- "Remember what I said about the detective's curse? The solution to my whole life was right under my nose. That woman. Those kids. And I was watching everything else."
- ―Martin Hart
Marty is a gregarious and affable police detective who thinks of himself as a "regular type dude...with a big-ass dick." He was a sports star at USL and was married to Maggie Hart, presumably at a young age. He has two daughters, Audrey and Maisie.
Marty was partnered with Rustin Cohle in 1995. The two worked various cases, mostly revolving around the Yellow King cases together until 2002, when Cohle had sex with Martin's wife. The two had a falling out and wouldn't speak again until 2012.
The two reconnected due to Rust's continuing pursuit of the Yellow King case. The two make their way to Errol Childress, a vile and big part of the case. Rust and Martin pursued Childress and were both wounded, but Rust managed to kill him with a shot to the head.
While healing up at the hospital, Hart breaks down into tears when Maggie and their daughters visit him. After the two healed, they left, with Rust informing Martin of his near-death experiences and him feeling a connection to his dead daughter. Rust received a new faith in life and managed to be optimistic about the future. The two detectives reflect on the universal battle between light and dark.
Marty seems to be experiencing a mid-life crisis during the 1990s and early 2000s. He longs for his glory days, fretting about losing his hair and turning 40, all of which leads to trouble at home. Marty is attracted to younger women and struggles with marital infidelity.
Marty feels his best work attributes are that he is "steady", is able to "manage authority" and "knows how to talk to people". He likes to tell jokes, go out on "date nights" and fraternize with his co-workers. He drinks socially and feels confident he is able to avoid excess.
Over the course of the first season, Marty is revealed to be almost none of these things. He experiences family turmoil and often comes to work hungover and disheveled from wild sex trysts the night before. His commanding officer once called him a "human tampon". The one thing Marty does manage well is the political aspects of work life. He has earned the trust of his commanding officers and respect from his colleagues. Marty is usually tasked as the "lead detective" by his superiors and is often responsible for taking care of the paper work, leading the briefing sessions or speaking to the media. In general, Marty is not an egotistical or ambitious man. He takes pride in being able to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Marty is more conservative than his partner Rustin Cohle and prefers to follow standard procedure when investigating crimes. While he may not always understand Rust's methods, he believes his partner to be a talented detective with a "real mind" for police work and respects his commitment. He will often run interference between Rust and their commanding officer.
After splitting from his wife and Rust Cohle in 2002, Marty would continue to work as a state detective for four more years before leaving to start his own private investigation firm, Hart Investigative Solutions. He cites a particularly heinous crime involving the gruesome murder of a child at the hands of a "tweaker" as a major factor in his decision to retire from the police force. Marty still retains good relations with many of his former colleagues which sometimes enables him access to various case files.
Since 2002 it would appear Marty's personal life has been mostly quiet. He says he's dated a few women but nothing serious. He spends most nights alone, preferring to just go home after work. He doesn't appear to have kept in close contact with his former wife or two daughters.
He's also become more reflective about his choices in life, and is deeply regretful for the harm that he'd caused due to his mistakes. He would later reflect during his interview that his real failure, minus from infidelity, was his inattention to his daughters and understands that he's the reason that a lot of things had gone wrong in his life. He was deeply moved, and tearful when Maggie and his daughters went to see him when he was recovering in the hospital.
Behind the Scenes
- 101. "The Long Bright Dark" (First appearance)
- 102. "Seeing Things"
- 103. "The Locked Room"
- 104. "Who Goes There"
- 105. "The Secret Fate of All Life"
- 106. "Haunted Houses"
- 107. "After You've Gone"
- 108. "Form and Void"
- 307. "The Final Country" (Indirect mention only)