An essential guide to all major events on 'True Detective' season 3

Warrick Page/HBOMahershala Ali on HBO’s ‘True Detective’ season three.
  • Warning: Spoilers ahead for “True Detective” season three, episode four: “The Hour and the Day.”
  • INSIDER is keeping a running timeline of all major events on “True Detective” this season.
  • This season includes scenes from 1980, 1990, and 2015.
  • Follow along with our interactive timeline below.

HBO’s “True Detective” is back for a third season, and the new instalment of this mystery-driven anthology series has ramped up the stakes with three separate time frames. Our protagonist Wayne Hays (played by Mahershala Ali) is the man we follow through 1980, 1990 and 2015 as a case of abducted children dominates his life.

In 1980, two kids (Will and Julie Purcell) go missing after they set off riding bikes one afternoon. The body of Will Purcell is found within a day, but the case drags on as Detective Hays and his partner Roland West search for Julie and try to solve Will’s murder.

In 1990, the Purcell case is re-opened and Hays is summoned back for a deposition on the case and the events of the 1980 investigation.

Then in 2015, Hays (now an elderly man with what might be dementia or other memory-altering condition) is being interviewed by a true-crime documentarian for a TV show. His gaps in memory mean the show is told sometimes in hazy, flashback style.

Though (so far) “True Detective” has delineated between the three years with pretty clear-cut exposition, we’ve laid out the major events in chronological order as a way to better track how the three years are all interacting with one another. To read more about certain characters or events, click the highlighted phrases on the timeline below.

We’ll be updating this timeline weekly as new episodes air. The next instalment of “True Detective” premieres on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

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