Thursday, June 11, 2015

True Detective (Season One): A Review

It's been a long time since I've watched a television series completely through for one entire season. I don't know if it's because I have a short attention span or I just get bored easily, but I know that what passes for television in this age is pretty boring. I enjoy the occasional movie, but TV has trouble capturing my interest. It might be because of all the advertising. I will say I have enjoyed episodes of the Big Bang Theory, mostly because early on it was very funny and the characters were very well written. I have known some brilliant science types in the past, and they were very much like the characters on Big Bang in many respects. To my mid-wit mind perspective, this is how I imagine the brilliant minds of our universities living, but I digress.

I've been on vacation this week and I got bored with pulling weeds in the garden. I do not do well in the heat in my advanced years and I wilted as quickly as the weeds I was pulling. I have come a long way from the days when I would run 10 miles in the 90 degree summer Iowa days, but again I digress.

Anyhow, in my boredom, I pulled up up Amazon Instant Videos on my tablet and perused the most recent offerings and found season one of True Detective. The synopsis looked good. The plot had possibilities. I was not excited about the cast, but it turns out they were good choices too. I was pulled in very tightly by the first episode and ended up renting all eight shows.

True Detective is a HBO offering of very high quality. The writing is excellent. The characters are well done and the plot is deeply mysterious and evil in that it speaks of a family cabal that combines the pursuit of political and religious power with the practice of the occult, human sacrifice and outright murder. The pace of the show seldom drags and managed to maintain my interest despite my easily distracted nature.

It's about two detectives with the Louisiana State Police that begin working together on a murder that has all the hallmarks of a cult killing and it proceeds from there. The story is told from the perspective of interviews involving the two detectives years after with the same State Police department. The way the story develops is fascinating. The police officers involved are very interesting characters that at first do not seem to belong together and one of them seems always to be on the border of lunacy himself.

Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey play the State Police detectives that work these related crimes in the Louisiana Byou and McConaughey is the loose shingle of the two. Harrelson is the more traditional career type cop which tends to create a personality clash that ultimately works to the advantage of the series and the ultimate resolution to the crimes. 

The show is not for the faint of heart. If you do not like salty language, gruesome crime scenes or occasional expressions of sexuality, this show may not be for you. If however, you enjoy realistic, well written, "it could really happen like this" television, then by all means, I would urge you to rent it. You will find yourself pulled in by the first episode and you will not be able to stop watching.   

There has been criticism of the show concerning alleged female stereotypes - "whores and put upon cop wives", but I think if you want reality, you have to cast aside feminist political correctness and see the under world and the life that homicide cops live in their true light.

True Detective does this. It will be interesting to see if season two lives up to season one. I understand that the cast is completely different and so is the director. There is hope though, since the writer remains the same.

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