Search Party (TV series)

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Search Party
Search Party.png
GenreBlack comedy
Created by
Starring
Opening theme"Obedear" by Purity Ring
Composers
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes50
Production
Executive producers
  • Sarah-Violet Bliss
  • Charles Rogers
  • Michael Showalter
  • Tony Herandez
  • Lilly Burns
Producers
  • Brittney Segal
  • Jake Fuller
  • Alia Shawkat
  • John Skidmore
Production locationNew York City
CinematographyJonathan Furmanski
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time22–30 minutes
Production companiesJax Media
Quiet and Considerate Productions
Semi-Formal Productions, Inc
Studio T (season 1–2)
DistributorWarnerMedia Direct
Release
Original networkTBS (seasons 1–2)
HBO Max (seasons 3–5)
Original releaseNovember 21, 2016 (2016-11-21) –
January 7, 2022 (2022-01-07)

Search Party is an American dark comedy television sitcom created by Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, and Michael Showalter. Primarily set in New York City, the series follows a group of friends who become involved in the search for a missing young woman and the events that result from their involvement.

The series premiered on TBS on November 21, 2016. After being renewed for a third season in 2018,[1] it was announced the series would be moving to WarnerMedia's HBO Max streaming service.[2] The fourth season premiered on January 14, 2021 and a fifth and final season premiered on January 7, 2022.[3][4]

Outside of the US, the BBC announced in December 2022 that they have the UK rights to Search Party, with the entire series dropping on its streaming platform BBC iPlayer from New Year's Day 2023.[5][6]

Plot[edit]

Search Party depicts the lives of New York City resident Dory Sief, her passive boyfriend Drew Gardner, flamboyant show-off Elliott Goss, and flighty actress Portia Davenport. Serving as a contrast to the group is Dory's ex-boyfriend Julian Marcus, a journalist whose blunt nature frequently puts him into conflict with others.[7]

The first season focuses on the disappearance of Dory's college acquaintance Chantal Witherbottom, whom Dory sets out to find, with Drew, Elliott, and Portia reluctantly joining her investigation. While her friends also deal with difficulties in their own lives, Dory focuses on her pursuit of Chantal, believing her to be in danger.

The second season focuses on the death of Keith Powell, a private investigator who is killed as a result of Dory mistakenly believing him to be a threat to Chantal. As the group struggles to return to their normal lives, they also attempt to cover up Keith's death, which affects them in various ways.

The third season focuses on Dory and Drew being tried for murdering Keith, which Dory denies any involvement in, forcing them to battle against the evidence suggesting they caused his death. A media circus soon circles around the trial, while the friends have their relationships tested and Dory's sanity gradually deteriorates.

The fourth season focuses on Dory's abduction at the hands of Chip Wreck, a psychotic man unhealthily obsessed with her. The abduction sends Drew, Elliott, and Portia searching for Dory as Chip attempts to manipulate Dory against her friends.

The fifth season follows Dory's transformation into a cult leader. Supported by a Big Tech Pharma company and flanked by a group of social media influencer disciples, Dory and her friends attempt to achieve a transcendent state of enlightenment.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

Recurring[edit]

