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True Detective: Maggie's Deal With The "Devil"

Did Maggie sell her soul to the Yellow King?

I feel there is so much more to Maggie than meets the eye. Could she, in fact, be the key to solving the Yellow King mystery? Let’s analyze (and speculate) a bit:

Maggie makes her first extended appearance at home, sharing a family dinner with Cohle. Maggie insisted Marty invite his partner to dinner. She was warm, caring and asked a lot of questions, learning that Rust had lost his baby daughter. She seemed to be the good wife, the innocent one. It certainly did not sit well that Hart was cheating on her while she took care of the home and kids in his absence.

Maggie gets Cohle to open up and he eventually falls in love with her. But Marty is short tempered, and when he comes home to find Cohle in the kitchen with his wife after mowing his lawn, he can barely contain his anger. Maggie does not seem shaken in the least, even with Hart's dripping sarcasm about Cohle staying for dinner.

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Next, Maggie was not devastated by Audrey’s knowledge about sex. Audrey had positioned five male dolls around a lone female doll and was caught at school with sexual drawings of men with large penises. When asked how a little girl could know so much about sex she replied, “because they have to.”

What mother so casually accepts sexually graphic drawings from her young daughter? Someone who knows and understands the signs of sexual abuse, that's who. Maggie was abused as a child just like her daughter—and by the same man—her father and Audrey's grandfather. (Read more here: Is Maggie's Father The Yellow King?).

Maggie chose to seduce Cohle of all people, but why? Supposedly to get even with Hart's infidelity and ensure a divorce BUT she had already kicked him out once. At this point we should add "cunning" to the terms that describe Maggie. Seducing Cohle, guaranteed a certain divorce, but, it was the ultimate betrayal to both Hart and Cohle, who both loved her.

But what if the divorce was only a secondary part of her plan? What if breaking up the partnership was the real reason for the seduction? Clearly when they worked together the partners were a powerful team, and Cohle knew that Reggie Ledoux was merely a pawn in the big picture. Maggie's infidelity not only broke up the partners, but Cohle quit and moved to Alaska. If she was trying to end the investigation into the Yellow King, then she succeeded for ten years.

When Maggie is visited by Hart, she is doing well. With a huge rock on her finger and a beautiful, spacious home, she has moved up in the world. She comes from money and now has apparently married into even more money. (Interesting we have yet to meet her new husband).

But Maggie, who hasn't seen her ex in two years, is concerned by the reuniting of the former partners and tries her best to gather information. After Hart refuses to cue her, Maggie drives way out to the dive bar where Cohle works in order to get some answers.

Look carefully at her meeting with Hart and then Cohle. Her expressions are telling. She is looking hard into what they are up to. And when Hart tells Maggie that Cohle didn’t do what Papania and Guilbeau accused him of, Maggie replies, “I didn't think he did”, because she knows it was not him and knows exactly who is involved.

Remember, it is suspected that there is a cult of rich and powerful men committing these ritualistic murders. Lawnmower man with the scars is definitely involved, but he’s clearly just a pawn for the rich men who run the show—the Tuttles certainly, the Iberia sheriff and, as I discussed previously, Maggie’s dad all play a role.

So what if Maggie was involved from an early age by her father? When she had her own children, Audrey was also subjected to the same fate. Could Maggie have made a deal, to save Audrey’s life—allowing her to be used but not killed, and thus totally spare Maisie? This would be any mother’s worst nightmare and a true deal with the devil that she would protect at all cost.

Hart told Cohle "Father time has his way with us all. Looks like you must have pissed him off", but actually, both men's lives have been shattered by the case and by Maggie. They both lost their jobs and families. Cohle became a drunk and we see Hart at home alone, eating a TV dinner while searching Match.com on his computer.

"I won't avert my eyes. Not again", Cohle told Hart. This time, neither will Hart. They're in it together, and in this case it's powerful, top Louisiana men they're after. It turns out Hart and Cohle are more alike than we ever could have imagined and they are at their formidable best when working together.

Now they're about to settle an old debt, and find the monster at the end of the dream. And unfortunately for each man, the woman they both loved will be involved more than they can bear.

More True Detective analyses:

The Psychology Of Hart And Cohle,

True Detective: A Psychological Analysis,

The Psychology Of Hart And Cohle, Part III,

Is Hart The Yellow King?

Is Maggie's Father The Yellow King? 

True Detective: The Psychologically Disappointing Finale

Dale Archer, M.D., is a clinical psychiatrist and author of The New York Times bestseller, Better Than Normal: How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional.

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