Should True Detective Season Three go Back to a Single Director?


The first season of True Detective featured a single director: Cary Fukunaga. Since then, Fukunaga has been impossibly busy. In a recent interview he stated that the original plan was for him to depart True Detective after the first season and another director would step in to handle season two. For reasons that haven’t been made public, that plan didn’t pan out. Would a return to a single director fix some of True Detective’s issues?

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True Detective season two had multiple directors, bringing it in line with most television dramas. Season one was something of an anomaly for only having a single director, and apparently it was so stressful that Fukunaga isn’t looking forward to doing it again for The Alienist. Season two attempted to stay in line with what Fukunaga and his team accomplished on season one, to mixed results.

True Detective season three doesn’t need Cary Fukunaga to be successful, which is good, since he said he wouldn’t do it anyway. What it does need is more creative direction that can be gained from breaking away from what have now become True Detective clichés. We need more sequences like the famous tracking shot from season one and Frank’s death scene from season two. If it would take a single director to make that happen, so be it.

It would also help to loosen the reigns a bit

The first season of True Detective had great car conversations. Season two did not. Season two also overused the aerial shots that were so much more interesting in season one. True Detective season three needs to break away from the past two seasons, and the director(s) as well as Nic Pizzolatto have to be able to take more risks.

It would also help to loosen the reigns a bit. In an interview with season two’s Cinematographer, we learned that there is a high level of paranoia and secrecy on the set. That, coupled with changing directors, leads to a stressful shoot that could hold back creativity.

True Detective season three doesn’t necessarily need a single director, but it does need to take more risks. Whether or not that can come from multiple directors is anyone’s guess, and is up to more than just a particular director’s talent.

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