35 Best Rust Cohle Quotes from The Tax Man in True Detective Series

Rust Cohle is a fictional character in television series ‘True Detective’ and is played by Matthew McConaughey.

Rust Cohle, with partner Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson), tracks a serial killer over 17 years.

McConaughey’s portrayal earned widespread praise, bagging a Critics’ Choice Award and nominations for a Golden Globe, Emmy, and Screen Actors Guild Award.


Below you will find some of the best quotes by Rust Cohle.

Top 10 Rust Cohle Quotes


I don’t think men can love. ~ Rust Cohle.


I know who I am. And after all these years, there’s a victory in that. ~ Rust Cohle.


Look me in the eyes. I want to watch your lights go out. ~ Rust Cohle.


And you could just let go. Finally know that you didn’t have to hold on so tight. ~ Rust Cohle.


Well, once there was always dark. If you ask me, the light’s winning. ~ Rust Cohle.


Life’s barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at. ~ Rust Cohle.


There is no such thing as forgiveness. People just have short memories. ~ Rust Cohle.


If the common good has got to make up fairy tales, then it’s not good for anybody. ~ Rust Cohle.


The world needs bad men. We keep other bad men from the door. ~ Rust Cohle.


Once there was only dark. If you ask me, the light’s winning. ~ Rust Cohle.

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. ~ Rust Cohle.

Kids are the only thing that matter. They’re the only reason for this whole man-woman drama. ~ Rust Cohle.


Certain linguistic anthropologists think that religion is a language virus that rewrites pathways in the brain, dulls critical thinking.

Look, as sentient meat, however illusory our identities are, we craft those identities by making value judgements. Everybody judges all the time. Now, you got a problem with that, you’re living wrong. ~ Rust Cohle.

Sometimes I think I’m just not good for people, that it’s not good for them to be around me. I wear ’em down. They… they get unhappy. ~ Rust Cohle.

When you can’t remember your lives, you can’t change your lives, and that is the terrible and the secret fate of all life. You’re trapped, by that nightmare you keep waking up into.


I’m through talking to you like a man. ~ Rust Cohle.

I don’t think that man can love, at least not the way that he means. Inadequacies of reality always set in.

Famous Rust Cohle Quotes

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. ~ Rust Cohle.


Most of the last decade I spent stone-drunk. Functional, but hammered. ~ Rust Cohle.

You know, people that give me advice, I reckon they’re talking to themselves. ~ Rust Cohle.

I contemplate the moment in the garden, the idea of allowing your own crucifixion. ~ Rust Cohle.


People incapable of guilt usually do have a good time. ~ Rust Cohle.

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. ~ Rust Cohle.

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.

My life’s been a circle of violence and degradation as long as I can remember. I’m ready to tie it off. ~ Rust Cohle.


Look, I’d consider myself a realist, all right? But in philosophical terms I’m what’s called a pessimist. ~ Rust Cohle.

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. ~ Rust Cohle.

Great Rust Cohle Quotes

I think 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. ~ Rust Cohle.


I don’t sleep. I just dream. ~ Rust Cohle.

Of course I’m dangerous. I’m police. I could do terrible things to people… with impunity. ~ Rust Cohle.


People… so goddamn frail they’d rather put a coin in a wishing well than buy dinner. ~ Rust Cohle.


I sure hope that old lady was wrong. About death not being the end of it. ~ Rust Cohle.

I tell myself I bear witness. But the real answer is that it’s obviously my programming. And I lack the constitution for suicide. ~ Rust Cohle.

Given how long it’s taken for me to reconcile my nature, I can’t figure I’d forgo it on your account, Marty. ~ Rust Cohle.


People incapable of guilt, usually do have a good time. ~ Rust Cohle.

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. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self; an accretion of sensory, experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody is nobody. ~ Rust Cohle.

If the only thing keeping a person decent is the expectation of divine reward then, brother, that person is a piece of shit. And I’d like to get as many of them out in the open as possible. You gotta get together and tell yourself stories that violate every law of the universe just to get through the goddamn day? What’s that say about your reality? ~ Rust Cohle.

So these were the 35 top Rust Cohle quotes from True Detective.

Also read: Elizabeth Proctor Quotes from & The Crucible’ and Andy Bernard Quotes from TV Show & The Office’.

Short Biography of Rust Cohle

Rust Cohle, played by Matthew McConaughey in “True Detective,” is a complex detective in Louisiana, partnered with Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson).

They track a serial killer over 17 years. Cohle, known as “The Taxman” for his meticulous work, is haunted by personal tragedies, including his daughter’s death.

Full Name Rustin Spencer “Rust” Cohle
Nickname Crash; The Taxman
Played by Matthew McConaughey
Created by Nic Pizzolatto
TV show True Detective
Significant other Claire Cohle (ex-wife); Laurie Spencer (ex-girlfriend)
First appearance “The Long Bright Dark” (2014)
Last appearance “Form and Void” (2014)
Occupation Police Officer, Detective, Fisherman, Bartender, Private investigator
Affiliation Houston Police Department (1980s–1994),
Louisiana State Police (1994–2002),
Hart Investigative Solutions (2012)
Family Travis Cohle (father; deceased), Sophia Cohle (daughter; deceased)
Nationality American

His intense dedication stems from a troubled past, including undercover drug work and a near-death experience.

