STAR­RING: Ma­her­shala Ali, Stephen Dorff, Car­men Ejogo

WHO - - The List -

The great thing about True De­tec­tive is that it starts from scratch each sea­son, mean­ing that af­ter the mis­step that was Sea­son 2, which US net­work HBO ad­mits was rushed, the re­set but­ton can be pressed and a new, un­re­lated story told. In this case, that story is the dis­ap­pear­ance of two chil­dren, last seen rid­ing their bikes around a de­press­ing small town in Arkansas in 1980, and the sub­se­quent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into their where­abouts by part­ners Wayne Hays ( Moon­light’s Ali) and Roland West (Dorff).

While the sea­son’s plot might be wholly orig­i­nal, the for­mat harks back to the show’s highly ac­claimed first sea­son with the nar­ra­tive tak­ing place in three dif­fer­ent time pe­ri­ods – 1980; 10 years later when Hays is asked to give a de­po­si­tion in re­la­tion to the orig­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion; and 2015 when he is be­ing in­ter­viewed by a jour­nal­ist about the case.

Be­sides the ini­tial mys­tery of what hap­pened to the sib­lings, it is also un­clear why the case has been re­opened in 1990. Find­ing out the an­swers to these ques­tions is what will keep you watch­ing as the pieces of a com­plex, era-skip­ping jig­saw puz­zle are slowly – at times, in­cred­i­bly so – put into place. Also com­pelling: Ali’s multi-lay­ered per­for­mance as a man haunted by a trou­bling crime. (Starts Mon., Jan. 14 at 1pm; Fox Show­case)

Ejogo plays a lo­cal school teacher who crosses paths with Hays dur­ing the ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion. For more on True De­tec­tive, lis­ten to 2019’s first Binge List ep ( out Wed., Jan. 16). Ali (right, with Dorff ) lob­bied showrun­ner Nic Piz­zo­latto for the role of Hays, who had been in­tended to be white.

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