Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (TV series)
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency is a BBC America comic science fiction detective television series created and primarily written by Max Landis. The two seasons are inspired by the novel series of the same name by Douglas Adams. The series is co-produced and distributed by BBC America and Netflix, along with AMC Studios, Ideate Media and IDW Entertainment. Filming primarily took place in Vancouver, British Columbia.
|Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency|
|Genre||Comic science fiction|
|Created by||Max Landis|
|Based on||Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul|
by Douglas Adams
|Composers||Cristobal Tapia de Veer (Season 1), The Newton Brothers (Season 2)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||18|
|Production locations||Season One filmed at and around 2404 Guelph Street Vancouver, British Columbia|
|Running time||54 minutes|
|Original network||BBC America (United States)|
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i|
|Original release||October 22, 2016 –|
December 16, 2017
|Related shows||Dirk Gently|
The series features an ensemble cast, including Samuel Barnett as the "holistic detective" Dirk Gently, and Elijah Wood as his reluctant sidekick Todd. Other main cast members include Hannah Marks as Todd's sister Amanda, Jade Eshete as security officer Farah Black, Fiona Dourif as "holistic assassin" Bart, and Mpho Koaho as computer technician Ken. The first season is set in Seattle, Washington and the second season is set in the fictional town of Bergsberg, Montana.
The eight-episode first season premiered on BBC America on October 22, 2016, to positive reviews, before concluding on December 10, 2016. All episodes were made available on Netflix (outside of the United States) on December 11, 2016. On November 21, 2016, BBC America renewed the series for a 10-episode second season which premiered on 14 October 2017. Following the broadcast of the second-season finale, the show was cancelled. A large number of the props and costumes used in the show were auctioned off in March 2020.
The show is based around the eccentric Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett) who claims to be a "holistic detective", investigating obscure cases based on the inter-connectivity of all things. During the first season he befriends Todd Brotzman (Elijah Wood) and Farah Black (Jade Eshete) who help him with his cases. Dirk's past is linked with "Project Blackwing", a secret CIA project to evaluate subjects with strange abilities. Dirk is not only followed by agents of Blackwing trying to recapture him but also by Bart Curlish (Fiona Dourif), another Blackwing subject who considers herself a "holistic assassin" and believes she is destined to kill Dirk.
- Samuel Barnett as Dirk Gently, an eccentric "holistic" detective, who understands everything in the universe to be interconnected. He does not solve cases by conventional means, but rather by following fate. It is revealed that he was part of a government organization studying people with 'special' abilities, as he is mildly psychic. He carries himself as excitable and optimistic, as a mask over his own loneliness and insecurity.
- Elijah Wood as Todd Brotzman, Dirk's reluctant sidekick/assistant. A bellhop who spends all of his money to help his sister Amanda afford her treatment for pararibulitis, a fictional disease he claims to have been cured of. It is later revealed he lied about ever having it; moreover he has lied to and stolen from everyone he has ever cared about. He now attempts to atone for his many crimes by taking care of his sister. At the end of season 1, he becomes afflicted by pararibulitis.
- Hannah Marks as Amanda Brotzman, Todd's sister who suffers from pararibulitis, a hereditary disease invented for the show that causes vivid and painful hallucinations. Amanda later joins the Rowdy 3, who help her manage her hallucinations.
- Jade Eshete as Farah Black, an efficient and tough security officer with obsessive-compulsive disorder. After her millionaire boss is killed and his daughter kidnapped, Farah is determined to solve the case alongside Dirk and Todd. She makes every attempt to keep the group safe, even when unsure she is capable of doing so.
- Fiona Dourif as Bart Curlish, a "holistic" assassin who believes that the universe leads her to people she has to kill, and that it won't allow her to die. She feels that she must hunt "Dirk Gently", despite not knowing who or what he is. She and Dirk are mirrors of each other, often paralleling one another from scene to scene. Because of her tendency to directly or indirectly murder people around her, Bart is extremely unsocialized, and has a jaded view of death.
