True Detective: Season 3

Moonlight's Mahershala Ali Comes to HBO

BY: Zak Wojnar

One of the most highly anticipated TV events of the year is the long-awaited return of True Detective. For those not in the know, the show is an anthology series, with each melodramatic season tackling a whole new story with a brand new cast of A-list actors. Season one starred Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, season two featured Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, and Rachel McAdams, and the upcoming third season stars Mahershala Ali, hot off his Academy Award win for Moonlight.

While plot details are naturally being kept under wraps, the new season of True Detective is set in the Ozarks over three distinct time periods. Ali plays Wayne Hays, a man haunted by a dark and violent crime over the course of decades. Looking at the trailer for the eight episode season, one can see Ali as both a young cop and an old man, suggesting the series will expand on the grandiose scope of previous seasons.

Series creator Nic Pizzolatto is returning to pen the entire season (with some help from NYPD Blue veteran David Milch), while directing duties were originally assigned to Jeremy Saulnier, the hottest young auteur in the industry. His films Blue Ruin and Green Room were mind-blowing examinations of violence, revenge, and condemnations of extremist ideologies, and he seemed to be the perfect fit for a show like True Detective. However, after directing two of his planned three episodes, he had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts, perhaps on his upcoming Netflix film, Hold the Dark, due out September 28. For the rest of the season, directing duties were handed out to Daniel Sackheim (Jack Ryan, The Americans) and Pizzolatto himself.

Mahershala Ali is a tremendous talent, and he’s joined by a roster of acclaimed supporting actors. Stephen Dorff has always been an underrated presence (possibly due to his willingness to appear in an unending slew of straight-to-VOD clunkers), but he’ll surely have a chance to shine here, as well as Josh Hopkins, best known for his roles on the hit shows Cougar Town and Quantico. Carmen Ejogo of Alien: Covenant, Fantastic Beasts, and Born to Be Blue co-stars as a central figure in the case, and Ray Fisher (Justice League) rounds out the cast as Mahershala’s son.

True Detective has made its mark for blending gritty realism with an operatic theatricality, and if early indications hold true, season three will continue that legacy while standing out due to its time-shifted plot, all-star cast, and talented directors curating the story.

True Detective Season 3 begins in January 2019 on HBO.