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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - TV Series Review

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by Jennifer Muirhead (subscribe)
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma. ~ Eartha Kitt
Published February 6th 2017
Can Dirk solve the case of the murdered millionaire?

Todd Brotzman (Elijah Wood) is a hotel porter working to support his sister, Amanda (Hannah Marks) who suffers a rare and debilitating nerve disease. His life takes an odd turn when he stumbles onto a bizarre crime scene, is fired by the hotel and finds a strange man in his apartment who claims to be a "holistic detective" named Dirk Gently. Meanwhile, a self-described "holistic assassin" named Bart is trying to find and kill Dirk because his name came to her in a dream, and Farah, a security agent is trying to solve the murder of her millionaire boss and find his missing daughter.

Amanda, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Hannah Marks
Hannah Marks as Amanda

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (2016) is a BBC America production based on the novel series of the same name by Douglas Adams. It's not the story of the novels, but rather a new story based on the same character. Dirk is now living in the United States, and some of his backstory has changed. I was initially dubious about it being set in America instead of the UK, since many US remakes of UK series seem to lose what made the show good in the first place, but it remained true to the spirit of the books. Dirk doesn't solve crimes in a traditional way, but rather uses a "holistic" method where he believes the universe leads him to where he needs to be. The oddly childlike but deadly assassin Bart uses more or less the same method to find her targets. Samuel Barnett is believable as the affable but infuriating Dirk. Elijah Wood is brilliant as Dirk's wide-eyed, hapless assistant, Todd, who helps Dirk to solve the murder of Dirk's client, Patrick Spring, who hired Dirk to solve the crime before it had even happened. Jade Eshete seems to channel Foxy Brown as the tough security guard trying to find the missing girl. There is a large cast of supporting characters, all fleshed out with their own stories. Richard Schiff, of The West Wing, is entertaining as Detective Zimmerfield with his 'serious eyebrows'.

Farah, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Douglas Adams, urban fantasy tv, Netflix series, Jade Eshete
Jade Eshete as Farah.

The sheer number of characters can be a little hard to keep track of at times, and the plot is very strange and complicated (featuring, among other things, time travel, unlikely animal attacks, psychics and the CIA) with a lot of twists and turns, but it actually does all make sense in the end. Netflix lists this show as a comedy, and it certainly has its funny moments, but it is also pretty dark, so don't watch it expecting feel good fluff. There is a fair bit of violence and the first season doesn't exactly end happily.

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency is a bizarre black comedy/sci fi/mystery series that is well worth a look. It has been streaming worldwide on Netflix since December 2016 and the second season should be out in 2017.
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Where: Available to view on Netflix
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