The Definitive Guide To Understanding 'True Detective'

You may find yourself Googling random acronyms and obscure terminology while watching "True Detective" and other police shows, but don't worry, you're not alone.

The HBO detective drama is full of cop jargon, and with the addition of Rust Cohle's metaphysical monologues, it can be easy to get lost in the language. To better help you decipher what Rust and Marty, and your other favorite TV cops, are talking about, here's a quick lesson in Police Terminology 101.

419 - Dead human body In the first episode of "True Detective," Marty brings up the Dora Lange case to Gilbough and Papania by calling it a 419, which is the police code for "dead human body."

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APB - All-Points Bulletin The third episode of "True Detective" ends with Rust and Marty putting out an APB on Reggie Ledoux. An APB is the acronym for All-Points Bulletin, an alert issued by the police on a wanted suspect or person of interest. This can also be called a BOLO, meaning Be on the Lookout, or an ATL, which stands for Attempt to Locate.

Brace - To stop for questioning, or interrogate Rust uses this term twice, once referring to Bert, the mentally challenged man, and again referring to his encounter with Tuttle in Episode 6. Brace is slang for stopping someone for questioning, or interrogating a suspect using intimidation. Bracing is what Rust does best.

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Caught/Catch - To be assigned a case Marty says the Dora Lange case was "the most fucked up thing I ever caught," which in this instance is slang for being assigned a case. The term is also used in the show when Rust and Marty's Major is mad at them for sitting on the Lange case and not "catching," or taking other cases.

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CI - Confidential Informant Marty says this when he returns from a phone call when Rust is over for dinner. It's an abbreviation for Confidential Informant.

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CID - Criminal Investigation Department Marty mentions at one point that he and Rust are State CID, meaning Criminal Investigation Department.

Collar - To arrest or apprehend a suspect Collar isn't used in "True Detective," but it is common in "Law & Order" and other police shows. It is slang for when an officer makes an arrest or apprehends a suspect.

DB - Dead Body Marty and Rust refer to Dora Lange as a DB, or Dead Body, multiple times throughout the show. While this may be an obvious one, they say it so fast it might have gone over your head.

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Gaming - prostitution The prostitutes Marty and Rust interview use this term, which is slang for prostitution.

KAs - Known Associates Multiple times both Marty and Rust quickly say KAs, which means Known Associates of the suspect or criminal. There is also the related term LKAs, which means Last Known Associates.

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LEO - Law Enforcement Officer LEO is not used in "True Detective," but it is commonly used in cop shows and stands for Law Enforcement Officer.

MO - Modus Operandi You hear this term a lot in cop shows, and especially "Law & Order." While some may think MO means motive, it is actually the abbreviation for the Latin term modus operandi, which means way of working, or method of operation.

Perp - perpetrator This is a common word tossed around in many cop shows, especially "Law & Order: SVU," that is short for perpetrator, or one suspected of committing a crime.

Prost - prostitute In the first "True Detective" episode, Rust refers to a prostitute as a prost. tv show gifs

R&I - Records and Identification When Rust is speaking with Errol the lawnmower in Episode 3, Marty radios-in an R&I on Reggie Ledoux, which stands for Records and Identification.

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Unsub - unknown subject While not said in "True Detective," unsub, which means an unknown subject of an investigation, is a common term used in many cop shows, including "Criminal Minds." It is also the name of an NBC series about an FBI team from 1989.

The Season 1 finale of "True Detective" airs Sunday, March 9 at 9 p.m. EST on HBO.



"True Detective"