True Detective Season 3: Grade It!

True Detective is back on the case: HBO’s crime anthology returned for a third season on Sunday night with a densely plotted two-hour premiere — will you keep following the clues?

After a typically evocative credit sequence, we head to rural Arkansas, where we meet state police detective Wayne Hays, played by Oscar winner Mahershala Ali.

The mystery plays out across three time periods: In 1980, Hays and his partner Roland West (Stephen Dorff) are called in to investigate after two local kids — Will and Julie Purcell — go missing one night.

There’s no shortage of suspects, including Freddie Burns, the older teen who stole Will’s bike that night, and Woodard, a loner who rides around town in a go-kart collecting trash.

He’s pissed, and even lashes out at West for not sticking up for him with the white prosecutor: “They ain’t my tribe.” But they still team up to track down Ted LaGrange, a sex offender who was asking around about young girls at an adult bookstore.

They tie him up and toss him in their trunk, with Hays peppering him with graphically violent threats that I’d rather not rewrite here — but they get called back to the Purcell house when the family receives a cryptic note: “Do not worry.

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