HBO's True Detective is an existential murder mystery
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The story of much TV drama lately has been a serial pattern of serial killers. Hannibal, The Following, Dexter–all probing the platinum brains of high-IQ murderers (or, on Bates Motel, murderers-to-be). Questions that were once daring have become rote: Aren’t killers fascinating? Aren’t they ingenious? Isn’t their aesthetic dedication to gore strangely beautiful? (Answers: Not really, Who cares and Ugh, I just ate.)
HBO’s new crime story True Detective (which debuts Jan. 12) in some ways is one more human pelt tacked on that same wall. What distinguishes it is that it’s not about the bodies or the killer (at least, in the four episodes I’ve seen) but about the investigators–and about the soul, morality and God, or the lack thereof.