After years of chatter surrounding the drama’s future, True Detective is officially coming back to HBO for another season.
The next iteration of the crime anthology from Nic Pizzolatto had been gestating for some time, with rumors of the creator plotting a comeback for the series ever since HBO signed him to a three-year overall deal in 2015. The third installment 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. With production getting underway on the new season, here’s everything we know so far about what’s in store for True Detective‘s return.
Season 3 Takes Place in the Ozarks
Someone please tell the Midwest that the Ozarks are having a moment. On top of Jason Bateman’s broody Netflix drama Ozark, the third season of True Detective will also take place in the Southern region of Missouri. This season will tell the story of a macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks, a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods. The premium cable network first announced the location in August 2017 when, after years of speculation, it finally revealed that it would be moving forward with a third season of the anthology.
David Milch Helped Out With the Script
Like the past two seasons, series creator and novelist Pizzolatto will serve as showrunner on the series. He’s also credited as the lone writer on the season, with the exception of David Milch, who co-wrote the fourth episode. Rumors began to circulate that the Deadwood creator was involved in the season in early 2017, though HBO would not confirm the news at the time. The pairing didn’t come as a huge surprise given that Milch has been somewhat of an idol to Pizzolatto, as was revealed in a 2015 Hollywood Reporter cover story. Plus, HBO had already enlisted Milch’s former producer Scott Stephens on the first season of True Detective to help guide Pizzolatto, who was a first-time showrunner.
Pizzolatto Is Taking a Stab at Directing
One of the biggest holdups for the new season revolved around finding a director. Cary Fukunaga wowed critics as the helmer of all eight episodes of the first season but famously didn’t return for the second iteration after rumblings of friction between him and Pizzolatto. For season two, a rotating panel of directors was used instead, which didn’t pan out as well when it came to the show’s reviews — so it’s no wonder why locking in the right director was so crucial for the network. “I’ve read five scripts on the new season and I think they’re terrific,” HBO chief Casey Bloys teased of the third season at TCA in July 2017, adding of the timing: “When we find a director, we’ll be a go on that.” Ultimately, HBO landed on relative newcomer Jeremy Saulnier to director the new season alongside Pizzolatto, who currently has no directing credits to his name.
An Oscar Winner Is Starring
Hot off his Academy Award win for best actor in a supporting role for best picture victor Moonlight, HBO snagged Mahershala Ali for the leading part in the anthology’s comeback. He’ll play the main character of Wayne Hays, a state police detective from Northwest Arkansas, though little else has been revealed about his character. For what it’s worth, Ali is no stranger to the small screen — he’s had roles in Netflix series House of Cards and Luke Cage — but this plum part in True Detective certainly marks his most high-profile act to date.
Familiar Names Round Out the Rest of the Cast
Starring opposite Ali is Carmen Ejogo, known for movies like Selma, Alien: Covenant and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. As the the female lead, she’ll play Amelia Reardon, an Arkansas schoolteacher with a connection to two missing children in 1980. Among the castmembers are Stephen Dorff as an Arkansas state investigator named Roland West, who, along with his partner, has his life and career influenced over three decades by a baffling crime; Scoot McNairy will portray a father named Tom who suffers a terrible loss that ties his fate to that of two state police detectives over 10 years; and Mamie Gummer, who will play a young mother of two named Lucy Purcell at the center of a tragic crime. The latest additions to the cast include series regular and Justice League actor Ray Fisher, who will play Henry Hays, and recurring castmembers Michael Greyeyes (Brett Woodard), Jon Tenney (Alan Jones), Rhys Wakefield (Freddy Burns), Sarah Gadon (Elisa Montgomery) and Emily Nelson (Margaret).
The Same Team Is Behind the Show
Like past seasons, executive producers of the latest rendition of the anthology series include Pizzolatto, Stephens and season one stars Harrelson and McConaughey, as well as original director Fukunaga. Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin, Bard Dorros and Richard Brown are also credited as exec producers. New this season to the EP team is directing addition Saulnier. What we still don’t know: How many episodes will make up the third season and when the series will premiere, except that it will be in 2019.