Alia Shawkat & 'Search Party' Bosses Tease Dory's Dark Season 3 Turn
It's been three years since viewers palled around with Search Party's problematic millennial crew but relief is on the horizon as Dory (Alia Shawkat), Drew (John Reynolds) and the rest of the gang return for the show's long-awaited third season beginning June 25 on HBO Max.
Renewed through Season 4, the series debuted in 2016 on TBS and is making the leap to streaming, a more fitting format for this wildly bingeable dark comedy from Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers. Following Dory and her group of pals — Elliott (John Early), Portia (Meredith Hagner) and boyfriend Drew among others — Season 1 of Search Party saw them search for their friend Chantal (Clare McNulty) who seemingly disappeared. Along the way though, they find themselves caught up in the accidental murder of Keith Powell (Ron Livingston) — a private investigator Dory had become involved with.
In Season 2, the group begins unraveling as they try to hold the secret of Keith's death under wraps, but a heated conversation between Dory and Drew tips off nosy neighbor April (Phoebe Tyers) who threatens to topple it all. Attempting to quiet the life-shattering noise, Dory tries to make a deal with the woman but the exchange doesn't go as planned when she pushes April off of the Staten Island Ferry — presumably to her own watery death.
Thinking herself free and clear, the final moments of Season 2 saw Dory taken into custody for the murder of Keith. So where does this leave fans after three years? We caught up with Shawkat, Bliss and Rogers on the show's Brooklyn-based set earlier this year — while filming for Season 4 was underway — to discuss what's on the horizon. "It picks up right where it left off and you can expect more thrills," Bliss says. "Season 3 is a legal thriller as well as comedy... it always seems to get funnier and darker," she explains.
Set around Keith's murder trial, Season 3 focuses on the courtroom drama that ensues along with all the silliness sprinkled between the more serious moments. "Things get just more ridiculous," Shawkat confirms. "I think all the characters, but especially Dory, changes the most. We see the darker side of her this season. I think she surprises herself with how far she's willing to go. She starts to really lose whatever good qualities she has left."
"It's like a ripoff [of the Amanda Knox case]," Shawkat adds, describing Dory and Drew's case. "[There is] such a mania hype of celebrity that some of the people in the group, like Elliot and Portia really thrive off of, but everyone's reaching this level of performance."
"The big part of Season 3 is the feeling of, 'America is watching,' and these people are lampooned for who they are," Rogers reveals of the Season's tone. Considering how poorly the friends held themselves together in Season 2 should be an indication for where things are going, especially with a national spotlight on them.
"Everyone's just at each other's necks at this point... nothing's about what's good for each other anymore," Shawkat teases of the relationship strains these friends will endure. "Dory and Drew are the ones getting prosecuted, so they're dragged into this together and their relationship starts to fall apart," she says. "You see how manipulative she is to him and he sees it and is genuinely hurt by it, realizing he's really lost her. But they have to put on a good face to try and get through this trial."
And as the walls begin closing in, Rogers adds, "the question of if the friends and the world find out about Dory pushing April is part of the suspense of Season 3." Shawkat elaborates Dory's darkness stems from the fact that "all her secrets start to chase her and she just doubles down."
Even though things are picking up where they left off, viewers can anticipate plenty of new and exciting faces as Bliss gushes about newbies, "Michaela Watkins and Shalita Grant are so incredibly funny and Louie Anderson is in it." Expect some more surprises and familiar faces along the way including the return or Dory's ex and former colleague Julian (Brandon Micheal Hall).
"The heart of the show remains the same," Bliss reassures, promising familiar tones despite the platform switch. "It's pretty much still the way it always has been."
But don't be subdued either as Season 3 ups the ante. "The whole show is really about this identity crisis she's having that just keeps getting carried away," Shawkat says of her character. "It's like a metaphor of not facing your own truth and how far down the rabbit hole you could go." Get ready to leap.
Search Party, Season 3 Premiere, Thursday, June 25, HBO Max