True Detective season 4

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

True Detective: Night Country
Season 4
Promotional poster
ShowrunnerIssa López
Starring
No. of episodes6
Release
Original networkHBO
Original releaseJanuary 14 (2024-01-14) –
February 18, 2024 (2024-02-18)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 3
List of episodes

True Detective: Night Country is the fourth season of True Detective, an American anthology crime drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto, which premiered on January 14, 2024, on HBO. The season is set in the fictional town of Ennis, Alaska, and follows the investigation behind the disappearance of eight men from a research station. The season stars Jodie Foster and Kali Reis as Detectives Liz Danvers and Evangeline Navarro. It is the first season to carry a subtitle.

Night Country was created by Issa López, who serves as showrunner, writer, and director. It is the first season without the involvement of Pizzolatto; however, he is still credited as an executive producer.[1]

Production

[edit]

Development

[edit]
Issa López, showrunner for True Detective: Night Country

Initially, Nic Pizzolatto was directly involved in a fourth season of True Detective, but ultimately Issa López would be selected as showrunner, writing and directing the whole season. Pizzolatto would remain as an executive producer, marking his first season without a writing credit.[2]

Before the release of the third season, Pizzolatto explained that he had a "really, really wild" idea for a potential fourth season.[3] After the season finished airing, he explained that he decided to drop his idea, intending to use a new idea after discussing with an unnamed actor about the project.[4] In July 2019, Casey Bloys, HBO president of programming, explained that "If Nic has an idea that he is excited about, we will talk about it but not rushing into anything."[5]

In January 2020, Pizzolatto signed an overall production deal with Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions, putting into question his involvement in a potential fourth season.[6] By the next year, HBO began exploring ideas for a fourth season with other writers, including Lucía Puenzo and Sam Levinson.[7] Bloys later said, "There's something in the True Detective area, there's things we're feeling good about. I would say stay tuned on that one."[8]

In March 2022, HBO announced that a fourth season entered into development, which would carry a subtitle, Night Country, a first for the series. López would write and direct, and also executive produce the season alongside Barry Jenkins, Adele Romanski and Mark Ceryak.[9] In June 2022, HBO officially greenlit the season, with López serving as showrunner.

When preparing season 4, subtitled Night Country, director and writer Issa López chose to create a "dark mirror" of the first season: "Where True Detective is male and it's sweaty, Night Country is cold and it's dark and it's female."[10] In an interview with The A.V. Club, López credited John Carpenter's The Thing, the Overlook Hotel from The Shining, and the spacecraft Nostromo from Alien as inspiration. She said (to HBO), "Guys, me being who I am, I'm going to tap into that and go for it," referring to the supernatural elements of True Detective's first season, which has Carcosa and the Yellow King.[11] López has also cited the Dyatlov Pass incident and Mary Celeste as inspirations for the season.[12]

Another inspiration was Billie Eilish's 2019 song "Bury a Friend", which López described as "such a dark, moody, fun, sinister little song that I thought it could absolutely work." It was used to score Night Country's title sequence. López started to listen to Eilish during the COVID-19 lockdown, when she wrote the season, and noticed how similar in theme "Bury a Friend"'s lyrics were. In a 2019 interview, Eilish said she wrote the song from the perspective of the monster under the bed.[13] López was recorded to say "It's perfectly possible that the events of the show happened because I was listening to Billie."[14][15]

Casting

[edit]

In May 2022, Jodie Foster was confirmed to star in the season, marking her first adult TV role and her first starring role in a TV series since 1975.[16] Foster described her character, chief Danvers, as awful; an "Alaska Karen".[17]

In June 2022, it was reported that Kali Reis would join Foster as co-lead, in a role originally conceived as Latina[18][10] and as a "hardass" military veteran.[19]

In September 2022, it was reported that John Hawkes, Christopher Eccleston, Fiona Shaw, Finn Bennett, and Anna Lambe would also appear in the season.[20] In October 2022, Aka Niviâna, Isabella Star LaBlanc and Joel D. Montgrand joined the season.[21] Eccleston stated, "I'd never have taken such a small part if it wasn't for Jodie. [A]ll my scenes are with her, and she's been a heroine of mine for many years."[22]

