Issa López, a Mexican woman, directed all of the episodes of what I consider to be the most radical True Detective season by far. The other seasons had the series creator, Nic Pizzolatto, as frequent director and writer. He is now famous for marking his disapproval of the direction Season 4 took.


Pizzolatto did not provide any personal commentary on the 'True Detective: Night Country' finale. Instead, he chose to share negative reactions from other people who slammed the new season as 'disrespectful and insulting' and a 'hot mess.' He reposted several fans who were outraged with the finale and its 'lazy, nonsensical' resolutions and claimed that Lopez had 'butchered' his original writing given the connections between 'Night Country' and the first season of 'True Detective.'

What's exactly wrong with the season? It's really radical, in the sense that it places women at the center of its crime, the investigation of that crime, and the crime's revelation. Set in arctic Alaska (performed convincingly by Iceland), True Detective: Night Country has women as its beginning and its end—some of the middle is devoted to soul-broken or soul-searching men. It's also unapologetically political, and, worst of all, its politics are not pro-cop.

The same cannot be said about the other seasons. Those cops are permitted to violently break the law to reestablish the law and bring order to a corner of disorder. This is not the case with Season 4's key detectives, Chief Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster) and Trooper Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis). 

What do the fans of the much-worshiped first season, which starred a grumbling Matthew McConaughey and an excitable Woody Harrelson, really want? One, men; two, white men.

Sure, Season 1 boasts an impressive atmosphere (sunshine noir), but it's all about the kind of problems and social situations that standard American white men can identify with directly. The show makes this aspect obvious when it uses Black officers to interrogate the characters performed by McConaughey and Harrelson to make the point that the white detectives, their intentions, and their commitment to the general good is, by appearance, inscrutable.

Also found in Season 1 is lots of metaphysical mumbo jumbo ("time is a flat circle"—what ever that means). In Season 4, the detective, one of the evil ice scientists, a paleomicrobiologist, repeats this flat circle nonsense, but it's meaning goes no further than an obligatory hat tip. What matters in HBO's Night Country is: American capitalism, its ferocious history, and its deepest crimes, which are not metaphysical but wholly social. 

Let's turn to The Kitchen, a Netflix movie set in a London that's not far in the future. It's also radical, also critical of capitalism, and it presents an urban area that's much like pre-October 7 Gaza City.


Directed by Kibwe Tavares (the architect behind the visually stunning short film Robots of Brixton) and the star of Jordan Peele's Get Out, Daniel Kaluuya, The Kitchen is something like the dub mix of Mike Davis's Planet of Slums and William Gibson's All Tomorrow's Parties. London's poor and working class live in this area, called The Kitchen, because the rest of the city is not only just too expensive but also has an AI that determines who can and who cannot obtain a legal apartment. To begin with, you must have a steady job, no unpaid debts, and no record of trouble. Meeting these basic requirements, however, only places you on a waiting list for a micro-apartment whose synthetic windows have a view of post-Beveridge Report London. 

If you can't get a basic place in the authorized (proper) city, then you are stuck in here, The Kitchen, which is crowded and terrorized by the police and their drones. This is Soweto, Lagos, Dharavi, and, of course, Gaza City. Indeed, the young people throw stones and chunks of concrete at the drones. That's the heart-breaking limit of their power. And there's no question who the oppressor (predominately white) and the oppressed (mostly brown) are.

The most radical element of the movie—and this can be attributed, I believe, to Kibwe Taveares's architectural knowledge—is how a capitalist city under natural (or laissez-faire) conditions produces its "spaces," to borrow but slightly alter a term from 20th century French Marxist urbanist Henri Lefebvre. A city dominated by market rationality—meaning a city without social housing—will produce slums with the same predictability and force as does the "law of gravity... [as it] asserts itself when a house falls about our ears." If The Kitchen is demolished, then its inhabitants will live exactly like the homeless in our city, Seattle.