Dirk Gently wakes up to a phone call asking him where he is; he replies that he is already on his way. In a lavish hotel room, a number of bodies lie bloodily dismembered and murdered, with several unusual burn marks on the furnishings. A small black kitten walks out of a connected room and is picked up by an unidentified person.
Todd Brotzman is woken by the sound of his angry landlord Dorian smashing his car and demanding the rent. He is forced to take a bus to his job as a bellhop, and on the way sees a corgi walking by itself down the street. At the hotel, he asks his boss for an advance on his pay, but is then asked to check in on Room 745 and then the Penthouse. He has misplaced his master keycard, and so his boss lends him another. After comforting a woman in Room 745, Todd gets in the elevator and calls his sister Amanda; the lift stops momentarily and as the doors open Todd sees what appears to be himself, wearing a stars and stripes singlet and white furry coat, arguing with an unseen person before noticing him and running off.
When Todd arrives at the penthouse, he finds a lottery ticket on the floor outside then opens the door to discover the murder scene. He is questioned by missing persons detectives Estevez and Zimmerfield, who are looking for Lydia Spring, daughter of the murdered man staying in the Penthouse, millionaire Edward Spring. He comes under suspicion as he can't explain what he saw from the elevator, and a man in a gorilla mask was seen on a security camera entering the Penthouse shortly after the murder, using Todd's missing keycard. After the interview Todd is fired, and so he heads home on the bus, where he sees the corgi again.
At home, Todd is surprised by a man climbing in his window. He introduces himself as Dirk Gently and declares that Todd is his new assistant and that he will be living in Todd's apartment. Todd throws him out. Across the street, two military officers are watching Dirk; one has a sniper rifle and takes a shot, against his commander's wishes. The bullet misses, ricocheting around the apartment before punching through the ceiling and killing a man upstairs who is about to kill a woman handcuffed to a bed. She tries to escape and eventually manages to pull the bed apart, but knocks herself out in the process.
On a lonely desert road, Ken is wiring up some electrical equipment while a larger man armed with a gun watches. A woman arrives and kills the armed man with a machete, then chases Ken until they both get tired; she says her name is Bart Curlish, and she has to kill Dirk Gently. When Ken explains he has no idea who that is, she kidnaps him and takes the armed man's car. She tells him that she is a "holisitic assassin", and that whoever she kills is who she is meant to kill, directed by the will of the universe.
At Todd's apartment, Dirk is speaking with Dorian until Todd convinces Dirk to drive him to Amanda's house. On the way Dirk explains a bit about being a "holistic detective", that he believes "everything is connected". They visit Amanda, who is afflicted with Pararibulitis, a disease which causes violent hallucinations that the sufferer experiences as if they were real. It runs in the family, and Todd used to suffer from it too, but has now recovered; he now cares for Amanda, who is too anxious about suffering an attack to leave the house. Dirk muses that if the disease is inside her, it shouldn't matter where she goes.
Todd and Dirk return to Todd's apartment just in time for a strange van to pull up and four men, whom Dirk identifies as the "Rowdy 3", to get out and wreck the place. They corner Dirk and channel some kind of blue energy from him before exiting through the window, one of them stealing a framed photo of Amanda. Dorian comes into the apartment demanding to know what's going on and waving a pistol around; he fires a shot and it ricochets around the room, hitting him in the head and killing him instantly. Hearing the shot, three groups converge on the apartment - Detectives Estevez and Zimmerfield, the military guys, and a pair of FBI agents. After being questioned by the cops, Todd tries to reject being part of Dirk's investigation, rejecting the idea of everything being connected, and he leaves, getting back on a bus. He sees the corgi for a third time and decides to get off and grab it; he returns it to the owner listed on the tag, an odd man with an even odder young woman standing inside his house. As he walks home, he hears the lottery numbers being announced on a television by the same woman he comforted in the hotel earlier that day - and they're the numbers on the ticket he found.
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"You can't just break into my apartment!"
"Well clearly I can! I mean, I just did."
- Todd and Dirk after Dirk breaks into the apartment through the window
"Have you ever actually solved a case?"
"Sure. Tons. Well, some. Well, a few. There was a bit about a sofa, a thing with Thor..."
"Yes, he's not nearly as good-looking as people say."
- Todd and Dirk discuss Dirk's success rate
"I'm not your Watson!"
- Todd to Dirk while trying not to be his assistant
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