While Matthew McConaughey hasn’t ruled out a return to True Detective, his co-star Woody Harrelson isn’t interested. The two actors fronted the first season of HBO’s dark, moody crime series, as troubled detectives on the trail of a serial killer. Their excellent performances, paired with the great writing and direction, saw the show quickly become an acclaimed hit for the network, and it even nabbed a few awards.
Since their storyline was wrapped up conclusively by the end of the season, HBO decided to focus the next outing on new characters. While season 2 of True Detective had a great cast – including Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams and Vince Vaughn – neither the characters nor the story grabbed viewers the way the first season did. Season 2 was ultimately considered a disappointment, and it took awhile for HBO to commit to a third season.
Fans of Rust Cohle got a glimmer of hope when McConaughey announced he’d be interested in returning if the script was good, but in a new interview with Yahoo! Entertainment Harrelson made it clear he’d rather leave it alone:
“I don’t see doing that. No. Because it went very well the first time and if we come back around to it, what else are you going to hear but, 'Not as good! Just wasn’t as good. Boy, you guys were good before, but this time…' I don’t want to even hear that.”
While his words might be disappointing for fans of the show, the actor probably has a point. The first season feels like lightning in a bottle, and it was clearly intended to wrap up at the end of the season. While it would be great to see the two characters back together, it’s doubtful the showrunners could find a fitting story, and even if they did, the response would likely be, “Just wasn’t as good.”
HBO is now moving ahead with a third season of True Detective, which has cast Moonlight star Mahershala Ali as a state police detective investigating a crime in the Ozarks. Nic Pizzolatto is returning as writer, and he’ll divide directing duties with Green Room helmer Jeremy Saulnier. The future of True Detective seemed in doubt after the mixed response to season 2, but it’s probably for the best HBO gave Pizzolatto time to think up a new story. Part of the reason the first season worked was down to his scripts, which he had years to develop and shape. HBO admitted the reason the second year suffered was that Pizzolatto had far less time to develop the story, and it felt rushed as a result.
If season 3 does well, then maybe HBO or Pizzolatto will consider a return for Rust Cohle in a future season of True Detective; though sadly, if he does return, it seems he won’t have his partner with him.