IN THE LAST decade, HBO has become the top-tier home for shows in the subgenre of “dark, violent, sometimes disturbing, murder mystery limited series.” The prestige cable giant has been lucky enough to call itself home to the likes of Mare of Easttown, The Outsider, The Undoing, Big Little Lies, Sharp Objects and Perry Mason, just to name a few. And while those shows range from “spectacular” at best to “entertaining” at the very worst, the truth is that this semi-recent trend is all rooted in the success of what has become one of HBO’s most popular franchises: True Detective.
The first season of True Detective, which was released early in 2014, was a bona fide sensation. Starring Woody Harrleson and Matthew McConaughey—who himself was in the midst of the “McConaissance,” where a series of strong film choices led him to win the Academy Award for Best Actor only a few months later—the show brought together two things that TV was lacking at the time: star power and grisly, cynical, violent mystery. The show captivated audiences, featuring some of the best action (that one-take raid scene!) and creepiest imagery you’ll ever see.
Structured as an anthology series, where each season would bring back a new cast and a new mystery, True Detective returned again the next year trying to recapture the same magic. And while the cast was similarly stacked—featuring Rachel McAdams, Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, and Taylor Kitsch—the mystery was convoluted and hard to follow; most audiences were not feeling it. In 2019, True Detective came back for a solid Season 3 led by Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff, but it wasn’t the same culture-puncturing hit that the original was.
Five years later, and True Detective is back—but in a new form. Now called True Detective: Night Country, the action moves to a fictional town in Alaska where nightfall lasts for weeks at a time. To say the least, it’s a good location for a creepy mystery. (The show is also technically a spinoff of the original True Detective; Issa López directs all of the episodes and writes most, while Moonlight‘s Barry Jenkins is now a producer. Original showrunner Nic Pizzolatto is only involved insofar as the show is ‘based on’ his original.)
The cast is led by Jodie Foster, an obvious home run; she led one of the greatest psychological horror/thriller films of all time in Silence of the Lambs, so landing in True Detective feels like something that was bound to happen. She’s paired with newcomer Kali Reis, a former boxer-turned-actor whos debut film, Catch The Fair One, was an independent film hit that also seemed to share many of the same themes as True Detective.
Which is all to say: any fan of True Detective, or any of HBO’s recent foray into these dark, morbid mysteries, should find themselves right at home with this fourth go-around of the franchise. Early reviews have been overwhelmingly strong—the season has a 98% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes—and the first episode along has characters, visuals, and imagery that should pull viewers in for the ride almost immediately.
Here’s how you can make sure not to miss a single episode of True Detective: Night Country.
When is the next episode of True Detective: Night Country coming out?
The next episode of True Detective: Night Country will air on HBO and be available to stream on Max on Sunday, January 21 at 9:00 P.M EST.
How many episodes of True Detective: Night Country are left?
True Detective: Night Country will be six episodes in total, and only the first has aired. That means there are five episodes—and five more weeks of dark, grisly, mystery—for us to figure out what, exactly, is going on.
Here’s the complete release schedule for HBO’s True Detective: Night Country.
Episode 1 – Now streaming as of January 14
Episode 2 – Streaming on Max and airing on HBO on January 21
Episode 3 – Streaming on Max and airing on HBO on January 28
Episode 4 – Streaming on Max and airing on HBO on February 4
Episode 5 – Streaming on Max and airing on HBO on February 11
Episode 6 – Streaming on Max and airing on HBO on February 18
Evan is the culture editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE. He loves weird movies, watches too much TV, and listens to music more often than he doesn’t.