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True Detective (Blu-ray Review)

7 Jun, 2014 By: John Latchem

Street 6/10/14
$59.99 three-DVD set, $79.98 three-BD set
Not rated.
Stars Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts, Tory Kittles, Kevin Dunn, Alexandra Daddario.

HBO’s “True Detective” is pretty much what one would expect of a show from the network: exquisite acting, intricate plotting and plenty of sex and nudity.

The key selling point here is the one-two punch of Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as Louisiana investigators drawn into a murder case that spans 17 years.

McConaughey is outstanding as Det. Rust Cohle, whose quirky ruminations on the nature of life often rub his hedonistic partner, Harrelson’s Marty Hart, the wrong way. Whereas Cohle is withdrawn and detail oriented, devoting himself to the case in his off hours, Hart enjoys boozing it up with local coeds, much to the chagrin of his long-suffering wife (Michelle Monaghan). McConaughey’s performance could put him in line for an acting Emmy, which would cap quite a year for him after his Dallas Buyers Club Oscar (provided he can sneak into the miniseries category and avoid competing in the drama series category against Bryan Cranston for “Breaking Bad”).

The show has some fun with its story structure, presenting Cohle and Hart in 2012 looking back on the case in 1995, how they thought they cracked it initially and what led them to go their separate ways. When new evidence suggests the killer is still out there, they eventually re-team to hunt him down and rectify some mistakes they made along the way. The mystery itself is as complicated as it needs to be to draw out over the course of a season, populated with a typical assortment of oddballs and garden-variety criminal scum.

“True Detectives” is presented as a tight, eight-episode arc that doesn’t leave much room for drifting away from the main story or how it impacts the lives of the characters. For subsequent seasons, the show looks to become something of a mystery version of “American Horror Story,” with a new story and cast presented each year.

As is common for an HBO release, the Blu-ray is packed with supplemental material, including episode commentaries, deleted scenes and making-of featurettes. There’s also some good interviews with the cast and crew, including an in-depth discussion between creator Nic Pizzolatto and composer T Bone Burnett about the musical direction of the show.

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