Amelia Reardon, the teacher who features in the third season of True Detective, is played by actress Carmen Ejogo and is the eventual love interest of Mahershala Ali’s character Detective Wayne Hays.
To better understand Reardon’s character, a quick rundown of the plot of season three is necessary. Season three centers around Detective Wayne Hays, played by Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali, who is a retired, 70-year-old Arkansas state police detective. Hays’ story, which plays out over three separate time periods covering the 1980s, 90s and 2000s, involves Hays attempting to uncover the unsettling story of two missing children in the Ozarks – Will and Julie Purcell.
Reardon is an Arkansas schoolteacher and aspiring writer who has a connection to two missing children in 1980. In one of the trailers for the third season, Reardon tells Hays that Will Purcell was a quiet boy, who wasn’t really noticed by anyone around him. Reardon eventually marries Hays, the two start a family, and Reardon goes on to write a non-fiction book about about the grisly crime, the investigation and its effect on their family, much to Hays’ displeasure.
According to USA Today, actress Carmen Ejogo finds Reardon an intriguing character who faced career barriers as a woman in that era. Her character is “an artist, an intellectual (who) has aspirations to be something that may be a little outside her purview as a woman of the ‘80s, doing her best to be the mother and the housewife but with bigger ambitions,” she told USA Today.
Ejogo also claims her character has an independent streak that elevates her above the role of a “stereotypical, supportive wife,” according to USA Today. “There’s an autonomy, a real voice that is three-dimensional. It’s “both reactive to the husband, but equally Wayne is reactive to Amelia.”
The trailers for the third season show an increasing level of distrust between Hays and his wife Reardon, although the two initially look like a typical, happy couple. A scene showing Reardon and Hays sitting down together at dinner has Reardon reveal that she used to be “something of a mess,” which doesn’t surprise Hays at all. He tells her how badly he would like to “pretend to be normal” with her, for as long as he can, while they gaze intently into each other’s eyes.
Later on in the trailer, Reardon states that she has started writing about the investigation, flashing to a clip of her published book. Hays can be heard stating that the book “is as much about us as anything,” before the scene changes once again, and Hays is accusing his wife (although it’s unclear if they are already married or not) of “using people.” “We’re all stories to you,” he says, to a concerned-looking Reardon.
The trailer jumps around at this point, flashing clips of Hays and Reardon as a happy couple, of Reardon being shoved out of the front door by Lucy Parcell, the mother of the missing children, and of Hays and Reardon wrapped in a passionate embrace. At one point, Reardon can be heard telling Hays that she needs to “know everything,” presumably about the case, to which Hays replies “you’re better off not knowing.”
Other than what’s shared in the trailers above, details about Reardon’s character are sparse at this time. To find out more about how Reardon fits into the show, tune in on Sunday, January 13 at 9/8c on HBO to catch the season premiere of True Detective. If you miss the season premiere, fear not – the first two episodes will air back-to-back on January 13 followed by another showing on Monday, the 14. Single episodes will proceed Sunday at the same time on HBO, HBO NOW, and HBO GO.