'True Detective' Season 3 Theories, Spoilers: It May Solve a Big S1 Mystery

Will we finally unmask the real Yellow King?

Ever since True Detective Season 3 began, the show has been drawing connections between the latest storyline and Season 1. However, recent clues make it clear that these two seasons exist in a shared universe, and suggest that Detective Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali) may just solve the mystery Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) never could.

The big clue we’re talking about comes from the teaser for Season 5 of True Detective Season 3 (watch it above) in a scene set in the 2015 timeline where the true crime documentarian asks Hays if the case he investigated could be part of a “larger conspiracy.” As The Ringer notes, a laptop placed next to the documentarian is displaying an old article titled “Former State Police Officers Stop Alleged Serial Killer” with pictures of Rust and Marty just below the headline.


There’s no denying it, True Detective Seasons 1 and 3 take place in the same timeline. That alone might be exciting enough for some fans, but this connection goes a lot deeper. As the new trailer seems to imply, the same people behind the crimes of Season 1 could also be responsible for the murder of Will Purcell and the kidnapping of his sister Purcell.

Speaking of Will, there’s another connection between True Detective Season 1 and 3. Both seasons feature a murdered child discovered in a prayer-like position (click over to The Ringer to compare the gruesome images for yourself). So is it possible that the same person or group of people killed both of those children?

As you might remember from Season 1, Error Childress (the creepy lawnmower dude) was rightfully arrested for killing those girls. However, it’s heavily implied that he’s simply acting on behalf of a much larger conspiracy led by the powerful Tuttle family. However, the Tuttles are simply too powerful to take on.

So assuming that the Tuttles are also connected to the Purcell case, is it possible that Hays could be the one to take them down in 2015? He may be old and suffering from Alzheimer’s, but with his detective son Henry and his old partner Roland West by his side, maybe Wayne Hays will be the one to finally solve the case introduced all the way back in True Detective Season 1 and provide some closure to the 5-year-old mystery of the Yellow King.

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