The fervency with which fans have taken to HBO's original series True Detective is nothing short of impressive. The series' striking visuals, gripping storyline, and incredible acting have helped turn this show into can't-miss TV of the grandest variety. But given the series format — it's an anthologized, like American Horror Story — and the fact that Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey's story ends after the finale next month, some minds have turned to casting season two. And we've got some ideas of our own.

When it comes to HBO’s most popular and inventive drama (at least until Game of Thrones returns in April), there’s a seriously ravenous audience that loves (nay, obsesses) over its every hypothetical scenario — just look at Patton Oswalt’s Twitter feed. Nowhere was that more evident than in the immense popularity of the hashtag #TrueDetectiveSeason2 this week, wherein folks cast (mostly jokingly) dynamic duos to take over the starring vehicle.

We thought we’d do them one better, though: what if, instead of joking, we took a serious look at some pairs of killer actors who’d take on the impressive mantle of the series and do it justice? We've already done it for dream directors, so why not the cast? The result was 10 pairings we’d really love to see on the Nic Pizzolatto series. So we decided to share them with you. Feel free to leave your own serious contenders in the comments. After all, the more to deduce from, the better.

Winona Ryder and Elisabeth Moss
Winona Ryder and Elisabeth Moss
With Ryder’s steely, confident brand of crazy and Moss’ impressive investigative seriousness (as evidenced in Top of The Lake), these two could potentially hit it out of the park, so to speak. Just imagine: a dusty, dried up town somewhere in middle-of-nowhere California? Ryder as a down on her luck cop stranded in a hometown she wants nothing to do with and Moss as her following-in-the-family-footsteps partner. Admit it: you’re into it.
Idris and Chiwetel
Idris Elba and Chiwetel Ejiofor
This one may be mostly selfish: these two astoundingly impressive and incredible actors need to be in something together, STAT. Elba already has the impressive-cool detective stylings down thanks to his work on Luther, and Ejiofor just commands the attention of any scene he’s in. Imagine: a season set against the backdrop of Detroit’s disintegrating-but-trying urban landscape with these two and just try and pretend you’re not wholly on board.
Levitt and Phoenix
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Joaquin Phoenix
Now, here the question is obvious: would Phoenix act opposite the sometimes perma-bubbly JGL? Methinks he could, and the unexpectedness of it all would work in both of their favor. Just imagine it: small town, maybe out in Utah somewhere. Devious dealings with a local Mormon religious figure? Phoenix harboring a secret tie to the man’s empire and Gordon-Levitt hot on that connection’s tail — only to find it brings him more compassion for his crooked compatriot than originally anticipated? You’d watch the shit out of that, don’t play.
Cranston and Banks
Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Banks
Any excuse to get more Cranston on your television, right? The levity that would infiltrate the season with the addition of Banks might be just the sort of reengineering the series needs to ensure it doesn’t become stale. Both intelligent and competent actors, we’d love to see Banks in something serious after her domination in the comedy game. And who better to bring that sort of brooding brilliance out of her than Cranston? Something tells us a small town outside of Seattle would do well to have these two detectives.
Maggie and Parker
Maggie Gyllenhaal and Parker Posey
Parker Posey as a seriously off-center but broodingly dark detective? Gyllenhaal besting her brother’s performance in Prisoners? These two women are phenomenal actors, and no doubt an unfolding mystery on par with this season’s True Detective would do well in their care. Something tricky, psychosexual, and absolutely bonkers would be the perfect fit — maybe out somewhere in Kansas? In the backwoods of New England? Either way, we’re into it.
Rockwell and Fassbender
Sam Rockwell and Michael Fassbender
Of all the pairings, this might be our favorite. Two genius actors that have yet to do television would make serious waves if cast in season two. Like Fassbender, Rockwell has incredible range and commitment — he inhabits characters with such convincing aplomb you’re almost terrified of him. Naturally, the sort of duality both men charismatically possess would ensure a terrific season of television. Put them somewhere bleak and expansive — the Dakotas, maybe even middle-of-nowhere Nevada — and watch the electricity fly.
Spacey and Jordan
Kevin Spacey and Michael B. Jordan
Michael B. Jordon as a green detective with a jaded outlook on life, paired up with old-timer Spacey (who recently lost his partner under curious circumstances), a bubbly and seemingly benevolent believer in the old guard? You want to see that. Nay: you need to see that. Put them in some deeply southern town with a lot of dark patches in their history — perhaps somewhere swamp-laden? — and you’ve got a clash of cultures as well as a seriously charismatic leading duo.
Anne and Michael
Anne Hathaway and Michael C. Hall
We know, we know: you might think this one is weird, but just hear us out. Hathaway would play a goody-two-shoes sort, assigned to work with Hall on her first-ever detective-ing endeavor. A quiet girl with a mysterious and foggy past that she won’t discuss, Hall and Hathaway are teamed up to investigate a series of child abductions and suspected murders in upstate New York. Only what comes to pass is that Hathaway has a lot more insight into the case than her 15-years-on-the-job partner. You like it, eh?
Aaron Paul and Jimmi Simpson
Aaron Paul and Jimmi Simpson
Imagine this one taking place in Washington, DC and stay with me. Two genius detectives in the US’ cyber crimes become embroiled in a plot to infiltrate and destroy the government from the inside. With House of Cards hacker Simpson’s brilliant technological mind and Breaking Bad star Paul’s charisma and keen intuition, the duo source out who’s at the heart of the attacks and unfold an even bigger plot that’s in development across the world.
Bradley Cooper and Dustin Hoffman
Bradley Cooper and Dustin Hoffman
Last but far from least, we have Cooper and Hoffman. Can you imagine a more dynamic old/new guard pairing? Between Cooper’s unhinged electricity and Hoffman’s quiet brilliance, we see a seedy underbelly story rife for the solving with these two actors on board. Perhaps somewhere in Iowa? Both men not only have the gravitas it takes to carry a series, but they also play extremely well with others in a more ensemble setting. Put these two in charge of season two and we bet you’d be hard-pressed to find a story they couldn’t make engaging.

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