Ask anyone what the best serial killer movies or television shows are and you’re bound to hear both “Se7en” and “True Detective” named several times. The reason why is the subject of the latest video essay from “Lessons From the Screenplay,” which brings together David Fincher’s classic movie and season one of Nic Pizzolato’s “True Detective” for a deep dive into the battle between light and darkness.
“‘True Detective’ and ‘Se7en’ share a number of similarities,” the essay begins. “They both feature an investigation into a disturbing series of murders. They both bring their characters and the audience face to face with the worst horror imaginable. And they both have themes that are ultimately optimistic in nature.”
You may not think “optimism” when you hear “True Detective” or “Se7en,” but it’s an integral theme that bounds these serial killer tales together, most evident in the way Pizzolato and “Se7en” writer Andrew Kevin Walker develop their characters. As the protagonists are forced to confront the darkest depths of the human condition, their own journeys back to the light become the driving forces of the narrative. Watch the 17-minute video essay in its entirety below.