The Long Bright Dark was the series premiere of True Detective. It first aired January 12, 2014 on HBO.
Louisiana, 1995. Detectives Martin Hart and Rustin "Rust" Cohle investigate the ritualistic murder of former prostitute Dora Kelly Lange, found with a symbol painted on her back and wearing a "crown" of deer antlers, blindfolded and posed as if praying to a large solitary tree. A twig latticework, like a Cajun bird trap, is found with her body. Cohle is convinced that this is not the killer's first victim, but Hart is skeptical. Their investigation brings up the case of Marie Fontenot, a little girl whose disappearance five years earlier was not investigated. Another report is brought up, of a child who claimed to be chased through the woods by a "green-eared spaghetti monster." Hart invites Cohle over for dinner, unaware that it is Cohle's deceased daughter's birthday. Cohle reluctantly accepts but, losing a battle with alcoholism, turns up drunk. Hart and Cohle follow up on the Fontenot disappearance with a visit to Marie's uncle Danny. In a dilapidated playhouse, Cohle finds another twig latticework.
Seventeen years later, Cohle and Hart are interviewed separately, five days apart, about Dora Kelly Lange by Detectives Thomas Papania and Maynard Gilbough. Hart and Cohle have not spoken in ten years after a falling-out in 2002. Cohle is shown a photograph of another girl whose body has been found posed in similar fashion to Lange. Papania and Gilbough want to know how the killer could have struck again if he was caught in 1995.
- Detective Rustin Cohle Qoutes
Rustin Cohle: I'd consider myself a realist, alright? But in philosophical terms I'm what's called a pessimist... I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware. Nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself - we are creatures that should not exist by natural law... We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self, that accretion of sensory experience and feelings, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody's nobody... I think the honorable thing for our species to do is to deny our programming. Stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction - one last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal.
Rustin Cohle: I know who I am. And after all these years, there's a victory in that. Rustin Cohle: People out here, it's like they don't even know the outside world exists. Might as well be living on the fucking Moon. Martin Hart: There's all kinds of ghettos in the world. Rustin Cohle: It's all one ghetto man, giant gutter in outer space.
Rustin Cohle: We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self. This accretion of sensory experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody when, in fact, everybody's nobody.
- Detective Martin Hart Quotes
Rustin Cohle: People out here, it's like they don't even know the outside world exists. Might as well be living on the fucking Moon. Martin Hart: There's all kinds of ghettos in the world. Rustin Cohle: It's all one ghetto man, giant gutter in outer space.
- Matthew McConaughey as Rust Cohle
- Woody Harrelson as Martin Hart
- Michelle Monaghan as Margaret Hart
- Michael Potts as Maynard Gilbough
- Tory Kittles as Thomas Papania
- Alexandra Daddario as Lisa Tragnetti
- Kevin Dunn as Ken Quesada
- Clarke Peters as Minister
- Jay O. Sanders as Billy Lee Tuttle
- Christopher Berry as Danny Fontenot
- Brad Carter as Charlie Lange
- Joe Chrest as Detective Demma
- Jennifer Dawson as Erath Woman
- JD Evermore as Detective Lutz
- Dana Gourrier as Cathleen
- Charleigh Harmon as Anette
- Michael J. Harney as Steve Geraci
- Davi Jay as Gordon DiCillo
- Jason Kirkpatrick as Deputy
- Anthony Molina as Detective
- Alyshia Ochse as Lucy
- Dane Rhodes as Detective Favre
- Ron Clinton Smith as Sheriff Tate
- Charley Vance as Erath Man
- Wanetah Walmsley as Marie Fontenot
- Madison Wolfe as Audrey Hart
- Meghan Wolfe as Maisie Hart
- Don Yesso as Commander Speece
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