True Detective Creator Accused Of Plagiarism

While HBO’s True Detective received many Emmy nods, one horror novelist remains unimpressed.

Both the network and the series creator, Nic Pizzolatto, have been accused of plagiarism after LoveCraft EZine has accused the show of lifting dialogue from other writers for the show. They point to the work of horror novelist Thomas Ligotti as being the best example of a writer’s whose work had been stolen for the purposes of creating the show.

In an article published on Aug. 4, the online magazine interviewed the founder of a website dedicated to Ligotti, Thomas Liggoti Online. In the article, the author claims there is “ample evidence” that excerpts from Ligotti’s nonfiction book The Conspiracy Against the Human Race, were either shorted or outright taken to be used primarily as dialogue for one of True Detective’s main characters, Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey).

Yesterday, HBO issued a statement to Entertainment Weekly Thursday defending Pizzolatto.

“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.”

For his part, Pizzolato issued a statement as well. He admitted that Ligotti was an influence on Rust’s dialogue but said nothing was stolen.

“Nothing in the television show True Detective was plagiarized,” the writer said. “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 Nietzche, 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.”