The second season of True Detective offered viewers something very different from the numerous other detective shows on television.
Murder, mystery and politics collide in the mighty Nic Pizzolatto’s drama. Cops and criminals are on the same moral playing field when the lines are drawn and the rules are corrupt. Vince Vaughn’s career criminal is as noble as Colin Farrell’s bent cop, while Rachel Mc Adams and Taylor Kitsch’s characters might have noble intentions but their damaged lives bleed into their careers in a nihilistic fashion. Everybody is looking for redemption in the pitch black world that Pizzolatto has created. There’s no right or wrong, only the will to survive.
Pizzolatto’s takes a dense, almost novelistic approach to the series, taking his time to create characterisation over the first half of the show before the true detecting begins. Naysayers don’t appreciate the bravery in Pizzolatto’s writing and how he’s purposely working against the genre conventions. Few would have the courage to turn their back on what made the first season so successful but the writer refuses to give audiences the hints and tip-offs that usually permeate the genre. If this season of True Detective has a downside is that it’s coming after a piece of television that was so transformative. The three seasons of True Detective shouldn’t be compared – they are different entities that just happen to be set in the same oblique world. We may not have been given the show we expected but we definitely got the one we deserved.