Credit: Lacey Terrell/HBO

Amid heavy criticism for True Detective’s second season, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo has thrown his weight behind creator Nic Pizzolatto and is prepared to bring the show back for a third season.

After a critically acclaimed first season, True Detective has suffered from TV’s sophomore slump, facing complaints of confusing and misogynistic story lines as well as overwrought dialogue.

“I think Nic Pizzolatto is one of the best writers working in television today,” Lombardo told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour. “Much like all of our shows, I didn’t believe this season or the last season was intended for as big an audience as we were getting. We’re getting 12 million viewers an episode. I’m enormously proud of it. If he wanted to do another season, I’ve told him our door is always open. I’d love to do another season with him. I think he’s a spectacular writer.”

Lombardo praised the upcoming final two episodes of the crime drama, which this season stars Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch and Vince Vaughn. “I think he takes a big swing,” Lombardo said. “All I can tell you is I think how the show ends is as satisfying as any show I’ve seen.”

In fact, Lombardo says these episodes are key in appreciating what Pizzolatto has created this season. “First of all, I think you need to watch the entirety of it,” he said. “I think it’s enormously satisfying… I think Nic is a bold storyteller and I mean that only in the most positive ways. I think he takes risks in how he lays out stories and the pacing of stories and I think it pays off.”

And while Lombardo has discussed the future with Pizzolatto, he said there are no caveats or network notes on what would have to change next season. What Pizzolatto is creating is “so much bolder and braver and ultimately, for me, satisfying than so much of what I see in film that I would happily be in business for him for a very long time.”

True Detective airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

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True Detective
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