True Detective-Review- first episode only -Sky Atlantic Channel

See Preview to True Detective

On first watching:

Ok i have seen the first episode  of True Detective and could watch the next. However, what can i tell you?  Other than it is dark. & Matthew McCoughnehey as his character is freaking me out. & i think i will leave that second episode for another time and write a review when i have seen it.  Right now watching it seems like it felt watching The Tunnel but a lot worse.  As in an unpleasant or onerous chore.

 Because i could take the mickey out of The Tunnel and there is no mickey taking to be had here.  Oh wait, Woody Harrelson does talk as if he as a mouth full of gobstoppers and his Southern persona is so developed i kept expecting him to spit some chewing tobacco any minute.  Actually that would have been a light relief.

Oh and there is a plethora of deer heads on office walls.  & Actors who obviously don’t smoke can’t seem to act like they do any more when their character does.

review of first episode

So I am not sure i want to keep watching True Detective.  It was the heaviness in your face depressing nature of it overall.  Possibly the effect was cumulative over the hour.  Perhaps it was watching it with no breaks.

Certainly for me the very last scene with that God awful photo was extreme. I felt besmirched by  seeing it.  In the same way as i felt in one of the early episodes of Ripper Street when we as the audience participated in variously: snuff film watching in slow and dreadful motion and auto asphyxiation-ditto.

yes, i know it is just a drama.  But you still see it and some of what you see as part of that drama is sick.  Yep, that’s the whole point granted. The murderer is sick.  But still, these images are hard core and i would certainly never have encountered them otherwise.  i surely wouldn’t have searched them out. Yet by the time you have (already) seen them it is too late. There is no warning of such experiences. it is almost run of the mill now in such officially dark dramas.

Set it down in Louisiana supposedly where supposedly there runs an undercurrent of dark doings down by the bayou and the damp, overgrown trailing multitudinous fronds from ancient trees will add atmosphere.  Santorini, ancient voodoo related rite and pagan mythical mystical beliefs must abound.  It’s pretty much historical see.

 Throw in some semi-literate unintelligible stereotypical hill-billies living out on the backwaters in sprawling shacks.  Who look and stare in answer and reply in short bursts and lapse into staring silence again.

But mostly it is Matthew McCoughnhey that is severely dreadful in his cataclysmic and electric screen presence that pervades.  He simply is horrifically frightening and insidiously, incrementally intense as a screen presence.  Seemingly only in his younger incarnation.

As described, this effect upon me was so realistic it was starting to bother me as i watched.  The experience of this staggering creation of the persona of Matthew McCoughnehey’s character i describe was incremental throughout the episode.

Possibly i was suffering from the Christian Bale effect based on American Psycho.  Such was the angular nature of Matthew McCoughnehey’s gaunt and granite stone face in far too many close-ups i found him somehow melting in similarity to the murderous character of that film.

They certainly, Matthew McCoughnehey and Christian Bale, seemed to look alike or was that really it?  Was it the successful portrayal of a psycho or a psychotic man by Matthew McCaughnehey that made me see the similarity between the two characters?

Certainly within a few minutes I had already decided who exactly had done it.  & it wasn’t Woody Harrelson as Hart.  But hark, a still small voice tells me that quite often or maybe just sometimes, the complete opposite of what Hart so innocently but slightly smugly declares: that something happens to a man after a certain age when he is not married.

Maybe so and maybe no.  Perhaps the single man is not the foe.  Sometimes it’s the married man that can be or go-completely loco.  Perhaps superficially ornery Hart doth protest too much.  It’s the clean and pleasant and nicely spoken family man that sometimes you should watch out for.

With Rusty Cole’s talk of crucifixions, the garden of Gethsemane reflections, his intensity and odd ways that include snoofing a bottle of cough mixture in the car and his un-nervingly unexpected slap to a colleague in the office: surely this is all a little too signposted large?

So Rusty has some existential angst.  Which all sounded fairly realistic in all.  One could say Hart is the more evolved man, living the life expected is the harder battle.  Yet it is the buttoned up tight character that may have more to hide.  More there to explode from the tightly stoppered bottle.

Perhaps all this is ridiculous extemporising and i am way off the mark in my suspicions of the most unlikely culprits or culprit that there could be in a Detective drama.  We shall see.

Nb. Rusty Cole must be the only character in a 90’s drama to utter the word iconic.  Presaging the word’s abundant overuse by a good decade.


nope.  It’s no good.  I have an aversion to watching any more episodes.  I am averse.  If that’s a word. I pick my horror quotient nowadays and The Walking Dead is it.


Some dialogue and notes from the first episode:

Hart is Woody Harrelson
Rusty Kohl is Matthew McCoughnehy
The Director is Cary Jodi Fukunaga

Louisiana State C.I.D Criminal Investigation Division 2012
The Interviews:
“Kind of a strange guy?  Yeah, pick a fight with the sky for being the wrong shade of blue”

Rusty Kohl has a silver Zippo lighter.
January 3rd, 1995, my daughter’s birthday, I remember…”

Eponymous Sheriff to Hart:
“You ever see anything like this?”
“Not in eight years of C.I.D…”
“Them symbols, satanic, we had a case back in…”

Back in the interviews in the present day:
“There is all types of Detectives..
“”What one are you?”
“Oh, I was just a regular dude with a big ass dick!”
“We called him the tax man, cause he carried a big ass ledger..”
“Yes, I like to take notes, plenty of them, you never know when you might need them”

“I am telling you guys, believe me, a man goes past a certain age, not married, something happens to him..”
“We had encountered a meta-psychotic, I had to explain to Hart what a meta-psychotic was..”

The voice over that comes over the flashbacks is the cut in of the present day Detective.

Back in the 1990’s:

“People round here don’t even know the rest of the world exists, it’s like living on the fucking moon”
“Lots of places got ghettos”
“Everywhere is a fucking ghetto man..”

“I contemplate the moment in the garden and the idea of allowing your own crucifixion..”

Hart: (about Kohl & the case)
“Smart, aloof, don’t care about making friends but he’s already thinking about it”

“This town is like a memory of a town and that memory is fading”..

Kohl and Hart drive past a billboard sign in the road saying:
Do You Know Who Killed Me?  with a picture of a girl and a telephone number.

The Chief of Police or one of the chiefs has three dear heads in his office!  One behind him and his desk and one on either side of him on the walls.

Music is by T Bone Burnett.  The opening track sounds like Del Shannon-Runaway, just slower.

“We have evolved as an aberration, the only species with self-awareness, it’s a mistake, an accident, we would be better off letting ourselves die off, no procreation, holding hands together till the end..”

he continues on his theory of the evolution of man:
“We are things that have an illusion of the sense of self, we are each programmed to think of ourselves as somebody when if fact we’re nobody”.


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