The story mostly takes place during two time periods. It begins in 1995, when the pair have only been working together for a few months and they begin an investigation into a gruesome and ritualistic murder in South Louisiana. The story flips between this time period and 2012, when a new and similar crime has caused the current investigators to question Marty and Rust separately, to get a feel for what happened way back when. At least, that's what they are being told.
As the 8 episodes progress, each man tells his own side of the story to the Louisiana CID investigators on the new case, Detectives Gilbough (Michael Potts) and Papania (Tory Kittles), but it's not long before you realize that what they are saying and what is actually playing out in the flashbacks are two very different tales. This is a large part of the charm of True Detective - what you see is never what you get. The other big draw is the banter that goes on between Marty and Rust. It's priceless stuff, truly. As the episodes progress, we get to see how these men have changed over the years and how they changed each other, whether intentionally or by accident. You might love them or you might hate them, but it's hard to not stay riveted to the screen as their stories play out. I am a big fan especially of McConaughey's role as Rust, as he is called. He is a quiet bad-ass, only exerting force when he needs to, but when he busts it out, you better look out.
To go into the story of True Detective any further would only serve to ruin it for those watching it for the first time. This show is great. The acting is spot-on, the writing is tight and absolutely brilliant, and the storyline is disturbing. That's what you get when you mix murder and Louisiana politics. Muddy as the Mississippi River, it is.
Special features are really enjoyable and include a handful of deleted scenes, short featurettes called Inside the Episode that give insight into what the creative team was trying to convey in a particular episode, several sit-down conversations with Harrelson and McConaughey, two audio commentaries, and a sit-down with series Creator, Executive Producer and Writer Nic Pizzolatto and T Bone Burnett, who composed the haunting music for the series. Pizzolatto is from South Louisiana himself, so the writing and what occurs in the story rings true for those of us from the swampy state down South.
True Detective is a dismal and twisted trip through the dark, back roads of South Louisiana, following an unlikely duo who start out hoping to just solve a case and end up unearthing much more than they ever expected. It's pretty fantastic and I am stoked that it has been renewed for a second season, albeit in California with a whole new cast. I am anxious to see where the next case leads this terrific new show.