Filming

[edit]

The season was filmed in Iceland and Alaska with a budget of $60 million.[23][24] Filming began in November 2022 and wrapped in April 2023.[25][26] The conditions included nighttime shoots at −23 °C (−9 °F), with director López commenting, "I'm Mexican, so I'm really not fond of the cold." She said that viewers would find the environment authentic "because we were there, because the actors were cold, because the filmmakers were cold".[11]

Cast

[edit]

Main cast

[edit]
Jodie Foster and Kali Reis, who play the lead detectives

Recurring cast

[edit]

Episodes

[edit]
No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions) [27]
251"Part 1"Issa LópezIssa LópezJanuary 14, 2024 (2024-01-14)0.565
In the remote town of Ennis, Alaska, the eight scientists working at the Tsalal Research Station disappear, with a woman's severed tongue left at the scene. Local police Chief Liz Danvers deduces that the tongue belonged to an Indigenous woman. Alaskan Native trooper Evangeline Navarro believes the victim to be Annie Kowtok, an Iñupiaq woman who was stabbed to death and her tongue cut out after protesting against the construction of a local mine; the case remains unsolved after six years, which Navarro blames on Danvers. Danvers uncovers photographic evidence of a relationship between Annie and Raymond Clark, one of the missing researchers, and returns to Tsalal, where she finds Navarro also inspecting the facility. The two argue over Annie's case until they are summoned to a frozen lake. Rose Aguineau, a woman living on the edge of town, has discovered the naked bodies of the researchers, frozen in a solid mass, with their clothes carefully folded on the snow.
262"Part 2"Issa LópezIssa LópezJanuary 21, 2024 (2024-01-21)0.678
As authorities check on the corpses, Danvers discovers that the bodies have strange injuries, with burnt eyes, self-inflicted bite marks and ruptured ear drums. She also notices a spiral symbol on one victim's forehead but does not understand what it means. Danvers is suspicious as her superior Ted Connolly seems to want to hurry to close the case without a proper investigation. As they try to remove the bodies from the ice, one of the officers accidentally breaks a victim's arm off at the elbow. To the group's shock, the victim is still alive and screams in pain. They realize that Raymond Clark is not among the frozen corpses.
273"Part 3"Issa LópezStory by : Issa López
Teleplay by : Issa López and Alan Page Arriaga
January 28, 2024 (2024-01-28)0.602
The frozen scientist dies without providing helpful information. While incompetent Deputy Hank Prior leads the search for Clark, his earnest son Deputy Peter Prior asks his mentor Chief Danvers about the murder-suicide case that drove a wedge between her and Navarro. Navarro and Danvers seek out a local hairdresser for insight on Annie -- which leads to a tip. Navarro's relationships with her on-again, off-again boyfriend and her beloved schizophrenic sister Julia are explored.
284"Part 4"Issa LópezNamsi Khan and Chris Mundy and Issa LópezFebruary 4, 2024 (2024-02-04)0.722
When Julia's mental health struggles worsen, Navarro brings her to a local facility, promising that this time will be better. Plagued by terrifying visions of the dead, Julia walks out into the ocean and commits suicide. Later, Navarro has visions of her sister which she cannot distinguish from reality. Danvers and Navarro confirm the location of Annie's murder. Danvers struggles in her relationship with her Iñupiaq stepdaughter Leah, who wants to explore her Native heritage, despite Danvers' disapproval. Peter Prior's relationships with his father and young wife Kayla are severely strained as he knows Hank is corrupt and he has little time to spend at home, leaving his wife alone with their baby.
295"Part 5"Issa LópezKatrina Albright & Wenonah Wilms and Chris Mundy & Issa LópezFebruary 9, 2024 (2024-02-09) (online)
February 11, 2024 (2024-02-11) (HBO)
0.371
As Peter digs into the links between Tsalal and mining company Silver Sky, Navarro rescues Leah from a local protest that has turned violent. At a meeting with Silver Sky executives Kate McKitterick and Ted Connolly, Danvers is warned not to pursue the case any further. Danvers' suspicions about her supervisor are confirmed, so she brings a potential witness, Otis Heiss, to her home to keep him away from Connolly. Hank is sent to murder Heiss and turns his gun on Danvers but Peter shoots his father before he can murder Danvers too. Peter is left behind to conceal the killings while Danvers and Navarro rush to find ice caves that hold evidence of Annie's murder.
306"Part 6"Issa LópezIssa LópezFebruary 18, 2024 (2024-02-18)0.983
Danvers and Navarro find a hidden underground lab where Annie was murdered, connected by tunnels to the Tsalal scientific facility. They capture missing scientist Raymond Clark, Annie's former lover. Clark confesses Annie discovered the facility's bogus pollution data and their potentially world-changing secret research. All the other scientists took part in stabbing Annie, but it was Clark who finally smothered her to death. He claims they didn't cut out Annie's tongue, suggesting Deputy Hank did, but Clark commits suicide before he can provide more evidence. Peter receives support from Kayla and disposes of Hank's body with Rose's help, who warns him of lingering grief. Danvers falls through ice into the ocean below, but Navarro saves her, each woman having a vision, Danvers of her long-lost son and Navarro of her dead mother. Danvers and Navarro find evidence linking a Tsalal cleaning lady and Indigenous women workers from the local crab factory to the researchers' attack. The women admit that they discovered the secret lab and avenged Annie's killing by forcing the researchers out into the cold, believing Annie's spirit punished them. Danvers and Navarro close the case, citing natural causes for the researchers' deaths. Danvers leaks a video left to her by Navarro in which Clark exposes the Silver Sky mine's pollution, leading to its closure. Danvers is questioned about Otis Heiss's murder, with Hank as the prime suspect. When they ask her about Navarro's whereabouts, Danvers claims she has no idea where she is. Before closing the case, Navarro had promised Danvers to return but the ending does not confirm if she has returned as a spirit or in mortal form.

