HBO has officially greenlighted a third season of Nic Pizzolatto’s crime anthology series True Detective. The pickup was considered a formality after the network earlier this summer closed a deal with Oscar winner Mahershala Ali to star in the new installment, with the green light contingent on locking in a director. Jeremy Saulnier (The Green Room) has now been set as a Season 3 director alongside Pizzolatto who will make his directorial debut on the series.

Michael Buckner

Season 3 of True Detective will tell the story of a macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks, and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods. Ali will play the lead role of Wayne Hays, a state police detective from Northwest Arkansas.

“Nic has written truly remarkable scripts,” said HBO president Casey Bloys. “With his ambitious vision and Mahershala Ali and Jeremy Saulnier aboard, we are excited to embark on the next installment of True Detective.”

Like with the breakout original installment of True Detective, which Pizzolatto wrote by himself, he is the sole writer of the third season with the exception of episode 4 which he co-wrote with David Milch. (Milch had been helping on the show as part of his overall deal at HBO.) The exact episode count of Season 3 is still TBD as Pizzolatto is still writing; as of a month ago, five scripts had been completed. The first two seasons consisted of 8 episodes each.

“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.”

Pizzolatto, who also serves as showrunner, executive produces with Saulnier and returning executive producers Scott Stephens; Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, who toplined Season 1; Cary Joji Fukunaga, who directed Season 1; Steve Golin, Bard Dorros and Richard Brown.

Coincidentally, the Ozarks also is the setting of Netflix’s new crime thriller drama Ozark, which was just renewed for a second season.

Pizzolatto is repped by WME and Anonymous Content. Ali is repped by WME and Anonymous Content. Saulnier is represented by CAA and Anonymous Content.