When True Detective's first season came to a close, it wasn't a matter of if there would be a second season but when. With the promise the anthology series would feature a new set of actors, memes sprang up with all sorts of wild pairings under the hashtag #TrueDetectiveSeason2. Then Season 2 actually arrived, and the question of a Season 3 became less of a when the next season would arrive but if. With so many ups and downs, fans are now wondering when does True Detective Season 4 premiere? Or should they be asking if it will at all?
It took True Detective Season 3 four years to find a way back to HBO after the Season 2 debacle. However, there was a key thing driving the return: HBO had already inked a deal with creator Nic Pizzolatto extending through 2018, back before Season 2 collapsed. Fans had taken this to mean a Season 3 was all but a given, despite no official greenlight to go ahead with the project.
There were rumors HBO had put some demands on Pizzolatto for the third season after the second was such a disaster, but no one would officially say one way or the other. All anyone knew was there was no official go ahead. That finally came in the summer of 2017, two years later.
True Detective Season 3 was completed by the end of 2018, technically fulfilling Pizzolatto's contract. The contract, as of now, has not been extended. Now, HBO could very well sign him to make more, and the channel likes putting out True Detective announcements in the summer. It is very plausible entertainment president Casey Bloys could announce a new deal has been struck through "2020-something" when the Television Critics Association Press Tour rolls around next August. Until any announcement happens, everything is speculation.
Could HBO be interested in a Season 4? That's another matter. True Detective Season 3 was hailed as a return to form by critics when the first two episodes premiered back in January. However, while some loved the ending (myself included), reactions have been mixed across the board. Several critics have complained the mystery was a letdown, which isn't a totally incorrect take. (I would argue it wasn't the point, which perhaps is a problem for a series entitled True Detective.)
For now, it may be best for fans not to get their hopes up right away. One thing Season 2 to Season 3 proved is Pizzolatto does better in crafting his stories when given time and space. It would behoove HBO to allow True Detective Season 4 to gestate until 2023 if that's what it takes to come up with a season worthy of the series best, rather than rush ahead and get a new season out by 2020 that could set the entire franchise back again.
If there's one thing this series has taught viewers, it's justice does get served, even if it takes decades to get there. If Wayne Hays can wait 35 years to find Julie Purcell, viewers can wait a few years for the next True Detective.