5 Ways ‘True Detective’ Can Still Blow It (Update)

5 Ways 'True Detective' Can Still Blow It (Update)


Not that we think it will

Oh sure. Six episodes into “True Detective,” it feels like we should just hold the Emmys now and we should get down to debating where it stands in the pantheon of the Greatest Shows Ever.

There's just one problem: You can't judge a detective drama until you see how it resolves its big mystery. Remember how much people liked “The Killing” once? Remember how betrayed they felt by the way its first season ended? “True Detective” mastermind Nic Pizzolatto co-wrote the season finale for “The Killing.” (He has said he was carrying out the vision of that show's creator.)

Also read: HBO's ‘True Detective’ 6-Minute Tracking Shot Wows – Watch It Now (Video)

As good as “True Detective” is now, it still needs to stick the landing in its last two episodes. We're confident it will. But here are five ways it could still blow it:

1. Matthew McConaughey‘s character did it.
By “it” we mean “killed all those people.” The show hinted from the very beginning that McConaughey's Rust Cohl was the real killer, even before his interrogators flat out accused him. For the show to make him the actual bad guy would be exactly what we aren't expecting, because it's so obviously what we're expecting. Then again, maybe “True Detective” could pull this off, if we realize at the end we haven't been watching a mystery at all – just the story of two cops disintegrating. But we think “True Detective” will find a way to surprise. The best part of the show is how hard it works for viewers respect, even when it doesn't need to. We'd tune in to watch its stars eat cereal.

Also read: ‘True Detective': Here's the Brilliant Song From That Strip Club Scene (Video)

2. Woody Harrelson‘s character did it.
Marty Hart is flawed, but flawed in the way humans are flawed. Cohl is messed up in an almost ethereal way. It would be less depressing to drive around in a squad car with the devil himself.

3. Michelle Monaghan‘s character did it.
There's no way this would happen, right? We realized last week what a gifted manipulator Maggie is, but to make her the killer would be ridiculous. Right?

Also read: ‘True Detective’ Creator Nic Pizzolatto Re-Ups With HBO for 2 More Years

4. Explaining the Yellow King too soon.
The show's many references to Robert Chambers's “The King in Yellow” have helped move the 1895 short story collection to the top of Amazon's sales chart.  But in the book, the king isn't even a background character. “The Yellow King” is the title of a play within the book that makes people who read it go mad. Since “True Detective” is planned as an anthology, why not keep the idea of the Yellow King around for a while?

5. Worrying about what anyone thinks.
There's a big caveat to the rest of this list: We have a feeling Pizzolatto knows exactly what he's doing. The actors on the show got to read all eight of his episodes before they signed on, and we don't think he would have drawn the talent he did without a brilliant ending.

(For the record: A previous version of this story said Nic Pizzolatto did not write the Season 1 finale of “The Killing.” In fact, he co-wrote it.)

  • Lady Nocturne

    I hope you're right, but I believe Pizzolatto WAS the guy who wrote that deeply unfortunate Season One finale for The Killing … But hopefully he's learned from that mistake?

    • tim.molloy

      Shoot, you're right, Lady Nocturne. He co-wrote it. I apologize, and fixed the story. You were awfully nice about calling me out. Thank you!

    • JohnSullivan

      Nic Pizzolatto was just a staff writer on the Killing. He co-wrote the teleplay on a story based on the showrunners vision. In that episode, all he can be credited for is some of the dialog and pace. That's it.

    • Tennessee3501

      I did not think that the ending of the first season of “The Killing” was all that bad. It was great compared to “Twin Peaks” where it took almost two years to find out “Who killed Laura Palmer”?

  • Thomas J

    HBO also signed on with an almost unknown writer ,not to take anything away from Nic P, and let him be the showrunner I'd think he'd had to sell the series to them as well . I seriously doubt the show will disappoint but yes it's possible…I can't wait to see!!


    The only way they can truly blow this is to turn Rust Cohle into some lame version of Agent Dale Cooper (Twin Peaks). Something tells me the finale will reveal some interesting revelations but they won't actually catch the Yellow King, a la Keyser Soze.

    • Halik

      fuckkkk I just added Twin Peaks to my Netflix! Oh well, I hope it's still worth watching now knowing the ending.

      • Carey Adams

        He didn't really give away anything. Cooper isn't Lara Palmer's killer.

  • Ronald Latwis

    This has been a great show so far BUT I think it would have been better as a movie
    We still need a good car chase
    Marty is a cold bloody ass killer meth man
    Rust is not a murderer he had plenty of chances ghetto/biker rober scene
    ITS MARTY everyone he is involved he has no morals Loading gun at end of episode 6 that is very interesting He thinks Rust has it figured out
    LOL we will see

    • Tennessee3501

      Better as a movie? Who would want to watch an 8 hour movie? Well, maybe if Michelle Monaghan was my date! LOL !

  • Wendy

    Actually, the actors did not read all 8 episodes before signing on as the final two weren't written until McConaughey and Harrelson were cast. I'm interested to see how things unfold in the final two episodes knowing that everything was written specifically for those two actors.

    • Tennessee3501

      Michelle Monaghan said in a recent interview that we would all find the ending of “True Detective” to be “Staggering.” If Maggie is the Yellow King, that would truly be “staggering.”

  • RockyJohan

    heeey spoilers!

  • Tennessee3501

    Dora Lange was killed in 1995. Isn't that the year that O.J. Simpson was acquitted and got out of jail? Hey, you never know!

  • AllanJKrueger

    A lot of my favorite actors in the series… Sorry to report, that I just can't get with the show! Maybe if it had been aired in the 70's, when I was high all the time… In other words, I think True Detective blows!