- Mpho Koaho as Ken Adams, an electronics expert whom Bart kidnaps and forces to travel with her. While most of his recent work has been criminal in nature, he admits it is just due to his desperation for a paycheck, and is afraid of any excitement. Over the course of season 1, he befriends Bart, eventually coming to believe in the supernatural. In season 2, he is kidnapped by Blackwing, only to later become a supervisor.
- Rowdy 3
- The Rowdy 3 is a hedonist group first introduced as a group of four. (In season 2, it is revealed that they were initially three.) At the end of season 1, Amanda joins their ranks, making them five. The Rowdy 3 are among the people studied by the government organization tracking Dirk. They were originally classified as vampires because they survive by consuming people's emotional energy. At the end of season 2, the Rowdy 3 gain yet another member, The Beast.
- Michael Eklund as Martin, leader of the Rowdy 3.
- Osric Chau as Vogel (season 2; recurring season 1), the youngest member of the Rowdy 3.
- Law enforcement
Introduced in Season 1
- Law enforcement
- Neil Brown Jr. as Det. Estevez, a missing persons detective, and Zimmerfield's partner.
- Richard Schiff as Det. Zimmerfield, a missing persons detective, and Estevez's partner.
- Miguel Sandoval as Col. Scott Riggins, a government agent and Sgt. Friedkin's commanding officer.
- David Lewis as Agent Weedle, an FBI agent at odds with detectives Estevez and Zimmerfield.
- Fiona Vroom as Jessica Wilson, government overseer of the Blackwing project.
- Rowdy 3
- Michael Eklund as Martin, a member of the Rowdy 3.
- Osric Chau as Vogel, a member of the Rowdy 3.
- Viv Leacock as Gripps, a member of the Rowdy 3.
- Zak Santiago as Cross, a member of the Rowdy 3.
- Men of the Machine
- Aaron Douglas as Gordon Rimmer, the main antagonist of Season 1; a desperate man obsessed with gaining power, prolonging his life, and retrieving his dog.
- Michael Adamthwaite as Zed, a key member of the Men of the Machine.
- Christian Bako as Ed, a key member of the Men of the Machine.
- Mackenzie Gray as Lux Dujour, a disappeared rock star.
- Spring family
- Alison Thornton as Lydia Spring, a missing heiress, daughter of the murdered Patrick Spring.
- Julian McMahon as Patrick Spring / Edgar Spring / Zackariah Webb, a murdered millionaire and father of Lydia Spring. He is revealed to be an inventor, originally from the 1800s, who had accidentally discovered time travel through his experiments with electricity.
Introduced in Season 2
- Bergsberg, Montana law enforcement
- Tyler Labine as Sherlock Hobbs, an under-stimulated, but overly enthusiastic small town sheriff who is eager to help Dirk and crew solve a new mystery.
- Izzie Steele as Tina Tevetino, Hobbs' deputy, who is extremely laid back about life and the law and glad that Dirk and his friends' new mystery is bringing much-needed excitement to her currently-boring everyday life.
- Law enforcement and Blackwing people
- Alan Tudyk as Mr. Osmund Priest, a ruthless, dangerous, and violent bounty hunter working for Blackwing.
- Alexia Fast as Mona Wilder, a.k.a. "Project Lamia", a shapeshifter and self-described "holistic actress". She is a Blackwing test subject and close friend of Dirk, whom she has accompanied since before the Spring case, having taken the form of his "Panic Pete" stress toy.
- Boreton family
- Amanda Walsh as Suzie Boreton, an unassuming, insecure, depressed mother. She later becomes a powerful witch and tries to conquer Wendimoor.
- John Stewart as Bob Boreton, Suzie's workaday husband and a motel maintenance worker.
- Jared Ager-Foster as Scott Boreton, Bob and Suzie's delinquent son.
