“True Detective” is an HBO TV series of 8 episodes that takes place in Louisiana. Created by Nic Pizzolatto, it’s a complete story with a real ending, remarkable for its moods and for the interactions between two detective partners. Matthew McConaughey plays Rust Cohle and Woody Harrelson plays Marty Hart. Even before the action begins, the mood is upon us via the haunting theme—a song in a minor key sung in a deep voice reminiscent of McConaughey’s soft, slow, melancholy speaking voice.
Marty and Rust work hard and bravely to catch murderers and predators. Both detectives are lonely, not good at relationships, and struggle with different kinds of inner demons. In the MBTIR system of personality types, Rust is probably an INTP (Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Perceiving), a philosophical loner with an active mind who propounds the meaningless of life. He is non-traditional, curious, and inward and annoys Marty with his abstract thoughts. Though Rust lives a lot in his head, he can also act quickly and efficiently, as he proves in a violent run-in with Aryan bikers and drug dealers. Here are some of his thoughts about life, death and time:
• “Time is a flat circle. Everything we’ve ever done we’ll do over and over and over again.”
• “In the 4th dimension time wouldn’t exist. Eternity is looking down on us.”
• “In eternity there is no time and there is no change. That is the terrible and secret part of all life—you keep waking up in your nightmare.”
• “However illusory our identities are, we craft those identities by making value judgments. Everybody judges all the time. If you have a problem with that you’re living wrong.”
• When an old woman tells Rust death isn’t the end of it, he says she’s wrong.
Rust’s introversion comes in handy; when he interviews prisoners and witnesses he’s able to get inside of them by connecting to their innermost thoughts and feelings. As a result, they tell him more than they had intended to.
Marty is probably an ESFJ (Extraverted, Sensate, Feeling, Judging), the opposite type from Rust. Marty is traditional, fun-loving, lives in the here and now, is confident, and calls himself a people-pleaser. Sensate types like Marty often feel confused or annoyed by intuitive types like Rust. Marty values the positive and likes to crack jokes. At one point he quits drinking and finds religion, which lasts 7 years. Marty is a bit overweight, makes unattractive faces, and indulges in pleasures, women especially. He does some of the things he does, like defending Rust, because it’s the right thing to do, but he’s not always good at controlling his impulses. When he gets angry with his daughter he slaps her and beats up her boyfriend. He doesn’t just want to catch the abusers and murderers—he wants revenge.
Read about Rust’s and Marty’s Enneagram types here on September 16.