Jodie Foster’s True Detective season 5 update is a huge relief

Jodie Foster played a significant part in True Detective: Night Country, but the fact she isn’t returning is good news for the series as a whole.

Despite receiving generally positive reviews for her performance in True Detective: Night Country, Jodie Foster’s confirmation that she will not be returning for season 5 is good news for the franchise. After several underwhelming seasons following True Detective’s acclaimed debut, season 4 proved that the show still has an audience. Scoring positive critical reviews and attracting a significant audience, Night Country can be seen as a major success for HBO – despite some controversy over its ending. A large part of this reception is down to Jodie Foster’s powerful central performance.

Alongside Kali Reis, Jodie Foster helped propel True Detective season 4 as Liz Danvers. The character’s struggles with spirituality and past trauma allowed the show to tackle important themes in a delicate and nuanced way – an approach made possible thanks to Foster’s uncompromising performance. However, despite receiving glowing reviews for her work, the 61-year-old confirmed that she would not be returning next season. Speaking to Variety, Foster said, “No, it’s an anthology…It’s one and done.” While this limits True Detective season 5’s potential story, it is a good thing for the series as a whole.

Jodie Foster In True Detective Season 5 Would Miss The Point Of The Show

Jodie Foster as Chief Liz Danvers and Kali Reis as Trooper Evangeline Navarro in the True Detective: Night Country finale

For all the strengths of Foster’s performance, bringing her back in season 5 would totally transform True Detective as a show. Throughout its history, the show has left multiple characters’ stories tantalizingly poised, with audiences left to guess what happened to them after the end of the show. True Detective’s mission is not to provide a complete biography of these characters. Instead, it aims to use their experiences to reveal something deeper and more universal about everyone.

If Foster were to return, True Detective would change from an illuminating and ambiguous anthology about the universality of human drama, and turn it into a procedural about Liz Danvers. As Night Country proved, she is a compelling character in her own right. Nevertheless, continuing her story would limit True Detective’s ability to tell other characters’ stories and reveal secrets from another cross-section of society. By not telling any more of Danvers’ story, True Detective season 5 indicates that it is staying loyal to the essence of what the series is all about.

Jodie Foster Was Great In True Detective: Night Country, Despite Backlash & Story Issues

Law enforcement excavating the frozen scientist in True Detective season 4

Despite glowing critical reviews (and a Rotten Tomatoes score sitting at 92%), True Detective: Night Country did come in for criticism from viewers. In particular, the show’s finale, which looked to tie up several loose ends left throughout the preceding five episodes, was largely considered unsatisfying and a poor resolution to what had been a thrilling mystery. Coupled with wider backlash that many commentators considered to be rooted in more than just legitimate criticism, the response made True Detective: Night Country one of the year’s most controversial TV events. None of this, however, was Foster’s fault.

Even though she was tasked with selling some outlandish narrative twists, Foster remained never less than convincing as Danvers. Her dynamic with Kali Reis’ Navarro was key to the show’s success throughout, with the pair giving the drama emotional authenticity. Foster’s absence from season 5, therefore, is not a relief because she would have a negative impact on the project. Instead, it’s purely because bringing her True Detective: Night Country character back would undermine the entire essence of the anthology.


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