‘Search Party’s Alia Shawkat & Showrunners Tease Dory’s Psychological Torture in Season 4

Search Party Cole Escola Alia Shawkat

Search Party is delivering its own version of “Finding Dory” in its forthcoming fourth season over at HBO Max.

The millennial comedy about privileged twenty-somethings takes an even darker turn as Dory (Alia Shawkat), the woman at the center of this comedy, endures a chilling new reality in captivity. Her captor Chip (Cole Escola) just wants a friend after becoming obsessed with Dory during Season 3’s big courtroom drama.

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Dory Loses Her Mind in 'Search Party' Season 4 First Look (VIDEO)

Can Drew, Portia, and Elliott put their feelings aside to help Dory before she loses herself?

We visited the set early last year before Season 3 arrived and caught a glimpse at Dory’s confinement space, but a chain-covered chair meant little without context. “It becomes a lot more about psychosis in Season 4,” Shawkat had told us then. “Season 3 is more about how things appear, and then the fourth season starts to become about what the real truth is.”

As viewers who streamed Season 3 upon HBO Max’s launch (Seasons 1 and 2 aired on TBS originally) will recall, Dory began to believe the lie she was telling in court, that she hadn’t killed private investigator Keith Powell (Ron Livingston). Now, Dory’s facing that lie and being forced to cope with reality in a strange way. “Season 4 is kind of mystery room,” co-showrunner Charles Rogers teased on set last year.

Search Party Season 4 Portia Elliott Drew

(Credit: HBO Max)

Now, Rogers is saying, “I think it’s definitely a show that we recommend you start from the beginning if you haven’t seen it, because it has evolved so much since Season 1. You would be shortchanging yourself by just jumping into Season 4 with no context.”

“You go into this season, which is a really a big nod to Misery and Room and Silence of the Lambs and that captor genre of being psychologically tortured by someone,” he adds. Rogers isn’t wrong, Season 4 goes to places uncharted and while the characters are as crazy as ever, this latest chapter is enjoyed best when you know what’s going on.

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'Search Party' Sets Season 4 Return, Adds Susan Sarandon, Busy Philipps, & More

Plus, Griffin Dunne, Ann Dowd, and more amazing stars join the latest chapter of the mystery series.

As Dory remains in captivity, her crew carry on without her, unaware that she’s been taken. “They’re all trying to cope and move on with their lives in their own ways,” co-showrunner Sarah-Violet Bliss teases. Dory’s ex, Drew (John Reynolds), is “trying to run away and be completely a different person and live in a happy place, literally, by surrounding himself with characters in an amusement park and becoming a character.”

“Elliott [John Early] has taken a job as a correspondent, which the network then gives him an opportunity to turn Republican. At first he pretends to have some moral grounds that you would never do such a thing, but with the threat of his job being taken away, he becomes a Republican pundit,” adds Bliss. “And Portia [Meredith Hagner] takes a part in a movie to play Dory in a cheesy rendition of the story of their lives.”

Search Party Season 4 Susan Sarandon


And fans should look out for a fabulous line-up of guest stars. “We got really lucky with actors this season,” Rogers muses. “I mean, we always do, but we’re pretty excited about the presence of Susan Sarandon, Ann Dowd, Busy Philipps, Griffin Dunne, Deborah Brush, Lillias White, and R.L. Stine.”

“The Aunt Lylah character is particularly fun,” Rogers hints, giving a nod to Sarandon’s role. “It’s just a really vampy and ridiculous character that Susan, in all her glory, came on the set, and brought this ‘checked outness’ to her that we hadn’t thought about. And it was like, ‘Oh, right. That is actually how rich people are. They’re not all there.'”

Stay tuned for Sarandon’s arrival and return of Search Party‘s biggest season yet as new episodes roll out on HBO Max.

Search Party, Season 4 Premiere, January 13, HBO Max