Cult TV Essentials

Dirk Gently (2012)

From the pages of Douglas Adams’ novel comes Dirk Gently, real name Svlad Cjelli, (played by Stephen Mangan) a man who operates a Holistic Detective Agency based on the “fundamental interconnectedness of all things”.

To solve cases, Dirk relies on random chance methods for example “Zen navigation” (following people or vehicles who look like they know where they are going, in the hope that while you might not get to where you were originally headed, you might still end up somewhere you needed to be, even if you didn’t originally know you needed to be there.) or throwing a dart at a board of words to select the direction of his detection. By following up on apparently random occurrences and whims, Dirk discovers connections between seemingly unrelated cases and often produces surprising results. He claims that he follows the principles of quantum mechanics(although it is implied when he speaks to an expert in these fields that he doesn’t really understand them); most people suspect he is just a conman and he rarely gets paid by clients and is therefore in almost permanent financial difficulty.

In the pilot episode, Dirk bumps into a former university friend, Richard MacDuff, who has been made redundant from a job at an electricity board, and takes on a case for him. During the course of his investigation, Dirk hypnotises MacDuff and persuades him into investing his £20,000 redundancy money in his failing detective agency. MacDuff therefore becomes Dirk’s partner in the business and “assistant” on investigations. Richard MacDuff’s girlfriend, Dr Susan Harmison, was also at university with the pair and is deeply sceptical about Dirk’s abilities. Also present at the Agency is Dirk’s receptionist Janice Pearce, whom Dirk has not paid for years and who therefore refuses to do any work.

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