True Detective brought real-life good friends and movie stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson to the world of television.
That was an accomplishment in and of itself.
But the opening episode of this HBO drama also featured a mesmerizing story, incredible scenery and two sterling performances, enough to have us hooked on the series and equal parts scared and excited to find out what happens next.
The plot centers on a grisly murder by an apparent serial killer, someone into some messed up concept of religion and placing antlers in the naked corpses of his victims.
McConaughey is simply incredible as Rust Cohle, a pessimistic (or a realistic, as he would say) homicide detective new to Louisiana, whose demeanor and view on life frightens his partner, Harrelson's Martin Hart.
Martin considers himself a straight-shooting, hard-working family man... but there's clearly some darkness at play within him and it's easy to see how the two are more similar than they initially appear.
Only Cohle has accepted his demons, while Hart is in denial that he possesses any.
The action doesn't move quickly, but it does skip from 1995 to the present, where Cohle and Hart are being questioned by two younger law enforcement officials because it appears as though there supposedly solved crime from back in the day is somehow relevant once again.
McConaughey is brilliant in these scenes, having essentially giving up on life, while Hart remains a bit more confident and sure of himself. Although time has clearly taken a toll on him as well.
The series is dark, there's no doubt about that. It's gloomy and sort of depressing, but there's some humor to be found in the exchanges between partners, in how irritated Martin gets by Rust's entire personality.
With Hannibal and The Following already on the air, some viewers may not see a reason to tune in for another serial killer-based drama, but the True Detective premiere gives you two very good reasons:
- Matthew McConaughey
- Woody Harrelson
Watch True Detective online now in case you missed the opener and then give it a grade: