True Detective season 4's finale features a direct reference to one of its biggest horror influences

Jodie Foster in True Detective: Night Country
(Image credit: HBO)

True Detective season 4 has come to a close and, with it, the mystery behind Annie K’s death has been solved. Those hoping for a more supernatural answer to the big question in Ennis may be disappointed, but showrunner Issa Lopez still found time to sneak in a reference to The Thing.

As pointed out by Bloody Disgusting’s John Squires, one shot in the Night Country finale pays homage to the iconic poster of The Thing. In each, a hooded figure’s face is obscured by a blinding light. In the replies, Lopez confirms that was intentional with a resounding "YES."

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Night Country hasn’t been shy about referencing John Carpenter’s 1982 movie. Alongside the Alaska setting obviously evoking the Antarctic lab of the horror classic, a DVD of The Thing was seen behind Jodie Foster’s Chief Danvers in the very first episode.

In our own interview with Lopez, the showrunner opened up about the “nice cocktail of scary things” – including The Thing – that influenced the show.

"In the writing process, I went back and watched Seven and Silence of the Lambs. I watched The Thing, I watched Sicario, I definitely watched the first season a bunch of times. I watched noir movies," Lopez explains. 

"It was in the middle of the pandemic, you know, there was a lot of time to watch stuff and feed into your obsessions. I watched The Shining by chance, because I was invited to do a podcast revising it – I went pretty in deep with that…There is a little bit of Alien in there, you know, the crew of the Nostromo. There are some nods to Cronenberg in the more body horror aspects of the show so, yes, I see it as a nice cocktail of scary things."

For more, dive into the exciting list of new TV shows hitting our screens in 2024. Then uncover the depths of the mystery in Alaska with our look at the True Detective: Night Country ending.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.