Reading Too Much Into ‘True Detective’: Details You May Have Missed From The Season Premiere

Entertainment Features
01.16.19 5 Comments


Welcome to our weekly breakdown of the minutia of Nic Pizzolatto’s True Detective. While Brian Grubb provides his always excellent coverage of the series (here’s his write-up of the most recent episode), here — as we have in the past with Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Better Call Saul, and Mayans M.C. — we will look at some of the details viewers may have missed; references to other shows, movies or books; and theories on particular suspects. We scour Reddit threads, social media, and podcasts in an attempt to curate the best intel about each episode.

1. I wrote fairly extensively here about the first couple of seasons of True Detective, but season three is of particular interest to me because of its location in Northwest Arkansas, where Nic Pizzolatto attended college. I am originally from Arkansas, and attended the same university as Pizzolatto, and those of us from Arkansas very quickly spotted one of the state’s landmarks in the title sequence.


That Christ of the Ozarks Statue is in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, best known for the numerous Passion Plays it puts on each season. In fact, it is religion and poverty that probably best characterizes the area in Northwest Arkansas outside of Fayetteville (where the University is located), and I expect that religion and poverty will ultimately play a major role in the murders, as it did in the first season of True Detective. In fact, the first season was originally supposed to be set in Arkansas, but tax incentives made Louisiana a more attractive place to shoot.

It’s also worth nothing that at least 20 Arkansans have speaking parts in this season of True Detective, so viewers are not just getting a good feel for the location, but for its people, as well. The theme song over the title sequence, by the way, is “Death Letter” by Cassandra Wilson (a good choice, but I might have gone with something moody from Lucinda Williams, who is from the area).

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