The first season of True Detective, an American anthology crime drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto, premiered on January 12, 2014 on the premium cable network HBO. Its principal cast consisted of Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts, and Tory Kittles. The season had eight episodes, and its initial airing concluded on March 9, 2014. As an anthology, each True Detective season possesses its own self-contained story, following a disparate set of characters in various settings.
Engineered as a nonlinear narrative, season one focuses on the lives of Louisiana State Police homicide detectives Rustin “Rust” Cohle (McConaughey) and Martin “Marty” Hart (Harrelson). Over a seventeen-year period, they must recount their investigation into the murder of prostitute Dora Lange and the histories of several other unsolved crimes, the perpetrator of which remains at large. During this time, Hart’s infidelity threatens his marriage to Maggie (Monaghan), and Cohle struggles to cope with his troubled past. True Detective‘s first season explores themes of philosophical pessimism, masculinity, and Christianity, and critics have analyzed the show’s portrayal of women, its auteurist sensibility, and the influence of comics and weird horror fiction on its narrative.
Pizzolatto initially conceived True Detective as a novel, but felt it was more suitable for television. The episodes, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, were filmed in Louisiana over a three-month period. The series received positive reviews from critics and was cited as one of the strongest dramas of the 2014 television season. It was a candidate for numerous television awards, including a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Drama Series and a Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film, and won several other honors recognizing outstanding achievement in writing, cinematography, direction, and acting.