The Best Episodes of True Detective

Last Updated: Feb 11, 2019

An anthology series in which police investigations unearth the personal and professional secrets of those involved, both within and outside the law.

Form and Void

#1 - Form and Void

Season 1 - Episode 8

An overlooked detail provides Hart and Cohle with an important new lead in their 17-year-old case.

star 8.79
4,545 votes
Directors: Cary Fukunaga
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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Who Goes There?

#2 - Who Goes There?

Season 1 - Episode 4

Hart and Cohle hunt for their newly identified suspect, Reggie Ledoux, a meth cooker who shared a cell with Dora Lange's husband and recently skipped parole. As Hart's personal life collapses around him, Cohle immerses himself in an old criminal identity from his narco days, contacting an East-Texas biker gang known to deal with their primary suspect. Cohle's undercover work takes him to a dangerous edge where the law has no place, and both men must confront the cost of living a false life.

star 8.52
4,723 votes
Directors: Cary Fukunaga
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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The Secret Fate of All Life

#3 - The Secret Fate of All Life

Season 1 - Episode 5

A violent denouement in the forest clears the Dora Lange case and turns Cohle and Hart into local heroes. Each man settles into a healthier rhythm of living as Hart returns to his family, and Cohle starts a relationship while gaining a reputation as a closer in interrogations. As time passes and his daughters grow older, Hart faces new tensions and temptations, and Cohle learns from a double-murder suspect that there could be much more to an old case than he'd once thought. In 2012, Gilbough and Papania put their cards on the table, presenting new intelligence that threatens Cohle and causes Hart to reassess everything he thought he knew about his former partner.

star 8.47
4,470 votes
Directors: Cary Fukunaga
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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After You've Gone

#4 - After You've Gone

Season 1 - Episode 7

Hart and Cohle call a truce to investigate a series of disappearances that may be related to the Dora Lange murder and the Tuttle family.

star 8.38
4,302 votes
Directors: Cary Fukunaga
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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Haunted Houses

#5 - Haunted Houses

Season 1 - Episode 6

In 2002, Cohle and Hart begin to fall back to familiar and violent obsessions. Hart exacts savage vengeance on a pair of teenage boys, and Cohle becomes convinced they left something undone in 1995. Working on his own, Cohle traces a sinister connection between missing children along the coast and evangelist Billy Lee Tuttle's Wellsprings Program. Hart is reintroduced to a former prostitute he met during the Lange investigation. In 2012, Papania and Gilbough question Maggie, now divorced from Marty, about Cohle and Hart during 2002, the year their relationship fractured and Cohle quit the force following a suspension.

star 8.36
4,346 votes
Directors: Cary Fukunaga
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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The Locked Room

#6 - The Locked Room

Season 1 - Episode 3

A hidden image at the burned-out church leads Cohle and Hart to Joel Theriot, a tent-revival minister whose parishioners finger a scarred “tall man” seen with Dora Lange. Brought in for interrogation, a sex offender matching the description is quickly dismissed by Cohle, despite offering a confession. Hart gets sidetracked after Maggie sets Cohle up with a friend at a C&W bar. Looking to establish a pattern of murder, Cohle pores over old case files, finding a connection with a woman assumed to have drowned years earlier.

star 8.24
4,762 votes
Directors: Cary Fukunaga
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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The Great War and Modern Memory

#7 - The Great War and Modern Memory

Season 3 - Episode 1

The disappearance of a young Arkansas boy and his sister in 1980 triggers vivid memories and enduring questions for retired detective Wayne Hays, who worked the case 35 years ago with his then-partner Roland West. What started as a routine case becomes a long journey to dissect the crime and make sense of it.

star 8.15
1,469 votes
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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Seeing Things

#8 - Seeing Things

Season 1 - Episode 2

Under pressure to land a suspect in the Lange murder, Quesada warns Hart and Cohle that they might be replaced by three detectives from a new task force. The pair lobbies for extra time to follow up on a lead that takes them from a rural cathouse to an incinerated church. With his marriage to Maggie already strained by work, Hart finds respite away from home.

star 8.06
5,195 votes
Directors: Cary Fukunaga
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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The Long Bright Dark

#9 - The Long Bright Dark

Season 1 - Episode 1

Former Louisiana State CID partners Martin Hart and Rustin Cohle give separate statements to a pair of investigators about the murder of a prostitute, Dora Lange, 17 years earlier. As they look back, details of the crime, replete with occult overtones, are accompanied by insights into the detectives’ volatile partnership and personal lives.

