What’s the best way to describe Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency?
One cast member called it “Sherlock on crack with corgis”.
Creator Max Landis, though, says “It’s a mysterious show, but our show has more in common with Game of Thrones than it does with Broadchurch.”
The creator and cast talked to reporters this past weekend at San Diego Comic-Con.
The show is really about a “holistic detective” who uses hunches and coincidence to solve cases. Thing is, what happens to him and his friends is more interesting than the case.
After trying to solve a murder dealing with time travel and body-swapping last season, the gang has to solve Dirk’s kidnapping, but wind up in a small town and a magical world with strange creatures. They also have to dodge a government agent who’ll stop at nothing to capture Dirk’s friends.
Landis says this season is a blueprint of what the show should be. “When you have one season on TV and eight episodes, you can’t do everything,” he says. “This season, we’re starting to show that we can do everything, and what’s fun about this is that it’s all surprises.”
All that’s known is that the gang will wind up in a small town in Montana, a magical world called Wendimore, and a mysterious place called Blackwing.
Samuel Barnett, who plays Dirk, says his character has doubts about his beliefs that taking a leap of faith can work out in the end. “He knows deep down that it’s true,” he says, “but he also sees the damage that it’s caused to his new friends who all seem to now to be in pain and trouble at the end of season one. This clips shows where Dirk is now…
As for Dirk’s friend, Todd (Elijah Wood), he and his bodyguard friend Farah (Jade Eshete) have been on the run looking for him. However, he’s also contracted pararibulitis, which causes anxiety and hallucinations. He had told his sister Amanda (Hannah Marks) he had the disease but is now cured, but it wasn’t true. She had the disease, until a group of vampires absorbed it along with her energy. Now she’s with them. and he doesn’t know that.
Oh, and there’s Bart (Fiona Dourif), who claims the universe leads her to people she has to kill but she herself can’t be killed. She kidnaps, Ken (Mpho Koaho), an unemployed electrician who’s just trying to get a paycheck.
Jade says we’ll learn more about Farah this season. “You learn a lot more about her past,” she says. “You get to see why she’s a little neurotic, where that comes from in her family. You start to connect the dots with her.”
Hannah says she loves being on the show because the plots are so out there. “If we let our freak flag fly and be as weird as we want,” she says, “then that’s actually something special that we have.”
Mpho says Ken will be stuck at Blackwing for odd reasons, but he’s had a chance to see the fantasy world sets. “The Wendimore has that feel like I was watching the Adventures of Robin Hood,” he says, “Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone would come out dueling down the stairs. It has that feel.”
Ken, though, is expected to be a more determined person. “Ken takes a lot of steps forward in terms of fortitude,” he says, ” in terms of gall, in terms of bravery, in terms of just general ‘I can do this'” However, if he needs Bart, he will ask for her help.
Fiona says Bart will try to kill less, but if she finds herself in the fantasy world, she may not like it. Fiona, though, is always surprised by what’s coming next. “I walked on set the other day,” she says, “and I said ‘who came up with that? What does that even look like?’ It’s constantly surprising me. The scripts are kind of meted out while we’re shooting. I read them and it’s so unpredictable. It’s a testament to Max Landis, really.”
The main bad guy will be a government agent called Austin Priest, played by Alan Tudyk. Landis describes him as “Anton Chigurh on a police payroll” whose file has been redacted for more than 20 years because of some incident. Tudyk, though, describes Priest as a “slow-moving land shark” who’s determined to track down Dirk and his friends.
He also reveals it was the first time he had a chance to shoot a machine gun. “You don’t have to act to being a bad ass when you’re carrying a really large weapon and firing and blowing stuff up. You just do that,” he says.
Dirk and his friends will get some help from a small town sheriff named Sherlock Hobbs played by Tyler Labine. “He’s very under-challenged as the sheriff of Burgsberg,” he says, “but he’s also highly trained and overzealous, which is a bad combination.” That’s why Sheriff Hobbs is all too eager to join with the gang, even when he deals with magic and creatures in the magical world. It’s possible he and Priest may cross paths, making it a Tucker and Dale vs. Evil reunion.
Now here’s the full panel from Comic-Con, courtesy of BBC America…
Season 2 of Dirk Gently will air later this fall on BBC America.