Why you should be excited about True Detective‘s third season

Once scorned, we return. After months of speculation, the highly anticipated trailer for the third season of HBO’s True Detective has arrived, leaving viewers wondering, can the show redeem itself?

When True Detective first hit our screens in 2014 it was a critically acclaimed success. Starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, the first season of the series was mysterious, edgy and compelling. Its eccentric non-linear narrative style, stellar cast and volatile theme and cinematography was heralded as groundbreaking and the hype for Season 2 was well deserved. But, the masses were left disappointed when what was delivered the following season seemed lacklustre by comparison, and here HBO left us. Unsatisfied and unknowing.  

After a three year hiatus from our screens, that many thought spelt the end of True Detective, HBO’s anthology crime drama is returning once more with a rousing new season and cast set to debut early next year.

In an eerie teaser clip released by HBO over the weekend, we see Oscar winner Mahershala Ali play Wayne Hays, an Arkansas state police detective haunted by flashbacks to a mysterious crime in his past. “My whole brains a bunch of missing pieces” he whispers, “I want to know the whole story”. The official synopsis intimates that season three “will tell the story of a macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks, and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods” and the trailer seemingly confirms just that, offering a dark and gritty glimpse of Detective Hays grappling with his mind as he flashes from past to present searching for answers to an unsolved missing children case. 

Scorned fans of the first season will be comforted by the discernible signs that the third seasons direction is much more akin to the original, with new cast member Jon Tenney suggesting of the plot “I think it does move a little bit in the direction of season one”. Thank God! 

Nic Pizzolatto resumes his role as sole writer (with the exception of episode four) and show runner of the divisive series and also makes his directorial debut this season alongside Daniel Sackheim and Jeremy Saulnier. With filming wrapped up in recent months, even the Ozarks setting of the series has us excited. Especially after Mahershala Ali cryptically hinted that “It would have been a disservice to the story not to shoot in the Ozarks, in Fayetteville, in Arkansas, because it’s such a character in the story.” Curious. 

If thats not enough to convince you to give True Detective a second shot, the strength of the new cast alone should have some ears pricking up. Each season is its own self contained narrative with new and notoriously excellent casting, and this new season has not failed to deliver. Alongside Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, House of Cards) stars Mammie Gummer (The Good Wife), Scoot McNairy (Argo, 12 Years a Slave), Stephen Dorff (Blade) and Carmen Ejogo (Fantastic Beasts). The sheer quality of the actors amongst the lineup is more than enough to excite even the most hardened cynic; with Pizzolatto himself stating: “I hope the material can do justice to their talents”. We sure hope so too.

Season Three of True Detective is set to air on HBO in January 2019