Bursting onto the premium cable scene in 2014, HBO's True Detective earned rave reviews from both viewers and critics, picking up multiple Emmy nominations along the way. Naturally, this led to very high fan expectations for 2015's season 2, which featured a new cast and told a new story, but was still overseen creatively (and written almost entirely) by series creator and showrunner Nic Pizzolatto. Unfortunately, responses to season 2 were almost a complete 180 from those drawn by season one, with True Detective's sophomore season being dubbed by many as the biggest TV disappointment of last year.
In the months since season 2's flop, HBO has been quite noncommittal about whether or not True Detective would get a season 3, although always insisting that the series wasn't officially dead yet. One sign that True Detective might have some life left in it was HBO's decision to sign a new overall deal with Pizzolatto last fall, as it's hard to imagine that such a deal would be brokered if the network planned to drop the ax on Pizzolatto's signature project.
While talking to reporters at the TCA gathering earlier today, HBO programming head Casey Bloys was asked directly about True Detective's future prospects - or lack thereof - and offered some hope for fans eager to see if the embattled show can turn things around (via EW):
"It is not dead. I talked to Nic about it and both Nic and HBO are open to another season. I don’t think Nic has a take and he’s working on some other projects. We’re open to somebody else writing it and Nic supervising it. It’s a valuable franchise, it’s not dead, we just don’t have a take for a third season yet."
The big headline there - outside of HBO still being open to a new True Detective season - is that if the once-beloved series does indeed return, it's likely to do so with Pizzolatto in a much less vital creative role than before. What exactly Bloys means by "supervising it" is debatable, as while he could simply mean Pizzolatto would go from being writer and showrunner to just the latter, the phrase could also insinuate that Pizzolatto might end up in more of a top-level consultant-type role.
If True Detective season 3 does eventually materialize, it will be interesting to see if, for example, season 1 stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are up for coming back (as McConaughey has said he is) and trying to recapture the old magic, either as new characters or in some type of different Rust Cohle and Martin Hart adventure. With the series' initial critical luster now diminished, a return by either actor might be just what HBO would need in order to get more fans interested once again.
We'll bring you more information on True Detective season 3 as it becomes available.