From the opening credits where we see the main character’s faces superimposed on fire, religious iconography and darkness we know that this is not going to be a bland police procedural. In episode 2 we are faced with a black screen and Matthew McConaughey’s voice talking about a case long put to bed. It jars the viewer into being a listener – trying to picture the scene before its reveal. The audience can cope with the to and fro of the storyline because McConaughey is very clearly defined as either the smart looking, folder grasping, hallucinating police officer investigating the case while trying to keep his addictions and visual disturbances at bay or the addled long haired smoker surrounded by cans of lager being requestioned as new evidence points to the original investigation somehow reaching the wrong conclusion. Woody Harrelson as his reluctant womanising partner is more difficult to place as he is little changed other than having changed his beige and pale blue attire for something altogether darker and having acquired some middle aged spread.
The series reeks of atmosphere: not so subtle threats between partners, prostitutes who feel empowered by selling their bodies, secretive chicken ranches, burnt out churches and those in power who see devil worshipping as a convenient peg to place the blame on. Tortured cats and murdered prostitutes, cats of a different kind.
Neither lead is particularly attractive personality-wise. The good old boy philanderer who comes into work smelling of sex with his other woman or the former inmate of a psychiatric hospital who can’t quite get over the accidental death of his daughter.
We keep seeing Harrelson’s daughters out on lakes or opening curtains in bright sunlight which might be foreshadowing or just pointing towards a man hell=bent on destroying everything he has despite his new partner having already lost it all.
It is an elongated telling of a story, and all the better for it.
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