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Top 10 Best True Detective Moments

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Alex Slade
When every scene is a top moment, it’s hard to pick just ten. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 True Detective Moments For this list, we’ll be looking at any moment from both seasons of “True Detective” that leave us breathless, get us tightly-wound in anticipation, or leave us questioning our own identity or outlook on the world. Warning: spoilers will follow.
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When every scene is a top moment, it’s hard to pick just ten. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 True Detective Moments.

For this list, we’ll be looking at any moment from both seasons of “True Detective” that leave us breathless, get us tightly-wound in anticipation, or leave us questioning our own identity or outlook on the world. Warning: spoilers will follow.

#10: Arriving at Reggie’s “The Locked Room”


While the show does revolve around a couple of detectives trying to catch a criminal, it’s more about the relationship between the partners. However, after three episodes, it’s hard to contain our excitement when we finally do have a suspect; Reginald Ledoux. The tatted-up, underwear-wearing, machete-wielding, gas mask-on figure is an interesting sight to behold, to say the least, but the slow-mo with the ominous and dark ambient music in the background just sends chills down our spines. Knowing what our prime suspect is capable of, we know there’s trouble in store for Rust and Marty.

#9: Bird Head Assailant “Night Finds You”


“True Detective” is full of highlights, and season 2’s came much quicker than 1’s. While Ray Velcoro is blown away physically, we were blown away mentally, and it was only the second episode. Come on, guys! Love them or hate them, cliffhangers do one thing well, and that’s make you want to know what happens next. The striking image of a man wearing a bird mask, blasting our protagonist is true “True Detective” intrigue. We suspected that something suspicious was up, what with supposedly killing off one of the main characters, but our answers came pretty much straight after in the next episode.


#8: Cohle’s Philosophical Outlook “The Long Bright Dark”


It didn’t take long for Marty to get an idea of who exactly his new partner was. Pessimistic, cynical, and all around mysterious, Rust didn’t offer much comfort in Marty’s company. His philosophical outlook may ring a little too true for some viewers, while being as far away from the truth for others. Whether you agree with him or not, it’s hard to completely disparage him. He has a certain charisma and charm about his deliveries. Whether you’re enamored, or turned off like Marty is, it’s hard to ignore him.




#7: The Shootout “Down Will Come”


Visceral, raw, and violent are just some of the words used to describe this intense shootout. It was unlike anything we’d ever seen in the show. Bullets fly and bodies drop. Every second ramps up the collateral damage, as well as the inevitable PTSD associated with it that the characters will have to deal with. Seeing how they realistically and visibly cope with the sudden loss of lives and immense danger has us almost feeling the same way, and we’re lucky we’re just sitting on the couch.


#6: Staging the Scene “The Secret Fate of All Life”


At the end of episode three, we got a taste of what was to come, but episode five was when things really took off with our prime suspect, Reggie Ledoux. We knew it probably wasn’t our man, being only halfway through the season, but what transpired really brought the two detectives closer to one another. Framing the altercation to make it seem like Reggie and co. launched the first attack, Rust and Marty have to be on the same page when describing the events. Executing an unarmed and captive suspect would have to have some justification, in whatever fashion.

#5: Escaping the Mansion “Church in Ruins”


While the shootout was gritty and raw, this magnetic scene was at the other end of the spectrum, surreal and highly stylized, Ani has to extract her missing girl from the orgiastic party. With an unknown substance in her system and many human obstacles in the way, her trek through space has us drawn to the screen. Her knife skills come into play when opposed by an attacking guard, and the rising crescendo of music has us wondering if she’s ever going to make it out before her body succumbs to whatever she had to ingest.




#4: Tuttle’s Videotape “After You’ve Gone”


The tone of the whole show has a haunting, ominous aura to it all; a feeling of dread and despair at what may be uncovered around the next corner. We get a peek into what Rust finds hidden in Tuttle’s home; a videotape. On the video, however, is left to our imaginations. What is most likely a ritual murder and assault has the viewers wish they could take a swig of whatever Marty was drinking. The tape gives us insight into how deep the darkness goes, and how involved it is, with multiple assailants. We don't blame Marty for not wanting to watch it all.



#3: Showdown with Errol “Form and Void”


With a case spanning such a long time, it’s safe to say the amount of anticipation during the final confrontation with our perp had our hands on our heads. A tall, imposing figure, Errol’s brutality and intimidating physical force are complemented by a psychotic mind, and those elements work together to prove a serious match for our two detectives. We finally step into Carcosa and witness the darkness first-hand. We’re as unprepared as the detectives are when they confront Errol, and Rust just has to have one of his hallucinations at this moment, doesn’t he?




#2: The Light’s Winning “Form and Void”


Man, we gotta say, after eight full episodes of a hardened Rust Cohle, seemingly numb to the horrors of life after what he’s experienced, seeming him vulnerable really makes us choke up. Any semblance of peace and love he had was with his family, and drifting off to an endless sleep almost reunited him with his daughter . . . only he wakes up instead. It’s a powerful moment that has the audience almost wishing he didn’t make it, just so he could be at peace; but Marty delivers a powerful line that gives us, and Rust, hope for happiness in the future.

#1: The Six-Minute Tracking Shot “Who Goes There"


Cary Fukunaga hit it out of the park with this masterpiece. This is the shot that everyone is still talking about. What cemented “True Detective” as a technical and stylistic wonder was this six-minute, uncut, tracking shot of Rust extracting Ginger from a neighborhood of people who want them both dead. The subtle pans between unfolding violence and the rising urgency of escape simply immerse us in multiple waves of dread and excitement. The ability to master the scene without cutting required tremendous effort and concentration from the whole cast and crew, and when the scene does cut, we realized what had happened, and were, and are, left breathless.
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