New anthology mystery series gets outstanding use out of its two visitors from the movies
“I have literally no interest in serial killers,” novelist Nic Pizzolatto told me while discussing “True Detective,” the new HBO drama series he created that debuts Sunday night at 9.
This seems a funny thing to say, given that “True Detective” is the story of two Louisiana cops, played by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, investigating a serial killer case that spans 17 years. Even with “Dexter” gone, TV is awash in serial killer melodrama — some of it great, like NBC’s “Hannibal,” some of it stupid and self-congratulatory like FOX’s “The Following” — and “True Detective” lets McConaughey stand around grisly crime scenes tossing out phrases like "meta psychotic" and "paraphilic love map,” sounding very much like other fictional profilers.
But the more you watch “True Detective” — or, rather, the longer you remain under its hypnotic spell — the easier it is to understand Pizzolatto’s point. This is a show about duality and hidden identities (the opening title sequence features an array of ordinary images laid over other much darker ones), and one that's ultimately much, much less interested in the serial killer than it is in the two men chasing him.
And those men, as written by Pizzolatto and played by McConaughey and Harrelson, are riveting.