So I think it is undoubtedly confirmed that Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson totally owned True Detective, with some of the best acting I have seen on TV in a long time. McConaughey delivered some truly phenomenal monologues and Harrelson’s depiction of Hart was scary at times, but you couldn’t help but fall in love with the character. True Detective will return, but the next season will feature totally different actors, bringing us a refreshed experience. Despite loving what McConaughey did, his character arc has been well and truly tied up. Well, who can follow up with the performance? I suggest a few casting choices (by the way, I wanted to find actors who hadn’t played detectives before, so expect clear suggestions like Benedict Cumberbatch and Idris Elba to be skipped).
3 – WILLEM DEFOE AND ELIJAH WOOD
Let’s start thing off with a fairly by-the-books cop pairing: a young, wet-faced recruit, played by the likes of someone boyish like Elijah Wood, learning his way around a Homicide department with a grizzly mentor, who only partially wants him to be there. Despite coming across as a little Buddy Cop Show 101, it might be fun to see the writers of True Detective invert this tired story on its head (besides, the first season had its fair share of clichés). Maybe Elijah Wood’s character has a dark secret or personality disorder that makes him a loose cannon; we all know from Maniac and Sin City, that Wood can handle sinister when called upon.
Of course, the main attraction would the older actor, which I want to be Willem Defoe. Defoe is such an incredible actor, being able to stand up against McConaughey when it comes to gripping monologues. He would be subject to mood swings, going from calm and pleasant one second and then suddenly turn into a raving lunatic, foaming from the mouth with his anger. Maybe True Detective could go along the road of ‘Training Day’ and have Defoe play a corrupt cop, dragging down Wood with him. Wood will be unhinged and Defoe would be a less than desirable cop figure. However, when something even worse – a new killer – emerges, the story has to side with them for the greater good. Just have those two characters bounce off of each other and see where the story ends up!
2 – ROBERT DE NIRO AND CHRISTOPHER WALKEN
I know that these two heavyweight actors would never dock their pay to star on the smaller screen, but I can dream. I also think that this is the best thing to restore the brilliance that these two actors were able to achieve, when they starred together in ‘Deerhunter’. When was the last time, De Niro and Walken were at their best in cinema, rather than phoning in a performance in a mediocre movie. Walken has been exploring his comedy muscles for ages now and when he does take up the villain roles he is so good at, it is always a half-hearted attempt, like ‘Kangaroo Jack’. De Niro has hardly been doing much better. Sure, he wants to take a slower approach to acting in his veteran years, but I have been missing the gravitas he used to bring to cinema. True Detective could fix that.
Imagine those two handling a dark mystery drama. Both of them would be able to handle the material that let Harrelson and McConaughey amaze us in the first season. They would be given meaty characters and monologues that could allow them to flex every acting muscle the audience have been wanting to see for so many years now. It would be a true return to form. If True Detective focuses more on character than the actual mystery once again, it wouldn’t even matter where the writers took these two older detectives. It could be a story about two old-fashioned detectives caught in a police force ready for modernisation. They could be two older cops, haunted by the killer that got away. As long as it had Walken and De Niro grounding the drama with two amazing performances, I would not complain.
1 – NORMAN REEDUS AND ELLEN PAGE
One of the main things that critics noted about True Detective was that it was very male-orientated. There were hardly any worthy females in the show, and the one woman character worth investing emotion in was Michelle Monaghan, who the writers ran out of things to do with very early on. That isn’t a problem, because it suited the era and setting of the story that the writers wanted to tell. However, it would be nice to see a woman get a bigger role to the story in the next season. This also pretty much writes a good opening narrative to kick things off with: a woman joining a male-orientated police force and trying to be taken seriously.
Ellen Page would be good at that. She is young and can strike that fresh-behind-the-ears cop feel. She doesn’t look intimidating, but the season would slowly show us what Page is capable of. She would break down a hardened criminal in the interrogation room, handle herself in a couple of fight scenes and maybe even get her acting prowess around a few monologues McConaughey style. The other side of the partnership would need to be someone unhinged and unused to working with a woman. The obvious choice for me is Norman Reedus, most famous for playing Daryl in ‘The Walking Dead’. Reedus can play nasty, but somehow keep that loveable persona that women cannot get enough of. I am unsure if the writers are going to keep the story in Louisiana or some backwoods part of America, but if they do, Reedus would be able to portray the very essence of that character. He would essentially be Daryl, but as a cop. Hell, I can see the fan theories about Daryl before the Walker apocalypse cropping up already.