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LAYERED MYSTERY: Detectives Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) investigate murder and argue the meaning of life. © 2014 HBO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Cop car philosophizing

In the last few years, HBO has developed something of a specialty in TV shows set in a decaying southern landscape. Louisiana is the state of choice to represent a land of rich history, myth, and decadence. True Blood was the first to tap this vein with its campy vampire allegory, followed by the more realistic post-Katrina Treme, and now the haunting crime drama True Detective.

True Detective flaunts the southern gothic motif every chance it gets. The story is populated with dilapidated houses, long-abandoned churches, tent re­vivals, huckster preachers, corrupt politicians, and a populace hiding dark secrets. There is a crumbling plantation-style house so cluttered with the moldering relics of family history that William Faulkner would probably roll his eyes.


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