As Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency returns, I wanted to take a look at season one and talk about one of the elements that made it a much more emotional viewing experience than I was expecting from a fun detective show. Shortly after the first season ended, I accidentally binged the show in its entirety. I say accidentally because I didn’t expect to love Dirk when I hit play on the pilot, but by episode three, I was so enamored with the characters that I knew I was in this one to the end.
And then I watched the most recent season of Sherlock. While I loved Sherlock—especially the first two seasons—this time I found myself comparing it Dirk Gently, and I realized why I found the later episodes of Sherlock so disappointing: like a lot of the recent rash of “troubled genius” shows, the writers of Sherlock blatantly ignore and undermine the unsexy idea that actions have consequences, that if you hurt someone you should apologize (and, y’know, mean it), and that forgiveness is a difficult gift. This is a concept that Dirk Gently, for all its silliness, fully embraces.