  • Clare McNulty as Chantal Witherbottom
  • Jeffery Self as Marc, Elliott's on and off boyfriend
  • Ron Livingston as Keith Powell (seasons 1-4)
  • Bonnie Milligan as Katherine Witherbottom, Chantal's sister
  • Connor Ratliff as Ted, Chantal's sister Katherine's fiancé
  • Catherine Lloyd Burns as Linda Witherbottom, Chantal's mom
  • Christine Taylor as Gail, Dory's wealthy boss
  • Phoebe Tyers as April, Dory and Drew's neighbor (seasons 1-4)
  • Claire Tyers as June, April's twin sister (seasons 2–3)
  • Tymberlee Hill as Joy Hartman, a police detective (seasons 2–3)
  • Jennifer Kim as Agnes Cho (seasons 1–2)
  • Christine Ebersole as Mariel Davenport, Portia's mother (seasons 1–2, 4)
  • Rosie Perez as Lorraine De Coss (season 1)
  • Parker Posey as Brick (season 1)
  • Michael Showalter as Max (seasons 1–2)
  • Kate Berlant as Nia Carpourtalas, Elliott's editor (seasons 1–2, 4)
  • J. Smith-Cameron as Mary Ferguson (seasons 2–3)
  • Judy Reyes as Deb, Keith's ex-wife (seasons 2–3)
  • Jay Duplass as Elijah (seasons 2–3)
  • Griffin Newman as Gavin, Chantal's ex-boyfriend (seasons 1, 5)
  • Michaela Watkins as Polly Danzinger, a prosecutor in Drew's and Dory's murder trial (season 3)
  • Shalita Grant as Cassidy Diamond, Dory's rookie defense attorney (season 3)
  • Louie Anderson as Bob Lunch, Drew's defense attorney (season 3)
  • Chloe Fineman as Charlie Reeny, Elliot's co-worker (seasons 3–4)
  • Cole Escola as Chip Wreck, Dory's stalker (seasons 3–4)
  • Jim Santangeli as Garrett (season 3)
  • Kathy Griffin as Liquorice Montague (season 5)
  • Jeff Goldblum as Tunnel Quinn, a billionaire tech mogul (season 5)
  • Larry Owens as Ritchie, an influencer and Dory's follower (season 5)
  • Angela Trimbur as Elodie, an influencer and Dory's follower (season 5)
  • Greta Titelman as Leonore, an influencer and Dory's follower (season 5)
  • Michelle Badillo as Winnie, an influencer and Dory's follower (season 5)
  • Grace Kuhlenschmidt as Pepper, an influencer and Dory's follower (season 5)
  • Joe Castle Baker as Marty, an influencer and Dory's follower (season 5)
  • Aparna Nancherla as Benny Balthazar, a doctor working in the Lyte pill's formula (season 5)

Guest stars[edit]

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
110November 17, 2016 (2016-11-17)November 25, 2016 (2016-11-25)TBS
210November 19, 2017 (2017-11-19)December 17, 2017 (2017-12-17)
310June 25, 2020 (2020-06-25)HBO Max
410January 14, 2021 (2021-01-14)January 28, 2021 (2021-01-28)
510January 7, 2022 (2022-01-07)

