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The True Story Behind True Detective Season 3

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Season Three of True Detective was released on January 13th. This new season is similar to the first, with occult themes setting the stage for an equally novel and appalling murder mystery. Surprisingliy, the new season is based on a real murder case that you may already been familiar with: the case of the West Memphis Three.

The Real West Memphis Three Case

The West Memphis Three were a group of teenage boys — Jessie Misskelley, Jr. (17), Jason Baldwin (16), and Damien Echols (18 ) — in the conservative town of West Memphis. They were pinned for the murder of three second-grade boys. The crime had occult overtones, which led the police first to Echols because he had express interest in occultism and was diagnosed with mental illness. Police later connected the other two teens to the crime.

Mirror

However, the police investigation was so poorly (and suspected unlawfully) conducted that their conviction has been doubted for years. Misskelley supposedly confessed, but his story changed many times. He also stated later he was scared of police, and though he was questioned for over 12 hours, only short segments of the interrogation were recorded.

Similarities to True Detective’s “The Great War and Modern Memory”

The True Detective season is set in the fictional town West Finger, Arkansas. A bit on the nose, however, there are other hints that tie the season to the West Memphis Three case. The episode begins with the disappearance of two children, one who is found dead.

Slant Magazine

The three boys in the real case were singled out for the murder because of their interest in “dark” things such as Stephen King books and metal music. In the episode, one of the three suspects is deemed suspicious for wearing a Black Sabbath t-shirt.

How Will It All End?

In the real case, after many years facing life sentences (and Echols receiving the death penalty) the boys took a plea deal stating that though they maintained their innocence, they conceded that the police had enough evidence to convict them. This led to the shortening of their sentences and eventual release.

Live for Films

We’ve only gotten a peek into the new season of True Detective, but we can already predict a return to form and themes of the first season. And, if we know HBO, viewers are definitely in for a wild ride.

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