When True Detective first landed back in 2014, it took HBO viewers by storm. Everything from the caliber of the acting to the quality of the storytelling was impressive. The panache of vaguely holistic woo mixed with good old-fashioned gumshoe detective work felt fresh. But when Season 2 came along with a new cast and mystery, the whole enterprise crumbled in real time. With the upcoming premiere of the new season next month, the True Detective Season 3 trailer has a lot of clean up work to do, not to mention good faith to restore.
The good news is, at least from the way the new trailer has been cut, the latest installment in the anthology series is heading back to what worked: Oscar-winning actors using their talents to hold up an atmospheric whodunit. It also pulls the noir-tinged action away from California, where Season 2 was set and back to the south, this time in Arkansas.*
*This is where series creator Nic Pizzolatto originally planned to set Season 1, but tax incentives convinced him to move to Louisiana.
Here's the show's logline:
In 1980: Will and Julie Purcell, the children of feuding parents Tom and Lucy Purcell, go missing a week after Halloween in West Finger, Ark. In 2015: Retired detective Wayne Hays, who originally investigated the crime, is asked to look back on the twists of the unsolved case with a true-crime documentary producer.
Check out the trailer:
Here's the full synopsis:
Playing out in three separate time periods, the third season tells the story of a macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks, and a mystery that deepens over decades. Mahershala Ali stars as state police detective Wayne Hays, with Stephen Dorff starring as Roland West, the detective who investigated the case with Hays, and Carmen Ejogo starring as schoolteacher and writer Amelia Reardon. In 2015, retired detective Wayne Hays, his memory failing, looks back at the disappearance of 12-year-old Will and ten-year-old Julie Purcell, recalling the days and weeks immediately following the 1980 crime, as well as developments in 1990, when he and his former partner, Roland West, were subpoenaed after a major break in the case.
The eight-episode season begins with two back-to-back episodes forming an old-fashion miniseries-like premiere. Episode one is entitled “The Great War and Modern Memory.”
The disappearance of a young Arkansas boy and his sister in 1980 triggers vivid memories and enduring questions for retired detective Wayne Hays, who worked the case 35 years before with partner Roland West. What started as a routine case becomes a long journey to dissect and make sense of the crime.
Episode two is entitled “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.”
Hays looks back at the aftermath of the 1980 Purcell case in West Finger, Ark., including possible evidence left behind at the Devil’s Den, an outdoor hangout for local kids. As attention focuses on two conspicuous suspects – Brett Woodard, a solitary vet and trash collector, and Ted LaGrange, an ex-con with a penchant for children – the parents of the missing kids, Tom and Lucy Purcell, receive a cryptic note from an anonymous source.
True Detective Season 3 premieres Sunday, January 13, 2018, starting at 9 p.m. ET.