If you’ve just finished the True Detective season 3 premiere, you probably have some questions.
Who abducted the Purcell kids? How is the daughter still alive? What happened to her? And perhaps most of all: Will all of this make sense given that we’re dealing with three different timelines and our detective hero Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali) is suffering from dementia in at least one of them?
Showrunner Nic Pizzolatto assures that viewers can trust what they’re seeing, even when it’s seemingly from Hays’ addled perspective.
“If you’re seeing it, it’s reliable,” Pizzolatto tells EW. “I’m not playing those sorts of games with the audience, where you find out what you saw didn’t really happen, or it was a dream within a dream or something. So he is a reliable narrator. When he doesn’t know something, we know it. The times when Wayne has a full-on episode of something uncanny, like the hallucination in episode 3, you know it. In order to tell such a complicated story across three timelines, you have to have those rules, otherwise there wouldn’t be anything for the audience to hang their hat on.”
Moreover, the season’s central mystery is one that’s vaguely solvable by the audience before the finale — but it’s pretty tricky.
“You could have an idea of what happened before those events are dramatized,” he said. “But the full solution to everything that happened…maybe somebody could. I don’t think I could.”
Read our full interview with Pizzolatto about the new season and his wild idea for season 4.