With so many great characters to adore in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Suzie Boreton is a villain worth hating due to a performance worth loving from Amanda Walsh. After garnering audience sympathy for the first few episodes, Suzie was revealed to be much more than a simple victim, and her desire to achieve some perceived former glory has reached a pinnacle in the latest episode. We caught up with Walsh to talk to her about Suzie’s transformation.
Although fans of of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency may have been fooled by her meek demeanor at the start of season 2, Walsh knew exactly where her character was headed . “[Executive producer Max Landis] let me in on what he was planning to do,” explains Walsh, “and we had a conversation about how, in Suzie’s case, it wasn’t so much that the power of the wand was going to corrupt her as it was going to reveal who she really was. So I was filled in on her whole back story from the very beginning.”
Walsh doesn’t necessarily agree, however, that the former prom queen wants to become a real queen simply to relive a moment in her past. “For Suzie, there’s a missing piece that stems back to some time probably very early in her life,” Walsh surmises, “and maybe that void was something that she tried to fill with all of that early glory. But still even when she was prom queen, like she says in the book club scene, she still felt like she had no friends.”
Walsh is no stranger to playing flawed characters, having played Katie, a much more damaged version of the Penny character in the unaired pilot of The Big Bang Theory. “I end up in those characters sometimes, and it’s very different from who I am,” Walsh says. “I like to play characters with a hint of strangeness about them; I think it’s interesting.”
Genre fans may also recognize Walsh from her role on Showcase’s Lost Girl as Zee, a god who possesses a human body, who experienced a transformation similar to Suzie’s. “The difference between Suzie and the Lost Girl character,” Walsh clarifies, “is that [Zee] was much more calculated whereas Suzie’s coming from this deep gut. It’s definitely not calculated; she’s just going for it.”
Walsh doesn’t mind being asked to play an emotional range for characters confronting their dark sides. “I definitely like the idea — and I’m lucky that I’ve gotten to do it a couple of times — of the ordinary person being thrust into extraordinary circumstances. I don’t think I would be good at playing some sort of flawless superhero. I like to play someone trying to be something extraordinary… That’s why I love playing Suzie because she’s going after this thing with all of her quirks and every part of her being.”
Suzie Boreton has certainly been beaten down and keeps coming back for more, but nothing was quite as magnificent and horrifying as seeing her transformed into an evil queen in the latest Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency episode. Walsh said the new look helps her play the part. “When you’re wearing a costume like that, it takes three people following you around and helping you lift your skirt,” explains Walsh. “So you immediately start to feel kind of like a bit of a jerk but also like royalty because you’re saying things like, ‘Can someone hand me this? Because I can’t quite reach it.’ You know what it feels like to have people dressing you, which you would if you were a queen.”
Walsh says it’s all for show in the end, though. “With Suzie, I feel like she’s dressed like a queen, her character is shifting into that of a queen, but it remains Suzie trying to be a queen. So I also wanted there also to be moments where it might sometimes feel like it’s Suzie wearing a costume; she’s not fully able to get there.”
In fact, Walsh doesn’t think there’s much of a plan behind Suzie’s takeover of Wendimoor at all. “I don’t think Suzie is ever thinking more than one step ahead, maybe two occasionally… but up until now it’s just been reacting to what’s happening around her,” Walsh asserts. “Like the book club. She never went there planning to turn those women to dust, and the same with Bob. Everything’s been her kind of reacting and getting herself deeper and deeper into the situation.”
As for what’s next for Queen Suzie in Wendimoor, there’s not much Walsh can tell viewers of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency except to wait and see. “I don’t think I can foreshadow anything!” Walsh insists. “Everything about Suzie from the beginning that I could ever say would be some sort of spoiler. So it’s been fun to play her, but I haven’t been able to tell anyone anything because this character has had so many different looks throughout the episodes, and there’s been so much change which has been such a joy to play.”
The role has given both the audience and Walsh herself plenty to appreciate. “I feel like I’ve gotten to do everything I’ve ever dreamed of doing as an actor and stuff that I didn’t even know I dreamed of doing as an actor because of this show,” says Walsh. Fortunately, there’s more fun in store for everyone who enjoys Walsh’s portrayal of Suzie Boreton as season 2 of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency continues with three more episodes starting Saturday at 9/8c on BBC America.