True Detective Season 4 Could Answer Season 1's Scariest Unsolved Mystery

The series is supposed to be at least semi-anthologized, but it looks like Season 4 will call back to the beginning.

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True Detective is one of the most hit-and-miss TV series out there. While there have been three seasons so far, with each depicting a different case with a different cast, there isn’t much carryover at all.

The first season, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, enraptured audiences with its tale of Louisiana culture and ritual murder. The second season was seen by many as a disappointment, and Season 3 clawed back into acclaim but didn’t reach the heights of the first.

Now, with the upcoming fourth season, True Detective: Night Country, the narrative will apparently call back to the series’ glory days in more ways than one. Will this series finally answer the questions Season 1 left hanging?

The new iteration of the series stars Jodie Foster and Kali Reis as detectives investigating the sudden disappearance of eight men at an Arctic research station in Ennis, Alaska. While that may be thousands of miles away from Louisiana, the mysterious spiral symbol that popped up throughout Season 1’s story appears in the teaser for Season 4. (It’s around the 1:18 mark if you want to see for yourself.)

What does this mean? In Season 1, the spiral was closely associated with The Yellow King, a mysterious, seemingly cosmic, entity that motivated ritual assaults and murders. While the perpetrator was ultimately found, the finer details of what the Yellow King is and where it came from remained a mystery.

Season 1’s initial victim, Dora Lange, was tattooed with a spiral — the same spiral seen in the Season 4 teaser.


There’s a possibility that whoever is responsible for Season 4’s crime is a copycat killer who heard about the Louisiana case, but what if the two stories are actually related through the Yellow King?

It should be noted that this is not the first time True Detective has echoed back to this spiral symbol. In Season 3, a pedophile group named “The Crooked Spiral” was mentioned, but it was never confirmed if this was meant to be related to Season 1. The symbol in the Season 4 teaser is a lot more obvious — many objects can be named spirals, but the actual symbol is incredibly distinctive.

True Detective has always incorporated huge plot twists, so speculating on exactly what could happen in this story is probably fruitless. But the inclusion of this symbol suggests the scope of this season is bigger than just a disappearance — we could also finally get answers about just what the Yellow King is and how its influence could reach as far as the last frontier.

True Detective: Night Country premieres on HBO in 2024.

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