Late one night, racked by insomnia, I did what any sane person would do and began scouring the internet for something to binge watch. My efforts were rewarded, as I stumbled upon Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and quickly, I was drawn into the truly bizarre world that the show has to offer.
The show starts off following one of the main characters, Todd Brontzman, as he lives out his boring life working his dead-end job as a bellboy at a local hotel. Todd’s life then takes a strange turn when he discovers a grisly murder scene in the penthouse of the hotel, which sparks the events of the show. Soon after, Todd meets the titular character Dirk Gently, and the two of them set off to solve the murder. The most notable trait of the show is how uncanny it all is, from the eccentricity of Dirk Gently to the fictional nerve disease that Todd’s sister suffers from; the whole universe is seeped in absurdity.
Now, in order to talk about the things that really make this show worth watching, I will need to delve into what some people would consider to be spoilers, so here is your obligatory warning.
The main theme running throughout the course of the show is destiny; everything that happens is meant to happen for a reason. Dirk Gently is uniquely in tune with destiny. His whole holistic detective shtick is that, instead of finding evidence and clues, he looks at the “interconnections between of all things”. It basically boils down to just doing whatever he feels like doing to eventually solve the case. This theme of destiny gets even more interesting when, near the end of the show, the two main characters travel back in time. Unlike a lot of media, I think Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency handles the inherent issues with time travel quite well. The standard problem of time travel, of course, is that when someone travels back in time, they mess up the timeline just by being there à la Butterfly Effect. However, in the show, this can’t happen because destiny exists in the show, implying that the universe of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is a deterministic one. No contradictions can arise from time travel, since the time travel itself was destined to happen. They cannot interfere with how things are supposed to be since they effectively do not have free will, which is a fairly elegant way of getting around the problems of time travel.
I won’t delve too deep into the plot itself, since, being a mystery show, a lot of the enjoyment comes from following along with the detective work. But suffice it to say, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency comes highly recommended, and since it is on Netflix (which I assume everyone has these days), you would be doing yourself a disservice for not checking out this weird and wonderful show.