Who could take the place of Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey?
Most of these suggestions will, understandably, involve movie actors. So much of the excitement around this first season was getting actors of the level of both celebrity and talent of McConaughey and Harrelson who were willing to commit to a single season of the show, given the format. So while Andre Braugher or Connie Britton or some other small-screen powerhouse could absolutely do wonders with the kind of material McConaughey and Harrelson got, it's more fun to think of the kinds of actors who are otherwise unavailable to television. One exception I'll make among TV veterans: four-time Emmy winner Dennis Franz, one of the classic TV cops as flawed "NYPD Blue" hero Andy Sipowicz. Franz is not only one of the greatest dramatic actors the medium's ever featured, but someone who walked away from the game after "NYPD Blue" ended, preferring time with his family to more hours on a set. Though he hasn't acted in nine years, he's insisted he's not actually retired and would return to action for the right job — and "True Detective," with its short time commitment and rich character work, seems as right a job as there's ever going to be. At 69, Franz would have a tough time playing multiple time periods the way the current leads have, but a story about a pair of old timers trying to recapture past glories by investigating a mystery wouldn't necessarily need the same fractured timeline. Give Franz a suitable partner — whether an elder statesman of the cinema or a fellow David Milch alum like Ian McShane (Nic Pizzolatto is clearly a fan of classic HBO dramas, based on the casting of many of the minor "True Detective" roles) — and you could have something incredible.
- Alan Sepinwall