Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: Samuel Barnett Hints at Big Season 2 Changes

As Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency season 2 arrives this weekend, Samuel Barnett talks about trading sci-fi for fantasy.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency was a wild ride for viewers who tuned in to the show’s first season on BBC America last year, and in speaking with Samuel Barnett, who plays the eponymous hero, Dirk Gently, it seems the zaniness will continue in season 2. However, with the story of Lydia and Patrick Spring pretty much wrapped up, the upcoming season will have a whole new story to tell and a completely different method of telling it.

“There is indeed going to be a new case to solve,” Barnett confirms. “I think one of the things I didn’t understand myself, even towards the end of season 1 when we were shooting it, was that this is very much like an anthology show. So we’ve got the same characters, obviously, in each season with some new guests and stuff, but a completely different type of thing going on.”

So does that mean no more time loops and kittens that become sharks? Barnett indicates that season 1’s science fiction is being replaced with fantastic elements. “Season 1 was body-swapping and time travel, and season 2 is kind of high fantasy with magic,” Barnett explains, adding that more of Dirk’s back story will be revealed. “Season 2’s a lot more character driven as well as plot driven.”

One of the main settings for Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency season 2 is the fictional town of Bergsberg, Montana, where Farah and Todd find themselves following a thin lead in their search for Dirk. “Bergsberg — that’s such a great name for a town! It’s like calling something Townstown or Villesville,” Barnett laughs. “And then we’ve got the fantasy world of Wendimoor, and for reasons which will become apparent, there’s this portal between the two places… and things from both worlds start bleeding into one another.”

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Why would a magical land be linked to such a small town, and what does it have to do with Dirk? Some answers have been hinted at by recently released season 2 trailers, but there’s still plenty of mystery surrounding the holistic detective’s connection to the universe. “There’s this prophecy in Wendimoor around Dirk Gently,” Barnett teases. “So everything is connected still; that’s still one of the main themes of the show that everything is connected.”

But Barnett admits that everyone is pretty scattered at the beginning of season 2, and it’s not just Dirk that’s been taken by the secret government organization known as Blackwing. “Obviously he gets kidnapped by Friedkin at the end of season 1,” Barnett reminds us, “and we find him at the beginning of season 2 held in this government facility where they’ve been trying to capture, and indeed they have in the past captured, people like Dirk and the Rowdy 3.”

The Rowdy 3 and the ever-popular Bart and Ken also have their own storylines that involve searching for each other, but don’t expect Bart and Dirk to meet up any more than they did in season 1. “I think it’s kind of necessary in a way for the functioning of the universe that we’re in that Dirk and Bart don’t meet too often,” explains Barnett. “Their energies would either implode or explode.”

Don’t worry about too much insanity, though. Barnett, who admits that the actors had a tough time following things sometimes, assures us that season 2 has a certain balance. “I remember Max sat Elijah and I down and talked us through season 1, and we were just like, ‘Yeah, you know what? There’s no point in talking us through it because we cannot follow this! We’re just gonna have to do it,’” he recalls. “Season 2 is, I think, easier to follow. It’s no less complex; it’s no less crazy, but I do think the plot is easier to follow.”

Decide for yourself when Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency returns to BBC America on Saturday, October 14 at 9/8c. For the full audio of this interview with Samuel Barnett, subscribe to Sci Fi Fidelity wherever you get your podcasts, or simply listen below (at 49:02).

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