- Wendimoor people
- Christopher Russell as Panto Trost, the eldest Trost son, who leaves Wendimoor in search of Dirk and forges an unlikely friendship with Bart.
- Lee Majdoub as Silas Dengdamor, the eldest Dengdamor son and Panto's lover.
- Ajay Friese as Farson Dengdamor, Silas' younger brother, whose disappearance has brewed conflict between the Trosts and the Dengdamors.
- Aleks Paunovic as Wygar Oak, an imposing warrior and enforcer for the Dengdamor family.
- Emily Tennant as The Beast, a rainbow-haired creature from Wendimoor who becomes infatuated with Dirk. She later joins Amanda and the Rowdy 3.
- John Hannah as The Mage, the main antagonist of Season 2; a powerful wizard who takes great pleasure in his evildoings, seeking to conquer a world not his own.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||8||October 22, 2016||December 10, 2016|
|2||10||October 14, 2017||December 16, 2017|
Season 1 (2016)Edit
Bellboy Todd Brotzman, while tasked to check in on the hotel's penthouse suite, is disturbed when he sees himself talking to an unknown person when the elevator briefly stops on one of the hotel's floors. When he reaches the penthouse, he is shocked to discover that its guest, the wealthy Patrick Spring, and other unknown men have been brutally murdered, seemingly by a large animal based on the damage to the room. Todd becomes a person of interest in the investigation when he is later met by Dirk Gently, who forcefully injects himself into Todd's life. Dirk claims to be a "holistic detective" and that he was hired by Patrick to investigate his murder, and drags Todd into being his assistant in his investigation. Along the way, they are joined by Farah Black, Patrick's bodyguard who had been taken captive during Patrick's murder while she was trying to find Patrick's missing daughter, Lydia.
Their investigation revolves around a machine created by 19th century inventor Zachariah Webb. Zachariah's invention enables the souls of two bodies to be swapped, and can allow one to travel through time. However, one of Zachariah's tests resulted in the machine falling forward in time to the 1960s, where it was found by a group of hippies. Initially using the soul-swapping to create trans-extensional experiences with zoo animals, the hippies start using the machine to transfer souls with influential people, gaining wealth and power, and becoming the cult "Men of the Machine". In the present, this cult is led by Gordon Rimmer. In the days prior to Patrick's murder, Lydia Spring had figured out a connection between her family and Gordon and accosted him about it, but instead he abducted her, swapped her soul with that of a corgi, and planned to use Lydia to coerce Patrick into giving up his "other machine".
Through clues left by Patrick, who is in fact Zachariah Webb travelling in time, Dirk and Todd find the machine and escape from Gordon by travelling back in time to just before Patrick's murder. They encounter a figure in clockwork armor, who is revealed to be another version of Patrick, from 2001, who traveled forward in time to recover his initial machine from the Men of the Machine; they, however, go separate ways, hoping to stop Gordon. At the penthouse the Patrick in the clockwork armor disrupts the meeting: a cat, whose soul had been transferred with that of a shark, gets loose, and the shark's soul psycho-kinetically attacks everyone present, killing the present Patrick and some of Gordon's cult. As Dirk, Todd, and the armored Patrick flee the hotel, Todd recognizes the conversation he had seen himself in previously. Later they encounter an earlier version of Dirk, and the present version provides his earlier self with cryptic clues to direct him to meet with Todd and solve the case. Now aware that he will be killed in the future and of Lydia's plight, Patrick returns to 2001 to bury the machine for Dirk and Todd to find, and set up events so that he can assure Dirk will take Patrick's case and save Lydia.
