75 True Detective Quotes on Existence and Morality

Let these True Detective quotes show you how light will always prevail despite the darkness of the world.

True Detective is an anthology crime series produced by Nic Pizzolatto. It tells the stories of detectives investigating crimes as they handle their struggles in life. Due to its captivating episodes, True Detective received positive reviews from critics.

But, more than the entertaining plot, many fans love the characters’ lines in the series. Their words hold a truth that will make you reflect on what is happening in your life.

So, if you’re interested in True Detective’s meaningful lines, then these quotes are for you. Don’t miss out on the series’ best quotes!

Let’s get started.

And make sure to check out these Rust Cohle quotes and Breaking Bad quotes.

Best True Detective Quotes

1. “Well, once there was only dark. If you ask me, the light’s winning.” – Rustin Cohle

2. “Life’s barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at.” – Rustin Cohle

3. “The bad thing, it makes you better, stronger. It gives you something most people don’t have.” – Frank Semyon

4. “I know who I am. And after all these years, there’s a victory in that.” – Rustin Cohle

5. “This is a world where nothing is solved. You know, someone once told me time is a flat circle. Everything we’ve ever done or will do, we’re gonna do over and over and over again.” – Rustin Cohle

6. “I’ll take the hard truth over a nice lie any day.” – Amelia Reardon

7. “To realize that all your life, all your love, all your hate, all your memory, all your pain, it was all the same thing. It was all the same dream you had inside a locked room, a dream about being a person. And like a lot of dreams, there’s a monster at the end of it.” – Rustin Cohle

8. “My strong suspicion is, we get the world we deserve.” – Ray Velcoro

9. “If the common good has got to make up fairy tales, then it’s not good for anybody.” – Rustin Cohle

10. “Those moments, they stare back at you. You don’t remember them. They remember you. Turn around, there they are, staring.” – Ani Bezzerides

11. “That’s what pain does. It shows you what was on the inside.” – Frank Semyon

12. “Some people, no matter where they look, they see themselves.” – Martin Hart

13. “One thing I learned, the war? Life happens now. Then later’s now, you know? It’s never behind you.” – Wayne Hays

14. “You know the good years when you’re in them.” – Martin Hart

15. “And you could just let go, finally know that you didn’t have to hold on so tight.” – Rustin Cohle

Famous True Detective Quotes

16. “People incapable of guilt usually do have a good time.” – Rustin Cohle

17. “You know, people that give me advice, I reckon they’re talking to themselves.” – Rustin Cohle

18. “Sometimes your worst self is your best self.” – Frank Semyon

19. “If the only thing keeping a person decent is the expectation of divine reward, then brother, that person is a piece of sh*t, and I’d like to get as many of them out in the open as possible.” – Rustin Cohle

20. “I see a propensity for obesity, poverty, a yearn for fairy tales. Folks puttin’ what few bucks they do have into a little wicker basket being passed around. I think it’s safe to say nobody here’s gonna be splitting the atom, Marty.” – Rustin Cohle

21. “This place is like somebody’s memory of a town, and the memory is fading. It’s like there was never anything here but jungle.” – Rustin Cohle

22. “Well, I don’t use $10 words as much as you, but for a guy who sees no point in existence, you sure fret about it an awful lot.” – Martin Hart

23. “I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware. Nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself. We are creatures that should not exist by natural law.” – Rustin Cohle

24. “The world needs bad men. We keep other bad men from the door.” – Rustin Cohle

25. “There is no such thing as forgiveness. People just have short memories.” – Rustin Cohle

26. “In eternity, where there is no time, nothing can grow. Nothing can become. Nothing changes. So death created time to grow the things that it would kill, and you are reborn but into the same life that you’ve always been born into. I mean, how many times have we had this conversation, detectives? Well, who knows? When you can’t remember your lives, you can’t change your lives, and that is the terrible and secret fate of all life. You’re trapped by that nightmare you keep waking up into.” – Rustin Cohle

Also read: The Mentalist Quotes, Dexter Quotes

True Detective Quotes to Give You a Deeper Understanding of Life and Existence

27. “What’s it say about life? You gotta get together, tell yourself stories that violate every law of the universe just to get through the g*dd*mn day. What’s that say about your reality, Marty?” – Rustin Cohle

