True Detective : Season 3 (2019)

SEASON:

Season 3
True Detective

Critics Consensus

Driven by Mahershala Ali's mesmerizing performance, True Detective's third season finds fresh perspective by exploring real world events -- though it loses some of the series' intriguing strangeness along the way.

85%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 90

85%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 109

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Episodes

Air date: Jan 13, 2019

Season 3 begins with the disappearance of a young Arkansas boy and his sister in 1980, which triggers vivid memories and enduring questions for retired detective Wayne Hays, who worked the case 35 years ago with his then-partner Roland West. What started as a routine case becomes a long journey to dissect the crime and make sense of it.

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Air date: Jan 13, 2019

Hays looks back at the aftermath of the 1980 Purcell case in West Finger, Ark., including possible evidence left behind at the Devil's Den, an outdoor hangout for local kids. As attention focuses on two conspicuous suspects-Brett Woodard, a solitary vet and trash collector, and Ted LaGrange, an ex-con with a penchant for children-the parents of the missing kids, Tom and Lucy Purcell, receive a cryptic note from an anonymous source.

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Air date: Jan 20, 2019

Hays recalls his early romance with Amelia, as well as cracks in their relationship that surfaced after they married and had children. Ten years after the Purcell crimes, new evidence emerges, giving him a second chance to vindicate himself and the investigation.

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Air date: Jan 27, 2019

Hays and West see a possible connection between the local church and the Purcell crimes. As the detectives search for one suspect and round up another for interrogation, Woodard is targeted by a vigilante group.

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Air date: Feb 3, 2019

New clues emerge in the Purcell case, putting Wayne in a no-win situation; Roland wrestles with how to keep evidence secure as lawyers demand a new investigation.

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Air date: Feb 10, 2019

Discrepancies are revisited that were hidden or forgotten over the years in the Purcell case, including a re-evaluation of Tom Purcell, as well as Lucy's cousin.

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Air date: Feb 17, 2019

New leads are followed by Wayne and Roland when they track down a man who left the police force in the midst of the Purcell investigation.

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Air date: Feb 24, 2019

In the Season 3 finale, Wayne struggles to hold on to his memories, and his grip on reality, as the truth behind the Purcell case is finally revealed.

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True Detective : Season 3 Videos

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Tv Season Info

1980: Will and Julie Purcell, the children of feuding parents Tom and Lucy Purcell, go missing a week after Halloween in West Finger, Ark. 2015: Retired detective Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali), who originally investigated the crime, is asked to look back on the twists of the unsolved case with a true-crime documentary producer.

News & Interviews for True Detective : Season 3

Critic Reviews for True Detective Season 3

All Critics (90) | Top Critics (43)

I just wanted a moment when the characters caught their breath and didn't feel like they were part of an overly-scripted machine. Now, having said that, this is still engaging, dark, complex material, anchored by a great performance from Ali.

Dec 13, 2019 | Full Review…

[Mahershala Ali's] take on Hays enhances rather than overwhelms a story intriguing enough to justify the show's 35-year timeline.

Dec 13, 2019 | Full Review…

A thin story spread over a lot of hours, but Ali is excellent and so is his support.

Dec 13, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

The criteria by which Season 3 should be judged is whether Pizzolatto lived up to his aspirations as an investigator of human nature. Really, he made a mildly engaging muddle.

Dec 13, 2019 | Full Review…

I thought "True Detective" was dead in 2015 after a disastrous second season starring Colin Farrell. But there's life in this show yet, so long as the story's tied to a mesmerizing performance by a master actor playing a singular character.

Nov 22, 2019 | Full Review…

Season Three of True Detective doesn't have quite the pulling power of the first go-around, in which McConaughey's revelatory performance immediately jumped off the screen.

Feb 14, 2019 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Pizzolatto also came up with an engrossing and very haunting slow-burn mystery that reaffirmed his place as one of the most exciting writers working in entertainment today. Hopefully, he gets to keep making this show for years to come...

Dec 16, 2019 | Full Review…

True Detective returns to past glories judging by the opening two episodes of its third season, with new leading man Mahershala Ali proving just about enough to revitalize the familiar formula.

Dec 13, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Fans will eat this season up, and for good reason. It's smart, it's intriguing, and there's a dreary atmosphere that can best be credited to director Jeremy Saulnier

Dec 13, 2019 | Full Review…

Come for the unravelling Arkansas mystery - but stay for the mesmerising tour de force that is Mahershala Ali and you won't be disappointed by this latest outing.

Dec 12, 2019 | Full Review…

Ali isn't in every scene in True Detective; it just seems like it. The show is Ali's masterpiece, and the third season is the best installment since it premiered five years ago to excessive praise.

May 3, 2019 | Full Review…

True Detective deftly handles race, but once again leaves its women behind.

Mar 30, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for True Detective : Season 3

  • 5h ago
    Tremendous acting. Excellent storyline. While I was aware that Mahershala Ali is a fabulous actor, a once in a generation type, I was pleasantly surprised to experience how good an actor Stephen Dorff is. I had not seen him in anything meaningful since Blade and in that flick he as just an over the top caricature.
  • Feb 15, 2021
    Amazing acting, but a storyline that falls flat in the last half and is a snore fest in the last episode. You want the characters and story to become so much more than they pan out to be.
  • Feb 04, 2021
    Very long and drawn out. Deals well with the struggles of two detectives and their lives surrounding their obsession in finding two missing children. Buts it takes way to long to find anything of substance in that disappearance .... really until the very last episode. But then at the end of that final episode you, like the Detectives, just dont feel like there is "closure". Bad ending. I only give it a 3 stars cause the acting was great. Story not so much. It's a shame. Season 1 was and is one of my favorite tv series ever.
  • Jan 16, 2021
    Nic Pizzolatto is a genius. This season surpassed the first season In my opinion. Mahershala Ali is breathtaking in this. The story is brilliant and it wraps up the mystery perfectly. Brilliant television!
  • Nov 27, 2020
    The first season is the gold standard, one of the best television series ever created. Bravo to both Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Should have stopped there because the next 4 detectives are nowhere close to their brilliance | follow us at @uncle.review
  • Oct 02, 2020
    Singular plot stretched too too wide such that it gets completely tiring, went through all episodes forwarding many parts just to see the end. And the climax itself was anticlimax !
  • Sep 25, 2020
    It has the same flaw as season 1, focusing too much sometimes on building tension than actually cutting to the chase. Nevertheless, it gets back to its roots with a GOOD cast and incredibly interesting twists.
  • Sep 25, 2020
    Yeah what can I say it started off well, was invested towards the end of the season really didnt feel interested to be honest. All the performances in the series was good everyone in the series really did very well. Just the story fell flat started of so well only to end in such a boring way. Much Love.
  • Sep 14, 2020
    6.3/10 — "Okay"/"Decent"/"Watchable" -(Seen in AUG '20)
  • Sep 02, 2020
    Well, there was one great season, and one terrible season, so where would this one go? It was the best, easily. All the actors deserve accolades but then they had a great script to work with. At times the changing decades caused a little confusion but not enough to detract from this great season.

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