Kelly Reilly was Underused in True Detective (Video)


Season two of True Detective got many things both wrong and right. It helped remind viewers that Vince Vaughn could be a dramatic actor, but it also showed us that perhaps Nic Pizzolatto needs an editor. Or maybe just some more self-control. Another thing it didn’t accomplish was to show American audiences how great of an actor Kelly Reilly is.

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And that’s a shame.

Kelly Reilly as Jordan Semyon, Frank’s wife, did a fine job with what she was given. But what she was given wasn’t all that great to begin with. Although Frank and Jordan appear to share no secrets, they rarely ever feel like a close married couple. The illusion that Nic Pizzolatto tries to create of a couple that are all-in together doesn’t pan out due to his under-use and non-development of Jordan.

Part of the problem is that we just about never see Jordan without Frank, so in that sense she’s tied to him. We get no sense of her as an independent character because she experiences no growth. She is his support, but the dialogue between them feels stilted. For example, the scene in the finale when Jordan refuses to leave Frank is supposed to be a heavy, dramatic moment. But it’s not. It feels like a moment out of a romantic-comedy.

This all goes back to the problem of True Detective’s writing. It makes us wonder if Pizzolatto doesn’t really know how to write a strong, independent female character that happens to be in a relationship. Since Ani Bezzerides is mostly unattached, she doesn’t suffer from this issue. True Detective should have been Kelly Reilly’s breakthrough, but the character isn’t built for that, and the writing doesn’t really do her any favors.

For those that may not remember it, you can watch Jordan’s scene with frank below.

Next: True Detective is Star Wars.

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