HBO is finally moving ahead with a third season of the acclaimed crime anthology series True Detective. The third season will feature recent Moonlight Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, while series creator Nic Pizzolatto will share directing duties with Jeremy Saulnier.
Debuting in 2014, True Detective took the television world by storm. It featured career best performances from Matthew McConaughey as the haunted, broken Detective Rust Cohle and Woody Harrelson as his deeply flawed partner Marty Hart. Aided by the dazzling direction of Cary Fukunaga, the eight episode first season was not only critically acclaimed, but became something of a cultural sensation. The rushed second season fared worse, however, as the absence of both the original cast and Fukunaga was noticeable from the start.
The show's future has been in limbo since the second season ended, but HBO has finally confirmed its return. According to a report from Variety, HBO is moving forward with a third season starring Mahershala Ali as Wayne Hays, a state police detective from Arkansas who is investigating a strange crime in the Ozarks. Pizzolatto will write every episode save one, which he co-wrote with David Milch, and he'll split directorial duties with Jeremy Saulnier, known for small scale, brutal masterpieces like Blue Ruin and Green Room. There's currently no set air date, nor a set date when production will begin.
It's a promising sign that HBO is finally moving forward with a third season. Following the second season -- which featured an impressive cast in Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, and Vince Vaughn -- there was genuine doubt as to whether the show would ever return. Pizzolatto and Fukunaga were believed to have had a falling out, and the magic those two weaved together in the first season was clearly lacking in the Fukunaga-free sophomore slump.
And while Fukunaga is unlikely to return in any significant capacity, the addition of Saulnier is exciting. He's a director with a singular visual flair that seems like a match made in heaven for True Detective. The dicier proposition is Pizzolatto, who has no experience directing. It remains to be seen if Pizzolatto has more than one story that works in the dark, macabre world he and Fukunana so memorably created in that first season. With a star of Mahershala Ali's magnitude and a co-director as promising as Saulnier, maybe Pizzolatto can turn True Detective around.