Season 1 (2016)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
11"The Mysterious Disappearance of The Girl No One Knew"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersStory by : Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles Rogers and Michael Showalter
Teleplay by : Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles Rogers
November 17, 2016 (2016-11-17) (online)
November 21, 2016 (2016-11-21) (TBS)
0.47[9]
When her college acquaintance Chantal goes missing, Dory makes it her personal mission to find her. At the same time, she begins to doubt her relationship with boyfriend Drew. Later, Dory supposedly sees Chantal in a Chinese restaurant and when she approaches Chantal, she runs away leaving a book and the search party looking for Chantal finds her blouse with blood in the forest.
22"The Woman Who Knew Too Much"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersCharles RogersNovember 21, 2016 (2016-11-21)0.35[9]
The next day, Dory tells her friends and her boyfriend what happened the night before, but they do not believe her and Drew discovers Dory went to see her ex-boyfriend Julian. That day, Dory meets with Lorraine (Rosie Perez), a real estate agent who also saw Chantal but soon begins to suspect that Lorraine might be crazy and confirms her suspicions when she appears at the party organized by Elliot saying nonsense. Utterly crestfallen, Dory promises herself that she is going to give up this Chantal insanity. But then, as she gives one last long look at Chantal's Facebook page, she finds a bona fide clue. The sign Chantal was carrying in her Ice Bucket Challenge video has the same star-and-rainbow doodle as an underlined passage in the book Anna Karenina. The episode ends with another glimpse of Chantal, this time riding a bus out of town.
33"The Night of One Hundred Candles"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersChristina LeeNovember 22, 2016 (2016-11-22)0.86[10]
Dory, Drew, Elliot and Portia with these last three believing she is dead, meet in the vigil with candles in the house of Chantal's family, with a captive audience watching, Chantal's college a cappella group singing a song in her honor. After this, Dory finds Chantal's mother alone and drunk in the kitchen, and decides that this is the perfect time to reveal that she saw her daughter. At first, Mrs. Witherbottom is confused, and then she gets scared and starts crying and screaming. Then Chantal's brother-in-law shouts at Dory for her insensitivity and they leave. Dory sneaks into Chantal's room, and in a jewelry box Dory finds a strip of photos of Gavin and Chantal — and a folded-up sonogram that could suggest that Chantal is pregnant.
44"The Captive Dinner Guest"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersMichael ShowalterNovember 22, 2016 (2016-11-22)0.52[10]
Dory and Drew organize a double date with Portia and the strange ex-boyfriend of Chantal, Gavin, since he is the main suspect in the disappearance of Chantal. After a tense dinner, Gavin goes to the bathroom and Dory takes his phone. She and Drew go to their bedroom telling Portia to keep Gavin occupied. The phone is filled with hundreds of emails for Chantal, which Dory forwards to Drew's phone, which then begins to sound frantically, interrupting Gavin's attempts to seduce Portia. Drew runs out to get his phone, then Gavin can't find his phone and goes crazy. Gavin pushes over a bookcase and kicks furniture realizing that they snooped his phone. Dory tells him that Chantal was pregnant but Gavin tells them that Chantal was cheating on him. While Dory takes out the garbage she sees the same guy who followed her a few hours ago wearing a dark jacket and a cap. He looks directly at her.
55"The Mystery of the Golden Charm"Ryan McFaulAnthony KingNovember 23, 2016 (2016-11-23)0.89[11]
At the pharmacy, Dory runs into the same man who watches her, the two go to a coffee shop and discover that the man is a private investigator named Keith Powell hired by the family of Chantal, and they decide to work together to find Chantal. They go to Chantal's apartment and meet her roommate, a girl named Penelope. Dory and Keith go to Chantal's room and find a box with her things, they want to take it but Penelope does not leave them. Before leaving, Keith took a small box with wolf's tooth hanging from a chain. The little box comes from a place in Red Hook called Bellow & Hare. Dory goes to that place and meets a woman named Brick who invites her to a gathering of artists and special customers. Later, at the bar, Dory shares the news of her day. For the first time, it seems that she's the one with the interesting story to tell. But when she mentions Bellow & Hare, Elliott - freshly back from Uganda tells them that place is a cult. The episode closes on a shot of Chantal, alone in a bare room, singing to herself. She hears a noise and jumps out of her skin.
66"The Secret of the Sinister Ceremony"Ryan McFaulSarah-Violet BlissNovember 23, 2016 (2016-11-23)0.51[11]
Dory, Portia, and Elliott head to the gathering at Bellow and Hare. Drew cannot come because he has to meet his enormous family at the theater. Inside, there are a surprisingly high number of pregnant women. Elliott runs into an old (pregnant) friend, who keeps talking about something called "The Moment." They meet to eat and everyone is encouraged to share something called "acute intimacy." It's Dory's turn, she reveals that she's looking for Chantal, but she is interrupted by a baby monitor because "The Moment" has arrived, and everyone gets up from the table heading to another room, except for Dory and her friends who are not allowed in. Portia and Elliot go by taxi, but Dory stays and sneaks inside discovering where the cult members are in a circle surrounding a woman, who's on the floor giving birth with a wooden plank in her mouth. They all turn her way before she apologizes and dashes out. She gets to dinner after everyone's finished and then grovels in front of Drew's family at his request. When they get home, the door is unlocked. That's when Dory sees it - her wall of obsession has been ransacked. The photos and notes and connective string were torn down, then replaced with a simple piece of white paper bearing the words: STOP LOOKING FOR CHANTAL.