With help of Farah, Todd's sister Amanda (who suffers from "pararibulitis", a nerve disorder that creates painful hallucinations), Bart Curlish (a "holistic assassin" who believes she must kill Dirk) and her companion Ken, and the "Rowdy 3" (a band of four violent punks that feed off psychic energy), Dirk and Todd are able to stop Gordon and the Men of the Machine from using Zachariah's device further, leading to the cult members’ deaths, while returning Lydia to her body before they return the repaired machine to Zachariah Webb in the 19th century. Dirk sets up his "Holistic Detective Agency" with Todd and Farah. As the last episode closes, government agents working for the secret Blackwing project, of which Dirk and several others were once a part, converge on and capture Dirk, Bart, and Ken, and are closing in on Amanda and the Rowdy 3. Meanwhile, Todd, who had faked having pararibulitis for several years as to be sympathetic for Amanda, suddenly finds himself having a real incident of pararibulitis.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||US viewers|
|1||1||"Horizons"||Dean Parisot||Max Landis||October 22, 2016||0.437|
|A violent murder occurs at the hotel where Todd works, with unusual characters – including Dirk Gently – intruding on his hitherto mundane life.|
|2||2||"Lost & Found"||Dean Parisot||Max Landis||October 29, 2016||0.293|
|Todd reluctantly works with Dirk, tries to rescue a kidnapped girl who thinks she's a dog, but only gets the actual dog. A plan to exchange the dog for the girl goes awry.|
|3||3||"Rogue Wall Enthusiasts"||Michael Patrick Jann||Max Landis||November 5, 2016||0.297|
|While digging into Spring's past, Farah and Dirk find their first big clue; Todd learns he has no safe harbor; Amanda deals with a presence.|
|4||4||"Watkin"||Michael Patrick Jann||Andy Black||November 12, 2016||0.248|
|Dirk and Todd venture into Patrick's deathmaze and get a shock. Meanwhile, Weedle shares some unfortunate truths with Farah, and Gordon visits Lux's old flame.|
|5||5||"Very Erectus"||Tamra Davis||Robert C. Cooper||November 19, 2016||0.240|
|As Dirk and Todd embark on a hunt for Patrick Spring’s dark enigmas, Todd reveals a deep-seated secret of his own. Detectives Estevez and Zimmerfield take big risks as they inch closer to the truth of their missing girl’s investigation, and Amanda finally confronts the looming specter of the Rowdy 3.|
|6||6||"Fix Everything"||Tamra Davis||Max Landis||November 26, 2016||0.198|
|Todd tries to confess to Amanda all of his lies from the past 10 years. Dirk and Farah are ambushed by Bart and Ken on their way to secure Dr. Webb's invention at the Spring Mansion.|
|7||7||"Weaponized Soul"||Paco Cabezas||Max Landis||December 3, 2016||0.307|
|Flung backwards through time, Dirk and Todd make a horrifying discovery about the nature of their case, and find themselves with a unique opportunity: solve their case before it even starts.|
|8||8||"Two Sane Guys Doing Normal Things"||Paco Cabezas||Andy Black & Max Landis||December 10, 2016||0.277|
|As dark forces converge, Dirk, Todd, Farah, and Detective Estevez are forced into a final battle: save Lydia Spring, face certain death, or both.|
Season 2 (2017)Edit
Todd and Farah, on the run from the FBI, end up in the rural town of Bergsberg, Montana while searching for Dirk, who has been captured by Project Blackwing, a secret government organization studying people with strange talents. Blackwing has also captured three of the Rowdy 3, with Amanda and Vogel searching for them, and Ken, whom Bart is along searching for. Dirk meets some of the other subjects in Blackwing, including "Project Moloch", a man that has been in a coma for years, and Mona Wilder, a "holistic actress" with shapeshifting abilities. Mona tells Dirk to "find the boy" and teleports him to Bergsberg, where he reunites with his friends. Sgt. Friedkin, currently in charge of Blackwing, gets Ken's help to review old files related to Blackwing and Bergsberg, but Ken uses the opportunity to usurp power from the dimwitted Friedkin.
