The First Mystery in Season 3 of True Detective Is WTF Is Up With Mahershala Ali’s Wig?

Illustration for article titled The First Mystery in Season 3 of True Detective Is WTF Is Up With Mahershala Ali’s Wig?
Screenshot: HBO (YouTube)

I did not watch the previous iterations of True Detective. Not for any particular reason, really. I generally like dark and deliberate murder mysteries—I had to resuscitate myself to write this after Sharp Objects killed me last night—but there just wasn’t any room for True Detective on the plate of shows I actively watch.


This will change, however, with its third season, because Mahershala Ali—who has quickly become one of my favorite actors—has been cast as the lead. From what we know so far about season 3, Ali’s Wayne Hays, a detective in Northwest Arkansas, is haunted by a decades-spanning mystery.

We’ll have to watch to learn more details about this crime and whether it will be solved. In the meantime, I want to get to the bottom of another pertinent mystery. Namely, what the fuck is happening with Mahershala Ali’s hair, which I am 97 percent sure is a wig?

Again, I’m aware this season takes place over a series of decades and hair is often used to articulate the passing of time. So I get the purpose of the wig. I’m more concerned about the wig itself. So concerned that I have questions.

1. Is that a wig?

I think it’s wig, but I’m not quite sure. I asked resident beauty expert Maiysha Kai for her opinion, and she concurred.

“Based on his hairline, I’d assume so.”

She’s an expert and from Chicago, so that’s enough confirmation for me.

2. Where was the wig purchased?

3. Whose decision was the wig?

4. Does Mahershala Ali get to keep the wig?

I really hope so. Imagine bonding with a spectacular and personable wig like that only to have to give it back. If not, I hope there are measures in place for him to pursue full custody of the wig.


5. Does the wig have an appropriate amount of sheen?

I think so. It looks sheenful and juicy. If there were such a thing as a wig petting store, I’d want to pet that wig.


6. If this wig fought Shemar Moore’s cornrow wig from Diary of a Mad Black Woman, who’d win?

That last question is rhetorical. Shemar Moore’s wig is the Jesus of wigs. No wig is greater.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



You have to watch True Detective season 1. Avoid season 2 like the plague, but season one is high art and fucking dope.