True Detective Season 3 is just a month away. We thought it might never happen after the misfire that was True Detective Season 2, but in January, 2019 the series will return with two new detectives and an exciting new mystery.
This article features everything we know so far about True Detective Season 3, from the latest trailer to episode titles. We’ll be updating it regularly leading up to the premiere (and maybe even after that) so keep checking back for new info.
What’s the True Detective Season 3 release date?
HBO confirmed on October 11 that the series will return on Sunday, January 13. The show will air on Sunday at 9 p.m. (which is HBO’s prestige spot typically reserved for shows like Game of Thrones and Westworld) and run for eight episodes.
The first two episodes will air back-to-back on January 13 followed by a single episode each proceeding Sunday at the same time on HBO, HBO NOW, and HBO GO.
Who are the cast and director for True Detective Season 3?
The star this time is Mahershala Ali (Luke Cage, Moonlight) in the role of state police detective Wayne Hays. He’ll be joined by Stephen Dorff, who plays a state investigator; Carmen Ejogo, a teacher with a connection to a mysterious crime; and Ray Fisher as Hays’ son, Freddy Burns.
Aside from Ali there aren’t a lot of huge stars in the True Detective Season 3 cast, which has typically been one of the shows biggest draws. However, the actor has already proven who can plot serious roles in Oscar-winning movies like Moonlight while also hamming it up as a Marvel villain in Luke Cage. So HBO likely has high hopes that his presence will be enough to convince people to watch.
As for the director, as with many TV shows that responsibility is being shared. Series creator Nic Pizzolatto, who wrote the entire season except for Episode 4, which he co-wrote, will direct for the first time this season. He’s joined by Daniel Sackheim (Game of Thrones, Ozark, Better Call Saul) and Jeremy Saulnier (Hold the Dark, Green Room).
Is there a trailer for True Detective Season 3
There are two, actually. You can watch the latest at the top of this post, and check out the mysterious first trailer for Season 3 below:
What’s the plot of True Detective Season 3?
Similar to the original season of True Detective, Season 3 will play with time in the way its story is told, exploring a mystery as it unfolds throughout three distinct points in time. An earlier trailer for the show also quoted Ali’s character saying, “My whole brains a bunch of missing pieces” while cutting between older and younger versions of the character. So clearly you can expect to see the detective show up in multiple time periods as he struggles to find the truth.
In a December 12 announcement, HBO offered a synopsis for True Detective Season 3:
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 (Oscar winner for “Moonlight”) stars as state police detective Wayne Hays, with Stephen Dorff (“Somewhere”) starring as Roland West, the detective who investigated the case with Hays, and Carmen Ejogo (“Selma”) 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.
Filmed at locations throughout northwest Arkansas, the new season of TRUE DETECTIVE was written by series creator Nic Pizzolatto, except for the fourth episode, which he wrote with David Milch (HBO’s “Deadwood”), and the sixth episode, which he wrote with Graham Gordy (CINEMAX’s “Quarry”). Pizzolatto is also making his directorial debut with two episodes; other directors are Jeremy Saulnier (“Hold the Dark”) and Daniel Sackheim (HBO’s “Game of Thrones”).
The network also revealed the first four episode titles and a short plot summary for each. You can find all the information below, but you should probably stop reading now if you’re worried about spoilers.
Still here? Cool, here’s all that spoilery goodness:
Episode #17 (season 3, episode 1): “The Great War and Modern Memory”
Debut date: SUNDAY, JAN. 13 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT)
The disappearance of a young Arkansas boy (Phoenix Elkin) and his sister (Lena McCarthy) in 1980 triggers vivid memories and enduring questions for retired detective Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali), who worked the case 35 years before with partner Roland West (Stephen Dorff). What started as a routine case becomes a long journey to dissect and make sense of the crime.
Written by Nic Pizzolatto; directed by Jeremy Saulnier.
Episode #18 (season 3, episode 2): “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”
Debut date: SUNDAY, JAN. 13 (10:00-11:00 p.m.)
Hays (Mahershala Ali) 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 (Michael Greyeyes), a solitary vet and trash collector, and Ted LaGrange (Shawn-Caulin Young), an ex-con with a penchant for children – the parents of the missing kids, Tom (Scoot McNairy) and Lucy Purcell (Mamie Gummer), receive a cryptic note from an anonymous source.
Written by Nic Pizzolatto; directed by Jeremy Saulnier.
> Episode #19 (season 3, episode 3): “The Big Never”
Debut date: SUNDAY, JAN. 20 (10:00-11:00 p.m.)
Hays (Mahershala Ali) recalls his early romance with Amelia (Carmen Ejogo), as well as cracks in their relationship that surfaced after they married and had children. Ten years after the Purcell crimes, new evidence emerges, giving him a second chance to vindicate himself and the investigation.
Written by Nic Pizzolatto; directed by Daniel Sackheim.
Episode #20 (season 3, episode 4): “The Hour and the Day”
Debut date: SUNDAY, JAN. 27 (10:00-11:00 p.m.)
Hays (Mahershala Ali) and West (Stephen Dorff) see a possible connection between the local church and the Purcell crimes. As the detectives search for one suspect and round up another for interrogation, Woodard (Michael Greyeyes) is targeted by a vigilante group.
Written by David Milch & Nic Pizzolatto; directed by Nic Pizzolatto.