Dirk, Todd, and Farah befriend Sheriff Sherlock Hobbs and Deputy Tina Tevetino, and learn that the town had an unusual electrical surge in 1967, which caused the disappearance of Hector and Marina Cardenas, along with their son Arnold. Dirk suspects this is the boy he must find. They meet Panto Trost, a man who claims to have come from the world of Wendimoor, a fantasy land, and who is seeking a man named "Dirk Gently" who will find the boy to help fulfill a prophecy to save the warring families of Wendimoor from an evil Mage and his newly found apprentice. While they investigate, the Mage has arrived in Bergsberg and his apprentice's wand has fallen into the hands of depressed soccer mom Suzie Boreton, who learns how to use it to better herself and kill those that she despises. Dirk and his allies search the Cardenas' home to find that it contains a fantastical pocket dimension and a portal to Wendimoor itself. Eventually their investigation leads them to find Arnold, who had changed his identity after the 1967 event. Arnold is prepared to tell them what happened before he is killed by the power-hungry Suzie.
While Farah, Sherlock, and Tina try to deal with the Mage, Dirk and Todd travel to Wendimoor to try to understand how it is connected to Bergsberg. Amanda and Vogel also travel there, when Amanda's budding psychic powers are triggered when they are cornered by Mr. Priest, a bounty hunter working for Blackwing. While there, Amanda meets the forest witch Wakti Wapnasi, who had given Panto the prophecy, and is trained by Wakti to locate and bring the other Rowdy 3 to Wendimoor, helping to fend off forces loyal to the Mage.
Dirk concludes that Wendimoor was created by Moloch, back in 1967. Prior, the Cardenas had found Moloch as an infant on a boat that mysteriously appeared in Bergsberg in the 1950s, but soon learned that he had the ability to alter reality while dreaming. That caused them to be put under investigation by Blackwing's predecessor. The stress of this led to Marina considering selling the farm to the Kellum corporation, but Hector refused, and in a struggle Marina accidentally stabbed and killed Hector in front of Arnold and the boy. The boy fainted, his dreams leading to Hector and Marina's disappearance. Shortly thereafter, Arnold called Blackwing to have them pick up Moloch. Frightened, the boy fell into a coma, and created the electrical surge, which Dirk likens to the Big Bang that created Wendimoor from the boy's dreams. Now, with the Mage and Suzie threatening both worlds, Moloch unconsciously seeded Dirk's name to Wakti and Mona, leading to the present events. Meanwhile, Suzie has entered Wendimoor, usurped the Mage's troops, and sent them to attack Dirk and his allies. The Rowdy 3, along with Panto and Bart, help to slow them down.
Farah, Sherlock, and Tina end up killing the Mage in Bergsberg. Dirk returns to Blackwing with Amanda's and Todd's help to stop the Mage's forces, now loyal to Suzie, from killing Moloch. Amanda and Todd briefly find themselves in a space between the realities of Bergsberg and Wendimoor that explains Dirk's "holistic" nature and how everything is connected. Dirk and Mona rescue Moloch and bring him back to Wendimoor, where he returns to being a young boy. He removes Suzie's powers and imprisons her, and starts to restore Wendimoor to how he had crafted it, including resurrecting those killed by the Mage's forces. After thanking them for their help, the boy returns Dirk, Todd, Amanda, Mona and the Rowdy 3 to Bergsberg. Amanda decides to stay with the Rowdy 3 to help watch for other people targeted by Blackwing, while Dirk, Todd, and Farah set up a permanent home for Dirk's detective agency, unaware Mona has followed them. Bart asked to be returned to Blackwing, but is dismayed to learn Ken has taken over as the facility's manager and plans to leave her a prisoner to study. Friedkin ends up in the space between realities and comes to an epiphany.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||US viewers|
|9||1||"Space Rabbit"||Douglas Mackinnon||Max Landis||October 14, 2017||0.235|
