HBO’s ‘True Detective’ Trailer: The World Needs Bad Men

Published 2 years ago by , Updated September 24th, 2013 at 6:26 am,

Since last year, talk about True Detective – HBO’s new police procedural series – has been sporadic, and details slim, but the release of the show’s first trailer should change that. Elliptical and brief though it may be, the clip nonetheless says a great deal about the program’s tone and the direction the story will take as it unfolds across eight episodes. True Detective looks like it’ll be graphically violent, unsparingly bleak,  and littered with superb performances.

Of course, it’ll be defined most by the turns of its two leading men, real-life chums Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, here respectively playing detectives Martin Hart and Rust Cohle. True Detective puts both lawmen on the trail of a serial killer in Louisiana, a multi-timeline journey that stretches out over the course of almost a decade; specifics about the case aren’t available at the moment, as HBO is doing a great job of keeping information from slipping loose, but the above bit definitely hints at a crime of an immensely disturbing and maybe even cultish bent.

What, exactly, that means for True Detective remains to be seen. At first blush, the imagery here makes True Detective look like a harrowing blend of Zodiac and The Wicker Man, but that’s just an impression left by passing family resemblance; at the moment, there’s no telling what’s really going on in the narrative beyond the “dark side of the badge” theme that’s so much a staple of fictional cop dramas.

The pervasive, grimy Southern Gothic atmosphere in the footage can be attributed to the involvement of filmmaker Cary Fukunaga, of Sin Nombre and Jane Eyre fame. His work is frequently shaped by its moodiness, and it looks like he’s brought that same aesthetic quality to True Detectives. His visuals alone convey the idea that this isn’t going to be a happy story with a happy ending.

True Detective Harrelson McConaughey HBOs True Detective Trailer: The World Needs Bad Men

The more arresting presence, however, may well be McConaughey, who has been on a hot streak for the last few years thanks to his roles in films like Magic Mike and Killer Joe, which probably served as great preparation for his work in True Detective. Rust Cohle is a bad man, after all, and McConaughey knows exactly how to bring characters like him to life. (He’ll be playing a couple more bad men of different persuasions later this year in Dallas Buyers’ Club and The Wolf of Wall Street.)

But that’s not to count out Harrelson – who has turned out really strong work in films like The Hunger Games and Seven Psychopaths – or Michelle Monaghan, Elizabeth Reaser, and Kevin Dunn. That’s a small but impressive ensemble. Hopefully, the material matches their talent, though given how arresting this teaser is, that shouldn’t be much of a stretch. In just a few months, we’ll see if True Detectives lives up to its promise or not.

Will you tune in, Screen Rant readers? Let us know in the comments.


True Detective premieres in January 2014.

Follow Andy Crump on Twitter @agracru
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. This looks amazing, I’m totally tuning in for the first episode.

    • Yeah, McConaughey and Harrelson, what a duo! Can’t wait for this, looks riveting !

  2. This looks pretty great. McConaughey gets more impressive with each film, and i’ve always liked Woody Harrelson. The two seem to have awesome chemistry.

  3. Looks really good. Just watched Mud earlier and enjoyed it lots…McConaughey is definitely doing something right lately.

  4. im sick of cop shows…but i will give it a shot due to the actors

    • I like cop shows except all the CSI clones.

      • Which ones are those?

  5. Crazy to think that a few years ago I wouldn’t be saying this.. but anything with McConaughey these days, I WILL WATCH.

    • I couldn’t agree more, he has made some really good choices and seems to be the standout in everything he is in! Looking forward to the Dallas Buyers Club and of course Interstellar

      Will defo be watching this, reminds me of The Killing which I love

      • Which ‘The Killing’?

      • I also thought that as well. Even though it had it’s issues, I loved The Killing. McConaughey and Harrelson look to be an excellent team.

  6. Man this show looks incredible.

  7. I’d be crazy not to tune in honestly.

  8. Matthew needs to eat a hamburger or 900! That boy needs to put some weight back on…blech!

  9. Looks badass! I’ll be watching…

  10. I don’t know…

  11. I’m still blown away by the fact that we are getting a TV series starring such top-notch “movie stars” like McConaguhey and Harrelson…
    Sure, more and more actors and actresses are going between movies and TV but man this is pretty impressive.
    I’ll be tuning in for sure.

    • Well… It’s not TV… It’s HBO.

      • the quick scene with the preacher,he looks alot like nuckys brother from boardwalk empire. I cant think of his name….

        • Yeah i’m pretty sure thats Eli from Boardwalk.

  12. I wish we had HBO… this looks quite promising. I’m glad a show with this much potential is on HBO, they don’t have to play by the “rules.” If this was on TNT or some other network… it would have to be dumbed down and censored. It is about the hunt for a serial killer… it should be graphic and it should be unnerving, that’s the point, but no, big networks have to keep people unoffended and not freaked out so they can make money, and that’s why roughly 97% of the shows on regular TV kinda suck. I’m not one for violence and graphic content for the sake of having them, but sometimes, they need to be there to further the plot or add character development, ever heard of Edgar Allen Poe?

  13. looks awesome. Will be checking it out for sure. HBO needs to get back to the premium series provider it was.

  14. I haven’t heard or seen anything about this show until now. Looks interesting, honestly didn’t recognize McConaughey in the image shown, I recognized his voice instead.

  15. HBO puts out really great programs some of the best actually especially genre shows like game of thrones and true blood I hope really soon they will put there skills to the test and produce some hard core space based sci fI .

  16. Are Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey in all episodes?
    IMDB doesn’t show that.