Season 3 of HBO’s True Detective has a lot riding on it, but the latest trailer released by the network suggests a series that is ready to make a confident return. Creator Nic Pizzolatto’s ultra-dark crime series went on a lengthy hiatus following the second season that disappointed despite featuring an all-star cast that included Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, and Taylor Kitsch. Though it may have its fans, the second season failed to capture the imagination of viewers quite like its Emmy-winning predecessor, which not only benefitted from the presence of Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, but also the direction of Cary Joji Fukunaga.
But now the series is set to return for the first time since 2015, clearly looking to regain some of its past glory and critical acclaim. In order to do that, Pizzolatto has assembled a terrific cast led by Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali as Detective Wayne Hays, a man who is clearly haunted by the events of a single, grisly case, one he can’t forget and yet, as is suggested by the trailer, struggles to remember the exact details of as the years go on.
That angle is played up extensively in the second official trailer for the new season, and it’s one that could offer True Detective season 3 the ingredient necessary to captivate audiences once more. The questioning of one man’s memory as he recounts events that forever altered his life is reminiscent of season 1, and though it may seem as though the show is simply walking down a well trodden path, there does seem to be enough of a difference for this new story to offer an intriguing twist on a familiar formula.
Multiple timelines are a favorite among HBO creatives at the moment, but while the network’s other big hit, Westworld, likes to use the device to confound its audience, True Detective seems set on wringing something weightier from its exploration of the past and the present. And, to the show’s credit, it seems as though Pizzolatto is aiming to do season 1 one better by allowing the story to play out across several different moments in the life of Det. Hayes, something that also affords its star a chance to flex his dramatic muscles.
Though its looking good so far, there is a lot riding on this third season. If it proves to be a return to form (or better), it may mean True Detective continues on to a fourth season. If not, it will be interesting to see if HBO is interested in doing something different with its anthology or if it will call it quits.
True Detective season 3 premiers Sunday, January 13, 2019 on HBO.