As Search Party series 2 heads towards its dramatic conclusion, what have we learnt so far? To put it simply, the cover-up is worse than the crime. After all, it’s not like Dory (Alia Shawkat) and her millennial crew even wanted to kill private eye Keith (Ron Livingston): they were just looking out for (or just looking for) their friend Chantal (Clare McNulty), who had faked her own death back in series one. But facts are facts: he’s dead, they decided to cover it up, and it’s been eating them up inside ever since.
Obviously this is not the way to go about covering up a murder. So how could they have done a better job?
Don’t feel guilty
The kind of people who get away with murder are the kind of people who don’t think murder is a big deal. The people on Search Party might be shallow, self-absorbed, and just plain awful at times, but it’s clear that being involved in a man’s death doesn’t sit well with them. Or at least, the idea that they might get caught and charged with murder doesn’t. Hence all the freaking out and increasingly erratic – yet consistently amusing – behaviour that makes this show so much fun to watch. Which leads directly into point two:
Don’t act suspicious
Unlike pretty much every TV cop ever on this kind of show, Detective Joy (Tymberlee Hill) is a smart, competent police officer who asks all the right questions in her investigation into Keith’s demise. Obviously this is totally not the kind of person you want digging around into what happened to someone you murdered, so the solution is to make sure they never get interested in the first place.
Don’t leave any witnesses
When Dory, Elliot (John Early) and Drew (John Renyolds) decide to secretly bury Keith’s body, they promptly go to a hardware store and buy the most suspicious-looking collection of body-burying gear ever. And that’s before they buy a flashy, extremely memorable suitcase to bury the body in. They’re so bad at this that Chantel uncovers what they’re doing before they’ve finished doing it: they couldn’t do much worse if they created a Facebook event for a corpse concealing party.
Don’t make big changes to your life
Even if they’re not suspicious changes, making big changes to your life are suspicious because who makes big changes out of the blue? For example, maybe don’t be like Elliot and have all your hair fall out because of murder-related stress. Not only is a big thing like that bound to attract attention, it’s definitely not a good look personally even if you decide like Elliot that the cure is to never go outside again and cover all your windows with tinfoil.
Don’t return to the scene of the crime
This extends way beyond not returning to the literal murder scene. For example, going to the wake of the man you accidentally killed is a bad, bad look, especially if you’re struggling with a guilty conscience. Standing in close proximity to grieving relatives is not going to help you feel better – especially if, like Dory, you’re already racked with guilt.
Don’t make yourself a target
If things are starting to look bad, run! You can’t be a suspect if you’re nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, this does require you to not be the kind of hipster millennial who can only really survive in ultra-cool New York City, which makes this yet more useless advice for the Search Party crew.
Don’t hang around with bad people
Turns out this is good advice for pretty much the entire Search Party main cast. Portia (Meredith Hagner) falls under the sway of the fairly evil Elijah (Jay Duplass); Julian (Brandon Micheal Hall) is sexually harassed by his (female) boss. And as for Dory, well… her friends were nice enough to help her cover up a murder (is nice really the right word there), but do you really want to be friends with the kind of people who would help out a murderer? Even if the murderer is you?
Don’t let threatening notes slide
Okay, they’ve got this part right. When a mysterious threatening note arrives suggesting they’re not getting away with the crime scott-free, the crew are on the case. They’re not actually any good at figuring out who sent the note, but at least they’re trying to be proactive. And the good news is, if someone knows you committed a murder, they’re bound to get in touch… with a demand for $60,000 to keep quiet.
Don’t shout about the murder you committed where someone might hear you
If you’re going to get into screaming matches with your friend about who’s really to blame for that murder you committed, maybe think again: there’s a pretty good chance someone close by is going to listen in, what with “murder” being the kind of word that attracts people’s attention. Perhaps where that mysterious blackmailer got their information from isn’t really a mystery after all.
Don’t be a self-absorbed New York hipster who deep down probably isn’t really all that nice of a person, what with your total self-interest, shallow personality and that whole being involved with a murder thing
This is just good life advice.
You can stream the first two seasons of Search Party now at SBS On Demand:
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