28. “My life’s been a circle of violence and degradation for as long as I can remember. I’m ready to tie it off.” – Rustin Cohle

29. “I think about my daughter now and what she was spared. Sometimes, I feel grateful. The doctor said she didn’t feel a thing, went straight into a coma. Then, somewhere in that blackness, she slipped off into another deeper kind. Isn’t that a beautiful way to go out? Painlessly as a happy child? Trouble with dying later is you’ve already grown up. The damage is done. It’s too late.” – Rustin Cohle

30. “I sure hope that old lady was wrong about death not being the end of it.” – Rustin Cohle

31. “I’ve worked my whole life, same as you, and not being poor is better than the opposite.” – Jordan Semyon

32. “You see, we all got what I call a life trap—a gene deep certainty that things will be different, that you’ll move to another city and meet the people that’ll be the friends for the rest of your life, that you’ll fall in love and be fulfilled, f*cking fulfillment and closure, whatever the f*ck those two f*ckin’ empty jars to hold this sh*t storm.” – Rustin Cohle

33. “Because there’s a feeling. You might notice it sometimes, this feeling like life has slipped through your fingers. Like the future is behind you like it’s always been behind you.” – Martin Hart

34. “Look, as sentient meat, however illusory our identities are, we craft those identities by making value judgments. Everybody judges all the time. Now, you got a problem with that, you’re living wrong.” – Rustin Cohle

35. “Being police, there’s no certainty. A lot of the time, there’s no clarity at all. You just do your best and learn to live with ambiguity.” – Wayne Hays

Also read: Criminal Minds Quotes, Westworld Quotes

Profound True Detective Quotes That’ll Make You Reflect

36. “We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self. This accretion of sensory experience and feeling programmed with total assurance that we’re each somebody. When, in fact, everybody’s nobody.” – Rustin Cohle

37. “I contemplate the moment in the garden, the idea of allowing your own crucifixion.” – Rustin Cohle

38. “Pain is inexhaustible. It’s only people that get exhausted.” – Ray Velcoro

39. “This is what I mean when I am talking about time and death and futility. There are broader ideas at work, mainly what is owed between us as a society for our mutual illusion.” – Rustin Cohle

40. “I try to limit the people I can disappoint, and I make sure to know the difference between my obligations and somebody else’s.” – Ray Velcoro

41. “It’s all one ghetto, man. A giant gutter in outer space.” – Rustin Cohle

42. “The ontological fallacy of expecting a light at the end of the tunnel, well, that’s what the preacher sells, same as a shrink. See, the preacher, he encourages your capacity for illusion. Then he tells you it’s a f*cking virtue. Always a buck to be had doing that, and it’s such a desperate sense of entitlement, isn’t it?” – Rustin Cohle

43. “People, I have seen the finale of thousands of lives, man. Young, old, each one so sure of their realness. You know that their sensory experience constituted a unique individual with purpose and meaning. So certain that they were more than biological puppets. The truth wills out, and everybody sees. Once the strings are cut, all fall down.” – Rustin Cohle

44. “Transference of fear and self-loathing to an authoritarian vessel. It’s catharsis. He absorbs their dread with his narrative. Because of this, he’s effective in proportion to the amount of certainty he can project.” – Rustin Cohle

45. “Loyalty’s important and usually painful.” – Ray Velcoro

46. “Maybe the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal.” – Rustin Cohle

47. “Sometimes a good beating provokes personal growth.” – Ray Velcoro

48. “Our sentience is just cycling through our lives like carts on a track.” – Rustin Cohle

Short True Detective Quotes to Increase Your Wisdom

49. “Nothing’s ever fulfilled, not until the very end, and closure. Nothing is ever over.” – Rustin Cohle

50. “This world is a veil, and the face you wear is not your own.” – Joel Theriot

51. “All my life, I wanted to be nearer to God. The only nearness? Silence.” – Joel Theriot

