True Detective: Is Maggie's Father the Yellow King?

Could Maggie's dad be the Yellow King? More "True Detective" analysis.

Posted Mar 01, 2014

The key to understanding “True Detective” lies in understanding the psychology of Maggie’s family. Let’s start with older daughter Audrey.

Early on Hart finds her playing with dolls, posing her male dolls in a circle around a prone, naked female doll -- a clear gang rape re-enactment. Then there are the sexually explicit drawings which got her in trouble at school. Hart asks Maggie how a little girl could possibly know such things. Her response is chilling, "Because they have to." Finally there is Audrey's Goth appearance and promiscuity in her early teen years. But this is not just a young sexual hook up with a boyfriend -- she’s caught naked with two boys.

Then there is the symbolic reference to Audrey's crown (a symbol linked to the yellow king) when she flings it into a tree. This is both a reference for innocence lost and that she is protective, and doesn't want her little sister to wear the crown, thus losing her own innocence.

All of this suggests sexual abuse and if this is true, the question becomes who is the perpetrator? Hart immediately jumps to mind and I discuss, and discount, him here: “Is Hart The Yellow King?” But if it’s not Hart, then it must be Maggie’s father, Audrey’s grandfather.

In the only episode he appears in, he says about present-day kids that they're "All in black, wearing makeup, shit on their faces. Everything's sex." Is he talking about how modern girls behave and think... or is he talking about himself? His rant is so strongly worded and forceful, his anger easily shows, it leaves us wondering why this is such a big deal.

The double murderer (who killed himself in jail after he received a phone call) mentioned there were wealthy and powerful people who did terrible things to kids. Maggie's father is a powerful, wealthy man who I suspect abused Audrey -- and to take it a step further, abused Maggie as well when she was a young girl.

Maggie clearly has a world weary appearance as she ages and her family is the key to the yellow king. Her father’s actions have affected her whole life, from her choice in a husband to raising her children to her hook up with Cohle. She knows more than we think. Note the haunted look as she is interviewed by Papania and Gilbough.

As we wait for Episode 7 (and possibly re-watch the last six), keep in mind Hart's words: "You know the detective's curse? The solution was right under my nose but I was paying attention to the wrong clues."

You can read my other psychological analyses here: The Psychology Of Hart And Cohle, True Detective: A Psychological Analysis, The Psychology Of Hart And Cohle Part III, Is Hart The Yellow King? and True Detective: The Psychologically Disappointing Finale