The Secret of True Detective’s Morphing Opener has been Revealed


The second season of True Detective is over, and so it’s just about time to look back on it and see what juicy details we can glean. One of the early mysteries of the season had nothing whatsoever to do with the plot; it had to do with the opening. And we can officially consider that particular mystery closed, thanks to a recent interview with Nic Pizzolatto at HBO Connect.

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Early on we noticed that the opening credits for True Detective were changing. It wouldn’t happen every episode, but every so often the opener would end on a different line of Leonard Cohen’s “Never Mind.” The reason for this is surprisingly simple: Pizzolatto just really dug that song. He explains:

"“…because of our admiration for how evocative Leonard Cohen’s lyrics are, and how much they spoke to the overriding character and themes of the show. The ‘theme song version’ leaves out about 85% of Mr. Cohen’s words, so it was a nice way to let the song and its sentiments expand and change and offer another layer to the total vision.”"

True Detective may actually be unique in this. Just about every other show in existence uses the same opener, or perhaps one that changes between seasons or over time if the show is long-running. The strangeness of having an opening song that changed slightly between episodes added to True Detective’s sense of dark mystery. To get this done, Pizzolatto says that T. Bone Burnett “was able to mix multiple versions of the song.” It’s almost genius, really.

We — and many other fans — really liked Cohen for the opener, but there were apparently plenty of other fans out there that didn’t. You can watch the opening again below, just for old time’s sake.

Next: Poll Results: Is True Detective season two hard to follow?

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