True Detective – Season 1

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Released today on Blu-Ray and DVD from HBO is the first season of the stellar police thriller, True Detective. Created and completely written by Nic Pizzolatto and starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey with the entire 8 episode series directed by Cary Fukunaga this show is intelligent, dark, captivating and gritty.

Set in Louisiana, the series jumps back and forth through time, as two ex-cops, Marty Hart (Harrelson) and Rust Cohle (McConaughey) are brought in to rehash an old case, when a new murder seems to be committed with the same m.o.

The series doesn’t pull any punches, all of the characters, no matter their side of the blue line, are deeply flawed, and the actors playing them are at the top of their game.

There isn’t anything that doesn’t work in this series, and it is all there in gorgeous 1080p resolution in the HBO Blu-Ray. The cinematography, the imagery, the production design, the make-up (making our leads look younger or older depending on when the action takes place – its subtle and realistic).

As the case progresses, the tension between the two flawed detectives increases. Their lives and careers are torn apart by this strange and terrifying case.

The case itself is convoluted, and nowhere near as simple as anyone would hope for. Clues and leads are followed, over weeks, and years.

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The story isn’t rushed, but the tension continually builds. The initial crime scene we are introduced to is filled with cult imagery and iconography, it is unnerving and troubling, and both of the cops deal with it in different ways. Cohle is smart and cold, keeping everyone at a distance while Hart is passionate, angry and a philanderer.

As the case unwinds over the course of the series, suspicion slides over a number of likely suspects, even on to Cohle himself.

The pacing, the style, the look, are all amazing. The gorgeous aerial shots of Louisiana are stunningly captured, and perfectly compliment the story. The music created and overseen by legendary T Bone Burnett, is as much a character as the setting and the story. The entire series is perfectly crafted, no detail is left unconsidered, and the production on this show may be unparalleled.

I love the creative team behind this series, and loved that it didn’t change from episode to episode, Nic Pizzolatto wrote the entire series and Fukunaga directed each and every episode, between the two of them and the creative input of the stars, this show works as a giant 8 hour-long event. There are some stellar moments to watch for, including the seven minutes in hell sequence, that follows Rust for one long sustained take. Amazing.

Everyone raved about True Detective when it aired, and that raving is all well-founded. The series doesn’t talk down to its audience, and expects you to pay attention, any and every clue can be important.

The extras are what we’ve come to expect from HBO, there are looks inside the episodes, a couple of commentaries, as well as a nice collection of behind the scenes footage, and the Blu-Ray comes with a digital copy.

It will be interesting to see where Nic takes Season 2. Each season is designed to be a standalone story and case, with different characters filling each season, so despite the fact that McConaughey and Harrelson won’t be back, I’ll be interested to see what HBO does with it… I hear the locale is being changed from Louisiana to California…

True Detective Season 1 is available for purchase today!

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