True Detective and Jung’s four steps of transformation

Authored by: Stephen Anthony Farah

The Routledge International Handbook of Jungian Film Studies

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138666962
eBook ISBN: 9781315619163
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315619163-15

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Abstract

True Detective (2014) is an American crime drama, television series created and written by Nic Pizzolatto. The first season, which I focus on in this chapter, aired on HBO in 2014 and consisted of eight episodes, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in the leading roles. (The cast also includes Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts, and Tory Kittles.) The season received widespread critical acclaim and was a candidate for numerous awards. Beyond high production values, great acting and a tightly knit storyline, what sets True Detective apart is the brilliantly articulated nihilism of its central protagonist, Rust (Rustin ‘Rusty’ Cohle), played by McConaughey. In the golden age of television series True Detective stands out. It offers the aficionado a contemporary and psychologically astute version of the hero’s journey. Taking its cue from films such as The Road (dir. Hillcoat, 2009), Blindness (dir. Meirelles, 2008) and No Country for Old Men (dirs Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, 2007) it presents viewers with a hero whose true challenge is to find redemption in a dystopian world.

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