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, who originally investigated the crime, is asked to look back on the twists of the unsolved case with a true-crime documentary producer.
Created by Nic Pizzolatto, TRUE DETECTIVE returns for its eight-episode third season with two episodes debuting back-to-back SUNDAY, JAN. 13 (9:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, followed by single episodes subsequent Sundays at the same time.
Playing out in three separate time periods, the third season tells the story of a macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks, and a mystery that deepens over decades. Mahershala Ali (Oscar® winner for “Moonlight”) stars as state police detective Wayne Hays, with Stephen Dorff (“Somewhere”) starring as Roland West, the detective who investigated the case with Hays, and Carmen Ejogo (“Selma”) starring as schoolteacher and writer Amelia Reardon.
In 2015, retired detective Wayne Hays, his memory failing, looks back at the disappearance of 12-year-old Will and ten-year-old Julie Purcell, recalling the days and weeks immediately following the 1980 crime, as well as developments in 1990, when he and his former partner, Roland West, were subpoenaed after a major break in the case.
Filmed at locations throughout northwest Arkansas, the new season of TRUE DETECTIVE was written by series creator Nic Pizzolatto, except for the fourth episode, which he wrote with David Milch (HBO’s “Deadwood”), and the sixth episode, which he wrote with Graham Gordy (CINEMAX’s “Quarry”). Pizzolatto is also making his directorial debut with two episodes; other directors are Jeremy Saulnier (“Hold the Dark”) and Daniel Sackheim (HBO’s “Game of Thrones”).
Episode #19 (season 3, episode 3): “The Big Never”
Debut date: SUNDAY, JAN. 20 (10:00-11:00 p.m.)
Hays (Mahershala Ali) recalls his early romance with Amelia (Carmen Ejogo), 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.
Written by Nic Pizzolatto; directed by Daniel Sackheim.
Episode #20 (season 3, episode 4): “The Hour and the Day”
Debut date: SUNDAY, JAN. 27 (10:00-11:00 p.m.)
Hays (Mahershala Ali) and West (Stephen Dorff) 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 (Michael Greyeyes) is targeted by a vigilante group.
Written by David Milch & Nic Pizzolatto; directed by Nic Pizzolatto.
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