So far, this has really been the year of Matthew McConaughey, and his turn as the tormented Cohle is equal to – if not better – than his Oscar-winning turn in DALLAS BUYERS CLUB. He's incredible as the hard cynic cop whose worldview has been perverted by too long spent amongst the filth of society. Woody Harrelson is just as impressive in the less showy part as Hart. A family-man in the throes of a mid-life crisis, his failings as both a father and a police officer tear apart his world over the course of the series. People liked to debate and deconstruct the southern gothic mythology, but in the end what TRUE DETECTIVE is really about is the redemption of these two men, both of whom are – for better or worse – not what they seem.
One of the most intriguing decisions is to have Cary Fukunaga direct the entire eight-episode run, giving this a feature-consistency. Episode four's incredible tracking shot, featuring Cohle taking apart a drug den and taking down a suspect, is already among the most famous moments in TV history, despite only airing months ago. That said, the true mastermind behind the series seems to be Nic Pizzulato, who wrote each episode, and created the premise. He bites off quite a lot early on, but never fails to deliver and I'm eager to see what he comes up with in season 2.
While HBO did not send the Blu-ray's of the show for review the standard DVDs feature a wealth of bonus material.
Audio Commentaries: While only two episodes get commentaries by Nic Pizzoluto, at least we get that. The episodes are the famous “Who Goes There” - which features the tracking shot, and the follow-up episode “The Secret Fate of All Life.”
Making TRUE DETECTIVE: A fifteen minute featurette that's a cut above the typical epk, as it goes into detail for some of the more impressive set-pieces, including (naturally) the tracking shot. Still, fifteen minutes is rather short.
Up Close with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson: Woody and Matthew – who seems like best buddies in real-life – discuss some of the most challenging scenes, such as their knock-out, drag-out fight, and a few more. Cumulatively this only lasts about eight minutes, but they're some good stuff here.
Deleted Scenes Don't expect much here. It looks like everything worth using was used, with the two deleted scenes being mostly just wordless montages.
A conversation with Nic Pizzolatto and T Bone Burnett: An interesting discussion of Burnett's atmospheric music score, which includes a lot of source music assembled by Burnett that gives the show a cool, seedy vibe. Burnett is just so cool.
Inside the episodes: Now THIS is what I'm talking about. Pizzolatto recaps each episode, explaining some of the nuances, and clarifying some of the more obscure, or tough to decipher aspects of each episode. This is a MUST for such a complicated series. I half-wish these had aired after each episode during the original airing. The recap of the final, controversial, episode is especially worth-watching.