77"The Riddle Within the Trash"Ryan McFaulChristina LeeNovember 24, 2016 (2016-11-24)0.15[12]
Dory and Keith break into the cult's property to steal their garbage and find a check from Lorraine's real estate company in the trash. Their investigation brings them closer and they end up having sexual intercourse. Keith tells Dory about his failed marriage and his daughter. Meanwhile, April openly flirts with Drew, who rejects her advances. When Dory comes home, Drew confesses what happened during the day and asserts that nothing happened, while Dory bursts into tears, without disclosing her affair. At the same time, Julian profiles Elliott for an article and grows suspicious about the inconsistencies in his account of his life. The episode closes with Elliott leaving a bar in a rush, fearing the upcoming revelations.
88"The Return of the Forgotten Phantom"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersAnthony KingNovember 24, 2016 (2016-11-24)0.11[12]
Julian exposes Elliott's lies in an online piece. While Dory supports Elliott and resents Julian for publishing the article, Portia has a hard time forgiving Elliott. Mark forgives Elliott once the latter tells him that he is willing to improve, but ultimately seems to yield to his old impulses when he is offered a book deal. Meanwhile, Dory hesitates between accepting a previous job offer and keeping searching for Chantal. She eventually goes into Lorraine's real estate agency, only to learn from her gossipy colleagues that she lied about her position in the company and that she was hit by a train in undetermined circumstances. Dory calls Keith for advice, who tells her to keep working on the case with him.
99"Password to the Shadows"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersSarah-Violet BlissNovember 25, 2016 (2016-11-25)0.63[13]
Drew is worried about Dory not coming home and calls Julian for information, the latter telling him that he's worried about being cheated upon. Dory has a nightmare set in the train station, in which Lorraine and Chantal tell her that someone is going to kill her. She wakes up in Keith's apartment where Keith seems to grow attached to her. She realizes that Agnes Cho (Jennifer Kim), who previously was at the vigil, was in the Chinese restaurant with Chantal. When Dory comes home, she tells Drew that she stayed with Elliott at the museum. They go to the zoo where Agnes works to ask her about Chantal, who won't talk unless she's given five thousand dollars. Dory unsuccessfully asks Elliott and Portia for the money. Then, Drew suggests that they blackmail Chuck, a man who hit on Portia at the vigil and who was caught taking inappropriate pictures of women in the subway. Meanwhile, Dory and Elliott ask Chantal's parents for money, only to learn that they never hired Keith and have no idea who he is, leaving Dory confused. Drew and Portia manage to get the money and the group go see Agnes, who confesses that Chantal is in Montreal. Dory borrows a car from an inebriated and encouraging Gail. She goes to Keith's apartment while the rest of the group waits outside and tells him that Chantal is in Miami. She fearfully rejects his advances and he starts being aggressive. She leaves and joins the group in the car, as they set off on their trip to Montreal.
1010"The House of Uncanny Truths"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersCharles RogersNovember 25, 2016 (2016-11-25)0.36[13]
While she is in the car, Dory has a nightmare about finding Chantal before she is killed by Keith. An inquisitive Drew asks Elliott about the night at the museum, eventually finding out about the lie. Drew stops the car and confronts Dory about her affair, before breaking up with her. While Drew orders a bus ticket to leave, Dory, Portia and Elliott try to piece together the various pieces of information at their disposal. They end up thinking that Chantal joined the cult and is pregnant with Keith's baby, the latter killing Lorraine to hide the truth and then chasing Chantal. Portia befriends a French Canadian man named Matthieu. The crew arrive at the house where Chantal is hiding and split ways. Keith intrudes in the house, following an isolated and panicked Dory. She tases him and he hits his head against the corner of the kitchen table. A bleeding Keith gets up and tackles Dory to the ground, while yelling at her. Drew enters in a hurry and knocks Keith out with an obelisk-shaped trophy, leaving him dead. Elliott goes into the house and asserts that they shouldn't call the police. Portia suddenly comes into the house, with Matthieu and Chantal by her side. Dory, Drew and Elliott hide Keith's body in a closet and the obelisk in the fridge. Chantal then tells what happened to the group : she had an affair with a married man who refused to leave his family for her, and she then decided to "ghost everyone". A confused and aggressive Dory tries to match Chantal's mundane explanations with her own theory, realizing that Chantal was in no real danger in the end. Dory goes into the bathroom and vomits. The episode closes on a shot of Dory, ambiguously gazing at herself in the mirror.

