'True Detective' season 4's next episode is coming to Max two days early — here's what we know

True Detective characters find evidence in season 4
(Image credit: HBO)

"True Detective" season 4 may be causing quite a stir on the internet — it's undoubtedly one of the biggest shows of 2024 so far. But nothing is bigger than the Super Bowl, and even HBO seems to know that.

HBO has announced that episode 5 of "True Detective: Night Country" will arrive this Friday (February 9) instead of its traditional Sunday release date. But this early release is exclusive to Max users, so if you want to watch the latest "True Detective" at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, you'll need to have the streaming service downloaded, set up and ready to go.

If you don't use Max and prefer to watch HBO on linear cable or a cable TV alternative, you still can. HBO is dropping episode 5 on its linear TV HBO channel at 9 p.m. this Sunday (February 11) as it usually does, but you may want to avoid this option for two reasons. First, many people will have already watched the episode on Max. But second, and most importantly, the episode will also probably air during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 2024.

Max is the key to HBO's Super Bowl problem

This isn't the first time HBO has pulled this move. Last year, Max moved up "The Last of Us" season 1 episode 5 in the exact same manner, arriving on Max two days before its linear HBO release during the big game. However, we had been expecting HBO to avoid Super Bowl Sunday entirely and skip releasing an episode this week, so this news did hit us as a bit of a surprise announcement.

Clearly though, what HBO did with Max and "The Last of Us" worked last year, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Especially since season 4 of the anthology crime drama series has turned out to be a success, and HBO won't want to lose momentum. "True Detective" has personally been my top show of 2024 so far, and our own Ryan Epps says that its use of cosmic horror has been a huge success as this season "has proven to be a return to form."

So now we can watch episode 5 of "Night Country" and Super Bowl LVIII at our leisure without needing to have multiple screens. That game plan is a win for everyone.

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Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.


Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.