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How to watch ‘True Detective’ season 3 for free

Season 3 offers a return to form for HBO's hit crime drama.


Audra Schroeder


Posted on Jan 13, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 9:39 pm CDT


True Detective season 3 debuted on Jan. 13 on HBO, and it brings with it even more timelines.

True Detective season 3 stars Mahershala Ali as Wayne Hays and Stephen Dorff as Roland West, two detectives who are tasked with investigating the mysterious disappearance of siblings Will and Julie Purcell in small-town Arkansas circa 1980. Scoot McNairy and Mamie Gummer play Will and Julie’s parents (and possible suspects) and Carmen Ejogo plays Hays’ wife Amelia, whom he meets while investigating the case. The first episode, expertly directed by Jeremy Saulnier (Green Room, Hold the Dark), lays out the puzzle pieces.

While True Detective‘s first season played with two timelines, season 3 ups the ante and shows Hays in three different eras: 1980, 1990 (when the case is reopened and Hays is brought back on), and 2015, when Hays is interviewed for a documentary about the cold case. Complicating matters is Hays’ encroaching dementia, which skews his memories of the case and his actions in the present. Ali, who won an Oscar in 2017 for Moonlight and more recently a Golden Globe for Green Book, owns the role and the three iterations of Hays.

Here’s everything you need to know to watch True Detective online for free.

True Detective season 3

The first two episodes of the eight-episode season debut Jan. 13 at 9pm ET on HBO. New episodes will appear every Sunday at the same time.

How to watch True Detective season 3 online for free

There’s no getting around it: If you want to watch True Detective season 3, you’re going to need a way to watch HBO. Thankfully, you have plenty of options, and all of them come with at least a one-week free trial.

1) Hulu with Live TV

stream true detective season 3 hulu with live tv
Hulu with Live TV Hulu
  • Cost: $54.99-$60.99 for Hulu or $44.95 per month for Hulu with Live TV | $14.99 per month for HBO
  • Hulu devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, Samsung TV, LG TV, and iOS and Android devices

You can add HBO to Hulu regardless of whether you’re using Hulu with Limited Commercials or Hulu No Commercials. But if you’re looking for a way to cut the cord, Hulu with Live TV offers more than 60 quality channels, including ESPN, HGTV, FX, and E! Regardless of which package you start from, adding HBO will cost $14.99 per month (after the free trial). Here’s a complete list of Hulu Live TV channels.



2) Sling TV

watch true detective online sling orange + blue
Sling Orange + Blue Sling TV

If you’re looking for a live TV streaming service and what to have more say in what channels you receive, Sling TV is your best option. The service has three different base packages—Sling Orange, Sling Blue, and Sling Orange + Blue—and more than a dozen add-on packages. That’s in addition to premium channels like HBO, which costs an extra $14.99 per month after the free trial. (Here’s a complete guide to Sling TV channels.)


3) Amazon Prime Video with HBO

watch true detective season 3 online on prime
  • Cost: $8.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial) for HBO | $119 per year for Prime
  • Devices: Amazon Fire Stick, Fire TV, Fire tablets, and Fire phone; Roku, Google TV, TiVo, Nvidia Shield, PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii

HBO is one of best channels on Amazon Prime Video. If you’re already a Prime subscriber and looking to centralize your streaming all in one place, Amazon is a solid option. You won’t save any money—HBO costs $14.99 per month after the free trial—but it will be incredibly convenient.


4) HBO Now

watch true detective online
  • Cost: $14.99 per month (after 7-day free trial)
  • Devices: Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Cube, Android TV, Apple TV, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, Roku, Samsung Smart TV, Xbox One and Xbox 360.

It doesn’t get any better than HBO Now. HBO’s standalone streaming service delivers all of your favorite shows, documentaries, and movies in one sweet app you can stream on pretty much every device.



New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2018 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for a specific channel, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, Starz, Sundance TV, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, Willow, AMC, FX, Fox News, Freeform, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, FS1, TBS, TNT, Tennis Channel, Golf Channel, Syfy, HGTV, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Bravo, Lifetime, Discovery, PBS, the CW, BBC, CSPAN, NBA TV, MTV, Comedy Central, Food Network, TLC, HLN, A&E, Animal Planet, National Geographic, the Weather Channel, the History Channel, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube. If you’re on the move, here’s how to watch Fox Sports Go and live stream NBC Sports.

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*First Published: Jan 13, 2019, 6:00 am CST