True Detective Season 3 Bringing On Deadwood Creator David Milch

Despite a less-than-stellar second outing, a third season of True Detective is apparently in the works.

According to Entertainment Weekly, True Detective creator and showrunner Nic Pizzolatto is currently developing a new season of HBO’s crime anthology series in collaboration with David Milch, the showrunner for the critically acclaimed 2000’s Western drama Deadwood.

Though Entertainment Weekly reports that Pizzolatto has written “at least two” Season 3 scripts so far, very little is known about how closely Pizzolatto and Milch are working or about how much creative input Milch will actually have on the upcoming season—which at this point is still hypothetical, as HBO has yet to officially renew the series.

The Pizzolatto-Milch partnership shouldn’t come as a surprise—both writers have been showrunners for HBO television shows that were very widely praised (though True Detective Season 1 was much more positively received than Season 2).

Bringing on Milch also makes sense when considering that HBO reportedly advised Pizzolatto to make some changes to the True Detective creative team should a third season be produced. Namely, the cable network told Pizzolatto to hire a writing staff (Pizzolatto wrote both Season 1 and Season 2 all on his own) or hire a new showrunner. Being asked to step down from an executive position you’ve held for years is kind of a low blow, but it’s likely that Pizzolatto would stay on as head writer and/or executive producer during a possible third season. However, Entertainment Weekly also reports that Milch will not be the True Detective Season 3 showrunner replacement, and that a showrunner for Season 3 has not yet been selected.

Nerdist speculates that the third True Detective season could be written and filmed as a Western—while the first season looked and sounded more like a straightforward crime story, the second season was shot in a style resembling film noir. There’s no reason why Pizzolatto couldn’t keep up his genre-shifting ways, especially since Milch’s Deadwood is a Western.

But while Milch could certainly advise Pizzolatto about how to create a Western, some have expressed doubts about how much time Milch will have to work on True Detective, as he’s apparently in the midst of developing a Deadwood feature film (though other sources say that the Deadwood movie probably won’t come to fruition any time soon, as lead actor Ian McShane is under contract with Starz for American Gods for at least two years). 

Due to the cultural juggernaut that was True Detective Season 1, Pizzolatto was not given much time to conceptualize and write episodes for Season Two. It’s been almost two years since the finale of Season 2 aired, so hopefully having more time to develop his creative vision—despite the fact that time is, apparently, a flat circle—will allow Pizzolatto to get the series get back on track.