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Review: HBO's 'True Detective'

HBO's Latest Drama Series Premieres Jan. 12 at 10 p.m. 1/12/2014 3:04 PM Eastern

 

HBO has put together an all-star cast for what it hopes is its next big hit original dra­ma series, True Detective.

The series centers on a 1995 ritual murder in­vestigated by Louisiana State Police detectives and partners Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson). When the homi­cide case is reopened 17 years later, the two detec­tives — no longer partners in the present day — are asked to revisit the details of the grisly crime, in which a woman is found bound and naked with rit­ual items found around her body and attached to it.

Details unfold as flashbacks, driven by separate current-day interrogations of Cohle and Hart by in­vestigators played by Michael Potts and Tory Kittles. It soon becomes clear there’s no love lost between the old colleagues. The aloof, cerebral and detail-oriented Cohle — nicknamed “tax man” by his an­tagonistic fellow detectives for his penchant for taking notes in a large ledger — and the more vola­tile Hart, who has a wife (Michelle Monaghan) and two young kids plus a mistress on the side, often bump heads in their approach to investigating the case. They do, however, develop a mutual respect for their respective skills.

The first few episodes of True Detective look to es­tablish the personalities and characters of the two lead detectives, with the case itself serving almost as a backdrop to the quickly deteriorating relationship between Cohle and Hart. It often devolves into a psychological study of how the two detectives even­tually end up in the vastly diverse situations that they find themselves in the present day, tending to slow down the pace.

Great performances from both McConaughey and Harrelson drive the first few episodes of True Detective, but the series will have to add more ac­tion and plot reveals quickly if the series is to keep viewers tuning in to the end.