Season 2 (2017)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
111"Murder!"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersSarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersNovember 19, 2017 (2017-11-19)0.79[14]
122"Conspiracy"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersSarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersNovember 19, 2017 (2017-11-19)0.52[14]
133"Paralysis"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersJordan Firstman and Starlee KineNovember 26, 2017 (2017-11-26)0.62[15]
144"Suspicion"Lilly BurnsAnthony KingNovember 26, 2017 (2017-11-26)0.39[15]
155"Paranoia"Michael ShowalterChristina LeeDecember 3, 2017 (2017-12-03)0.70[16]
166"Obsession"Michael ShowalterAndrew Fleming and Matt KrieteDecember 3, 2017 (2017-12-03)0.44[16]
177"Denial"Michael ShowalterSarah-Violet BlissDecember 10, 2017 (2017-12-10)0.61[17]
188"Hysteria"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersCharles RogersDecember 10, 2017 (2017-12-10)0.37[17]
199"Frenzy"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersSarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersDecember 17, 2017 (2017-12-17)0.67[18]
2010"Psychosis"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersSarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersDecember 17, 2017 (2017-12-17)0.43[18]

Season 3 (2020)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
211"The Accused Woman"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersSarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersJune 25, 2020 (2020-06-25)
222"The Rookie Lawyer"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersCraig RowinJune 25, 2020 (2020-06-25)
233"The Whistleblower"Jay DuplassAndrew Pierce Fleming & Matt KrieteJune 25, 2020 (2020-06-25)
244"A National Affair"Jay DuplassStarlee KineJune 25, 2020 (2020-06-25)
255"Public Appeal"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersSarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersJune 25, 2020 (2020-06-25)
266"In God We Trust"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersJordan FirstmanJune 25, 2020 (2020-06-25)
277"Rogue Witness"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersCraig RowinJune 25, 2020 (2020-06-25)
288"A Dangerous Union"Carrie BrownsteinSabrina JaleesJune 25, 2020 (2020-06-25)
299"Irrefutable Evidence"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersSarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersJune 25, 2020 (2020-06-25)
3010"The Reckoning"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersSarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersJune 25, 2020 (2020-06-25)

Season 4 (2021)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title [19]Directed byWritten by [19]Original release date [20]
311"The Girl in the Basement"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersSarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersJanuary 14, 2021 (2021-01-14)
322"Something Sharp"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersChristina LeeJanuary 14, 2021 (2021-01-14)
333"Escape to Nowhere"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersEmily HellerJanuary 14, 2021 (2021-01-14)
344"Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersJordan FirstmanJanuary 21, 2021 (2021-01-21)
355"Doctor Mindbender"John LeeMatt Kriete & Andrew Pierce FlemingJanuary 21, 2021 (2021-01-21)
366"The Thoughtless Woman"John LeeStarlee KineJanuary 21, 2021 (2021-01-21)
377"The Infinite Loop"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersMatt Kriete & Andrew Pierce FlemingJanuary 28, 2021 (2021-01-28)
388"The Imposter"Alia ShawkatStarlee KineJanuary 28, 2021 (2021-01-28)
399"The Inferno"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersSarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersJanuary 28, 2021 (2021-01-28)
4010"The Shadows"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersSarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersJanuary 28, 2021 (2021-01-28)

