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Spoiler alert: True Detective finale proves too popular, crashes HBO’s streaming service

Matthew McConaughey plays Rust Cohle in HBO’s crime series True Detective.

Like the changing of the seasons that's supposed to happen this time of year, True Detective came in like a lion and went out like a … much bigger lion.

The Washington Post reports that HBO's gritty True Detective closed its first season Sunday night on a high note.

Stemming from online buzz and word-of-mouth, the final chapter of the crime drama starring Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey actually crashed HBO's GO live-streaming video service on Sunday night.

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HBO GO is an app that enables users to stream content on their phones, tablets and laptops. HBO subscribers receive a password that allows them to use the app.

But it became fairly apparent last night that some HBO subscribers were sharing their passwords with friends, neighbours, cousins and anybody else who simply had to find out how True Detective would wrap up.

Since launching in late January, True Detective has broken and recast the mold for cable crime drama.

Partly inspired by the Robert W. Chambers book The King in Yellow, the HBO series was slated for one eight-episode run and followed the Louisiana cops Rust (McConaughey) and Marty (Woody Harrelson) as they unraveled a series of grisly murders over an elliptical timeline.

Like the old crime pulp magazines from whence the show title was derived, True Detective was unflinching and powerful television in the best HBO fashion. The show averaged nearly 11-million viewers for each Sunday night instalment.

After the first few episodes, True Detective, like The Sopranos before it, had attracted so much online buzz that everybody wanted to join the party.

The Twitter account for HBO GO acknowledged the problem late into last night's finale episode by tweeting: "Due to overwhelmingly popular demand for True Detective, we've been made aware of an issue affecting users. Please try again soon."

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As should be expected, more than a few people were immediately postulating that the GO server crash was HBO's plan all along.

On Twitter, disgruntled HBO subscriber Eric Schultz (@ericschul) observed, "I see HBO was playing the long game here. Get people hooked on their shows who aren't cable subscribers, then crash HBO GO. Brilliant."

In January, HBO CEO Richard Pepler told Buzzfeed that people sharing passwords wasn't a concern for the network. "It's not that we're unmindful of it, it just has no impact on the business," said Pepler.

Regardless of HBO's future broadcast plans, True Detective has people talking and will likely be renewed by the network for a second season.

And even in it's final hour, the show's critics were split on whether the finale was a brilliant piece of television or an over-layered letdown.

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