Since the season two finale of True Detective we have had some time for reflection and murmurings of a third season are starting to surface. HBO President Michael Lombardo has said openly that if the show’s creator, Nic Pizzolatto, wants to make a third season, he will have the networks backing. Despite the fact that season two failed to captivate its audience in the same way as season one, each episode was bringing in around 12 million viewers and with numbers like that, a repeat performance is undeniably on the cards.
Pizzolatto himself hasn’t said much about the prospect of a third season, apart from that he has had a few ideas. Despite the fact that the two seasons have been largely different, there have been some reoccurring themes that may provide us with a window into what we could expect if a third season was to be announced.
Number of Lead Characters
This has doubled from season one to season two but I can’t see it doubling again. If anything, having four main characters detracted from the actual story and it felt like there were too many branching storylines to cover in just 8 episodes. I wouldn’t be surprised if season three went back to two central characters, or maybe even just one, seeing as he likes to mix is up a bit. By simplifying the lead roles down to two would allow for a much more concentrated, character driven piece. I felt that by having four main characters, it was a struggle to connect with them all right away and it took a few episodes to start to really know who they are and understand how their stories connect with the overarching narrative.
We’ve gone from rural to urban so what would be the next logical choice? Season one was in the bowels of Louisiana and season two was in the guts of Los Angeles. I don’t think it would be possible to predict what the next location choice would be, but if I was speculating, I would say that season three may not be in the US at all. It could move to Mexico and riff off the success of Breaking Bad which also had some basis in the same country, or it could move to Europe, Australia or even…dare I say it…the UK? Australia, Mexico and the UK would open the doors to some great actors native to those countries taking a lead role. Aussie native Jason Clarke would make an excellent lead as he is becoming more and more prominent in the Hollywood scene and I could certainly see Tom Hardy or Idris Elba leading the way for a UK based season. If it was going to stay in the U.S, venturing up to Minnesota, Nebraska or Michigan could provide some interesting scenes, returning back to that dark, rural nature but in a much more unforgiving environment which could become reminiscent of the Coen Brothers notoriously dark and humorous film, Fargo.
One thing is for sure and that’s the underlying theme connecting both seasons is that they have been about a murder. Another murder story would make sense because it would follow suit, but nothing else has really followed suit so who knows. The murder story is what predominantly drove the first season but for season two, this somewhat fell by the wayside to make room for the character development, I struggled to really care or understand what was happening with the murder case in season two. The ritualistic and supernatural element of the murder in season one helped in it being so captivating. For season three, I think they need to keep it simple again and have a mysterious murder and detectives investigating that murder coming across different characters who can help to feed information into the story without ruling themselves out as actual suspects. The audience needs to feel as much a part of the investigation as the Detectives and this was lost in season two because of the complexities of the case and the jargon used by the characters.
Theme of the Occult
Both seasons have had an underlying theme of the occult which was a lot more prominent in season one than in season two, purely because of the nature of the murder being investigated. I can imagine this coming in to play again, perhaps in a subversive way like in season two whereby elements of the enquiry irk towards the supernatural and an element of the mystery is completely unexplained.
Finally, the narrative in season two seems to have stretched much more than in season one mainly due to the four main leads and their own character journeys, but if they narrowed the number of lead characters back down to something a little more manageable then this sprawling narrative could be widened further to encompasses a development of the characters as well as a massive story. I have enjoyed venturing in into peoples pasts with the previous seasons but maybe season three could be more focused in the present day and spread itself forward into the future rather than continuously delving into characters back stories.
Despite the disappointment of the second season i would most definitely tune into a third because credit where credits due, Nic Pizzolatto has mastered the art of character building and storytelling and I am very interested to see what he will come up with next time. Before True Detective is lumped into the category of TV shows that have had unsuccessful follow up seasons, I think it deserves another shot at capturing our imaginations once more.
If True Detective Season 3 news drops you’ll hear about it here. As for a premiere date, we couldn’t even estimate but we do have dates here for you.