Season 5 (2022)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
411"Genesis"John LeeSarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersJanuary 7, 2022 (2022-01-07)
As Dory embarks on a curious new path, Portia, Elliott, and Drew contemplate how to move forward in life, work, and love.
422"Exodus"John LeeSarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersJanuary 7, 2022 (2022-01-07)
Dory spreads the word about her enlightenment while attempting to make amends with her friends for what happened.
433"Kings"John LeeStarlee KineJanuary 7, 2022 (2022-01-07)
Dory invites the gang to a meeting of the minds with tech billionaire Tunnel Quinn, giving them a chance to talk to someone with power.
444"Leviticus"Heather JackAndrew Pierce Fleming & Matt KrieteJanuary 7, 2022 (2022-01-07)
The gang kicks off a nationwide search for the first recipients of their highly-anticipated enlightenment pill.
455"Acts of the Apostles"Heather JackCraig RowinJanuary 7, 2022 (2022-01-07)
Dory makes a shocking discovery about the Lyte pill that calls her beliefs and everything she knows into question.
466"The Gospel of Judas"John LeeAndrew Pierce Fleming & Matt KrieteJanuary 7, 2022 (2022-01-07)
Dory suspects that she's being poisoned from within, while Drew casts doubt upon some of her teachings.
477"Book of the Wars of the Lord"John LeeSarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersJanuary 7, 2022 (2022-01-07)
Dory and her disciples orchestrate a hostage situation as they race against time to finish the pill's formula.
488"Song of Songs"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersStarlee KineJanuary 7, 2022 (2022-01-07)
Dory's enlightenment brigade prepares to take the pills as Chantal attempts to fend off the end of the world.
499"Lamentations"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersCraig RowinJanuary 7, 2022 (2022-01-07)
After discovering the pills' grisly side-effects, the squad scrambles to save humanity before it's too late.
5010"Revelation"Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersSarah-Violet Bliss & Charles RogersJanuary 7, 2022 (2022-01-07)
The gang crosses paths with an unlikely saviour in their desperate fight for survival and hope they can be saved.

Production[edit]

In June 2015, it was announced Alia Shawkat, John Early, John Reynolds, and Meredith Hagner had all been cast in the pilot, with Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers directing and writing alongside Michael Showalter, Lilly Burns, Tony Hernandez, John Skidmore, Brittany Segal serving as executive producers and producers respectively.[21] In November 2015, TBS ordered the series.[22][23] and the second season premiered on November 19, 2017.[24][25] In April 2018, a third season was ordered, however in October 2019 it was announced the series would move to HBO Max, where the third season would premiere at the service's Spring 2020 launch. A fourth season was also ordered, which premiered in 2021.[2] On February 9, 2021, HBO Max renewed the series for a fifth season.[4][26] On November 9, 2021, the fifth season was given a premiere date of January 7, 2022, revealed to be its last.[3]

Filming[edit]

The shooting of the first season began in the summer of 2015 in New York.[21][27] For the filming of the second season the production returned to New York.[28] Filming for season 3 began in September 2018 and wrapped that November.[citation needed] Production on Season 4 began in December 2019[29] and wrapped in late February 2020.[30]

Themes[edit]

While the show is a dark comedy, Search Party has undergone various shifts of tone and genres in each season. The first season is a mystery, revolving around the disappearance of Chantal Witherbottom and the story nods to classic detective stories such as Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, as underlined by the promotional art designed by Sam Hadley.[31] It also includes comedy-drama elements, since the mystery plot is echoed by Dory's search for meaning and purpose. The creator Charles Rogers stated that the show explores "what it means to be "a good person"" and "the difference between wanting to be seen as a good person and being an actual one". The first three seasons also have a running theme around the toxic nature of deception, both deceiving others and self-deception. Télérama labeled the first series as an existential quest.[32] According to Charles Rogers, the title highlights this multiplicity:

We wanted a title that conveys this blend of comedy and drama, but all our propositions were incongruous or far-fetched. Until we figured out that the most simple phrase used to talk about organized searches when a person's missing, "search party", was perfect : "search" represents mystery and "party" is the fun part. The heroes of the show don't really know what they're doing. For them, it's a light and entertaining thing. They shouldn't get involved in such detective work...