Release

[edit]

A first look was unveiled in December 2022 during an HBO sizzle reel.[28] In April 2023, the first trailer for the season was released.[29]

The fourth season premiered on January 14, 2024. It was originally intended to premiere in 2023.[30]

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, it premiered on Sky Atlantic on January 15, 2024.[31][32]

Reception

[edit]

Critical response

[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has an approval rating of 92% based on 206 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Frighteningly atmospheric and anchored by Jodie Foster and Kali Reis' superb performances, Night Country is a fresh and frosty variation on True Detective's existential themes."[33] On Metacritic, the season has a weighted average score of 81 out of 100 based on 47 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[34]

David Bianculli of NPR deemed Night Country the best entry of True Detective since season one, comparing its focus on the direction, mood, acting and writing.[35] USA Today's Kelly Lawler agreed, saying it is "as excellent as, and perhaps transcends, that striking first season a decade ago."[36] Caryn James wrote for the BBC that Lopez "created a fierce, absorbing, richly imagined new show of her own."[37] In the Slant Magazine review, Ross McIndoe sums up: "Like the best seasons of True Detective, Night Country thrives on its ability to exist as both a brisk, thrilling genre piece and a weighty, philosophical drama."[38]

Inkoo Kang writing for The New Yorker considers the season to be "a feminist revision of a series best known for its macho poetry and its ogling eye" and that López "transforms True Detective from a lot of mystical mumbling into a show with something to say".[39] Alison Herman of Variety wrote that Lopez's take on the anthology series invigorated the "hardened female cop in a blue-collar community" archetype by placing it in a new context.[40] Kristen Baldwin of Entertainment Weekly praised Foster's performance for eschewing cliché and rendering a "mesmerizing and often-hilarious antihero."[41]

Adam Graham of The Detroit News commended Foster's "full detective mode" performance and the contrast offered by Reis but wrote, "Some of its supernatural underpinnings lead to dead ends and López is sometimes at odds with herself over the direction of her storytelling."[42] CNN's Brian Lowry similarly felt the performances and chemistry between Foster and Reis worked "reasonably well", but criticized the slow pacing as the season's ultimate failure.[43]