The show, spanning 1995–2002 and revisited in 2012, delves into Cohle’s dark life and theories, earning McConaughey critical acclaim and several award nominations.

Short Biography of Rust Cohle

Matthew McConaughey, born in 1969 in Texas, initially made waves in films like “Dazed and Confused” and “A Time to Kill.”


Known for his romantic comedy roles in the 2000s, he transitioned to more dramatic parts, notably in “Dallas Buyers Club,” winning an Oscar.

Full name Matthew David McConaughey
Born November 4, 1969 (age 54) Uvalde, Texas, U.S.
Alma mater University of Texas at Austin (BS)
Occupation Actor
Years active 1991–present
Works Full list
Spouse Camila Alves ​(m. 2012)​
Children 3

He’s also recognized for his performances in “True Detective” and films like “Interstellar.”

McConaughey’s early life involved moving around Texas, an adventurous year in Australia, and studying at the University of Texas at Austin, where he pivoted from law to acting.

Quick Facts about Rust Cohle

  • Rust Cohle is a key character in HBO’s “True Detective,” played by Matthew McConaughey.
  • Woody Harrelson plays Cohle’s partner, Marty Hart, in their quest to solve a serial killer case in Louisiana.
  • The storyline spans over 17 years, unraveling the mystery behind the serial killings.
  • McConaughey’s performance as Cohle was widely acclaimed, earning him multiple award nominations.
  • Cohle’s character is defined by his pessimistic worldview and solitary nature.
  • Known for his detailed work, Cohle’s colleagues have nicknamed him “The Taxman.”
  • He’s a chain smoker, preferring Camel cigarettes.
  • Cohle’s past includes a troubled childhood and a stint in the Houston Police Department.
  • A personal tragedy involving his daughter’s death deeply impacts Cohle’s life and career.
  • His undercover narcotics work leads to drug addiction and involvement in a deadly shootout.
  • Despite being offered retirement, Cohle chooses to continue working in homicide.
  • Cohle suffers from synesthesia and hallucinations, effects of his undercover work.
  • The narrative alternates between the 1995-2002 investigation and 2012 interviews.
  • The series begins with the investigation of a ritualistic murder in 1995.
  • Cohle and Hart’s investigation uncovers occult symbols and leads them to suspect a serial killer.
  • Cohle’s unorthodox methods and insights often set him apart from his colleagues.
  • The investigation leads to Reggie Ledoux, connected to both the murder and a meth operation.
  • A risky operation with a biker gang results in a deadly shootout and crucial leads.
  • The discovery of kidnapped and abused children at Ledoux’s compound intensifies the case.
  • Over the years, Cohle becomes known as an exceptional interrogator.
  • A suspect’s suicide after promising information on the “Yellow King” deepens the mystery.
  • Cohle’s relentless pursuit of the case leads to conflicts with superiors and eventually his resignation.
  • By 2012, Cohle is seen near a murder scene similar to the one from 1995, raising suspicions.
  • Cohle and Hart reunite to delve deeper into the investigation, uncovering a vast conspiracy.
  • Their investigation leads them to the Childress family, revealing a long history of crimes.
  • The climax occurs at the Childress house, with a confrontation in the catacombs known as “Carcosa.”
  • Cohle’s near-death experience and subsequent recovery bring him a sense of peace.
  • The investigation’s findings, exposing a pedophile ring, are shared with media and law enforcement.
  • Cohle, reflecting on his experiences, sees a glimmer of hope in the fight against darkness.
  • The case’s impact extends beyond the series, influencing investigations in subsequent years.

Top Questions about Rust Cohle

Q: What led to Rust Cohle being committed to a psychiatric hospital?

A: Rust Cohle was committed to a psychiatric hospital in Lubbock during his recovery period.

Q: What decision did Rust Cohle make after being offered retirement?

A: After being offered retirement with full pension, Rust Cohle chose to transfer to a homicide unit instead of accepting the retirement.

Q: Where was Rust Cohle transferred to after declining retirement?

A: Rust Cohle was transferred to Louisiana, where he devoted himself entirely to his work.

Q: How does Rust Cohle describe his philosophical stance?

A: Rust Cohle describes himself as a realist but acknowledges that philosophically, he aligns more with pessimism.

Q: Who was Rust Cohle married to and what happened to their family?

A: Rust Cohle was married to a woman named Claire, and they had a daughter named Sophia, who tragically died in a car accident. This tragedy led to their divorce and Cohle’s alcohol addiction.

Q: What is the core of Rust Cohle’s philosophical beliefs in “True Detective”?

A: Rust Cohle’s philosophical beliefs are deeply rooted in pessimism, marked by existential and nihilistic views.

Q: Does Rust Cohle truly embody nihilistic principles?

A: According to the series creator Nic Pizzolatto, Rust Cohle doesn’t fully embrace nihilism; instead, he seeks meaning in the world and is committed to doing what he believes is right.

Q: Is Rust Cohle’s pessimism a reflection of his personality?

A: Cohle’s pessimism is not just a personality trait but rather a philosophical viewpoint about the fundamental nature of the world.

Q: How has Rust Cohle’s personality evolved by the time he returns to Louisiana?

A: Upon his return to Louisiana to conclude the investigation, Rust Cohle has transformed into an obsessive seeker of meaning, often engaging in profound philosophical discussions even in casual conversations.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar