***Slight spoilers for 2.01***
Tonight the all-new second season of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
premieres on BBC America. The series follows the quirky Dirk (Samuel Barnett), his reluctant assistant Todd (Elijah Wood), and security officer Farah, played by Jade Eshete, as they solve unusual cases using the interconnectedness of the universe.
This season, Todd and Farah search for Dirk who is being held captive by the mysterious Blackwing, as well as Todd's sister, all while on the run from the authorities.
Eshete recently talked to SciFi Vision in an exclusive interview about her work on season two, her character's neuroses, following bizarre storylines, and more. SCIFI VISION: One of the things that I think makes the show successful, and the characters successful, is that they are flawed, and openly so. I know Farah holds it in a bit more in than some of them [laughs], but even in the premiere, at one point she wants to scream and starts flipping out. Can you talk about that and how it adds to the characters?
I think, honestly, that's one of the things that really draws people to these characters, that they are flawed, and openly so. I think even though some people may have a hard time [laughs]
following the show, at the heart of all of that, underneath all of that, they're flawed individuals.
Someone said recently during a Comic-Con interview - I think it was a fan - that that's one of the things that attracts them to Dirk. The case with most detective shows, is that the detectives don't really seem like they are flawed. They're kind of impervious; they don't really have any emotion or anything wrong with them. And Dirk is kind of all there; it's on the page. You see that [laughs]
And if you look at the heart of Farah in season one, even though she's this neurotic bad ass, at her core, she's a girl who screwed up, and she's trying to make good on that. She's trying to fix it; she's trying to be better.
The same thing with Bart (Fiona Dourif). Yeah, okay, she's a holistic assassin [laughs]
no one has probably ever heard of, but at her core, Bart is just a girl who is very lonely and wants a friend. You see that in how she [laughs]
interacts with Ken (Mpho Koaho). That's her first friend, and she wants to hold onto that.
These are all things that I think people can relate to and what draws me to the character as well. You mentioned the hard to follow plot. Do you as an actor get all the scripts at the beginning, or at least the idea of what's going on in the season, or are you as lost as we are at times?
You know, it's funny, because I kind of feel like we're in the same boat as the audience, for sure. We don't get a ton of episodes ahead of time; it's not like we can tell you what is happening in the season before we start shooting. We might get an episode or two, but definitely not the whole thing.
I remember when I first auditioned for Farah, there were scenes that were taken from episodes other than the pilot, like maybe episode five or six or something, and in one of the scenes, someone says something about a kitten shark. [laughs]
I remember reading that and talking to Max [Landis] at some point, saying, "Well, okay, obviously she's hallucinating or something, because there's no such thing as a kitten shark, but that goes to her neuroses, right?"
And Max, you know, he couldn't really say anything either, [laughs]
because it was so early in the process, and even if he had explained it all, at that time, we wouldn't have been even able to take it all in, in all honesty.
So, we're definitely in the same boat as you guys. I mean, now, obviously, we know what happens, but we go through the same kind of journey that the audience does, for sure. I know what happens in the series isn't the same as in the books, but were you at all aware of Douglas Adams and his style before you started?
No, I was not prepared. No one told me, [laughs]
but sometimes I think that's the best thing. You know, I was introduced to Douglas Adams through this world, through Max Landis, through this project, and it was kind of exciting, because I didn't come in with any specific ideas on how it was supposed to go. A lot of times - and I know with the fans of the show they are hardcore Douglas Adams fans as well - you can be really attached to material and kind of hold it sacred in a way, and that can sometimes hold you back from trying new things and bringing something different to the material.
So, for me, it was kind of nice to only approach it through my imagination. That's all I had; I had the words on the page from Max, and I had my imagination to use to figure out who Farah was, who these characters were, what this world was, and that was so much fun in and of itself. Other than what you got from the script though, was there anyone who inspired your betrayal? Someone you thought of while you were building the character?
You know, it's so interesting, because you don't really see characters like this on television, [laughs]
so I really couldn't find anyone like her to compare her to. So, no, there wasn't one person I could use for inspiration. Again, it was the words on the page and it was my imagination and Max.
It's just so funny, I remember reading the first of the sides that I got for Farah, and it's all written on the page. The way it reads is so clear to get that type of insight into Max's brain and seeing who these characters are.
So, it was a fun process, picking up those qualities of idiosyncrasies, those bits of neuroses that he planted all throughout Farah and the things that she does. It was fun figuring that out and figuring out how to play that on screen. Can you talk about Farah's relationship with Todd and how that has evolved?
It's funny, because in the first season, Farah and Todd are kind of on the same page when it comes to Dirk. You know, they both are kind of [laughs]
giving him the serious side eye when they hear about this holistic detective thing and letting the universe guide you, but I think by season two they both kind of developed a sense of respect. They have respect for Dirk and his way of approaching these cases.
This season, you can see from the first episode that Todd is pretty much gung-ho; everything is connected. If two sticks are crossed on the ground, that is the universe telling him that we're headed in the right direction; he's taking everything for clues.
Farah, she has a healthy respect for it. She sees that there is a method to Dirk's madness, but I think she's still trying to keep Todd on track. You kind of see that in the first episode too, because as far as their dynamic this season, it's kind of rough, because Todd is in a sense going off the deep end, [laughs]
and Farah is practical. She's very methodical. And even though she respects the universe in the way that it guides Dirk, Dirk isn't there, and Todd is not Dirk. [laughs]
So, it's difficult for her. I remember we were shooting that scene in the field, where Todd is looking for the rabbit. He's been searching for it for about [laughs]
five hours, and, you know, that's a long time, and she's frustrated. It was the first time I think I really, really felt bad for Farah. Because just before that, she finds out that her dad died; she meets her brother (Roger Cross) again, who she hadn't seen for a long time. She didn't know that her dad passed, and then her brother's bringing up all the insecurities that she has had to deal with for her entire life. She's going through it, and, you know, her family situation is not the best.
And Dirk and Todd, in a sense, have become her family. And what Farah really needs at that point is someone to talk to, someone to lean on, someone she can really, you know, just commiserate with, and Todd is going off the deep end. [laughs]
So, she doesn't get to really be vulnerable in that sense with Todd, because she has to kind of, you know, pull him up by his boot straps in a way, because, like I said, he's running off [laughs]
looking for the rabbit.
So, as far as the relationship goes, they have become her family, and that I think is what Farah really needs and appreciates at this particular point. She needs that unconditional support and love, and she gets that from Todd and Dirk. They definitely become her family in a way.