Mahershala Ali shares details about 'True Detective' Season 3


When we last checked in on the third season of Nic Pizzolatto's crime anthology series, fans including myself ingested a heavy dose of skepticism when Director Jeremy Saulnier exited the series after having completed just two episodes. Shortly after, HBO announced accomplished director, Daniel Sackheim was hired to replace Saulnier for the remaining six episodes, and we haven’t heard any rumblings about the upcoming season until now.

With filming underway in Fayetteville Arkansas, showrunner Nic Pizzolatto and star Mahershala Ali shared some intriguing details about the upcoming season during the show’s official "media day” sponsored by Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

True Detective season three will take viewers through a decade-long journey that will play out in three separate time periods, following Arkansas police detectives Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali) and Roland West (Stephen Dorff) as they investigate a macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks.

Nic Pizzolatto, who returns as the series’ sole scribe along with Deadwood’s David Milch who co-wrote episode 4, shared some very Pizzolatto-like details about third season's setting and how the Ozarks landscape will embody each character’s emotional journey:

❝The mystery of the deep woods. The fog over the mountains. The rivers. The water. The sense of scale when you get out to some of this nature. Also, what the buildings say about the lives behind them," Pizzolato said. "So I feel like people will see it as an extension of character, something that embodies characters' emotional journeys while influencing those journeys.❞

If we are judging based on plot and setting alone e.g. "deep woods" and"emotional journeys," it's safe to say this third season should reclaim at least two of the three components that made season one truly exceptional television. Of course that third component ties into the characters and the actors playing them, and with Mahershala Ali as lead, it's hard not to get excited for what's to come.


Ali, who portrays Arkansas State Police detective Wayne Hays, echoed Pizzolatto’s comments stating “It would have been a disservice to the story not to shoot in the Ozarks because it’s such a character in the story.” Much like the backwoods of Louisiana was an extension of Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson’s characters, Ali also stressed how important it was to slow down and align himself to the frequency of the pace. Something his character could not do if the show’s setting were in New York:

❝My character would not move or operate the same way if he was in New York," Ali said. "I've given myself permission to go slower even if they want me to speed up a bit. You end up essentially aligning yourself with the frequency of the pace. And that's how something will resonate as being truthful or not.❞

Additionally, Ali expressed his desire to play "Wayne Hays" was for the challenge to be "exhausted" after a good day’s work:

❝I've had the honor and good fortune of contributing to a lot of shows in theater and in television," he said. "But I would go home at night wanting to experience more, a more fulfilling experience. I was very grateful for my opportunity, but I remember thinking, 'I really want to be exhausted. I want to be tired from a good day's work, you know. I want to get my hands dirty.' "That has happened," he said. "I've been exhausted. I've got that. Check that box.❞

Joining Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff are Carmen Ejogo (The Girlfriend Experience) as Amelia Reardon, an Arkansas school teacher with a connection to two missing children. Justice League’s Ray Fisher will play Freddy Burns, Wayne’s son. Batman vs. Supes alum, Scoot McNairy has been cast as a father who suffers a terrible loss whose fate is tied to both Hays (Ali) and West (Dorff) over the 10 year period. Additionally, Rhys Wakefield (The Purge), Michael Greyeyes (Fear the Walking Dead) and Jon Tenney (That's 'Sheriff Behan’ in Tombstone) have been cast in recurring but undisclosed roles.

HBO has yet to announce a release date but True Detective Season 3 is expected to arrive sometime 2019.

After season two's underwhelming but not terrible installment (don't @ me), it's anywhere but up for season three. You excited for this?

Greg Harmon | Managing Editor and Cultjer Contributor | Follow me @sweetharmony for Film & TV discussion