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It feels like eons now since we've gotten to sit down for a new episode of True Detective, with HBO and creator Nic Pizzolatto taking some time in putting Season 3 together after the lackluster response to Season 2. Now, though, we finally have our first look at the new season, which features House of Cards and Luke Cage star Mahershala Ali as the titular investigator leading a stacked cast. While not a full-blown trailer, this promo offers quite a few hints for the dark and upsetting mystery on the way, which will debut in January 2019. Check it out!

In True Detective Season 3, Mahershala Ali plays Wayne Hays, a state police detective hailing from Northwest Arkansas who got wrapped up in a case of two missing children back in 1980. And it looks like the idea of losing a child is going to play heavily into the season, given how many shots we get of kids in the trailer, from the waving and bike-riding town children to Wayne giving his own children a highly emotional embrace. It's not clear if something horrifying is going to happen to either of them, but we do know that Justice League's Ray Fisher is playing son Freddy Burns, without a sign of who is playing the daughter. As such, I'm not so optimistic about her fate.

I must say, as often as the whole "cutting words and letters out of magazines" tactic has been used in kidnapping tales over the years, it never stops creeping me out in certain ways.

true detective season 3 kidnapper note

Understandably, the trailer offers no real sign about whether True Detective is going to offer its central characters any resolution for the central crime(s). To the contrary, viewers can expect to see the events behind that missing child case to carry on for years. And it doesn't just weigh heavy on Wayne's shoulders, either, as fellow Arkansas State Investigator Roland West (Stephen Dorff) also finds his career influenced by the disturbing crime. As well, Scoot McNairy's Tom and Mamie Gunner's Lucy play parents of the missing children, which also alters the path of their futures significantly.

It looks like Wayne is going to be suffering over his and others' actions for quite a while after the case's initial conclusion, as evidenced by the flash-forwards in time to when his hair has gone gray.

true detective season 3 older wayne

But is he fretting because the case went unsolved? Or because the wrong person may have been blamed for the kidnappings? Is it indeed because something happened to one of his own children? If the latter is true, that might provide some justification for Wayne having somebody bound and gagged in his car trunk, since that isn't known to be proper police procedure under any circumstances.

true detective season 3 in trunk

Just as important as some of the imagery that we got to see, the True Detective trailer finally unveiled when fans will get to watch Season 3 on HBO, with January 2019 as the release window. So stay tuned for what will hopefully be another white-knuckle trip into small-town mayhem, and in the meantime, our fall TV premiere schedule will clue everyone in on what'll be showing up in primetime in the meantime.