Oddball detective shows have been going strong for over a decade, but none have included a paranormal element.
The title character in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, a new series premiering on BBC America this Saturday at 9 p.m., solves cases by tapping into the universe — but not in a strictly useful way.
“He’s not psychic, but he receives messages which are interpreted to him as intuitions and hunches,” says series star Samuel Barnett during an interview at New York Comic Con with the cast and production team. “But the problem is it’s all pure instinct, so he’s constantly acting on impulse, getting into trouble, absolutely leaping before he looks.”
To actually solve crimes Gently is joined by a reluctant sidekick (Elijah Wood); a hyper-competent but neurotic bodyguard (Jade Eshete); and a girl with a supernatural disease (Hannah Marks). Further complicating things is an assassin — also guided by the whims of the universe — who has made Gently her next target (Fiona Dourif).
“I can honestly say I haven’t seen anything like this on TV before,” says Barnett. “The world we’re in is a very grounded world in which extraordinary things happen.”
His co-star Hannah Marks, whose character Amanda Brotzman struggles with a supernatural illness, sums it up even more succinctly: “If Sherlock was horrible at his job, and then there was some magic and some corgis.”