True Detective: The Much-Anticipated Finale and the Novel That Preceded the Series


If you have been watching the new HBO anthology series, True Detective, you may be very ambivalent about watching tomorrow night’s final episode in the initial story. If you haven’t been watching, it features Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as detectives investigating a series of bizarre, ritualistically sadistic killings that have stretched over two decades. The series is set along the Gulf Coast of Lousiana, much of which seems to represent the last tenuous refuge for both the endemically impoverished and the malevolently maladjusted.

On the one hand, the final episode will finally provide a resolution to a very complex and compelling story that has been presented with tremendous skill. The acting, directing, and writing have all been very equal to each other—a rare accomplishment in television or film. On the other hand, the brevity of the story—its having been presented in a mere eight episodes—means that once the…

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