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‘True Detective’s’ Taylor Kitsch on Sunday’s Surprise Ending, Potential Season 3

Spoiler warning: Do not read on unless you’ve seen “True Detective” season two, episode seven, titled “Black Maps and Motel Rooms.”

Forget Ben Caspere. It looks like HBO’s “True Detective” has another body on its hands.

The penultimate episode of the show’s second season involved a good deal of bloodshed, resulting in what looked like the death of Taylor Kitsch’s closeted CHP officer Paul Woodrugh at the hands of James Frain’s blackmailing and scheming Kevin Burris.

Fans will have to wait until Sunday to find out for sure that Paul’s days are over (chances are pretty slim that he survived) and if remaining cops Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) and Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) are right about who killed Caspere. Until then, Kitsch was nice enough to answer (well, sometimes dodge) some burning questions from Variety about his character and potentially returning to the franchise down the line.

Poor Paul.

Ha. I think it’s true we tried to martyr that character. He never got to come out of the closet. Just the life he led, he was always in the shadows of his own self. I think that was also a beautiful part to play as well.

As an actor, it’s something Nic Pizzolatto and I were talking about at the beginning. This guy set out to do the right thing and, ironically, it bit him in the ass.

It was a wussy move by James Frain’s character, Burris, to shoot him from behind.

It has everything to do with these people, right? I don’t think you should expect anything more from those guys.

Did you know it was going to happen this way?

I think we wanted it as matter-of-factly as well, a shock factor obviously for the characters but also just storytelling-wise. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it.

Any actor will tell you, no doubt they’ve died a few times on stage — it’s an incredible moment, and with those things being your last moment, you want to draw it out. And watching last night, I really think it was great at the end of the day.

Did the other actors know that Paul was going to go out that way or was it a surprise when they got the script?

They knew I was going to die, but I don’t think they really knew how. You’d have to ask them.

Did you get the script for the finale?

They gave it to me, but I chose not do anything about it or read it. I’ve seen about the last 40 minutes of it, and it’s phenomenal.

Have Ani and Ray figured out who the killer is?

There’s no way I’m going to tell you that. I get it, man. (Laughs) 

I will say it’s beautifully, beautifully done, and I tip my hat to all those actors and to Nic and the writing. It’s really phenomenal what goes down.

The shootout scene from a few weeks ago involving Paul, Ani and Ray got a strong reaction from fans of the show. What do you think of that?

To be honest, I don’t read anything online. Obviously, you get texts from your circle about how much they loved it. That took five-plus days, plus rehearsal, to shoot.

That’s obviously the aim you go for: a very shocking and grounded shootout. That much I knew I loved about it. And obviously, the character part and how all three of us dealt with it, with that false comfort zone — how all of these characters go through it in such a different light, I loved the way Nic did that. I loved doing that scene. That was fun.

Have you paid attention at all to the fans’ reaction to the season?

No. I don’t read any critics. I just have my little circle of actors and obviously my team and talking to Nic about it. I’m just so proud of it and happy with the journey we all had with it. It really felt like it ended too soon. It felt like we were just getting started.

Michael Lombardo told the Television Critics Association last week that he would be interested in doing a season 3 of “True Detective.” Would you be up for rejoining the way Ryan Murphy brings back actors for his “American Horror Story” installments?

If Nic Pizzolatto is involved, absolutely.

Going back to some of your earlier work, have you seen Kyle Chandler’s “Friday Night Lights” spoof about not talking and texting during movies for Alamo Drafthouse?

A buddy off my hockey team sent me that like two days ago. I thought it was hilarious. I love that guy, and I love that he’s up for that kind of stuff. That’s Kyle Chandler. Always a good sport and I thought it was awesome.

The season two finale of “True Detective” airs Sunday, Aug. 9, at 9 p.m. on HBO.

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