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True Detective season 3 trailer: Mahershala Ali is on the case

The latest season of HBO’s anthology show is a struggle with time (it’s a flat circle).

The new trailer for True Detective season 3.

The full trailer for True Detective season three has arrived, and should be of comfort to anyone worried that the show might never recover from the drubbing its second season received.

The new footage gives us a welcome look at the HBO anthology’s midwestern gothic aesthetic and apparent return to “good men forced to extreme measures” sequences that gave season one such vim and vigor.

In the glimpses we get of Detective Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali) and his partner, Roland West (Stephen Dorff, who is starting to look more and more like Dennis Quaid), trying to figure out exactly what happened to a pair of missing children, the question of accountability seems to weigh heavy on everyone’s minds.

And, of course, there’s the show’s twisty, philosophical mode of storytelling. Though it’s long been established that season three will jump back and forth between two timelines, past and present, the new trailer seems to suggest that its story will in fact be following three different threads. One, the investigation of the disappearance of the two children. Two, a subsequent inquiry into Hays and West’s work on the case, not long after it ended. And three, a news report years later, as Hays tries to recount what happened.

As to how they will all tie together — or if Hays’s failing memory (“My whole brain is a bunch of missing pieces,” he says, in a line that could just as easily been delivered by season one protagonist Rust Cohle) will keep them frayed — we’ll just have to wait and see.

True Detective season three will debut Sunday, January 13, on HBO.