"You wonder, ever, if you're a bad man?" asks Woody Harrelson in the first full-length trailer for HBO's upcoming crime series True Detective. "World needs bad men," responds his partner, played by Matthew McConaughey. "We keep the other bad men from the door."
It's a statement that, at once, sums up TV's ongoing obsession with antiheroes, and the biggest marketing problem True Detective will face: Do we really need another crime drama centered on a grim, morally dubious protagonist? With a would-be prestige show like AMC's Low Winter Sun limping through its freshman season, this might seem like a bad time to get back into the cop show business — but HBO pulled the trigger on an eight-episode first season for True Detective anyway.
Fortunately, the True Detective trailer seems to promise something truly different from your standard crime drama. This extended glimpse at the upcoming series is heavy on mood and light on story; it's not even entirely clear what crime the two detectives are investigating (though an HBO press release reveals that the show follows the duo as they spend many, many years hunting for a Louisiana serial killer).
McConaughey and Harrelson are two fantastic actors, and it should be thrilling to see what they can do in a project of this length and scope. Police dramas have been feeling awfully tired lately — so let's hope True Detective turns out to be the shot in the arm the genre needs when it premieres in January.