True Detective Looks to Rediscover Its Mojo in Its First Trailer for Season 3

The HBO drama’s next iteration, premiering in January, stars Mahershala Ali

Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali plays an Arkansas state police detective in True Detective's new season. HBO
Headshot of Jason Lynch

Few shows in recent memory have managed to hit both the euphoric highs and dismaying lows of HBO’s True Detective. Creator Nic Pizzolatto followed the show’s critically-acclaimed debut season in 2014, which starred Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, with a frustrating Season 2 a year later (starring Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams), which Adweek called the most disappointing TV show of 2015.

After a lengthy hiatus, HBO and Pizzolatto hope they have rediscovered the show’s mojo with the upcoming third season, which stars Mahershala Ali, who won an Oscar for Moonlight, as an Arkansas state police detective.

The newly-released first trailer for Season 3, which will premiere in January, seems to echo the intriguing imagery of the first season, and presents Ali as a haunted man a la McConaughey, prone to utterances like “My whole brain’s a bunch of missing pieces” and “My job, there’s no certainty.”

“It’s looking good,” HBO president of programming Casey Bloys said of True Detective last month at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour. “Mahershala Ali is amazing, Carmen Ejogo, who plays his wife, is great, so we’re really excited to have it out there.”

Bloys added that Pizzolatto’s scripts for the upcoming season eased any concerns the network had about the series after the tepid response to Season 2.

“The script that he wrote did all the talking for him. We read four scripts and had it cast before we green-lit it,” said Bloys. “When I read the scripts, I was sure.”

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.