Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review: TRUE DETECTIVE: Season 1: HBO Drops Hypnotic Drama Set

Matthew McConaughey Woody Harrelson True Detective

True Detective: Season 1 Blu-ray Review, a HBO TV show starring Matthew McConaughey, Woody HarrelsonLili Simmons, Bruce Elliott, Tory Kittles, David Stephen Mitchell, Michael Potts, Eric Price, Madison Wolfe, J.D. Evermore, Dana Gourrier, Joe Chrest, Timothy Wyant, Joseph Fischer, John L. Armijo, Jackson Beals, and Alexandra Daddario.

Release Date: June 10, 2014


“In 2012, Louisiana State Police Detectives Rust Cohle and Martin Hart are brought in to revisit a homicide case they worked in 1995.

As the inquiry unfolds in present day through separate interrogations, the two former detectives narrate the story of their investigation, reopening unhealed wounds, and drawing into question their supposed solving of a bizarre ritualistic murder in 1995. The timelines braid and converge in 2012 as each man is pulled back into a world they believed they’d left behind. In learning about each other and their killer, it becomes clear that darkness lives on both sides of the law.”

Disc Specifications

Run Time: 480 min

Format: Blu-ray

Region: A

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Language: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Rating: TV-MA


The video on this set, if watched in HD on TV when it originally aired on HBO, has been upgraded. This season of True Detective was captured on 35mm film (the type of film motion pictures are captured on) and in every scene it showed (the director forgoing the use of digital video). The vistas boomed out at the viewer but it was the dark scenes, especially toward the end of the season, where the picture detail was the most evident and the most important.


The score for True Detective: Season 1, created by composer T. Bone Burnett, set the mood for series very effectively. This not only became apparent when the music kicked into gear but also when Burnett had the perception not to add music to key scenes, letting them breathe on their own. This made the scenes where it was present that much more important (e.g. when Rust told the baby murderer to kill herself when she got the first chance). Burnett was asked to not create a Louisiana theme for the show but an alternate reality. A Louisiana of the mind. Some of the characters in season 1 certainly existed within that alternate reality.

Blu-ray Bonus Content

* Making True Detective – Behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew, including unseen footage
* Up Close with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson – Exclusive interviews with the stars about filming the series
* A Conversation with Nic Pizzolatto and T Bone Burnett – An in-depth discussion with the series creator/executive producer/writer and the legendary composer on the series and the pivotal role of music
* Inside the Episode – Nic Pizzolatto and director Cary Joji Fukunaga share their thoughts on character development and offer insights into each episode
* Two audio commentaries – Featuring Nic Pizzolatto, T Bone Burnett and Executive Producer Scott Stephens
* Deleted Scenes – Never-before-seen footage from the series. The deleted scene is from episode 3, an extended preacher scene.


True Detective was one of the best dramas on television in 2014. The benign title screen for the disc set did not allude to that in the slightest, in fact it left a little to be desired. One must consider, however, that though True Detective may look and feel like a motion picture, it is not thus they did not have the budget for a state-of-the-art title screen and menu system. There is nothing wrong with either, they were just more subdued than I would have thought.

The extras with the creative people behind the scenes, especially with writer Nic Pizzolatto and director Cary Joji Fukunaga, more than made up for it. Nic Pizzolatto went into extensive detail about his creative process: that he wrote 550 script pages for True Detective in 3 months. After the characters had been cast, he rewrote some of the scripts so that they would better fit the actors.

If the viewer had difficulty following the growing mystery in the series, the ‘audio commentaries’ and ‘inside the episode’ are illuminating. Regarding the latter, the viewer was given more insight into Detective Rustin Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Detective Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) and how they counterbalance each other.

Coupled with the main character exploration and dissection via their creator, the disc set gave the viewer a greater exploration into the background elements of the series: how there were signs littering the landscape of the man the two detectives were chasing e.g the Cajun Bird Traps, the church and meth shack the film crew built from scratch, how the killer saw his victims, and many other notable items.

One of the most fascinating moments of the disc was Pizzolatto’s insights into Cohle in the last moments of episode 8: Form of Void. How the ending of the season was cathartic and how Cohle had been waiting to cry all of his life.

Disc Acquisition

Purchase True Detective: Season 1: Buy Now

Rating: 9/10

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created and Trending

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