Henry Mancini, “The Pink Panther Theme”
Look, it’s America’s favorite insulation salesman! Boy oh boy, what I wouldn’t give to hear this played over a detection scene. It needn’t even be bumbling. (Pretty interesting of Peter Sellers to change his name to Steve Martin for this video, huh.)
Elvis Costello, “Watching the Detectives”
This isn’t truly a spoiler, but one scene of True Detective features a skating rink in rural Louisiana, circa 1995, playing “Tired of Waiting for You” by The Kinks, which I can pretty much guarantee has never, ever happened. “Gangsta’s Paradise” would have been a much likelier choice. Maybe they’d like to throw this Elvis Costello number in a dentist’s waiting room. The world of True Detective may be dark, but it sure has hip taste in music.
Thompson Twins, “We Are Detective”
Speculation: True Detective, Season One, Episode Eight. Cohle and Hart, after an exhaustive undercover search in the bayou, finally catch the real killer. “Who are you?” the scraggly culprit asks. “Us? Heh, we are detective, buddy,” replies Cohle. Smiles. Laughs. High five. Freeze frame. Roll credits over the above song.
Discussion questions: What are other songs about detectives? Do female detectives exist? Who is The Yellow King? What is Carcosa? Do you believe True Detective is more “weird fiction,” or does the overall atmosphere lend itself best to the description Southern Gothic? Do you “get” Matthew McConaughey now? (I do.)