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David Milch Might Be Exactly What ‘True Detective’ Season 3 Needs

HBO’s conspiratorial cop drama is reportedly coming back — with even more cursing

(Getty Images/Ringer illustration)
(Getty Images/Ringer illustration)

Take your buddy-cop memes out of storage, friends, because True Detective is coming back. Sort of. We think. Entertainment Weekly reported Monday that Nic Pizzolatto’s anthology series, revered (perhaps unfairly) in Season 1 and maligned (perhaps unfairly) in Season 2, is on the road back to air. Here is a photo of Pizzolatto on that road:

(HBO)
(HBO)

That we’re here at all might be considered an upset. After the show’s critically panned (but highly rated) second season, it seemed as if all parties would move on. We’d even heard that Pizzolatto would collaborate with Robert Downey Jr. on a new project. But True Detective — the show that gave us a million memes, branzino’s biggest pop-cultural moment of all time, and Vince Vaughn talking about being bitten by a rat — seemed to have run its course.

Much like Taylor Kitsch’s character on True D Season 2, that idea is extremely dead, as Pizzolatto is said to have written two episodes for the theoretical third season. The big news here is the reported involvement of David Milch, the brilliantly grumpy mind behind NYPD Blue, Deadwood, and the short-lived Luck. The particulars of his participation are unclear — maybe he’s consulting, maybe he’s writing, and he’s definitely not showrunning. But Milch’s involvement is something of a surprise — and, depending on how you feel, either exactly what this show needs, or a fatal doubling-down on what made it insufferable in the first place.

Pizzolatto’s whole vibe (crime, angry men, conspiracy) can be traced back to the work Milch did on his two signature series. Perhaps Milch will prove a centering influence, guiding Pizzolatto back to the Excellent Crime Show basics. (At the very least, he’ll get a few jokes off at the young Hollywood don’s expense.) There’s also the chance that we’re in for a titanic clash of egos, a third season starring Dennis Franz and Robert Downey Sr., and a general lack of interest from a viewing public that’s moved on to the pulpy, taut slate HBO’s ridden so far this year. Only time — and Colin Farrell sitting in a very dark bar at 3 in the afternoon — will tell.

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.