Here’s How The Star Of The New ‘True Detective’ Season Got The Role

True Detective (Credit: Screenshot/YouTube HBO)

David Hookstead Smoke Room Editor-in-Chief
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“True Detective” is coming back to HBO for its third season, and star Mahershala Ali had to put in some work to get the lead role.

According to an interview with Variety, the lead role was initially slated to be a white cop with Ali playing his black partner. However, the legendary actor from “House of Cards” had a different set of plans for the hit show(RELATED: Our First Look At ‘True Detective‘ Season Three Is Here. It Looks Awesome)

Variety wrote the following on its interview with Ali:

“I could’ve played that second lead, that supporting career. But in my mind, I was like, ‘I’ve done this my entire career though. I’ve never done that,’” Ali said. “At that time, I’m 43 years old. If it don’t happen now, it really may not happen.”

To persuade Pizzolatto to cast him as the lead state detective, Ali texted him photos of his grandfather, who was a state police officer in real life.

“I was like, ‘See, we existed in this space. In the ’60s and the ’70s. State police officers,’” Ali recounts. “I was like, ‘I think your story would be served, I think the story would be improved in this case, if this lead character was black.’”

Eventually, the show’s creator Nic Pizzolatto gave in and made some changes so Ali would be the lead man.

I absolutely love the fact Ali pulled this off. The newest season looks downright incredible. It’s going to follow some chaos in the Ozarks, and Ali looks like the perfect man to run the show.

Everything we’ve seen about the third season has me believing it’s going to be outstanding.


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As I’ve noted before, the first season of the HBO classic was outstanding television. A strong argument could be made that it was the greatest show ever made. The second season wasn’t as great, but it was still very strong.

I can’t wait to find out what we get in the third season. We can all find out together when it’s released January 2019.