True Detective

Y’all know I try to stick to the books, right? Of course, every now and then I get hooked on a television show. I have my personal favorites like Californication, Justified, Grimm (guilty pleasure) and The Wire, which I seem to watch over again at least every two years. On the flight home from Istanbul, about an hour and half before landing in Houston I tuned into HBO’s first episode of True Detective. I only got half of the first episode because we were beginning our initial descent, but I was hooked.

Yesterday afternoon at about 530 pm I completed the first season.

I needed close to 24 hours to process what I witnessed. I will not give anything away. You must watch this show. Period.


Although I won’t say anything about the plot, the character development of the show most reminds me of Dostoevskii’s greatest novel, “Crime and Punishment” in its ferocious darkness. Obsessively shining a light where none ever need be shone.

Преступление и наказание (Crime and Punishment) was simply relentless. The point wasn’t the plot, because in the the end we all know Raskolnikov killed the old lady. The point was Raskolnikov’s soul and its consummate exploration. This is what True Detective did. And with eight episodes it had the rare luxury to explore the souls of two male leads.

I have no doubt that the first season or series of True Detective will go down as the best television series ever made. It’s better than House of Cards, Breaking Bad, Deadwood, Mad Men, Justified, Game of Thrones, Rome, The Wire, The Sopranos, Californication, Homeland, and Dexter plus anything else you care to throw at the TV Guide, combined. The acting is impossible to describe and it’s impossible to say in the end who does a better job: Woody Harrelson or Matthew McConaughey. The psychic distance alone each actor has grown is testament in itself. Consider, Woody Harrelson began acting as the doofus barback in Cheers. Matthew McConaughey was the pretty boy for about twenty rom-coms in the 1990s-into the early aughts.

If they gave an Oscar for TV they would have to share it. Affecting and moving acting by both men.

And Michelle Monaghan is the emotional anchor of the entire series and for both men: talk about unsung acting jobs. Wow. Her’s was not a star’s role, but she made it one: complete and centered, the equal of both men.

The show is that good and that dark and that awful and that powerful and that mesmerizing and that uncontrollably shudder inducing. And more.

In fact, you are doing yourself a disservice if you do not watch it.