The timing could probably be a little bit better. With an Emmy campaign underway and a helluva lot of buzz around the second season, “True Detective” writer/creator Nic Pizzolatto has been hit with charges of plagiarism. You can read the full details here, but essentially some horror fiction pundits allege that the influence the show takes from the work of Thomas Ligotti goes beyond mere homage to outright theft. Nevertheless, Pizzolatto is still one of the hottest names on the TV landscape, and in a new profile in THR he reaches beyond season two to talk about what season three of the hit HBO drama could look like (even as he doesn’t see the show going beyond that).
Noting that the big brain behind the grim HBO series is also a fan of “Community,” “30 Rock” and “Arrested Development,” the trade says Pizzolatto has a “fantasy”of doing a third season of ‘True Detective’ in the spirit of the Coen Brothers classic “The Big Lebowski,” with the writer describing the result as a “[Raymond] Chandler‑esque riff with two characters.”
So here’s Pizzolatto citing his influences out loud, so make of that what you will. Meanwhile, he’s also developing a “modern Western bull-riding drama” at HBO, a movie deal at Universal and other projects. But ‘True Detective’ is his main gig, and all the chatter it has generated results in occasional criticism. He particularly bristles at comments regarding the lack of female focus in the first season, saying it was a story designed to be about two particular men.
“You can either accept that about the show or not, but it’s not a phony excuse,” he said. “When Callie [Khouri], who wrote ‘Thelma & Louise,’ thinks that that’s stupid criticism, I’m inclined to take her opinion over someone with a Wi-Fi connection.” Zing.
But Pizzolatto admits that the criticism got to him. When he started writing season two, he was playing to those concerns…at least until he abandoned his first attempt and started over. “I don’t think you can create effectively toward expectation,” he explained. “I’m not in the service business.” And when it comes to season two, he’s keeping his lips sealed, refusing to comment on the recent plot details, particularly the rumor that one of the four main leads will be played by a woman.
Time may be a flat circle, but Pizzolatto’s career at the moment is moving in a steady straight line. We’ll wait to see how season two shakes out and what’s next for the writer.