Critics Have Seen HBO’s True Detective: Night Country, Why They’re Comparing Jodie Foster’s Debut To Matthew McConaughey’s Season

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson were an instant hit with fans when True Detective premiered on HBO in 2014, and exactly one decade later, Jodie Foster and Kali Reis will follow in their footsteps, with the newest installment, True Detective: Night Country, featuring another crime story whose trailer promises disturbing violence and undertones of horror.

Critics had the chance to screen the six-episode fourth season ahead of its January 14 premiere, and while this is the first season without Nic Pizzolatto running the ship, Issa López’s project is drawing favorable comparisons to the series’ first season.

Jodie Foster stars in True Detective: Night Country alongside professional boxer-turned-actress Kali Reis, John Hawkes, Christopher Eccleston, Fiona Shaw and Isabella Star LaBlanc. Season 4 of the anthology — whose first three seasons are available to stream with a Max subscription — takes place in the fictional town of Ennis, Alaska, and follows the investigation behind the disappearance of eight men from a research station. Caryn James of the BBC rates it a perfect 5 stars, writing:

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Night Country has the DNA of the original, with Liz [Foster] and Navarro [Reis] echoing the fraught-but-tight relationship between the detectives who Harrelson and McConaughey played, and with the first season’s supernatural tinge.

Not only is Season 4 the first without Nic Pizzolatto, but it’s also the first to feature two women in the leading roles, and Daniel Fienberg of THR describes the new season as “refreshing and frequently potent.” However, he points out that it may see some of the same criticism as the first season and its Yellow King revelation. Fienberg continues:

Carly Lane of Collider rates the series 9 out of 10, saying that Issa López silences any doubters from the very first episode, and that Jodie Foster and Kali Reis breathe life into the chilling thriller that fits right into the True Detective franchise. In the critic’s words:

In retrospect, True Detective is the type of franchise that only benefits from the inclusion of more creatives. While Pizzolatto did redeem the series in its third installment, the increased gap between seasons made it difficult to sustain excitement. On a greater level, sometimes having one person solely responsible for churning out new stories doesn’t always lead to the greatest result. Night Country is a breath of fresh air, not simply because it injects the series with new perspectives but also because of its willingness to highlight people who are so often shoved to the margins.

Patrick Cavanaugh of says the showrunner brings the series back to its unsettling roots by delivering her own twisted and terrifying story, rather than attempting to replicate what made True Detective’s debut season such a success. Cavanaugh rates Night Country 4 out of 5, writing:

True Detective fans who felt disappointed by the previous two seasons will appreciate the overall premise of Night Country and its more straightforward investigation into a gruesome crime, which is anchored by talented performers bringing to life tremendously flawed figures who still feel compelled to do what’s right. Those fans who felt mostly drawn to the implication of supernatural forces in Season 1 will also feel satisfied by how Night Country leans even further into those elements, cementing this story firmly in the world of horror.

Meghan O’Keefe of Decider says Season 4 hits the same notes as its predecessors with its tortured detectives, gnarly murder mystery and hints of occult. Everything you love about True Detective is back, O’Keefe says, despite the slight change in tone. The critic continues:

True Detective: Night Country doesn’t ever quite hit the smarmy noir notes Pizzolatto’s seasons were known for, but it’s crisp, chilling fun. Foster is fantastic, Reis a revelation, and López an auteur on the rise. It’s a dark and twisty thriller that’s perfect for these cold winter Sunday nights and even better for dissecting Monday morning with friends.

It sounds like True Detective: Night Country should be a hit with fans of Matthew McConnaughey and Woody Harrelson’s first season, so if you’d like to check out Jodie Foster in her first television role in decades, Season 4 will premiere on HBO at 9 p.m. ET Sunday, January 14, and can also be streamed on Max. Be sure to check out our 2024 TV schedule to see what other premieres are coming soon.


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