Synopsis of 1×01: Douglas Adam’s humorous holistic detective lives on in this updated American version of Dirk Gently. Samuel Barnett and Elijah Wood star in the BBC America adaptation.

Dirk Gently starts as normal as it could. Dirk (Samuel Barnett) wakes up to a phone call asking where he is. And where he is is not where he is meant to be. Or is it? More on that later. 

The following scene is a murder scene, as bloody and gory, like what you might expect on The Walking Dead. That is until a cute black kitten walks out from the bathroom, only to be scooped up by a mysterious hand. That’s the running gag in Dirk Gently: nothing is as it seems, but everything is meant to unfold in a specific way because everything is connected. 

Todd (Elijah Wood) wakes up to the sounds of crunching and crashing. He looks out the window to see his landlord, Dorian, destroying his already beat-up car. When Todd tries to explain that he paid his rent already, Dorian threatens Todd with intense and violent bodily harm. To make matters worse, Todd is now locked out of his apartment and must break back in through the window. 

Todd’s day continues as it normally might. Watching the news (featuring the disappearance of teenage heiress Lydia Spring), or seeing a lone corgi on the bus to his hotel job. Nothing out of the ordinary, but just tweaked a little toward the strange. 

At work, Todd asks his boss for his pay early, presumably to cover this month’s rent. Instead, Todd is directed to go to room 745 and the Penthouse to check out some strange activity. And since he’s lost his master-key, he must use his boss’s. Todd’s work life is clearly as boring as his home life. 

[bbc america]
[bbc america]

Room 745 is actually a couple having a fight. The man storms off, leaving a sad, scantily clad woman in the bed. She asks Dirk to stay a moment, resting her head on his shoulder for comfort. A little strange. After the moment passes, Todd heads up to the Penthouse. However, the elevator opens on the 18th floor, to show Todd a truly strange phenomenon. 

The elevator door opens to reveal another version of himself, in a fur coat and bloody, yelling at an unseen person about time travel. Before Todd can panic, the doors close and the elevator takes him to the Penthouse. He opens the Penthouse suite and sees the murder scene from the cold open. Scream and cut to black. 

The cops arrive, young cop-old cop, good cop-bad cop, Estevez and Brown.  The victim was none other than the millionaire father of the missing teenager Lydia. Of course, they immediately interview Todd. They even go so far as to show him a video of a guy in a gorilla mask getting into the Penthouse using Todd’s master card.  But closer inspection of the room gives way to the possibly that this was no murder, but a vicious animal attack. Shout-out to the battle eyebrows on Richard Schiff. In all the mayhem, Todd gets fired. 

On his way home, he sees that same corgi. There is some sort of correlation between Todd’s bus-riding and corgi-sighting. Enter Dirk Gently into Todd’s life, climbing through the window. After a brief scuffle, Dirk decides that Todd is not only his new assistant, they are also now roommates.

Todd kicks Dirk out, but to strange consequences. Two supposed military men in a van assigned to watch Dirk take a shot at Todd. The bullet ricochets and kills a man upstairs. But the man upstairs was about to kill a women handcuffed to a bed. Coincidence? 

Elsewhere, two men are rigging up some computer equipment. One of them is slashed in half by a crazed woman named Curlish who thinks the second man is Dirk Gently. That man, Ken, manages to rectify the situation. 

Dirk is busy sweet-talking Dorian into letting him live with Todd. Dirk tells Todd as much when Todd lets Dirk drive him to see Amanda, Todd’s sister. And by “let” I mean Todd using Dirk as a desperate attempt to escape Dorian. 

While Todd and Dirk drive to Amanda’s house, the cops are looking at video footage of the hotel. There certainly was a four-legged beast at the scene of the crime. But it’s a corgi. Perhaps it’s the same corgi Todd has been seeing? 

On their way to see Amanda, Dirk explains what kind of detective he is. No, he’s not with the CIA, not anymore. He’s a private detective, that doesn’t search for physical clues. Instead he focuses on the whole situation, the coincidences or sexy little koinky-dinks, that circle back to the perpetrator. It sounds like Douglas Adam’s answer to Sherlock. Dirk also sounds like he’s barking mad. 

[bettina strauss/bbc america]
[bettina strauss/bbc america]

“Holistic” is also the term the murderous woman Curlish tells the computer guy Ken she’s kidnapped. She’s a holistic assassin. Whoever she kills was her target, and the universe will always create the necessary alignments and parallels to right her wrongs. “Sounds like a murder spree,” Ken says.  I agree. 

They arrive at Amanda’s, and Dirk introduces himself as Todd’s best friend, despite Todd’s protestations. Dirk, using less-than-subtle prying techniques, learns that Amanda has a neurological disorder called Pararibulitis that Todd suffered from at one point. It gives you hallucinations that seem and feel very real. For example, during a sibling jam session, Amanda had a hallucination that her drum stick is a meat knife and that her hand is cut wide open. 

Leaving Amanda’s to head home, Todd arrives to more chaos. The upstairs neighbor chained to the bed who at some point shouts out for Lydia?  Still chained up, but now she’s unconscious, having hit her head on the bed frame. The military guys and the cops? Still watching the house.

But now a third set of men arrive: the Rowdy 3. They are four, yes four, men bent on destruction and finding Dirk. After destroying Todd’s apartment, they surround Dirk. My guess is that they drink his life force, but maybe I watch too much Lost Girl. Either way, they perform some sort of strange ritual on Dirk and escape out the window.

Dorian arrives, gun in hand. His own violent tendencies threaten to bite Todd in the butt. But the universe bites back, ricocheting a bullet he shoots so that it lands into his head. A person is now dead in Todd’s apartment, the second dead body he’s come into contact with in just 24 hours. And he’s not happy. In fact, Todd straight out refuses to be the Watson to Dirk’s Sherlock (he literally says “I’m not your Watson.”).

Good-cop/bad-cop return, after having an altercation with the military men. Again, Todd is let off the hook. And for what he thinks is the final time, he tells Dirk to go away. Todd has no interest in Dirk’s theories of interconnectedness, his holistic approach to the world, or his insane attitudes towards life. Dirk leaves and Todd, feeling dour, gets on the bus. 

But we know that in this world, bus equals corgi. So at Todd’s third corgi sighting, he decides to jump off the bus and find the dog. He returns the dog to it’s rightful owner, who turns out to be a very strange duo. On his departure he finds a lottery ticket. That is, a lottery ticket worth 12 million dollars. And the winning numbers are presented by the woman from hotel room 745. The universe works in mysterious ways. 


P. S. Todd’s boss is killed by two strange bald men. Guess we’ll see more of them next week!

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