Back in 1995, Cohle (played by Matthew McConaughey) is assigned to work with Hart (played by Woody Harrelson) on a particularly brutal serial killing with overtones of Satanism. As the two dig deeper in to the killing, they make connections to other seemingly unrelated deaths and missing person reports. As they investigate, they find ties to very powerful people protecting the guilty.
As the series opens, a new investigation into the serial killings has been opened and 17 years after the fact, Cohle and Hart are brought in for questioning. Initially, this is kind of confusing; we don’t know why Cohle and Hart have been brought in for questioning. But as the show progresses, we find out what transpired back in 1995 and what the connection is to the present.
Both men are tragically flawed: McConaughey plays Rustin Cohle, a brilliant police investigator, but driven to nihilism/pessimism through a personal tragedy. Harrelson plays Marty Hart, a competent policeman whose character flaws and bad decisions keep tripping him up his personal life.
The series is unrelenting bleak; Cohle’s personal tragedy has left his life in shambles. He is shown to be good at police work and especially good at getting suspects to confess. But he has insomnia and works non-stop on chasing down leads even to the point of putting himself in harm’s way to do so.
Hart is shown as competent, but makes bad choices in his personal life. These decisions adversely affect him and his family. He doesn’t know what to make of Cohle, who is obviously smarter, better educated and a better policeman.
The show hooked me from the start due to the strong first episode. While initially confusing, persistence in watching the story unfold makes for very satisfying TV viewing. The story is compelling and only gets stronger as the episodes reveal the plot.
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Worth a look if you like well-done, gritty cop shows.
Skip it if you don’t like unrelenting bleak meditations on the nature of evil and its relation to humanity.