52. “I don’t think men can love.” – Rustin Cohle

53. “I don’t sleep. I just dream.” – Rustin Cohle

54. “What always happens between men and women? Reality.” – Martin Hart

55. “Never do anything out of hunger. Even eating.” – Frank Semyon

56. “I’m through talking to you like a man.” – Rustin Cohle

Philosophical True Detective Quotes to Ponder On

57. “Man’s game charges a man’s price. Take that away from this, you have nothing else.” – Martin Hart

58. “She articulated a person with vision. Vision is meaning. Meaning is historical.” – Rustin Cohle

59. “See everything outside our dimension, that’s eternity. Eternity looking down on us. Now, to us, it’s a sphere, but to them, it’s a circle.” – Rustin Cohle

60. “Certain linguistic anthropologists think that religion is a language virus that rewrites pathways in the brain, dulls critical thinking.” – Rustin Cohle

61. “I’d consider myself a realist, all right? But in philosophical terms, I’m what’s called a pessimist.” – Rustin Cohle

62. “You know, for somebody who doesn’t think reality matters, you sure spend an awful lot of time fretting about it.” – Martin Hart

63. “You know, I’ve seen all the different types. We all fit a certain category—the bully, the charmer, the surrogate dad, the man possessed by ungovernable rage, the brain, and any of those types could be a good detective, and any of those types could be an incompetent sh*theel.” – Martin Hart

64. “The fundamental difference between the sexes is that one of them can kill the other with their bare hands.” – Ani Bezzerides

65. “A failed marriage, a few relationships, you’re angry at the entire world and men in particular out of a false sense of entitlement for something you never received. Your entire personality is an extended criticism of my values. Meant, I’m sure, to compel me into engagement through argument. Do you even like what you do? Or is it just a reflexive urge toward authority out of defiance?” – Elliot Bezzerides

66. “A good woman mitigates our baser tendencies.” – Frank Semyon

True Detective Quotes for Everyone Who Watches Crime Series

67. “Of course, I’m dangerous. I’m police. I can do terrible things to people with impunity.” – Rustin Cohle

68. “I can’t say the job made me this way. More like me being this way made me right for the job. I used to think about it more, but you reach a certain age you know who you are.” – Rustin Cohle

69. “Could you do this job if everyone you encountered could physically overpower you? Forget police work. No man could walk around like that without going nuts.” – Ani Bezzerides

70. “The newspapers are gonna be tough on you. And prison is very, very hard on people who hurt kids. If you get the opportunity, you should kill yourself.” – Rustin Cohle

More True Detective Quotes That You Will Love

71. “People out here, it’s like they don’t even know the outside world exists. Might as well be living on the f*cking moon.” – Rustin Cohle

72. “It’s Thursday, and it’s past noon. Thursday is one of my days off. On my days off, I start drinking at noon. You don’t get to interrupt that.” – Rustin Cohle

73. “Back then, the visions, most of the time I was convinced that I’d lost it. But there were other times, I thought I was main-lining the secret truth of the universe.” – Rustin Cohle

74. “Solution to my whole life was right under my nose—that woman, those kids—and I was watching everything else. See, infidelity is one kind of sin, but my true failure was inattention.” – Martin Hart

75. “You never liked being judged.” – Rustin Cohle

How Do You Find Light in Your Darkest Moments?

True Detective perfectly showed the raw reality of how cruel the world can be through the experiences that its characters go through. We all have demons, but it’s especially tough for the detectives to solve crimes while fighting theirs.

Even with the depressing reality and truth of life’s darkness, we should remember that there will always be light. One cannot exist without the other, and we can see that the world still holds goodness despite our struggles.

We are all witnesses to life’s awful truths. Every day there is sadness, hunger, and pain in different parts of the world. But, True Detective reminds us that life will always be worth fighting for because even with the bad, there is still a whole lot of good.

We hope that you were able to learn a lot from these True Detective quotes. Whenever you feel down, remember to adjust your sight to the night sky and see the brightness of the stars.

Which True Detective quote is the best for you? What are your favorite scenes from the series? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

We take from each others’ hearts and courage, and it’s through our individual experiences that we learn how to rise above our challenges and pain. In so many ways, Quote Ambition is a platform that allows people from all over the world to gain the inspiration they need anytime, anywhere!

You can find me on MuckRack and LinkedIn.