Just the Lady Parts is a new TV review series wherein Jezebel reviews just the lady parts.

When True Detective’s truest detective Ani Bezzerides enters the mansion of Vinci’s corrupt mayor without a warrant, the corrupt mayor—corruptly—wants her badge. “What about the cunt?” he asks her (mildly corrupt) partner Ray Velcoro, who, by the way, has survived last week’s shotgun to the chest just fine because he was shot with “riot shells—you know, like, uh, cops use.”

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Despite everything wrong with the mayor of Vinci, his question isn’t entire without merit. “What about the cunt?” Yes, Mr. Mayor. What about her?

Ani, unlike Ray, could never be accused of lacking grit, and yet despite her being the most hard-assed, integral, and hard-working detective so far represented this season, I’m not entirely sure that True Detective knows what to do with her. Sure, she’s tough as nails, will chase a suspect into oncoming traffic, and responds to bullshit comments with threats like, “You talk to me like that again, you’re gonna need a little baggie to carry your teeth home.”

That’s all well and good, but she’s also told “I’m not saying fuck him, but maybe let him think you might fuck him” by the female DA encouraging her to get close to Velcoro in order to out him as a dirty cop. It’s hard to imagine a male cop being explicitly told by their boss to sway their partner with the prospect of sex—no matter how many times Taylor Kitsch’s Paul Woodrough is told to use his looks to woo hookers into spilling dirt on a murder victim. But, to True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto’s credit, things are often different for women. They’re going to face a level of scrutiny and sexual harassment that their male colleagues are lucky enough to avoid.

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It’s frustrating that True Detective’s relationship with its female characters has so far been mishandled and muddled because it makes it much harder to suss out the series’ intentions. At this point in the game, I don’t have a ton of faith in Pizzolatto’s ability to portray the female (or even one female’s) experience in a way that’s nuanced and smart. It certainly doesn’t help that this season of True Detective has been Blow Job City with women either sucking dick, asking to suck dick, or being scorned for sucking dick in every episode. Sure, blowies, being called “cunts,” and having our bosses ask us to seduce male co-workers are parts of many women’s lives, but they’re also small parts of our lives. We do a lot of other stuff, too! Like watch TV and, uh... that’s it. Hm, maybe Pizzolatto has it right after all.

Of course, there’s still one very important aspect of last night’s True Detective that we’ve yet to address and no, it’s not Paul’s gay reveal or Vince Vaughn pulling out a guy’s grill with a set of pliers. It’s that the on-set photographer questioned by Ray during his and Ani’s visit to a movie set frequented by their murder victim was played by the same actor who was Les in Newsies.

Arise and seize the day.


Contact the author at madeleine@jezebel.com.

Images via HBO/Disney.