'True Detective' Season 3 Director Exits After 2 Episodes

Jeremy Saulnier was to share directing duties with Nic Pizzolatto for the season, but Daniel Sackheim has now stepped in for the duration.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images; Paul Redmond/FilmMagic
Daniel Sackheim (left), Jeremy Saulnier

Some minor changes have come to the long-delayed third season of HBO's True Detective.

Director and executive producer Jeremy Saulnier, who was set to split directing duties for the entire run with show creator Nic Pizzolatto, has left after completing the first two episodes. Prolific TV helmer Daniel Sackheim, known for FX's The Americans, is filling the void. Though the show's episode count is still unknown, Sackheim is expected to divide up all the episodes with Pizzolatto, who is stepping into the director's chair for the first time this season.

An HBO spokesperson issued the following statement on the switch: "Director and executive producer Jeremy Saulnier has completed the first two episodes of True Detective season 3 and will be departing the production due to scheduling issues. Daniel Sackheim has come on board as a director and executive producer for the series alongside series creator and director Nic Pizzolatto."

Ironically, finding a director for the third season of True Detective was one of the show's biggest holdups. "I've read five scripts on the new season and I think they're terrific," HBO chief Casey Bloys said of the third season at TCA last July, adding of the timing: “When we find a director, we'll be a go on that." Cary Fukunaga unanimously won over critics as the helmer of all eight episodes of the critically beloved first season but famously didn't return for the second iteration after rumblings of friction between him and Pizzolatto. For season two, a rotating lineup of helmers was used instead.

The third season of True Detective had been gestating for some time. Rumors of Pizzolatto plotting his comeback on the once-hot drama have been circulating ever since HBO signed him to a three-year overall deal at the network in 2015. The third installment, which HBO finally confirmed in August, will attempt to redeem the series from the critical bashing it underwent in the second season after its breakout freshman run starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey.

Season three will star Oscar winner Mahershala Ali and tell the story of a macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks, a mystery that's said to deepen over decades and play out in three separate time periods. Pizzolatto is the sole writer on the series, with the exception of David Milch, who co-wrote the fourth episode. Carmen Ejogo, Stephen Dorff, Scoot McNairy, Mamie Gummer and Ray Fisher round out the cast.

The third season of True Detective is expected to debut next year.

Variety first reported the news of the director switch-up.

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