The newest trailer for True Detective Season 3 makes it even more clear that the HBO anthology series is returning to its original formula.
The series suffered a major sophomore slump after its star-studded second outing ventured into the world of California casino bosses, corrupt local government officials and, of course, murder but proved to be one long yawn for fans of the first run. So, instead of trying to once again break into new aesthetic territory for round three, it looks like creator Nic Pizzolatto has gone back to basics to draw upon some of the key elements of the inaugural season that worked so well for the third season of grim sleuthing.
The new season features Mahershala Ali as Detective Wayne Hays, a man whose investigation of a missing children's case in the Ozarks haunts him for decades. "This case, it's all I can think of," he says. "I want to know the whole story."
The generation-hopping approach worked well with Season 1, as we watched an aged-up Matthew McConaughey look back on a much younger Rust Cohle and his partner (Woody Harrelson's Martin Hart) at the beckoning of present-day authorities. Similarly, Ali's Detective Hays will be called upon to remember the case at hand — if not for the lack of a six pack and chain-smoking, the shots of him answer questions might be a little too on the money. There seem to be at least three timelines in play in the trailer.
Meanwhile, we'll also obviously be dealing with some kind of religious-slash-cultural fanaticism with this missing kids' case, judging by this clues collection board and the many shots of church scattered throughout the new preview.
And even though the trailer doesn't lean in too hard on his buddy cop relationship with Stephen Dorff's investigator character Roland West, it's clear they're going to get into at least a little trouble together before it's all said and done.
Also, there's no Yellow King in sight, but these Henry Bowers-knockoff guys definitely look suspicious.
And there's a dirty hideaway that has to be inspected for old times' sake as well.
We'll see how it all comes together and whether all of these attempts to recapture the original season are successful when True Detective Season 3 returns to HBO on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 9/8c.