True Detective season 3: Ali & Dorff capably replace McConaughey and Harrelson


Mahershala Ali as Wayne Hays in season 3 of HBO's True Detective

The HBO original series, True Detective, is a wildly popular crime show that audiences have come to adore.

The True Detective anthology series is the brain-child of Nic Pizzolatto, a distinguished novelist and screenwriter who is widely known in the entertainment industry.

True Detective seasons follow relatively the same formula, but each season has a different story, cast, and setting. I find this to be a refreshing change of pace, especially in crime television,. where series are usually predictable, formulaic, and mundane.

True Detective boasts a sizable budget which, in turn, buys A-list actors and creme de la creme writers. This is evident on screen and in the very first season, starring Matthew McConaughey who plays disillusioned and unorthodox detective Rustin Cohle, and Woody Harrelson who plays detective Martin Hart.

Season 1 was a big hit, but season 2 departed from the fan-favorites (McConaughey & Harrelson) and story line that captured the audiences’ unaverted attention.

True Detective just concluded its third season, which premiered January 13, 2019 and the finale aired February 24, 2019. Nic Pizzolatto and HBO executives heeded the outcry from season 2 and managed to land Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff.

Both actors have a special synergy that hasn’t been seen since season 1 which featured lead actors McConaughey and Harrelson.

Ali plays detective Wayne Hays, a Vietnam combat veteran and adept tracker. Dorff plays detective Roland West the epitome cop of the bygone “good old boy system.”

The season is set in Arkansas where a brother and his little sister go mysteriously missing, and as the evidence points to apparent foul play, there’s more to the case than meets the eye. Characteristically of the show it evokes conspiracy coupled with doubt.

Like the first season, the show is not linear, it takes place in three different time periods. This is done in a complex way that may confuse the viewer. Here’s a quick timeline of the season’s scope:

First time period: 1980

  • Purcell children go missing
  • Body of Will Purcell is found (not a plot spoiler)

Second time period: 1990

  • New evidence is found that leads to break in the case (pharmacy)

Third time period: 2015

  • Detectives Hays and West seek closure to the case that has baffled them for three decades

True Detective is done so masterfully that it’s hard to get back to reality after finishing a season.

Prospective viewers can find True Detective on HBO and can stream it on demand.