The second season features psychological thriller elements, as underlined by the Alfred Hitchcock-inspired promotional art.[33] Alia Shawkat asserted that the main theme of the season is "Hitchcock's paranoia".[34]

Dory and Drew's trial in the third series introduces a "courtroom drama" narrative, influenced by the works of John Grisham. Charles Rogers stated that the legal plot was inspired by the real-life trial of Amanda Knox, who was convicted of murder in 2007. Moreover, the satire is mostly focused on fame and the media, with Rogers referencing the satirical crime film The Bling Ring and the cult dark comedy film To Die For, whose postmodern style is echoed throughout the season thanks to the inclusion of fictional true-crime shows and interviews of the main characters.[35]

The fourth season was described by Sarah-Violet Bliss as "being the kind of 'captive' genre" and drew comparisons to Misery.[36]

Critics described the fifth season as surreal science fiction and zombie horror.[37][38]

Reception[edit]

Critical response of Search Party
SeasonRotten TomatoesMetacritic
1100% (38 reviews) [39]81 (19 reviews)[40]
296% (27 reviews) [41]78 (9 reviews)[42]
393% (28 reviews)[43]78 (10 reviews)[44]
495% (22 reviews)[45]68 (5 reviews)[46]
5100% (13 reviews)[47]82 (4 reviews)[48]

The first season received positive reviews from television critics. Los Angeles Times wrote that it was "tightly made and effective on multiple levels".[49] GQ wrote that it is "a flawless oddity, a once-in-a-lifetime piece of art. It's not the weekend's best show, it's the year's best."[50] It holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The site's critical consensus reads "Search Party is an engaging, weird, dark, funny mystery elevated by exceptional performances throughout."[51] On Metacritic, the season holds a rating of 81 out of 100, indicating "universal acclaim".[52]

The second season of Search Party received positive reviews from television critics. It holds a 96% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The site's critical consensus reads "With a never-better Alia Shawkat in the lead, Search Party's second season delves deeper into the deliciously dark dramedy that makes the show so addictively entertaining."[53] On Metacritic, the season holds a rating of 78 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[54]

The third season of Search Party received positive reviews from television critics. It holds a 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The site's critical consensus reads "Search Party's third season changes the satirical scenery without losing any of its bite, while giving its capable cast plenty of moments to shine."[55] On Metacritic, the season holds a rating of 78 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[56]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
2017 Gotham Independent Film Awards Breakthrough Series – Long Form Search Party Nominated[57]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McLennan, Cindy (April 23, 2018). "Search Party: Season Three; TBS Renews Dark Mystery Comedy Series". tvseriesfinale.com. Archived from the original on August 21, 2022. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Mitovich, Matt Webb (7 October 2019). "Search Party Moves to HBO Max From TBS — And Gets Season 4 Renewal". TVLine. Archived from the original on 22 July 2020. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  3. ^ a b Roots, Kimberly (November 9, 2021). "Search Party to End With Season 5: Get Premiere Date, See First Photos". TVLine. Archived from the original on May 31, 2022. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  4. ^ a b Porter, Rick (9 February 2021). "'Search Party' Renewed for Season 5 as Creators Ink HBO Max Overall Deal". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 10 February 2021. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  5. ^ https://www.bbc.com/mediacentre/2022/bbc-acquires-search-party-and-our-flag-means-death
  6. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/p0dlc2y6/search-party
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