Its second season commonly derided as a dumpster fire, with only two episodes left to heave in, True Detective strikes a far different tone in conversation than only a few short months ago. That said, HBO still hopes for a third season with creator Nic Pizzolatto, calling Season 2 “enormously satisfying.”

Speaking at the ongoing TCA press tour panel, HBO boss Michael Lombardo faced down reporter questions of the once-acclaimed drama’s second season, touting the 12 million viewers tuning in week after week, rather than the criticism. “I think it’s enormously satisfying,” he claims. “I think Nic is a bold storyteller and I mean that only in the most positive ways … he takes risks in how he lays out stories and the pacing of stories, and I think it pays off.”

Of course, Pizzolatto himself originally seemed somewhat uncertain about a second season, thereby raising questions of a potential third, particularly after such a savage reception. HBO remains on board at least, saying:

I think Nick Pizzolatto is one of the best writers working in television today. Much like all of our shows, I didn’t believe this season or the last season was intended for as big an audience as we were getting. We’re getting 12 million viewers an episode.

I’m enormously proud of it. If he wanted to do another season, I’ve told him our door is always open. I’d love to do another season with him. I think he’s a spectacular writer.

Lombardo also assured that the final two episodes of the season would paint a much more complete picture, satisfying ending and all, but the question remains: Do we want a third season of True Detective, if Nic Pizzolatto elects to sign on? Could the final Season 2 episodes do anything to redeem the current run?

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