Critical Condition: True Detective (S3)

True Detective | SoHo, 3.00/7.30 Monday

☆☆☆☆ “Season 3 is very good. Structurally, it uses the same reopened case conceit as Season 1, where a detective is talking to investigators about a long-ago mystery that still haunts him, but it adds a third timeline to great effect. Oscar winner Mahershala Ali plays Wayne ‘Purple’ Hays, a detective who investigated the murder of a young boy and disappearance of the boy’s sister in 1980 Arkansas. The case was reopened in 1990 when new evidence came to light, and Hays worked it again then. And in 2015, Hays — now suffering from the early stages of dementia — is being interviewed about the case for a documentary.” — TV Guide.

☆☆☆☆ “What’s striking about the latest iteration of a show that’s worn its taste for excess proudly, even as the audience recoiled, is its leanness. Tightly directed (in its first episodes by Jeremy Saulnier) and plotted, and with a performance at its centre that steers away from calling attention to itself, the new True Detective transcends hype and amounts to 2019’s first pleasant small-screen surprise … Taking the best of what’s come before and reinventing it in streamlined, unfussy fashion, True Detective, Season 3, cracks the case.” — Variety.

☆☆☆☆ “The new sombre mystery will satisfy fans seeking the old True Detective high, and the Ozarks setting will surely please your cousin who loves Ozark. The acting is very strong … But Saulnier departs the series after the second hour. And the episodes that follow (I’ve seen through the fifth) feel repetitive, dreary, self-serious if not just mopey.” — Entertainment Weekly.

☆☆☆☆ “Series creator and showrunner Nic Pizzolatto dials down some previous excesses — the garish emotional tones, the mystical machismo — while remaining tuned to the same frequency. The new True Detective is faintly pretentious, manageably ridiculous, and dull.” — The New Yorker.

☆☆☆☆ “After the complicated political excesses of the California-set second installment, this represents a refreshing back-to- basics approach. There are certainly plenty of echoes back to the original run with its multiple time-periods, troubled cops and hint of the occult. It also provides a fantastic showcase for Ali as he essays a character at three different, potentially pivotal moments in his life.” — Stuff.

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