‘True Detective: Night Country’ is red-hot Emmys contender

“True Detective” is back with a bang thanks to an electric fourth entry in the franchise from Issa López, who injects the crime series with darkness, humanity, and intrigue.

This fourth edition of the HBO hit follows Jodie Foster as a police chief in the fictional town of Ennis, Alaska. She leads an investigation into the disappearance of eight men from a research station. Seasons two and three of “True Detective” weren’t received as rapturously as the first season, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, but numerous critics have proclaimed that this fourth entry is as good if not better than season one.

Katie Rife (IGN) opined: “‘True Detective: Night Country’ is the best season of the series since the original. The horror sequences are especially good, and creator Issa López thoughtfully engages with the Alaska location without sacrificing the intrigue of a good detective story.”

Brian Tallerico (Roger Ebert) explained: “A mesmerizing study of murder, misogyny, racism, cycles of abuse, and possibly something out of H.P. Lovecraft, ‘Night Country’ will rattle you.”

Peter Travers (ABC News) observed: “Prepare to be wowed by season 4 of the crime series when Jodie Foster and Kali Reis take charge as Alaska cops mushing through polar winter to catch a killer. The darkness can be dreary, but stay for the shivery suspense fueled by untamed female energy.”

Kelly Lawler (USA Today) stated: “As helmed by a new auteur, writer/director Issa López, ‘Night Country’ is as excellent as, and perhaps transcends, that striking first season a decade ago.”

David Bianculli (NPR) wrote: “‘True Detective: Night Country’ is the best entry in this anthology series since the original — and this time, as with the first time, it’s the direction and the mood as well as the acting and writing.”

The Rotten Tomatoes scores back up their claims, too. Season one scored 92%, season two disappointed with a score of 47%, while season three achieved a respectable 84%. Season four matched the first season’s score, also coming in at 92%. That is a great grade and proves the show has the critics’ support. That could be the bedrock of an Emmys campaign for Best Limited Series.

Indeed, the fact that it is on the same level as season one is a good sign. Season one was nominated for 12 Emmys overall including Best Limited Series and a Best Limited Series Actor bid each for McConaughey and Harrelson. Even the maligned season two snagged one nomination (for sound mixing), while season three received nine nominations. Voters love this show and will cite it whenever they can. Now that the show has returned to its former qualities, we fully expect it to return to the Emmys in glory.

Plus, a Best Limited Series bid just makes sense when you think of how many other nominations it’ll likely get. Foster is set for a Best TV Movie/Limited Series Actress nomination while Reis, Fiona Shaw, and John Hawkes could all get the nod. The show could also be nominated for writing and directing as well as plenty of below-the-line nominations such as cinematography, editing, and sound, too. If the series gets all of those nominations, a Best Limited Series bid is a no-brainer.

Crime series do well in this category, with shows such as “Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” “Mare of Easttown,” “Unbelievable,” “When They See Us,” “Escape at Dannemora,” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” all earning Best Limited Series nominations.

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