All the 'True Detective' Easter Eggs That Connect Matthew McConaughey's Character to the New Season

Kali Reis, Jodie Foster, Issa Lopez and Matthew McConaughey
Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images/Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic

Fans online were quick to point out the connections.

Eagle-eyed fans are making connections between the latest season of HBO's True Detective and season 1, which starred Matthew McConaughey

Online, viewers quickly began to point out both overt and obscure references that link back to the origin point of the Emmy-winning anthology series.

The latest season -- starring Oscar winner Jodie Foster and Kali Reis -- premiered on Jan. 13 and follows the story of two investigators on a search for answers in the disappearances and (spoiler alert) deaths of scientists working at a remote facility at the "end of the world." The season is set in the fictional town of Ennis, Alaska where the sun has set for the year, leaving the town and its residents shrouded in darkness and mystery.

As the investigation into the deaths continues, the pair discover that the disturbing -- and possibly supernatural -- case of the missing scientists could connect to a horrific cold case murder from years before. 

While the show is an anthology series -- meaning that a viewer could theoretically jump in at any season, similar to HBO's The White Lotus or FX's Fargo -- it did not take long for fans to point out details that create a thread from season 1 to season 4.

The most obvious of the connections is the spiral emblem that appeared repeatedly in season 1 -- which saw McConaughey's character, Detective Rust Cohle, investigating an unsolved murder from nearly two decades ago alongside Detective Marty Hart, played by Woody Harrelson

During the second episode of the new season, viewers learn that one of the main suspects in the mystery of the missing and potentially murdered scientists is a scientist who himself was not located along with the others and who happens to have a tattoo of the spiral. The tattoo is of particular interest to the season 4 detective (Foster) and the police officer (Reis), as the other scientists were found with the symbol on them when they were frozen out in an open tundra. The symbol also appeared on the body of the murdered Indigenous woman whose cold case they are still trying to solve. 

Another big connection between season 1 and season 4 comes in the form of confirmation that Travis -- a ghost that leads Fiona Shaw's character to the frozen bodies of the scientists in the first episode of the new season -- is the father of McConaughey's Detective Cohle from season 1. 

During season 1, Rust Cohle mentioned that his father had been going to Alaska and was dying of cancer, which immediately raised flags for fans of the series. During a conversation between Rose Aguineau (Shaw) and Navarro (Reis), the former referred to the man on the ice as "Travis Cohle" -- spelling of the last name confirmed by subtitles -- and said he had been dying of leukemia before walking out onto the ice years prior. 

"True Detective has always been an anthology series, but it does seem like this season might be connecting to the first in more than just a circumstantial way," said TikToker Jess Spoll in a breakdown video on episode 2's Easter eggs. 

The final Easter egg is connected to the company behind the TSALAL research lab, where the scientists went missing from. In the premiere season, the Tuttle family is at the center of the cult that Detective Cohle and Detective Hart are trying to stop.

During one scene from the latest episode, Finn Bennett's character, Peter Prior, casually mentions that the lab at the center of the case is funded by Tuttle United, which is not confirmed to be connected to the Tuttle family from season 1 but is enough for fans to see the link. 

It's not surprising that there are so many connections between seasons 1 and 4 as even the new season's writer and director, Issa López, has confirmed she wanted to make a "dark mirror" of the first season. 

"Where True Detective is male and it's sweaty, Night Country is cold and it's dark and it's female," she told Vanity Fair

Additionally, McConaughey serves as an executive producer on the show. 

You can watch the trailer for True Detective: Night Country in the player below: 

True Detective: Night Country releases episodes every Sunday on HBO and Max.