The QT

Friday 14 June 2024

Boxing Clever – True Detective: Night Country

Every week, Michael Telfer – aka Mike TV – will be recommending a box set to crack open. For starters, he’s heralding a creepy return to form for True Detective
  • The fourth series of the popular police drama is well underway
  • Oscar winner Jodie Foster leads the cast
  • First four episodes available on Sky Atlantic and Now TV

Night Country is the fourth season of True Detective, with each telling a separate, self-contained and usually disturbing story.

The enduring success and popularity of the series is largely down to two things; the consistently high quality of the casting and the spectacular virtuosity of the first series, which saw Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson investigating a gruesome set of murders in the blistering heat of Louisiana.

Seasons two and three featured new detectives played by Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell, and Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff respectively, but in the eyes of most critics and viewers they failed to hit the same levels of intensity and intrigue as the original.

Kali Reis as Detective Navarro in True Detective: Night Country

The new season sees Jodie Foster as police chief Danvers reluctantly teaming up with newcomer Kali Reis’ Detective Navarro to determine what happened to a team of scientists who came to a grisly (and chilly) end on the Alaskan ice, apparently dying of either exposure or terror.

We quickly learn that the mystery has a number of similarities with a cold (or colder at least) case that the pair worked together on six years previously, which did not end well.

Foster is brilliant as the exasperating and unrelenting Chief Danvers, whose single-minded and dogged approach has taken a heavy toll on both her career and her family life.

Her partnership with Navarro, a member of the indigenous Inupiaq community in the fictional town of Ennis, is very well constructed and the pair are eminently watchable as they bicker and rub each other up the wrong way.

Earlier seasons hinted at unearthly forces driving the various macabre crimes, but Night Country is far more explicit that something paranormal or otherworldly is taking place in the 24 hour darkness of the Alaskan winter, where reality and sanity are both stretched to breaking.

British actors Fiona Shaw and Christopher Eccleston feature with passable American accents, Shaw as a mysterious recluse who can see dead spirits and Eccleston as Danvers’ long-suffering boss and on-off fling.

Night Country marks a very impressive return to form for the True Detective franchise, and with four out of six episodes now available to watch it’s a perfect time to dive in. Just don’t forget your thermals.

What next?

If you enjoyed True Detective Night Country you should try out the following box sets:

True Detective Season One (Now TV)

The original and still the best season of the award-winning crime drama. Hollywood A-listers McConaughey and Harrelson teaming up for a TV show was a turning point for what viewers could expect on the small screen and the gripping and harrowing storyline is every bit as good as the casting.

Happy Valley (BBC iPlayer)

If you’re looking for another steely and unyielding policewoman to root for, then look no further than Sarah Lancashire’s talismanic Catherine Cawood. There are three seasons of Sally Wainwright’s northern crime drama on the iPlayer and they are all absolutely terrific.

Mare of Easttown (Now TV)

Kate Winslet may not have seemed the obvious choice to play the titular small town cop Mare Sheehan, a woman close to being ground down by personal tragedies and a thankless job, but she is undoubtedly brilliant. The story twists and turns as crime dramas do, but has you gripped all the way to the shocking conclusion.

Royal Northern Sinfonia, founded in 1958 and based at The Glasshouse (formerly Sage Gateshead), is Britain’s only professional chamber orchestra

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