‘True Detective’ creator Nic Pizzolatto wasn’t sure if he’d return to the series that made him famous but now he’s been re-energized by the third season and may already have an idea for season 4…
Nic Pizzolatto may not be a rock star but he now understands what it’s like to have a hit debut record and then produce a follow up album that fails to live up the expectations.
The first season of ‘True Detective’ starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson was critically acclaimed, nominated for dozens of awards and generally regarded as one of the strongest single seasons of television in recent history (I recently just went back and rewatched the entire season and it holds up incredibly well).
Unfortunately, Pizzolatto rushed into a second season of the anthology series and the show starring Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams fell well short of the original in terms of overall storyline, plot and reception. Following a tough season faced with criticism about the sophomore effort of ‘True Detective’, Pizzolatto began working on other projects with HBO and started to put his original series in the rearview mirror.
That was until he had an idea for a third season of the show and he returned to ‘True Detective’ one more time.
“I was thinking about a couple people close to me who have been touched by this affliction [dementia] and I was wondering if it would be possible to tell a man’s life story in the form of a detective story,” Pizzolatto told EW this week. “What if the detective’s ultimate mystery is: “Who am I?” And: “What did my life mean?” I didn’t know it would be a True Detective, I just had this idea. It felt like an impossible math problem at first. Well, how do you do that? How would you make [the narrative] conform to the genre expectations for it to be successful while still trying to fulfill these larger ambitions?
“When I started writing, I didn’t know if it would be a movie or something else. Once I was 40 pages in, and I was starting to see how this puzzle would fit together, I was like, “Oh, this is a True Detective.”
The end result was a new season of the series that stars Oscar winner Mahershala Ali in the starring role as a detective living out three distinct time periods in his life, all while attached to the original case that starts back in 1980 after two children go missing in Arkansas. Ali’s character revisits the crime 10 years later and then again when he’s 70 years old in 2015 while dealing with a bout of dementia.
Pizzolatto was reinvigorated with the addition of Ali to the cast and now he’s very enthusiastic about the third season of ‘True Detective’ that debuts with special back-to-back episodes this Sunday, Jan. 13 starting at 9 p.m. ET.
Obviously, ‘True Detective’ season 3 has to play out but Pizzolatto admits that while he would love the opportunity to tell a continuing saga rather than an anthology series that starts over at the beginning of every season, he’s already got an idea in mind for season 4.
“I dream of making a TV show where you have recurring characters and don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. After one of these I always feel so depleted. But I have to say … I have an idea,” Pizzolatto teased.
“Yeah, and it’s wild. It’s really, really wild. Where do you even go after this [season]? I just had a lead character who’s 35, 45 and 70 all at the same time and this mystery that has to reach false resolutions and keep going into the future without cheating the audience and all these complicated structural elements. But I have an idea that’s kind of crazy. I think it needs to percolate for a while. I was looking to do another series, maybe a movie, in the meantime, but yeah. I have an idea.”
Thanks to the enthusiasm he regained working on ‘True Detective’ season 3, Pizzolatto hopes that he gets to continue the series with season 4 but he still has to wait and see how this current version plays out.
“There was just a lot of stuff going on with me, health-wise and personally, during and after season 2,” Pizzolatto explained. “I had sort of put True Detective on a shelf. I was working on something else for HBO during most of 2016. Then I had this idea and just started writing on it and stepped away from the other thing and told them, “I think this is what I should be doing,” and showed them some scripts. So I was working, I just wasn’t working on True Detective.
“But I would say now I’m feeling generative and want to keep that momentum going — if I’m allowed to.”
‘True Detective’ season 3 debuts this Sunday night on HBO and we will have full recaps on Nerdcore Movement!