HBO’s True Detective takes place in a dark world, one grounded totally in reality, but it’s just, well, unsettling. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are investigating a bizarre murder in which a woman wears antlers and strange signs and drawings are decorated around her. In the least shocking development, the woman was naked. McConaughey’s character, Rustin Cohle, is good at finding leads on this case because he’s so damn weird himself.
True Detective takes place in the present, but the meat of the story is revealed in the past. In both instances, Cohle is creepy. Past Cohle has a tendency to say inappropriate things and behave in an odd manner. He’s a loner, forced to co-operate in a world that’s cold and unforgiving. Present Cohle is an alcoholic, a glass half empty S.O.B. who you wouldn’t want your kids to hang around.
What would either version of Cohle do in a coffee shop? How about a classy get together that involves alcohol? A wedding ceremony? Graduation? Cohle’s family was destroyed; his child died and his wife left him soon after. Social affairs would cause him to react badly. Bitter scowls and heavy drinking would be a best-case scenario. Dead bodies would obviously be a worst case.
Some people just need distance. Cohle is unstable. HBO’s series is still young, however, we must wonder where is this show going and what in particular is Cohle’s role? The pacing of the show is slow and deliberate. We know Cohle ends up as a downer, someone who can kill a six pack of beer like a sip of water. Either way, Past or Present Cohle is not somebody you want to call up on a Friday night to see what’s up. Call somebody else.