True Detective has reportedly cast its new leading man and titular investigator.
According to Variety, Mahershala Ali, who Marvel fans will recognize as the crime-lord Cottonmouth from Netflix's Luke Cage, has joined the HBO anthology series for its upcoming third season. Ali is set to play the lead role of Wayne Hays, a state police detective based out of Northwest Arkansas, who finds himself in the midst of a mystery that will span three decades.
Fresh off his Academy Award-winning performance in 2016's Moonlight, HBO is betting that Ali's hiring will help reinvigorate the franchise after a less-than-well-received sophomore season. After breaking out with multiple Golden Globe nominations during its eight-episode first run, HBO fast-tracked a second season that did not sit well with most viewers.
The second season continued the property's trend of going after A-list talent with the likes of Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, and Vince Vaughn, but was heavily scrutinized for aimless pacing and lack of characterization, particularly when compared to the high quality of the first season bolstered by acclaimed performances from Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.
The studio pumped the brakes on the series, leaving many wondering whether the show was dead in the water, but it is now returning with showrunner and creator Nic Pizzolatto alongside new director Jeremy Salnier (Green Room).
"I’m tremendously thrilled to be working with artists at the level of Mahershala and Jeremy," Pizzolatto said. “I hope the material can do justice to their talents, and we’re all very excited to tell this story.”
The third season of True Detective has not been given a release date yet, and remains in pre-production.