HBO's True Detective: Will You Continue With the Investigation?

True Detective Series Premiere RecapTwo polar opposite detectives took on a disturbing murder case in the premiere of HBO True Detective (Sunday, 9/8c) – and in its first hour, the series set up a filing cabinet full of satellite mysteries. Are you planning to stick around to see them solved?

The drama uses dual timelines, one in present day and another in 1995, to introduce us to Louisiana CID detectives Rust (Dallas Buyers’ Club‘s Matthew McConaughey) and Marty (The Hunger Games’ Woody Harrelson). 1995 Marty is a straitlaced, Christian family man with a wife (played by Michelle Monaghan, Gone Baby Gone) and two young daughters.  1995 Rust is a divorced loner whose marriage ended soon after his daughter died. In the future, the men are quite different – Rust, especially. But more on that in a moment.

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In the ’90s, the partners are called to a murder scene, where they find a nude woman wearing a crown of antlers and thorns, Hannibal-style, and bent into a pose of supplication. Marty is disturbed by the tableau; Rust takes in all of the details with a careful, if dispassionate, eye. Though Marty mocks his partner for coming to the conclusion that the victim is a prostitute, Rust is later proven right: The woman in question’s name is Dora Lange, and no one can figure out why she was targeted.

As the episode unfolds, we get a greater sense that something’s really not OK with the nihilistic Rust circa the 1990s. He’s rangy and restless – he asks a prostitute for help securing drugs that will help him sleep – he has a tendency to drink to much and his nihilistic streak that “means I’m bad at parties,” he tells Marty. “Let me tell ya,” his partner responds in one of the dark episode’s few moments of levity, “you’re not great outside of parties, either.”

In the present, both men – interviewed separately – wonder why the police want them to talk about a case that’s nearly a decade old. Turns out, there’s been another murder similar to Dora’s.

“How could it be him if we already caught him in 95?” a long-haired, heavy drinking, smoking Rust wonders. “How indeed, detectives?”

The question is one of several that linger after the hour’s credits roll. What kind of falling out resulted in the distance between Rust and Marty? Why the sudden change in Rust’s look and demeanor? What happened to Rust’s little girl? And what does the disappearance of a local girl have to do with the ongoing murder investigation?

The characters are intriguing and the possibly Satanic crime creepy: Detective makes us want to tune in each week, if only to figure out what the heck is going on in Rust’s head.

We want to know what you think of True Detective. Grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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14 Comments
  1. Brendan says:

    Good… but not as good as shameless. So while I will continue to watch it, I won’t be watching it live.

  2. Aleana says:

    Amazing I’ll continue to watch it but going either dvr or watch on demand

  3. guabey says:

    Seriously worse than Shameless not true this shoe has intrigue suspense and a purpose (solve a mystery) shameless is a sad representation of people with vises tearing themselves and society apart……

  4. Kate Escobar says:

    I LOVED IT cuz it reminded me of Hannibal and I love both actors that are in this and while yes I will say it’s not “shock-inducing” or really…like mind-boggling it had a feel to it that I like and therefore I will keep watching. Live if I can. If not, live-streaming links are always out there. I haven’t seen Matthew in a show before so I want to see how he will do. So what if it’s not Shameless or whatever else people compare it to. It’s a new show and I didn’t come into it with a high, high, high expectation. I went in with curiosity and an open mind and goodness, it actually blew me away at parts. So here’s to a new show. Let’s see where it’ll take us.

  5. Patrick Maloney says:

    One of the best pilots that I’ve seen in a while! The cinematography and acting instantly got me engaged in the story.

  6. James D says:

    fantastic acting by McConaughey. once you got past the jibber-jabber and pontificating the script was very good. interesting mystery, nice cinematography. definitely looking forward to watching more.

  7. DavidSask says:

    Shameless and Showtime will always come first for me before HBO. The show has great actors and will follow to end but as said its never first priority!

  8. chocolatfrog says:

    A show with great acting is always a win for me. The only “annoying” bit for me is the 1995 feel, it look more like they are in the 70s than the 90s… there are some anachronous mistake but I’ll still watch the show.

  9. MLO says:

    Meh. The slow pace and MM sleepy drawl put me to sleep. Literally.

  10. Nsp1976 says:

    In the final interview scene with Rust, he says something sbout “carrying out the kids” and then I couldn’t decipher the rest. It was right after they found the stick sculpture in the shed. Anyone know what he was saying? I don’t want to miss a plot point. Thanks.

    • Tietherope says:

      I think it was something along the lines of “do you want to hear about when we carried out the kids?” and then the response was they will get to that.

  11. Janice Davis says:

    I like it. Woody and Matthew are great together. Need something to fill the void since Breaking Bad.

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