True Detective: how we made the most talked-about TV show of the year

The silent spaces and spooky folk crafts of backwoods Louisiana get as much screen time as Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey in director Cary Fukunaga's murder mystery
If you were looking to name the most talked-about programme on TV right now, you wouldn't have to be an obsessive policeman with a deductive intuition to alight on True Detective. Praise has been lavished on Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey in their roles as Louisiana state detectives Marty Hart and Rust Cohle. The mystery, in which the pair investigate a ritual murder in the bleak wilds of the bayou, has prompted much speculation and theorising. Some of us have even admired the folk crafts (wherever the detectives go they stumble over piles of spooky wooden icons). What binds the serial together, though, and elevates True Detective into truly compelling television is its eerie tone and complex structure. And that achievement is the work of 36-year-old director Cary Fukunaga.
"One of the images I first saw in my head when I read the screenplay was a plain landscape towards dusk," says Fukunaga over the phone from his home in New York. "There was a still, Magritte-like light hanging in the sky and these two cold, hard characters at the front, staring at a burned-out church. I loved the starkness of that, the openness of everything being exposed to the air. There's a lot of two-hander dialogue in True Detective, and I needed to place those guys in locations where there were other levels of visual storytelling. It didn't necessarily have to move the plot forward, but it had to add tone or add to the overall feeling." See more
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