HBO has released titles and plot synopses for the first four episodes of True Detective season 3, which stars Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali as a detective haunted by an old case, who revisits the crimes along with a true crime documentary filmmaker. The reveal comes just a day after HBO dropped a new trailer for the third season of the drama series, which last aired in 2015. Season 3 also stars Stephen Dorff, Carmen Ejogo, Ray Fisher, Scoot McNairy, Mamie Gummer and Josh Hopkins.
The first season of True Detective, masterminded by writer and showrunner Nic Pizolatto and episode director Cary Fukunaga, arrived in 2014 and immediately received near-universal acclaim. Starring heavy-hitting movie actors Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, the series tracked the efforts of a pair of investigators to solve a decades-long case involving a mysterious killer. Season 2 of True Detective came along in 2015, and tackled a whole new mystery with a whole new cast. Despite featuring big name stars like Rachel McAdams and Colin Farrell, the second season failed to win over critics and fans, leaving the future of the series very much up in the air.
But in spite of diminished returns for season 2, HBO is going back to the True Detective formula for one more go-around, and this time they've enlisted Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali to head up the cast. It was previously revealed that season 3 would debut on HBO on January 13th, 2019, but now the network has announced that season 3 will kick off with a pair of back-to-back one-hour episodes, starting at 9 PM ET. The network has also put out titles and synopses for the first four episodes, which can be seen below:
Episode 1 "The Great War and Modern Memory":
The disappearance of a young Arkansas boy (Phoenix Elkin) and his sister (Lena McCarthy) in 1980 triggers vivid memories and enduring questions for retired detective Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali), who worked the case 35 years before with partner Roland West (Stephen Dorff). What started as a routine case becomes a long journey to dissect and make sense of the crime.
Episode 2 "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye":
Hays (Mahershala Ali) looks back at the aftermath of the 1980 Purcell case in West Finger, Ark., including possible evidence left behind at the Devil’s Den, an outdoor hangout for local kids. As attention focuses on two conspicuous suspects – Brett Woodard (Michael Greyeyes), a solitary vet and trash collector, and Ted LaGrange (Shawn-Caulin Young), an ex-con with a penchant for children – the parents of the missing kids, Tom (Scoot McNairy) and Lucy Purcell (Mamie Gummer), receive a cryptic note from an anonymous source.
Episode 3 "The Big Never":
Hays (Mahershala Ali) recalls his early romance with Amelia (Carmen Ejogo), as well as cracks in their relationship that surfaced after they married and had children. Ten years after the Purcell crimes, new evidence emerges, giving him a second chance to vindicate himself and the investigation.
Episode 4 "The Hour and the Day":
Hays (Mahershala Ali) and West (Stephen Dorff) see a possible connection between the local church and the Purcell crimes. As the detectives search for one suspect and round up another for interrogation, Woodard (Michael Greyeyes) is targeted by a vigilante group.
All season 3 episodes were written solo by Nik Pizzolatto, except episode 4 which was co-written by Deadwood creator David Milch, and episode 6 which was co-written by Graham Gordy. Hold the Dark director Jeremy Saulnier helmed the season's first two episodes, while Pizzolatto and Game of Thrones episode director Daniel Sackheim took on the remainder of the season. Saulnier had originally been set to direct the entire season but left early due to scheduling conflicts.
Pizzolatto of course famously clashed with Cary Fukunaga after season 1 and many think Fukunaga's absence was one of the main reasons season 2 failed to live up to the standards of the first season. For season 3, the series will return to a formula much closer to season 1, which revolved around a central mystery spread across many years. Like Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey before him, Mahershala Ali steps into the role of the cop who wants another chance to solve the crime that has haunted him for decades. It remains to be seen if season 3 can recapture the magic of season 1, or if it is destined to disappoint fans the way season 2 did.
- True Detective release date: