The summer TCA—the biannual meeting of television critics and industry in which networks tout their wares—is going on right now, and one piece of news to come from the HBO presentation is that Mahershala Ali is locked in for the third season of True Detective. We’re all fans of Ali here, of his talent and ability on the job, sure, but also of the thoughtful and honest way he carries himself, and we all want the best for him, for opportunities to come his way the way they do for his fellow Oscar winners like Jared Leto. Which means, in part, headlining prestige TV, and it doesn’t get much more prestigious than an HBO hour-long drama.
True Detective season two didn’t live up to expectations, but for season three, TD creator Nic Pizzolatto is joined by David Milch (for any Deadwood fans—the movie is one step closer to being real). Five completed scripts have been turned in, and HBO’s president of programming, Casey Bloys, called them “terrific” and said he was “very impressed and excited”.
The show hasn’t officially been greenlit yet, but Bloys says once they have a director in place, they’ll go forward. He does specifically say “a director” (emphasis mine), implying that they’re looking for a singular vision for season three, as they did with Cary Fukanaga in season one. That’s a good sign, that they’ve learned something about what works and what doesn’t for this show, and they’re determined to get it right this time. Hopefully there is some truth to how “terrific” the scripts are so far, and it’s not just sunshine and daisies for the press’s benefit. I want Ali to get to do good, season one-style True Detective and not bad, season-two style, and for him to become a household name because he’s starring in THE TV show everyone is watching.
Attached - Mahershala shopping in Venice Beach last week.