It’s been awhile since Nic Pizzolatto has been on anyone’s mind and there’s good reason for that. There may be no season of television more intensely derided and difficult to suffer through than True Detective Season 2. Even in the realm of the TV crime procedural, a genre notorious for its undeserved self-importance and male-centric storylines, True Detective Season 2 romanticizes the burden of being a white man with an especial lack of humor and insight. In hindsight, it’s not surprising that it’s taken so long for any concrete news about a third season of Pizzolatto’s series to come about.
To be fair, the writer-director-producer has been keeping himself somewhat busy, even if the work has remained mediocre. He penned Antoine Fuqua‘s bloated remake of The Magnificent Seven and adapted his own novel, Galveston, into a screenplay for actor-director Melanie Laurent. He was also working on HBO’s planned reboot of Perry Mason, which is set to star Robert Downey Jr. in the title role, but news has come in over at Deadline that his involvement has officially been scrapped. Instead, Pizzolatto is now putting all of his focus on True Detective Season 3, which will be led by Moonlight breakout Mahershala Ali.
In lieu of Pizzolatto, the Perry Mason series will now be written by Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald, a scripting team that came out of Weeds and Friday Night Lights. There’s still no sense as to when Perry Mason will make his return to TV, and the same goes for True Detective Season 3, which currently only has Ali and Pizzolatto’s involvement to hang its hat on. Things are likely still coming together but if HBO and Pizzolatto are serious about fixing the issues that plagued Season 2 of True Detective, they better pair the writer with a director. Pizzolatto reportedly wasn’t too keen on the attention that Cary Fukunaga‘s work in Season 1 received, despite the fact that the series would have likely been nothing particularly special if not for Fukunaga’s imagery and sense of pacing.
No one is suggesting that Season 3 needs to be exactly like Season 1 but Pizzolatto requires someone to challenge and interpret his writing rather than simply finding the most efficient way to put it on the small screen. The casting of Ali is a great hook and the series has regained my attention – an impressive feat on its own – but what this show needs is dedicated people thinking about how it looks and feels rather than what’s being said. In fact, that’s what most major television series are in dire need of these days.