It’s been five years since the acclaimed crime anthology series True Detective last graced our television screens. The beloved show created by Nic Pizzolatto is back with a new showrunner in Issa López and a slightly shorter season of only six episodes.
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Titled Night Country, the series includes an all-star cast, as previous installments did, and it’s set in a small Alaskan town where nighttime in December can last for a month, making it a perfect setting for an ominous story.
True Detective Night Country review
Part 1 starts on December 17th in the charmingly freezing town of Ennis, Alaska, where the sun won’t rise again until January. A hunter observes a herd of caribou as they get spooked by something unseen and leap to their deaths over a frosty cliff.
Meanwhile, at the nearby Tsalal Institute, all eight of its researchers vanish without a trace. Found at the scene are the severed tongue of a native woman and an ominous message on a dry-erase board that simply states, “We are all dead.”
In charge of the investigation is Chief of Police LizDanvers (played by Jodie Foster), whose authority is constantly challenged by fellow officers, including her deputy Hank Prior (John Hawkes). Hank’s son, Officer Peter Prior (Finn Bennett), becomes very invested in the missing scientist case, despite his father’s disapproval.
As soon as she hears about the body part left behind at the Tsalal Institute, State Trooper Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) becomes convinced there’s a connection between the disappearances and an unsolved murder from several years prior. The victim, Annie K, was a fierce and outspoken activist found brutally killed and her tongue cut out.
At first, Liz denies there’s any connection between the two cases and tries getting Evangeline to back off the case. However, the two women end up working together when they start finding links between the cold case and the current disappearances.
Meanwhile, a woman named Rose Aguineau (Fiona Shaw) is being visited by her deceased husband’s ghost, who wants to show her something important. Throughout the episode, all the main characters receive one repetitive subliminal message, “She is awake.”
Supernatural crime drama
While previous seasons of True Detective hinted at supernatural occurrences, Night Country embraced the horror genre in its entirety. A small town in the middle of its dark Arctic winter seems like the ideal place for a story reminiscent of John Carpenter’s The Thing.
We’re only one episode in, and the show does an excellent job setting up an ominous atmosphere where something not from this world seems to be haunting our characters.
That’s not to say the more human themes aren’t compelling enough. The two at-odds detectives don’t like each other but become ready to look past their personal feelings for the sake of the investigation.
Jodie Foster utters her lines with the confidence of a jaded cop who’s had enough of being underestimated, while Kali Reis is excellent as the younger and more passionate State Trooper willing to sacrifice everything to bring justice to a murder victim. The two actresses’s chemistry and approach to their inherently different characters made them ideal choices for their respective parts.
True Detective is showing changes to the series format under its new creative team, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Based on the first episode, the show includes elements of a crime drama, a compelling mystery, and enough atmospheric horror to keep you on the edge of your seat week after week.
Where can you watch True Detective: Night Country in the UAE and Saudi Arabia?
True Detective: Night Country is now streaming on OSN+ in the UAE. Subscribing to OSN+ is AED 35 per month, but keep looking for yearly deals that drop the pricing considerably. There is also a free seven-day trial to decide if you’d like to be a paying subscriber.