True Detective (Season Three)
Starring: Mahershala Ali, Stephen Dorff, Carmen Ejogo, Scoot McNairy, Ray Fisher, Mamie Gummer, Sarah Gadon
Creator: Nic Pizzolatto
IMDb Rating | 8.5
Humpo Show Rating | 8.9
The third season of True Detective tells the story of a macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks, and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods.
The first season of True Detective is the pinnacle of television, featuring some of the finest work from leading actors (and now series executive producers) Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, and from future Bond director Cary Joji Fukunaga, all under the helm of Nic Pizzolatto. It became multi-award-winning and has an of 9.3 IMDb rating – a similar score to the best seasons of Game of Thrones, The Wire and The Sopranos.
The season that followed, starring Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams, was a bit of a complicated mess – one I gave up on halfway through.
The story for the third season concerns a missing persons investigation involving two young children and is split into three timelines. The original investigation in the 1980s, the further investigations in the 90s, and the 2015 ‘present’, where former detective Wayne Hays (Ali) is recalling the investigation as part of a true crime documentary.
Pizzolatto returns to the formula that was so successful in the first season. A mysterious and tense atmosphere that comes with an inexplicable event; the potential for cultish creepiness; tension-building scores; well-developed characters, and not just the main duo, but also the supporting cast.
The narrative plays out over eight intricate episodes and Pizzolatto brilliantly develops it to a satisfying and watchable crescendo. Ali and Dorff are a brilliant pair, the chemistry seems to come effortlessly and they both made me believe they could be detectives. I have never seen Dorff in anything but I am now going to scour his catalogue as his supporting role was great to watch. I have seen Ali in a few things and he is always exceptional – this, perhaps is my favourite of his roles. He embodies each version of his character – the 1980s, 90s and 2015 – and even though each of them varies slightly, he continues to have Hays’ motivations and personality at his core.
Each episode ends on moments of tantalising anticipation. I kept having to watch the next episode straight afterwards as it was such an intoxicating story. The actors were exceptional, the music was well suited, the direction and script were great and the acting made the third season a must-watch. Not to the elite status of the first season, but not far behind either.
The Humpo Show | Richard