‘True Detective’ creator Nic Pizzolatto rejects charges of plagiarism

HBO stands tough against controversial allegations

True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto and broadcaster HBO have spoken out against claims of plagiarism levelled at the show.

The main bone of contention appears to be that several of Rust Cohle’s (Matthew McConaughey) lines and some of the chracter’s ideas bear a striking resemblance to the work of horror scribe Thomas Ligotti.

Deadline reports that claims of plagiarism first surfaced in January and that during a week when voting for the Emmy awards is under way (True Detective has 10 nominations including one for Pizzolatto’s screen writing) the debate has reignited with a rumour-fuelled story appearing online suggesting that Pizzolatto copied Ligotti’s work.

Pizzolatto has stridently contested the controversial claim and said:

“Nothing in the television show True Detective was plagiarized. The philosophical thoughts expressed by Rust Cohle do not represent any thought or idea unique to any one author; rather these are the philosophical tenets of a pessimistic, anti-natalist philosophy with an historic tradition including Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, E.M. Cioran, and various other philosophers, all of whom express these ideas.

As an autodidact pessimist, Cohle speaks toward that philosophy with erudition and in his own words. The ideas within this philosophy are certainly not exclusive to any writer.”

Standing tall with Pizzolatto, broadcaster HBO issued this statement:

True Detective is a work of exceptional originality and the story, plot, characters and dialogue are that of Nic Pizzolatto. Philosophical concepts are free for anyone to use, including writers of fiction, and there have been many such examples in the past.

Exploring and engaging with ideas and themes that philosophers and novelists have wrestled with over time is one of the show’s many strengths — we stand by the show, its writing and Nic Pizzolatto entirely.”

True Detective season 2 will hit screens next year with HBO currently in talks with Vince Vaughn to play the show’s antagonist during a week when plot details have been revealed for a second season that may also star Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch and Elisabeth Moss.