True Detective
Credit: HBO

After being off-the-air for two years — and following and plenty of speculation about its future — HBO’s True Detective is making some progress behind the scenes toward a new season.

EW has exclusively learned that creator Nic Pizzolatto has penned at least the first two episodes for a potential third edition of the acclaimed anthology crime drama.

We have also learned that Emmy-winning writer-producer David Milch — the mind behind dramas such as Deadwood and NYPD Blue — is coming on board to work with Pizzolatto.

The extent of Pizzolatto and Milch’s collaboration is still early days and not yet formalized. Obviously, Milch’s experience as a writer will be a key component, but for the record he’s not expected to serve as the True Detective showrunner (at this stage, there is no specified season 3 showrunner). Also keep in mind a third season has also not yet been greenlit, so new episodes are far from certain.

Of course, you already know True Detective launched to considerable acclaim and fan fascination in 2014 and then fell into a sophomore slump with the critics during its second season in 2015. Both seasons were successful in the ratings, but it’s been unclear whether Pizzolatto was going to produce a third season, and in what capacity he would serve in such an outing. In July 2016, HBO head of programming Casey Bloys assured “…both Nic and HBO are open to another season. I don’t think Nic has a take and he’s working on some other projects. We’re open to somebody else writing it and Nic supervising it. It’s a valuable franchise, it’s not dead, we just don’t have a take for a third season yet.”

Recently Matthew McConaughey — who starred in the first season — has publicly said he would be interested in reprising his role, but there’s no indication at this time what creative direction the next season would take.

And speaking of waiting a long time for dramas to return, any story about Milch and HBO cannot avoid addressing the extremely long-awaited return of 2006’s Deadwood (as a movie or miniseries). There is no movement on any follow-up to Milch’s former HBO show. And with star Ian McShane on the upcoming American Gods over on HBO’s premium cable rival Starz, I wouldn’t expect anything new on that front for longer still (McShane is locked up at least two years, according to a recent interview).

At any rate, adding at least some of Milch’s voice into the True Detective universe could be very cool for fans of both franchises if this newfound alliance between two strong voices works out.