star 8.05
6,559 votes
Directors: Cary Fukunaga
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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Black Maps and Motel Rooms

#10 - Black Maps and Motel Rooms

Season 2 - Episode 7

Ray, Ani and Paul take precautionary measures to elude detection and untangle a dark mystery. Frank deals with the fallout of his betrayal.

star 7.93
2,655 votes
Directors: Daniel Attias
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye

#11 - Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye

Season 3 - Episode 2

Hays looks back at the aftermath of the 1980 Purcell case in West Finger, AR, including possible evidence left behind at the Devil's Den, an outdoor hangout for local kids. As attention focuses on two conspicuous suspects--Brett Woodard, a solitary vet and trash collector, and Ted LaGrange, an ex-con with a penchant for children--the parents of the missing kids, Tom and Lucy Purcell, receive a cryptic note from an anonymous source.

star 7.92
1,244 votes
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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If You Have Ghosts

#12 - If You Have Ghosts

Season 3 - Episode 5

Wayne finds himself in a no-win situation as new clues emerge in the Purcell case. Roland wrestles with how to keep evidence secure as lawyers demand a new investigation. Amelia finds her relationship with Wayne imperiled by her writing aspirations and his jealousy.

star 7.91
794 votes
Directors: Nic Pizzolatto
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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Hunters in the Dark

#13 - Hunters in the Dark

Season 3 - Episode 6

Wayne and Roland revisit discrepancies in the Purcell case that were hidden or forgotten over the years. Among those being reevaluated is Tom Purcell, as well as Lucy Purcell’s cousin, Dan O’Brien. The glitter of Amelia’s book release is tarnished by a voice from the past.

star 7.88
138 votes
Writers: Graham Gordy, Nic Pizzolatto
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The Hour and the Day

#14 - The Hour and the Day

Season 3 - Episode 4

Hays and West see a possible connection between the local church and the Purcell crimes. As the detectives search for one suspect and round up another one for interrogation, Woodard finds himself targeted by a vigilante group.

star 7.88
938 votes
Directors: Nic Pizzolatto
Writers: David Milch, Nic Pizzolatto
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Down Will Come

#15 - Down Will Come

Season 2 - Episode 4

The detail works a pawn-shop lead to close in on a suspect in the Caspere case. Frank revisits his past to pay for his present. Velcoro, Bezzerides and Woodrugh struggle to keep the case straight in the face of corruption.

star 7.83
2,913 votes
Directors: Jeremy Podeswa
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto, Scott Lasser
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The Big Never

#16 - The Big Never

Season 3 - Episode 3

Hays recalls his early romance with Amelia, as well as some cracks in their relationship that surfaced after they married and had children. Ten years after the Purcell crimes took place, new evidence emerges, giving Hays a second chance to vindicate himself and the investigation.

star 7.78
1,110 votes
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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Church in Ruins

#17 - Church in Ruins

Season 2 - Episode 6

Desperate to locate a missing woman with intel on Caspere, Frank meets with Mexican drug dealers. Ani infiltrates an exclusive inner circle, with Ray and Paul keeping close tabs.

star 7.76
2,700 votes
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto, Scott Lasser
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Omega Station

#18 - Omega Station

Season 2 - Episode 8

Frank, Ray and Ani weigh their options as Caspere's killer and the scope of corruption is revealed.

star 7.73
2,748 votes
Directors: John Crowley
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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Other Lives

#19 - Other Lives

Season 2 - Episode 5

Ray and Frank contemplate new life choices. Ani and Paul follow a lead up the coast.

star 7.54
2,715 votes
Directors: John Crowley
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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Night Finds You

#20 - Night Finds You

Season 2 - Episode 2

Ben Caspar's autopsy reveals the gruesome details of his demise, and Ray and Ani wonder if it has anything to do with his fondness for prostitutes. Meanwhile, Frank looks into what might have happened to his missing fortune.

star 7.47
3,226 votes
Directors: Justin Lin
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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The Western Book of the Dead

#21 - The Western Book of the Dead

Season 2 - Episode 1

The disappearance of a city manager disrupts a lucrative land scheme and ignites an investigation involving three police officers and a career criminal who is moving into legitimate business.

star 7.40
4,065 votes
Directors: Justin Lin
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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Maybe Tomorrow

#22 - Maybe Tomorrow

Season 2 - Episode 3

Paul works the prostitute angle, while Frank receives the first casualty in a secret war, and steps back into a world he’d left behind.

star 7.32
2,942 votes
Writers: Nic Pizzolatto
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