1980: Will and Julie Purcell, the children of feuding parents Tom and Lucy Purcell, go missing a week after Halloween in West Finger, Arkansas.
2015: Retired detective Wayne Hays, who originally investigated the crime, is asked to look back on the twists of the unsolved case with a true-crime documentary producer.
Playing out in three separate time periods, the third season tells the story of a macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks, and a mystery that deepens over decades.
Mahershala Ali stars as state police detective Wayne Hays, with Stephen Dorff starring as Roland West, the detective who investigated the case with Hays, and Carmen Ejogo starring as schoolteacher and writer Amelia Reardon.
In 2015, retired detective Wayne Hays, his memory failing, looks back at the disappearance of 12-year-old Will and ten-year-old Julie Purcell, recalling the days and weeks immediately following the 1980 crime, as well as developments in 1990, when he and his former partner, Roland West, were subpoenaed after a major break in the case.
Filmed at locations throughout northwest Arkansas, the third season of True Detective was written by series creator Nic Pizzolatto, except for the fourth episode, which he wrote with David Milch (Deadwood), and the sixth episode, which he wrote with Graham Gordy (Quarry).
Pizzolatto is also making his directorial debut with two episodes; other directors are Jeremy Saulnier (Hold the Dark) and Daniel Sackheim (Game of Thrones).
In the Season 3 premiere, "The Great War and Modern Memory": The disappearance of a young Arkansas boy (Phoenix Elkin) and his sister (Lena McCarthy) in 1980 triggers vivid memories and enduring questions for retired detective Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali), who worked the case 35 years before with partner Roland West (Stephen Dorff).
What started as a routine case becomes a long journey to dissect and make sense of the crime.
True Detective was created by Nic Pizzolatto; executive producers, Nic Pizzolatto, Scott Stephens, Daniel Sackheim, Jeremy Saulnier, Steve Golin, Richard Brown, Bard Dorros; producer, Peter Feldman.