Mike Hale of The New York Times was less enthusiastic: "The mystery steadily dissolves into preposterousness, the characters sink into incoherence, and the horror isn't original or evocative enough to carry things on its own."[44] Dylan Roth of Observer.com wrote, "While Night Country offers plenty of intrigue on the macro level, the individual characters and relationships are more grim than they are engaging. Everyone has texture, but no one has chemistry."[45] Nina Metz of the Chicago Tribune believed the "blunt" traits of the leads were ultimately "stand-ins for character development".[46]

Nic Pizzolatto received attention for his unfiltered criticism of the fourth season where he called its connections to earlier seasons "so stupid" and wrote "can't blame me" for its perceived weaknesses. He later deleted his comments after getting backlash from fans, but after the finale of the season doubled down on his criticisms by sharing several negative opinions of other users of social media. This prompted Paul MacInnes writing for The Guardian to describe it as "Nic Pizzolatto throwing a tantrum over his own show," while Vulture writer Roxana Hadadi noted how season 4's reception by critics compares favorably to Pizzolatto's own seasons 2 and 3.[47][48] Responding to Pizzolatto's negative comments, showrunner López stated:

"I wrote this with profound love for the work he made and love for the people that loved it. And it is a reinvention, and it is different, and it's done with the idea of sitting down around the fire, and [let's] have some fun and have some feelings and have some thoughts. And anybody that wants to join is welcome."[48][49]

Accolades

[edit]
Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Astra TV Awards Best Limited Series True Detective: Night Country Pending [50]
Best Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie Jodie Foster Pending
Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie Finn Bennett Pending
Christopher Eccleston Pending
Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie Kali Reis Pending
Best Directing in a Limited Series or TV Movie Issa López Pending
Best Writing in a Limited Series or TV Movie Pending
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series Issa López, Mari Jo Winkler-Ioffreda, Jodie Foster, Barry Jenkins,
Adele Romanski, Mark Ceryak, Chris Mundy, Nic Pizzolatto,
Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Steve Golin,
Richard Brown, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Alan Page Arriaga,
Princess Daazhraii Johnson, Cathy Tagnak Rexford,
Layla Blackman, and Sam Breckman
Pending [51]
[52]
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Jodie Foster Pending
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie John Hawkes Pending
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Kali Reis Pending
Outstanding Directing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Issa López Pending
Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Issa López (for "Part 6") Pending
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Casting for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Francine Maisler, Deborah Schildt, and Alda B. Gudjónsdóttir Pending
Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Florian Hoffmeister (for "Part 6") Pending
Outstanding Contemporary Costumes for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Alex Bovaird, Linda Gardar, Rebekka Jónsdóttir, Tina Ulee,
Giulia Moschioni, and Brian Sprouse (for "Part 5")
Pending
Outstanding Contemporary Makeup (Non-Prosthetic) Peter Swords King, Natalie Abizadeh, Kerry Skelton,
Flóra Karítas Buenaño, and Hafdís Pálsdóttir (for "Part 5")
Pending
Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup Dave Elsey, Lou Elsey, and Brian Kinney (for "Part 3") Pending
Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics "No Use" (for "Part 5")
Music and Lyrics by John Hawkes
Pending
Outstanding Music Supervision Susan Jacobs (for "Part 4") Pending
Outstanding Picture Editing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Matt Chessé (for "Part 4") Pending
Brenna Rangott (for "Part 6") Pending
Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program
(One Hour or More)
Daniel Taylor, Jo Riddell, and Charlotte Dirickx Pending
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited or Anthology Series, Movie or Special Martín Hernández, Stephen Griffiths, Tom Jenkins, Michele Woods,
Andy Shelley, Jake Fielding, Stuart Bagshaw, Barnaby Smyth,
Rebecca Glover, and Ben Smithers (for "Part 6")
Pending
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie Howard Bargroff, Mark Timms, Skúli Helgi Sigurgíslason, and
Keith Partridge (for "Part 6")
Pending
Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Single Episode Barney Curnow, Jan Guilfoyle, Eggert "Eddi" Ketilsson,
Simon Stanley-Clamp, Manuel Reyes Halaby, Tiago Faria,
Panos Theodoropoulos, Cale Pugh, and Tim Zaccheo (for "Part 1")
Pending
Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding Achievement in Drama True Detective: Night Country Nominated [53]
Individual Achievement in Drama Jodie Foster Nominated

References

[edit]
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