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True Detective – Season 1 DVD review

The critically-acclaimed drama makes its way to Blu-ray and DVD.

True Detective episode 1

Few shows have received the buzz and acclaim in such a short space of times as True Detective has. Taking a leaf from American Horror Story’s book, True Detective is an anthology series with each season offering a different storyline with different characters. The first season of the show is an 8-part thriller/mystery starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in the lead roles of Rust and Marty respectively.

True Detective features split narratives to tell the story of a ritualistic murder in the present day that mirrors a case Detectives Rust and Marty worked on together 17 years earlier. With the similarities undeniable Rust and Marty are brought into help the investigation despite having not spoken to one another since a falling out in 2002.

The first thing to note about True Detective is that it’s certainly not a fast-paced show by any stretch of the imagination. This is a show that focuses more on characterisation and dialogue than it does showy set-pieces or gimmicky cliffhangers. The outlook is pretty bleak and as the season progresses it gets bleaker.

Whilst the serial killer story may be at the heart of the show, True Detective is much more a character-piece exploring the contrasting lives of its two leads. Cohle is battling drug dependency after the loss of his daughter whilst Hart has been cheating on his wife (Michelle Monaghan) with a court reporter. Revisiting the case they thought they’d left buried stirs up lots of demons and plenty of questions.

True Detective serves as an acting showcase for stars Harrelson and McConaughey. The former is having somewhat of a career resurgence and he proves his acting chops here with a solid performance as Marty whilst the latter is in the midst of the most successful period of his career to date with this show adding to his impressive performances. The one problem we did have, and this lies with McConaughey not Harrelson, is that we sometimes couldn’t understand a word he was saying. His thick accent and tendency to mutter rather than enunciate might have you reaching for the subtitles.

Special features on the DVD release include deleted scenes, featurettes taking you behind-the-scenes such as Making True Detective and a conversation with creator Nic Pizzolatto and composer T Bone Burnett. There are also commentaries on selected episodes.

We weren’t as enamoured with True Detective as the rest of the world it seems. Whilst there’s no denying it’s a well-written and well-acted show it just lacked the kind of oomph we enjoy from our crime dramas. It certainly offers something different and it’s definitely intriguing but weren’t especially hooked throughout it and desperate to watch the next episode. Perhaps it was a case of too-much hype prior to watching it but True Detective won’t be making our top shows list of 2014.


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