TV & Radio Crime Log: Detective, Lady

UnknownA lot of shows this year have promised plenty but conspicuously failed to deliver – yes, I’m looking at you, Mob City – but hopefully True Detective will live up to the critical acclaim that follows it to these shores.

It’s an anthology show – along the lines of American Horror Story – which is intended to tell a different story each season, using completely different characters.

The first season stars the ubiquitous Matthew McConaughey, and the ubiquitous Woody Harrelson, and it’s being trailed very heavily indeed, perhaps because of those stellar reviews in the States.

Here’s the blurb y’all:

Martin Hart and “Rust” Cohle are two detectives and former partners who worked in Louisiana’s Criminal Investigation Division in the mid-1990s. In 2012, for reasons not immediately revealed, the two are interviewed separately by investigators about their most notorious case: the macabre 1995 murder of a prostitute by a possible serial killer with disturbing occult leanings. As they look back on the case, Hart and Cohle’s personal backstories and often-strained relationship come to the fore.

Hart, an outgoing native Louisianan and family man whose marriage is being frayed by work stress and infidelity, is (at least on the surface) the polar opposite of Cohle, a lone-wolf pessimist and former narcotics detective from Texas. But their shared obsession to hunt down the ritual killer reveals the mercurial nature of Hart and Cohle’s relationship and personalities, and how they affect each other as detectives, friends, and men.

True Detective is kinda slow, apparently, and big on atmosphere, perhaps because it’s the brainchild of a novelist, Nic Pizzolatto. It’s unusual for a writer with no former television experience to write every episode and act as showrunner on a HBO series, so it’ll be interesting to discover what it is that’s got everybody raving.

You can find out for yourself what the fuss is about by watching the first episode on Sky Atlantic on Saturday night, at 9pm.

There’s more hard boiled detective fayre on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday afternoon. Radio 4 is dramatizing every single one of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels, including the little-regarded final book, Poodle Springs – I would imagine every saxophonist in London got a little frisson of anticipation when they heard the news. We’ve already missed The Big Sleep – sorry about that – but the second, The Lady In The Lake, starts at 2.30pm.

Toby Stephens stars – he’s good, isn’t he, and he has the right jaw for Marlowe. There’s no photo, I’m afraid. I was hoping BBC Picture Publicity might put Stephens in a trenchcoat and a fedora – as is often the way – and take him out the emergency exit to snap him looking charming by some bins and a drainpipe, but sadly it wasn’t to be.

However, if Marlowe and Chandler are your thing you may want to take a gander here to get you in the mood.


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