Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali is in talks with HBO to star in the third season of True Detective which could yet pave the way for an incredible pairing with Matthew McConaughey.
Variety first broke the news of Ali’s potential addition to the show, which looks likely to be brought back for a third season despite the lukewarm response generated by True Detective’s second series.
Starring Colin Farrell alongside Rachel McAdams and Vince Vaughn, season two failed to live up to it’s predecessor, which saw Woody Harrelson and McConaughey team up as two complex detectives on the trail of a man responsible for a series of occult-themed murders.
McConaughey, in particular, garnered praise for his portrayal of Rust Cohle and, while the actor was initially hesitant about the idea of ever reprising the part, that stance changed in the wake of the second season’s failure.
Where once creator Nic Pizzolatto envisioned a noir anthology series, focusing on separate cases involving a different set of detectives each season, suddenly a McConaughey return was being discussed.
The Oscar winner opened up about a potential return during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show and admitted he was open to the idea.
“I would return. It’d have to be in the right context and the right way,” he said.
“It’d need that spark like when I first read the scripts. When I read it, I knew after 20 minutes that I could play this guy and that I’m in.”
“I miss Cohle, and I miss watching him on Sunday nights,” he added.
“I was a happy man when we made that show, because for six months I was on my own island.”
Work has already commenced on the writing of a third season with Deadwood creator David Milch brough onboard to oversee Pizzolatto, according to EW.
With HBO keen to ensure things get back on track in season three, McConaughey could be a valuable asset, even if he appears on the new season in a guest role alongside Ali.
Harrelson, for his part, appears to have closed the door to a return for his character, and has several major movie projects on the cards, including the War For The Planet of the Apes and the Han Solo Star Wars spin-off movie.
But that could yet clear the way for an entirely new and thoroughly exciting scenario: Ali and McConaughey teaming up to star as the season’s main detectives.
The series could even work as a follow-up to the first season or, perhaps more intriguingly, as a prequel – something Pizzolatto has already laid much of the foundations for.
In the first season of True Detective, McConaughey’s Cohle details a case from earlier in his career when, in the wake of his daughter’s death in a car accident, he shot and killed a drug addict who injected his baby with crystal meth.
Cohle was given two options in the wake of the murder: prison time or work as a deep undercover narcotics agent. He went on to take the undercover gig, working four years and eventually killing three cartel members in a confrontation that saw him shot three times.
Now if that doesn’t sound like the basis for a great series and one Ali could definitely get involved in, then loaded does not know what is.
Though yet to be greenlit, the addition of Ali or McConaughey would undoubtedly ensure a third season enters production with other big names to follow.
McConaughey’s inclusion may still be something of a pipedream but with HBO eager to revive the True Detective brand ahead of more seasons to come, it could prove a shrewd move.