An un­solved dou­ble murder case plays out over decades in Sea­son 3 of HBO’s ‘True De­tec­tive’

Star-Telegram (Sunday) - - Features - By Ge­orgeDickie

The un­solved murder of two school­child­ren rocks an Arkansas com­mu­nity and haunts a de­tec­tive over the course of decades as HBO’s “True De­tec­tive” re­turns for a rather macabre third sea­son this week.

As the new sea­son opens Sun­day, Jan. 13, it’s 2015 and re­tiredWest Fin­ger, Ark., state po­lice de­tec­tive Wayne Hays (Os­car win­ner Ma­her­shala Ali, “Moon­light”) is asked to re­call the de­tails of the 1980 dis­ap­pear­ance of two pre­teens for a true-crime doc­u­men­tary, amys­tery that has deep­ened over the decades. The ac­tion then flashes back to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion that Hays and fel­low de­tec­tive RolandWest (Stephen Dorff, “Some­where”) spear­headed with the help of lo­cal school­teacher Amelia Rear­don (Car­men Ejogo, “Born to Be Blue”).

As the story plays out over three sep­a­rate time­lines — the 1980 crime, new devel­op­ments in the case in 1990 and Hays’ rec­ol­lec­tions in 2015 — we learn that Rear­don turns out to be a key player in the orig­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, hav­ing been the chil­dren’s teacher, and that she and Hays had be­come in­volved.

“Be­cause of that po­si­tion that she has in the com­mu­nity, she has ac­cess to peo­ple and in­for­ma­tion that even the de­tec­tives don’t re­ally have,” the Bri­tish ac­tress ex­plains. “So she be­comes a very use­ful tool within the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. She then starts a re­la­tion­ship with­Wayne and she also be­comes a writer. She de­cides to write a sort of ‘In Cold Blood’-type book about the com­mu­nity and how it’s af­fected by this dev­as­tat­ing crime. And as the show goes on, you re­al­ize that she is in­cred­i­bly in­stru­men­tal in help­ing to fig­ure out what’s hap­pened.”

Ejogo says she was orig­i­nally at­tracted to the project af­ter read­ing the script and learn­ing that Ali wanted her for the role. She also cred­its series cre­ator, writer and pro­ducer Nic Piz­zo­latto with mak­ing the char­ac­ter “an amaz­ing fe­male pro­tag­o­nist” and a “self-ac­tu­al­iz­ing woman.”

“She’s some­body who, within a mar­riage and hav­ing be­come amother, is also try­ing to sort of re­al­ize her own per­sonal am­bi­tions,” Ejogo says, “and in the process of do­ing that she presents a re­ally very in­ter­est­ing and com­plex and di­men­sional woman on screen.”

But Amelia’s growth, it turns out, is hard for her hus­band to take.

“I don’t think I’ve seen very much on screen where you re­ally start to watch the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of aman, the emas­cu­la­tion even, per­haps, of aman, who is hav­ing to learn how to be with a woman that is grow­ing in that way,” Ejogo says.

“The show re­ally is amed­i­ta­tion on what love is, on what is time, how did it af­fect peo­ple,” she con­tin­ues. “So it be­comes clearer and clearer that forWayne, as he gets older, Amelia is the per­son that he is re­ally fix­ated on in that sense. So she be­comes very­much a re­cur­ring per­sona in his mem­o­ries, in his thoughts.”

Ma­her­shala Ali and Car­men Ejogo

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