HBO Greenlights True Detective Season 3, A Return To The Series’ Roots

When it comes to discussing HBO’s polarizing True Detective series, good news generally foreshadows bad news. Recently we learned that HBO enticed legendary writer David Milch (Deadwood, NYPD Blue) and acclaimed actor Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Luke Cage) to join creator Nic Pizzolatto (The Magnificent Seven) — pretty good news, right? According to THR, True Detective Season 3 is now greenlighted and moving forward. OK, so what’s the bad news?

One of the big reasons for Season 1’s success was the writer-director duo of Pizzolatto and Cary Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation), who together created a consistency and uniformity of tone and style throughout the 8 episode inaugural season. Unfortunately, in Season 2 multiple directors were stretched over those 8 episodes, resulting in an often incoherent mess. THR relates that Jeremy Saulnier (Green Room) will partner with Pizzolatto (who’s also the series’ showrunner) for the entirety of Season 3, which sounds good at first, but Saulnier has only a handful of minor directing gigs.

Related – Deadwood’s David Milch Sought To Revive The Corpse of HBO’s True Detective

We’re also getting some insight into the new storyline, which revolves around a macabre crime (shocking!) set in the Ozarks — a region of mountains and lakes shared by Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The plot involves a mystery that spans several decades, playing out in three separate time periods. Given the linear, urban-based nature of Season 2, this description of Season 3 is very much a return to the series’ time-jumping, folklore-driven, Southern roots — very, very good news.

To offset these positive developments, apparently David Milch only wrote one episode for this upcoming season (Pizzolatto wrote everything else), while HBO is also kind of desperate for their next big hit (Game of Thrones is concluding and Westworld is in no particular hurry to move it’s story forward). Consequently, there’s a lot of pressure on Pizzolatto to prove that Season 2 was just a bump-in-the-road.

So despite the relative inexperience of the director and the absence of a legitimate writer’s room, there’s every indication that True Detective could be a return to form that seized the zeitgeist in 2014 and rocketed Pizzolatto onto the Hollywood scene. Pizzolatto grew up in the deep South, he knows the folklore, the urban legends, and the personality of the region — the tools that made Season 1 so bizarrely engaging, and which he largely abandoned in the choppy, sloppy second season.

HBO hasn’t announced a premiere date yet, but Pizzolatto has apparently written most of the scripts already. Stay tuned everyone, we’ll share more True Detective news as soon as we get it!

Are you ready for more True Detective or was Season 2 a deal-breaker for you? Let us know in the comments down below!

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David Kozlowski

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.

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