True Detective Season 3 Plot, Premise & Episode Details

True Detective

HBO - Screenshot of Trailer Mahershala Ali will be starring as Detective Wayne Hays in the third season of True Detective.

True Detective season 3 premieres on Sunday, January 13 at 9/8c on HBO, nearly three-and-a-half years after the second season aired. Although many were in doubt that the third season would ever happen after a rough response to season two, True Detective is coming back to HBO with new detectives, a new case, and a fresh location.

Mahershala Ali will be starring as Detective Wayne Hays in the third season of the drama anthology. Ali recently won a Golden Globe for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” for his role in the movie “Green Book.” Ali also brought home another Golden Globe in 2017 for his starring role in the hit film “Moonlight.”

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After HBO unveiled the trailer for the third season in August, 2018, fans of the first season were thrilled that the tone seemed more in line with the original season than the last. True Detective‘s Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson starred in season one, which received widespread acclaim and fanfare, earning both of its leads Emmy and Golden Globe nominations and averaging 2.3 million weekly viewers (in Live+SD numbers), according to TV Line. Season 2 — starring Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, Kelly Reilly and Vince Vaughn — received far lower ratings, but averaged a slightly larger weekly audience.

In the trailer above, we see Hays attempt to uncover the unsettling story of missing children in southern Missouri, in an investigation that forces him to revisit his past while he continues to be haunted by his demons. The mystery of the missing children continues to deepen over the decades following their disappearance, as the story plays out in three separate time periods.

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The HBO synopsis of the third season reads: “Touch darkness and darkness touches you back. From creator/executive producer Nic Pizzolatto, comes this searing series of troubled cops and the investigations that drive them to the edge. Each season features a new cast and a new case.” HBO recently released the episode titles and synopsis for the first four episodes. Check out details about the episodes below:

Episode 1 “The Great War and Modern Memory“:

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.

Episode 2 “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye“:

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.

Episode 3 “The Big Never“:

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.

Episode 4 “The Hour and the Day“:

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.

Nic Pizzolatto is the sole writer of the third season with the exception of Episode 4, which he co-wrote with David Milch. According to Deadline, Game of Thrones director Daniel Sackheim directs alongside Pizzolatto, who will make his directorial debut. Jeremy Saulnier directed the first two episodes.

Mahershala Ali, True Detective

HBO – Screenshot of TrailerMahershala Ali will be starring as Detective Wayne Hays in the third season of True Detective.

“Alien: Covenant”‘s Carmen Ejogo has also joined the cast as schoolteacher Amelia Reardon, who helps Hays investigate the disappearance of the two children. Scoot McNairy, known for his role in “Halt and Catch Fire,” also joins the cast as a father named Tom, who suffers a terrible loss that will “connect him to the decades-long investigations of two state-police detectives,” according to Deadline. Mamie Gummer will play the role of Lucy Purcell, a young mother of two who is at the very heart of the tragedy, and Brandon Flynn of 13 Reasons Why will play the reoccurring role of a character named Ryan Peters.

Stephen Dorff, Ray Fisher, Michael Greyeyes, Jon Tenney, Deborah Ayorinde, Rhys Wakefield, Sarah Gadon, Emily Nelson, Michael Graziadei, Josh Hopkins and Jodi Balfour will also star in season three of the crime anthology.

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.

READ NEXT: True Detective Season 3 Premiere: Date, Time & Channel


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