Academy Award–winning actor Mahershala Ali is in talks with HBO to star in a proposed third season of True Detective, Variety reports. It’s the first glimpse at the next iteration of Nic Pizzolatto’s noir anthology series, which introduces a new cast of detectives each season, then puts them through a grueling obstacle course of physical and mental challenges designed to measure how “true” they are. Ali, fresh off a Best Supporting Actor win for his searing performance in Moonlight, would undoubtedly make for a very true detective—but he’ll have to be truer than formidable past stars like Matthew McConaughey and Rachel McAdams before he can claim the title as the truest detective of them all!
The third season hasn’t officially been greenlighted yet and probably won’t be until casting is secured, so there’s still no guarantee that we’ll get to see Ali test his detecting mettle. No details of the plot or Ali’s character have been released, but even with Deadwood’s David Milch working with Pizzolatto to freshen things up, it seems safe to assume that Ali will be playing a detective—literal or metaphorical—of the sort one might describe as “true.” If the show’s third season follows the pattern of the first two, Ali will need a co-star of roughly equal fame before trying to escape from incomprehensible mazes like the ruins of Carcosa or the writers’ room whiteboard. We’ll just say it: The only way to bring True Detective back from its second season slump is to conceive it as a hard-boiled Academy Award rematch between Moonlight and La La Land. Reunite Ali with Janelle Monáe and get Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone to tap-dance their way into our nightmares as the third season’s villains. All singing! All dancing! All detective.