Why the Villain of 'True Detective' Season 3 Could Be Wayne Hays' Son Henry

Henry is cop, but can Wayne trust him?

Henry Hays is a cop in True Detective Season 3. This isn’t exactly a secret (HBO even reveals it on the official website), but that detail hadn’t been explicitly stated so far on the show. However, after one fan spotted evidence that Wayne’s son is an officer of the law and shared the information on Reddit, it quickly led to some pretty interesting theories about what Henry might really be up to.

Should Wayne trust his own son? Is the villain of True Detective Season 3 Henry? Or is it Wayne? And who is the actual “true detective”? Let’s dive in.

Warning: Spoilers for True Detective Season 3 Episodes 1-3 (and possibly the entire show) ahead.

Ok, first let’s go over how we know Henry Hays is a cop — beyond HBO’s own confirmation. It all boils down to a screenshot taken near the end of Episode 2 by redditor u/Nostradamus_89, which shows that Henry’s car is outfitted with a police spotlight. That pretty much proves it.

'True Detective' Season 3 Episode 2
'True Detective' Season 3 Episode 2

With that established, Reddit quickly went to work determining what Henry’s profession as a cop could mean for True Detective Season 3. Some guessed he might solve the mystery of Julie Purcell’s disappearance, while others suggested he could have been involved in a cover up related to how his father Wayne handled the case.

It might even have to do with his mother, Amelia, who we previously speculated might have kidnapped the Purcell kids to launch her own career as a true crime writer. Even if Amelia simply crossed some line in her investigation into the case, that might explain what Wayne (and Henry) have been hiding all these years.

However, the most convincing theory hinges on the surprising level of familiarity between Henry and the documentarian interviewing Wayne for a true crime series in 2015. This sparked speculation over whether Henry could be working with the TV producer to set his own dad up and get Wayne to reveal whatever secret’s he’s been keeping about the case. The documentarian might even be another police officer in disguise as part of an elaborate sting.

It might sound farfetched, but remember what Amelia said to Wayne in Episode 3 during a scene set in 1990: “You’re worried what they’ll find what you left in the woods. Finish it.”

Additionally, Henry doesn’t seem to particularly like his dad, presumably because of whatever happened to his mother (dead by 2015) and sister (moved away and never came back for unclear reasons). So it makes sense that he’d be willing to set Wayne up in a last ditch attempt to get to the truth.

In that case, Henry might not be the villain of True Detective Season 3. He might actually be the truest detective of them all.

True Detective Season 3 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.

Media via HBO