TRUE DETECTIVE’s Pizzolatto Accused of Plagiarism

By Jef Dinsmore on Aug 18, 2014 to True Detective

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TRUE DETECTIVE has had a lot of positive news all about casting rumors and Emmy nominations, but lately some negative news surfaced when series creator Nic Pizzolatto was called out for plagiarism. You’ve got to go back to the scenes of Rust Cohle’s “interrogation” where his dark, nihilistic philosophy comes to the surface. The accusations state that a number of lines in those speeches were lifted from a writer of by the name of Thomas Ligotti. Mr. L is a prolific horror writer that seems to know his way around dark themes.

If you want to check specific line for line comparisons between the two writers and formulate an opinion on your own we offer you the link that lists them all but here’s one:

COHLE: The only honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing and march hand-in-hand into extinction.

LIGOTTI: “…the human race will never do the honorable thing and abort itself…”

 “To end this self-deception… we must cease reproducing.”

 “And how many would speed up the process of extinction once euthanasia was decriminalized and offered in humane and even enjoyable ways?”

People_NicPizzolattoWe learn from Deadline that both Pizzolatto and HBO have offered statements regarding the claims. TRUE DETECTIVE’s sole writer stated:

“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.”

HBO followed up with the following statement:HBO-Logo-3

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.

There does not seem at this time to be any follow-up with a lawsuit. It is also worth noting that these claims did not come to light until well after TRUE DETECTIVE aired and the show had generated quite a buzz and following. You have a link to the evidence; you can formulate your own opinion and leave a comment below.

 As always HBOWatch awaits any news regarding this show good or bad.

  • Alexandru Guzzonato

    Yeah, because misanthropy was invented as an idea by one lousy horror fiction author.

  • WolfSilverOak

    It would appear that both writers were influenced by the same sources and that does not make it plagarism, merely coincidence.

    But I am not a lawyer, and this will likely be up to lawyers to sort out.

  • Ehhh.. pretty flimsy if you ask me. Dumbledore and Gandalf are similar in may ways. Jedi and Buddhist monk philosophy is pretty damn close. True Detective isn’t the first creation to tap into the Nihilistic philosophy and it won’t be the last. I’d say part of the character was possibly lightly inspired by the other. But plagiarism? That’s more like a copy/paste allegation and that’s just not what happened here.










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