On Re-Watching The First Season Of True Detective

by Travis Mateer

Can you trust the Sheriff? What about the Governor? Why was the task-force created? And what could an alleged man of God be hiding?

If you want answers, a show like True Detective makes it easy: just binge-watch the show and you’ll get your answers by the end of it. Or will you?

This “buddy cop” series launched its inaugural season in 2014 with two detectives who are anything but buddies. Woody Harrelson’s “Marty” Hart is the shit-heel company man who tries to tolerate his new partner, “Rust” Cohle, played by Matthew McConaughey. The opening case becomes the expected rabbit hole that swallows our deeply flawed protagonists as they come to terms with the extent of the depravity and corruption they’re up against.

Expect spoilers as I describe the narrative elements resonating with me like a fucking fog horn. For example, Rust questions his sanity as he starts to see the invisible tentacles of protection this killer seems to have because, he finally realizes, the tentacles are actually familial branches that go to the top of the religious/political power structure of Louisiana.

Rust also meets significant resistance within his own department as he tries selling the idea that the murder case is the work of a serial killer who has killed before. Because rural counties have limited resources to investigate this kind of stuff, dontchya know!

Detectives with ladder-climbing aspirations, or hopes for financial security, or even personal safety, won’t be inclined to see past individual cases to the culture of death and domination that permeates our hierarchal power structures, which go far beyond the crackhead-crimes of President Biden’s son, Hunter.

But evidence of larger networks, and how they operate, are out there in plain sight, like the tattoo of the Finger Lakes on Hunter Biden’s back.

Am I just being a CRAZY “conspiracy theorist” when I combine odd data points like this with other cultural artifacts, like Jim Carrey’s strange cameo on The Office?

Getting back to True Detective, the scope of what Rust and Marty are dealing with does, eventually, come into focus, and the questions are answered: no, you can’t trust the Sheriff, the Governor is involved, the task-force was created to control the direction of the investigation AWAY from the real perpetrator, and the man of God is hiding a video tape, which Rust finds through extra-judicial means and uses to convince Marty to join him in finishing their unfinished business.

The success of the first season (which has so far been unmatched by the two subsequent seasons) comes from grappling with the taboo subject of ORGANIZED evil reaching its tentacles into the upper echelons of government and religion through family ties. The serial killer, who is brought down in the end, is NOT shown in isolation from society, but part of an unseen power structure that operates within it.

This Sunday’s Week in Review will more than likely expand on the societal placement of the serial killer in our midst with whatever book, or books, I’ll be reading from. I have a few in mind.

If you appreciate the working I’m doing here, Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF) is one way to help me out, and making a donation at my about page is another.

Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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4 Responses to On Re-Watching The First Season Of True Detective

  1. Audeey says:

    First season was the best!

  2. JC says:

    A bit of Woody Harrelson synchronicity after seeing his name pop up in your post: last night I was watching a documentary about the real story of the Cocaine Bear, (and the Hollywood movie about it I had watched the night before) the much-hyped and over the top Hollywood slasher movie (the slasher being a black bear on a cocaine binge), and into the documentary dropped the names Woody and Charles Harrelson. Charles Harrelson being Woody Harrelson’s father.


    Buckle up, this gets weird (as if a slasher bear high on cocaine isn’t weird enough). Charles Harrelson was convicted in 1981 of assassinating a federal judge in the middle of a trial of a person involved in a major, long term drug running (Chagra bros) syndicate. That syndicate included one Andrew Thorton II, a blue-blood Kentuckian from a wealthy horse racing family. Andrew became a narco cop in Kentucky and used his position to segway into the narco trade. Being a trained Vietnam era pilot and parachutist, he naturally gravitated to flying drug running missions between Columbia and Kentucky, graduating from smuggling pot to cocaine. He was a thrill-seeking soldier of fortune type, voluntarily outcast from his blue blood roots and his narco-detective pardners.

    One of his associates was a major cartel figure, whom the federal judge was presiding over his trial. Charles Harrelson was allegedly hired by the criminal and his gang to off the judge, and he did… supposedly (he recanted after admitting it). He also asserted he had assassinated JFK. And Woody’s mom was named… Diane Oswald, a distant relative to Lee Harvey Oswald.

    Andrew Thorton died on 9/11 1985, when he somehow left his airplane over Lexington (the movie version is hilarious), and his parachute didn’t open (many conspiracy stories about how that happened). He had 75 pounds of cocaine strapped to his body when the cops scraped him off the pavement. 3 months later several other duffle bags full of cocaine had been found (along the flight path back towards Columbia), one of which the cocaine bear had discovered and consumed enough cocaine to kill him. Hence the notoriety of the cocaine bear’s story, and its eventual fodder for a Hollywood slasher movie, of a bear run amok in a cocaine-fueled frenzy, killing 10 people.

    But the story of Woody and his connections to the JFK murder and a whole lot of other shit is pretty wild, too. And ties to the narco trade, hit jobs, and various drug task forces looking for his father and narco mob copsters. And Woody’s various roles playing the cop, or LBJ, or…


    And I thought I was just going to watch a fun, over-the-top slasher movie about a bear running rampant, high on cocaine, ripping people up to lick the cocaine powder off their various dismembered body parts.. But I do have to admit that the Cocaine Bear’s two cubs, covered in cocaine powder, illuminated by moonlight behind Secret Falls in the Chattahootchee National Forest was so endearing and the highlight of the movie… lol

    • I knew some of that, but damn!

    • The JFK assassination left a trail of confusing clues – was it the Soviets? Wall Street? CIA? The Mob? Oswald? And toss in Charles Harrelson just for good measure, an Intel agent who never spent a night in jail.

      Joe Kennedy Sr. owned a Hollywood movie studio, RKO. I would imagine the scene in Dealey Plaza was filmed well in advance with several takes, the man spinning the umbrella signaling … and … ACTION. There were very few people there in the plaza, all of them actors. JFK and Jackie in the Zapruder film (where he deliberately stood far away) were not JFK and Jackie, and the blood spurt was probably a squish ball of some kind set off by the Jackie impersonator.

      I spent many hours looking at the morgue photos of JFK, released against the family’s wishes (as if they could not control it!) … they are fakes, but very damned. professional ones. They had to be that good for the fake crime of the century.

      As you were, gentlemen.

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