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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.