Home » True Detective: What Could Happen in Season Three?

True Detective: What Could Happen in Season Three?

by Ellie Wilkin-Smith
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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.


Murder Story

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.


Sprawling Narrative

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.

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https://doloreslolitahaze.tumblr.com April 29, 2018 - 2:07 pm

Terrific writing on arbitrary topics. Im trying to currently
accomplish something such as what you have here except for on
a different topic totally. Many thanks for the inspiration to
write better content.

InevitableLife June 13, 2017 - 8:37 am

I watched both seasons when they premieried, and I recently watched both again. Season 2 is, in fact, the better season. Just because the critics panned it at the time, there’s no need to parrot their judgement. Both seasons stand rewatching, but the Season 2 has far more going on under the surface.

Michael Denner April 24, 2016 - 9:57 am

the word is “recurring” and you failed to use the subjunctive in that sentence…

Michael Denner April 24, 2016 - 9:57 am

truly the dumbest, most illiterate article i have read in the past 37 hours.

Lisa Massanisso April 11, 2016 - 7:26 am

True Detective, season one was exceptional, thrilling, kept you on the edge of your seat wanting more, season two was a flop. The casting in season one was spectacular, season two with Vince was off….he has unfortunately been in too many romantic comedy’s to be thought of as a ” tough guy”

Daniyar Akhmetzhanov April 21, 2016 - 5:13 am

but Vince actually did it pretty well – he made me believe he is “tough guy”

Daedalus January 4, 2016 - 12:57 pm

The value of True Detective concerns its need for one interesting story and characters. It begins with a bleak situation that has made the life of the characters miserable. They are not satisfied with the outcome of a prior case but they live with it until developments provide them second chance. It’s tempting but they quite often need help. Who do they need? Are they dependable? Do they have a chance or even a choice?

ndnwmn January 2, 2016 - 11:16 pm

I agree with loco 73 ~ There are so many possibilities with a show taking place along the Border ~ The Bridge was a exceptional show and I was sorry to see it cancelled. True Detective is also a exceptional show and while season 2 was a bit slow in some areas overall it was very good. Shows like True Detective or The Bridge for example are complex and definitely not main stream. I like that, so tired of the traditional routine/formula television shows ~ Please give us shows that make you actually think.

Daedalus January 2, 2016 - 7:08 pm

True Detective 2 suffered from a bad case of great expectations after the first season. TD3 will do better. Throw into the mix a good script and cast it will do quite well.

ndnwmn January 2, 2016 - 11:18 pm

I think that the script was good and the actors exceptional ~ There was a lack of good direction. I felt like the Director really wasn’t quite sure where he was going with the story.

loco73 November 1, 2015 - 12:36 am

Personally I’d love to see the show move on to the US-Mexico border. There are soo many interesting and captivating, and also savage and hearbreaking stories to be told there. Not sure where, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona…definitely not California again…

I know that this area was covered numerous times over the past few years by show’s like FX’s, now cancelled series, “The Bridge”, and documentaries like “Cartel Land”, movies like “Traffic” and more recently “Sicario”.

But I still think there are enough ideas there to spawn an interesting and captivating story with excellent characters for a third season of “True Detective”.

My ideal casting would be a combination of Oscar Isaac with Benicio Del Toro, or Oscar Isaac and Gael Garcia Bernal, or Benicio Del Toro and Gael Garcia Bernal. It is highly unlikely that Del Toro would like to return in a similar environment after “Traffic”, “Savages” and now “Sicario”. But man oh man I would love to see him and Oscar Isaac!!!! He was amazing in “Sicario”, one of the best performances of the year by the way!

We will see I guess, but I sincerely hope we get a third season (and beyond) of “True Detective”. For that to happen many things do need to change, creatively and in terms of production, direction.

First, this has to turn into a more collaborative effort and move away from being a one man show, and all that that entails…are you listening Nic Pizzolatto?!

And please, please, never again experiment with hiring directors like Justin Lin…ever, ever!!! There is plenty of talent outhere, besides HBO has a stable of trusted and proven directors that can more than readily bring, if not the level of quality that Cari Joji Fukunaga brought, then at the very least a competent approximation of it to the show!

Keeping my fingers crossed…

Eleonora Iafano October 11, 2015 - 8:09 am

Would love to see a third season in one of the sleepy states in the northeast, such as Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Maine. I think the northern setting, complete with little towns along the way and the often cold, wet weather would help to add a sense of mystery and ethereal environment to a third season. Really hope Nick P goes for number three!

AKB September 27, 2015 - 2:07 pm

Please keep writing and telling your stories….. all be it a bit hard to watch at times, the acting is wonderful!!! Do a spy thriller next. AND HBO bring back Rubicon!

nobycares September 28, 2015 - 6:27 am

rubicon is average,the interesting thing about rubicon is the ideal,everything is relevant.about s3 true detctive,maybe mexcio and drug diner is promising orietion


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