Except we had 2 Law and Order episodes so the plot did matter. We largely dropped character development for two of them and you could make a case for closer to 3 and a half of the episodes. You guys are arguing for an ideal interpretation that ignores what doesn't fit your opinion of it. We spent large segments of the plot devoted to elements of it completely ignored in the conclusion. Frankly, I see those chunks of time as wasted character development opportunities spent on what ultimately was irrelevant.
And there was Deus ex machina...the whole house paint, green ears, magically still alive old lady who remembers who her husband had paint her house, everything gets located back conclusion was very much Deus ex machina. The unsolvable, untrackable, vague "giant with the scarred face" got solved in literally 10 minutes of screen time by that exact plot device.
(Also, I'd argue there were plenty of token elements to our two main characters and certainly to the villains of the series. The incredible performances just masked how relatively cookie cutter a Southern d-bag Marty was and "let's throw together as many cliche dirty serial killer memes we can" villain. Straight down to "follow me into my lair while I mysteriously whisper to you" chunk at the end)
True Detective was a very entertaining, but flawed storytelling. As others have said, it started out really strong with interesting characters, great acting and layers and layers of plot. The problem is, the more layers of plot that you pile on, the more important it is to get the ending right. They failed to address many of the elements in their story that pulled me in, in the first place. Then, to have the creator of the show deny some of these elements entirely, was a slap in the face.