Tonight’s viewers of the Sharp Objects finale got a little surprise: A trailer before the episode for another dank and grimy and hopeless murder mystery. It was for a show called True Detective, due on HBO in January 2019.
Don’t call it a comeback, or rather, please do: The show’s beloved first season was four long years ago. Back then, it still seemed novel that Matthew McConaughey had ditched the rom-com for some true grit. And of course, the unloved second season still seemed worth anticipating. The minute-long trailer for the third season, however, works hard to make it look like the show’s getting the brand back on track.
Of course, True Detective’s third season isn’t a mere repeat. The main draw this season isn’t another pairing of two great thespians. The trailer rests mostly on one actor’s shoulder: star Mahershala Ali, winner of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Moonlight back in 2017. In season three, Ali will sort out some vaguely alluded-to mess in the Ozarks.
Ali’s character does have a partner, played by Stephen Dorff, but Dorff curiously doesn’t make a single appearance in the tariler. There is, however, another shocking jump in time just like in the first season. The difference here is, while McConaughey and Woody Harrelson simply got a decade older if far rattier, this time Ali’s character gets really, really old, suggesting he has to wait decades to wrap up some nasty case. The trailer also throws in glimpses of fellow actors Carmen Ejogo, Mamie Gummer and Scoot McNairy.
Before he won his Oscar, Ali was best known for House of Cards, though he also regularly stole scenes in movies like Predators, the last two Hunger Games movies and, most especially, Free State of Jones, opposite McConaughey himself. He’s a mesmerizing performer, particularly whenever he does his signature move: Slowly licking his lips while staring thoughtfully off into the distance. It should be fun to do that for an entire season come early next year.