'Moonlight' actor Mahershala Ali might lead 'True Detective' season 3

true detective
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There’s still no official word that the third season of True Detective is happening at HBO, but that hasn’t stopped the series from pursuing an Academy Award winner for its lead role.

Moonlight and Luke Cage actor Mahershala Ali is reportedly in talks to lead the next season of the Emmy-winning crime drama, which has yet to receive the green light from HBO. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ali is in “early discussions” for the unidentified role that would put him at the center of True Detective for its third story arc.

At the moment, there is a lot that remains uncertain about the third season of the acclaimed anthology series, which concluded its second season in August 2015.

Show creator and head writer Nic Pizzolatto reportedly wrote the first two episodes of the third season already, and Emmy-winning writer David Milch — who is best known as the creator of NYPD Blue and Deadwood — was brought on as a writer for the new season. Still, the network is apparently waiting to know more about Pizzolatto’s plans for the third arc of the series before committing to a new season.

Bringing on Ali certainly adds a powerful presence to the show, as the actor is fresh off winning an Academy Award for his performance in 2016’s Best Picture winner Moonlight. He also played memorable roles in two high-profile Netflix series, House of Cards and Luke Cage, as well as on HBO’s critically acclaimed series Treme.

Despite the show’s success, True Detective has remained in limbo the last two years. The first season of True Detective was a bonafide hit, and starred Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as a pair of Louisiana State Police homicide detectives pursuing a serial killer. The season was nominated for 11 Primetime Emmy Awards and won five, including the “Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series” award for director Cary Joji Fukunaga.

The second season of the series was unable to replicate its predecessor’s success. The series followed a trio of detectives investigating a series of murders that might be tied to a corrupt politician, with the assistance of a former criminal who is now a businessman. That season starred Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, and Rachel McAdams, and although it maintained high audience numbers for HBO, it failed to achieve the same critical success and word-of-mouth buzz that the first season generated.

McConaughey has indicated a willingness to reprise his role from the first season as Detective Rustin “Rust” Cohle.

Pizzolatto, who is under contract with HBO through 2018, is currently working on a Perry Mason series set to star Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role.