HBO's "True Detective" Season 1 / Director: Cary FukunagaUnlike most television shows where writing duties are shared between many writers, there is only one man behind HBO’s “True Detective”: Nic Pizzolatto. The Louisiana native wrote all eight episodes in three months, by himself. Pizzolatto’s vision for “True Detective” is an anthology-style show with one complete story per season. This format allows for big Hollywood actors to feature in quality television without worrying about long multi-year contracts.

In this season, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson play opposite one another as Rust Cole and Marty Hart, two detectives in the Louisiana State Police Department. Cole is an adept detective with a troubling past and unsettling idiosyncrasies. Hart likes to act more as the “good cop,” but has his own problems. This is a much darker version of the clichéd mismatched partners.

The story follows the two detectives through the investigation of a murder they solved in 1995. It appears to be cult-like and ritualized, and HBO – true to its reputation – leaves no gruesome detail to the imagination. Their investigation is told through a series of interviews they give in 2012. Cole and Hart have since split; Cole has left the police entirely and bartends to fund his alcoholism. Both actors deliver award-winning performances enhanced by the beautiful cinematography.

“True Detective” is shot entirely on 35mm film, which lends itself to a more natural texture not often seen in modern productions. Rural Louisiana comes alive through the camerawork of Director Cary Joji Fukunaga, who treats the location itself as a main character.

The only complaint one could have about the show is that it is slow-paced. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially considering the success of similarly slow paced – and, need I mention, award-winning – shows like “Mad Men” and “House of Cards”. “True Detective” is slow paced for a reason: there is too much detail in every scene to possibly move faster. Any faster, and you might miss that subtle smirk on McConaughey’s face or the occult symbol painted in the corner that could lead to the killer’s capture. In an era where the audience’s attention spans can be measured in tens of seconds, Pizzolatto challenges compulsive channel-changers to refrain from blinking lest they miss anything.

With only three of its eight episodes released, the jury is supposedly still out on “True Detective.” But considering the intensity of the dialogue, the stellar performances by McConaughey and Harrelson, the classic 35mm feel and the attention to detail all wrapped up in a brilliantly written murder mystery, my suspicion that Pizzolatto and HBO have created a masterful television show is all but confirmed.

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