HOLLYWOOD —With Bon Temps still reeling from the Maenads’ reign of terror, Sookie Stackhouse begins her desperate quest for the whereabouts of Bill Compton, while her fellow townspeople face new threats that make their previous problems seem tame by comparison.

“True Blood” kicks off its 12-episode third season Sunday, June 13, (9-10 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, followed by other new episodes on subsequent Sundays at the same time. Mixing romance, suspense, mystery and humor, the show takes place in the not-too-distant future, when vampires have come out of the coffin, thanks to the invention of mass-produced synthetic blood that means they no longer need humans as a nutritional source. The show follows the romance between waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), who can hear people’s thoughts, and her boyfriend, 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), who went missing at the end of season two last year, and is now the object of a frantic search. Alan Ball (creator of the Emmy®-winning HBO series “Six Feet Under”) created and executive produces the show, which is based on the best-selling Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.

Other returning cast regulars on “True Blood” include Ryan Kwanten as Sookie’s trouble-prone brother Jason Stackhouse, Rutina Wesley as her in-mourning best friend Tara Thornton, Sam Trammell as Sookie’s shape-shifting boss Sam Merlotte, Nelsan Ellis as Tara’s sharp-tongued cousin Lafayette Reynolds, Chris Bauer as on-the-wagon detective Andy Bellefleur, Carrie Preston as Sookie’s fellow waitress Arlene Fowler, Todd Lowe as Terry Bellefleur, Jim Parrack as Hoyt Fortenberry, Alexander SkarsgÃ¥rd as vampire sheriff Eric Northman, Deborah Ann Woll as teen vamp Jessica Hamby, William Sanderson as Sheriff Bud Dearborne, Mariana Klaveno as Lorena Krasiki, and Kristin Bauer van Straten as Eric’s vampire sidekick Pam.

Joining the cast in season three are Denis O’Hare as Russell Edgington, the Vampire King of Mississippi; Joe Manganiello as Alcide, a benevolent werewolf assigned to help Sookie; Brit Morgan as Debbie Pelt, Alcide’s werewolf ex-girlfriend; Theo Alexander as Russell Edgington’s royal consort Talbot; Grant Bowler as Coot, a werewolf; Lauren Bowles as Holly, a new Merlotte’s waitress; Marshall Allman as Sam’s long-lost brother Tommy Mickens; J. Smith Cameron as Sam’s mother Melinda Mickens; Cooper Huckabee as Sam’s father Joe Lee Mickens; Alfre Woodard as Ruby Jean Reynolds, Lafayette’s mom; James Frain as Franklin Mott, a vampire with a hidden agenda; Kevin Alejandro as Jesus Velasquez, an orderly who connects with Lafayette; and Lindsay Pulsipher as Crystal Norris, a mysterious girl from out of town who shares an instant connection with Jason. Returning this season is Evan Rachel Wood as Sophie-Anne, the Vampire Queen of Louisiana.

Concluding its 2009 run last September, the second season of “True Blood” was a hit with critics as well as subscribers. The Boston Globe called the show “pure perfection,” while the San Francisco Chronicle termed it “bloody good,” and New York’s Daily News hailed the “exceptionally good ensemble cast.”

“True Blood: The Complete Second Season” will be released on DVD and Blu-ray May 25. Bonus features include “Character Perspectives,” “Vampire News,” trivia and in-depth audio commentary.

“True Blood” was created by Alan Ball; based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris; executive producers, Alan Ball and Gregg Fienberg; co-executive producers, Brian Buckner, Nancy Oliver and Alexander Woo; supervising producer, Raelle Tucker; producer, Mark McNair; associate producer, Christina Jokanovich.

In honor of the hunt beginning, check out Season three’s new trailer starring the werewolf that comes to Bon Temps.  YouTube – True Blood The Hunt Begins

Exclusive “True Blood” Season Three Poster Courtesy: HBO Productions