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Nic Pizzolatto on True Detective and what excites him about the new season

The first season of HBO's True Detective was absolutely incredible; the second, not so much. Thankfully, the word on the street is that the upcoming third season serves as a return to form. While speaking with Entertainment Weekly, series creator Nic Pizzolatto confessed that there was a lot going on with him, both health-wise and personally, during and after the second season of True Detective and he had sort of put the series on a shelf. However, it wasn't long before Pizzolatto began working on something which he soon realized was a perfect True Detective story.

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. 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.”

In regards to what excites Nic Pizzolatto about the third season, the creator/writer said, "The performances most of all, and especially what Mahershala does. I’ve been watching him since last February, and then in the editing room, and every time I watch him I catch another nuance of what he’s doing. It’s so subtle and so controlled. I’m blown away. I really think what he does here — as far as degree of difficulty for an actor, and how he pulled it off — is just amazing." Pizzolatto added that he's also pumped about the story being told this season. "It came to me spontaneously and organically and maybe moves towards a different sort of place and effect than the other seasons. But I just really think everyone’s performances are just off the charts with Mahershala doing stuff I’ve never seen before." Mahershala Ali (MOONLIGHT) stars as Wayne Hays, a detective looking into a grisly crime involving two missing children in the heart of the Ozarks.

It may be a little too early to start talking about a fourth season of True Detective, but Nic Pizzolatto says that he does have an idea. "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 said. "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…"

The eight-episode season will debut on HBO on January 13th, so be sure to check out a review from our own Alex Maidy!

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