrite it for TV as an anthology series (each season is a finite story). HBO picked it up and commissioned eight episodes with Pizzolatto writing every episode and Cary Joji Fukunaga directing every episode. It was cinematic interpretation of crime TV best described as weird horror crime historical fiction. In short, it was great.

Season 1 followed Louisiana State Police detectives Rustin Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson), who investigated a murder in 1995. Seventeen years later, they revisit the investigation and other unsolved crimes due to Hurricane Katrina having wiped out much of the records. Through this we learned about them, their lives and their demons, all the while engrossed in the mystery. Due to its auteur approach, the show had a singular, cohesive vision that avoided the pitfalls of a writing staff and musical chairs of directors. However, the real engine was Cohle and Hart, their dichotomy, relationship and discussions that explored life, death and crime.

The show premiered in January 2014, the thick of The McConaughaissance, and received acclaim from critics and viewers alike, especially for McConaughey. It was one of the best of the 2014 TV season and contended for Emmys (Outstanding Drama Series) and Golden Globes (Best Miniseries or TV Film). The following seasons haven’t been as acclaimed, but there will always be Season 1. Half a decade later it is still can’t-miss TV.

  • SOURCE: Making True Detective Show (HBO)
  • SERIES: HBO, True Detective
  • WHY YOU WILL LOVE IT: People love crime shows. And this may be the apex.

AUTHOR: Dan Nelsen
ORIGIN: Speaking Human Contributor

Follow Dan on Speaking Human  /  Human Content from Dan