|Todd and Farah are on the run, and in search of Dirk; Bart's search for Ken takes her to Montana, where unexplainable events are taking place.|
|10||2||"Fans of Wet Circles"||Douglas Mackinnon||Russel Friend & Garrett Lerner||October 21, 2017||0.245|
|Dirk, Todd and Farah reunite and investigate the case, following the clues to discover that a body connects to a cold case.|
|11||3||"Two Broken Fingers"||Michael Patrick Jann||Matt Goldman||October 28, 2017||0.219|
|Amanda uses Vogel to incite visions, which lead them to Bergsberg... and trouble with Blackwing. Dirk, Todd, and Farah, assisted by Sheriff Hobbs and Deputy Tevetino, investigate the 50-year-old Cardenas murders. Then Bart, of all people, comes in to report a crime.|
|12||4||"The House Within a House"||Michael Patrick Jann||Robert C. Cooper||November 4, 2017||0.212|
|Events begin to connect in Bergsberg, especially related to the old Cardenas house and the secret alternate-reality house it hides. In Wendimoor, however, Amanda and Vogel are on the run.|
|13||5||"Shapes and Colors"||Richard Laxton||Max Landis||November 11, 2017||0.248|
|Amanda and Vogel are captured by the Bofuki Nepoo and taken to the Wood Witch. Dirk and the others meet Arnold Cardenas, who explains his drawing to them, then they attend a concert where Suzie casts a spell.|
|14||6||"Girl Power"||Richard Laxton||Sinead Daly||November 18, 2017||0.256|
|Ken helps Mr. Priest find Dirk. Dirk and the others visit Arnold in the hospital, where Suzie attacks them. Dirk finds the portal to Wendimoor.|
|15||7||"This Is Not Miami"||Wayne Yip||Molly Nussbaum||November 25, 2017||0.282|
|Todd and Dirk wind up in Wendimoor as does Suzy. Mayhem happens.|
|16||8||"Little Guy, Black Hair"||Wayne Yip||Russel Friend & Garrett Lerner||December 2, 2017||0.259|
|Todd and Amanda reconnect while awaiting their execution, and Dirk runs into the Rowdy Three when fleeing from The Beast. Tina and Farah team up to track down the missing Hobbs. Suzy consolidates her power as the ruler of Wendimoor, and Dirk solves the case.|
|17||9||"Trouble Is Bad"||Alrick Riley||Max Landis & Molly Nussbaum||December 9, 2017||0.280|
|Tina and Farah square off against The Mage. Bart enters Wendimoor, only for disaster to strike. Dirk and the gang hatch a plan to rescue The Boy from Blackwing. Meanwhile, Blackwing is invaded by Suzy's forces, just as Ken is figuring out the truth about Wendimoor.|
|18||10||"Nice Jacket"||Alrick Riley||Story by : Sinead Daly & Max Landis|
Teleplay by : Max Landis
|December 16, 2017||0.250|
|Dirk returns to Blackwing and, with Mona, rescues Moloch and takes him to Wendimoor, where he restores order and revives the dead. Amanda stays with the Rowdy 3, while Dirk, Farah and Todd set up a permanent home for the detective agency. Bart returns to Blackwing but is dismayed to find that Ken wants to keep her locked up.|
The first season received a favorable response from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 71% approval rating based on 28 reviews, with an average rating of 6.54/10. The site's consensus reads "Odd and ambitious, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency sometimes overdoses on pure weirdness but offers absurdist rewards to those who stick with it." On Metacritic, the first season has a score of 62 out of 100 based on 14 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The second season was also received favorably. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 100% approval rating based on 11 reviews, with an average rating of 7.33/10. However, its viewership was down from the first season, averaging less than 250,000 views per episode compared to 287,000 per episode from Season 1. It is believed these numbers, which were slightly lower than fellow BBC America program Orphan Black, led the choice for the network to cancel the show. Following the broadcast of the second-season finale, BBC America announced the show's cancellation. The decision to cancel the series sparked outrage among fans of the show, and a petition was started to renew the series. As of March 2018, the petition has received over 100,000 signatures.
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