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The Best Seasons of True Detective

Updated April 30, 2020 373 votes 201 voters 15.3k views3 items

List RulesVote on your favorite Season of True Detective.

It's such a great series, so let's rank every season of True Detective from best to worst. Sure, there are only a handful of seasons of the show so far, but the next is sure to come. If you have yet to catch any of the show, you'll find details below on every season of True Detective, an HBO crime drama written by novelist Nic Pizzolatto. Each season of the show delves into a different gruesome murder and features an all new cast that must uncover the mysteries that lead to solving the case. True Detective has become known for its all star cast members such as Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch and Mahershala Ali.

Here, you'll have the chance to vote on the best seasons of True Detective. If you're new to the show, you can use the list to discover which are the best seasons of True Detective (so far) ranked from best to worst by viewers. Be sure to return and cast your own votes once you too have delved into the mystery and mayhem. 

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  • 1

    True Detective - Season 1

    True Detective - Season 1
    Photo: amazon.com

    The first season of True Detective premiered on January 12, 2014, and contains eight episodes. This season revolves around a pair of homicide detectives named Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) and Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey), who delve into the case of a deranged ritualistic serial killer whose crimes they first encountered 17 ago. 

    This season contains several unforgettable episodes including: "Seeing Things," "The Locked Room," and "The Secret Fate of All Life."

    Memorable moments from Season 1 include:

    • Rust and Marty are summoned to the scene of a gruesome murder in which a slain young woman is posed wearing deer antlers amid strange symbols.
    • The investigation leads the detectives to a biker gang which Rust worked an undercover investigation with in the past.
    • Rust and Marty finally encounter the chilling murderer who has haunted them for nearly two decades. 
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    • 2

      True Detective - Season 3

      True Detective - Season 3
      Photo: user uploaded image

      The third season of True Detective premiered on January 13, 2019, and contains eight episodes. This season follows detectives Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali) and Roland West (Stephen Dorff), across three time periods, as they investigate the disappearance of two children.

      This season contains several unforgettable episodes including: "The Great War and Modern Memory," "The Hour and the Day," and "Now Am Found."

      Memorable moments from Season 3 include:

      • Will and Julie Purcell disappear in 1980.
      • In 1990, West and Hays revisit the case.
      • Hays has dementia in 2015.
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      • 3

        True Detective - Season 2

        True Detective - Season 2
        Photo: amazon.com

        The second season of True Detective premiered on June 21, 2015, and contains eight episodes. This season finds three law enforcement officers, detective Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell),  Sheriff Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams), and California Highway Patrol Officer Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) teaming up to solve the murder of California politician Ben Caspere.

        This season contains several unforgettable episodes including: "The Western Book of the Dead," "Night Finds You," and "Black Maps and Motel Rooms."

        Memorable moments from Season 2 include:

        • Frank desperately tries to keep his business dealings in play, even after Caspere's death. 
        • With the help of Ray and Paul, Ani infiltrates an exclusive inner circle that may have ties to the case. 
        • The closer Ani, Paul, and Ray get to uncovering the truth, it becomes apparent that there is far more danger, betrayal, and conspiracy at play than they could have anticipated.
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