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Patrick Spring (formerly Zackariah Webb and Edgar Spring) is a character in the television series Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.

Patrick was an inventor, entrepreneur, billionaire, and father of Lydia Spring. The murder of Patrick Spring, which Dirk Gently was hired to investigate, was the central mystery and plot of Season 1.


Early life[]

Zackariah Webb was an inventor in the 19th century. He had the Webb Mansion built for himself in Seattle in the 1880s, with a laboratory in the basement.[1]

Webb attempted to build a time machine, but the machine he created did not work as intended, only functioning halfway by moving the test subject's energy or souls. He killed a number of animals and beloved pets that way.[2]

In 1886, possibly on 23.08.1886, Webb did another trial of the machine, but this time the machine simply disappeared. It reappeared just a moment later, but appeared greatly changed, aged and covered in occult symbols, with a puzzling message on a piece of paper signed by a "Dirk Gently".[3]

To the future[]

Webb concluded that his machine had time traveled and been handled by someone else while it was away, and intended to undo it by time traveling after the original machine and getting it back. Webb traveled to the future, arriving in the abandoned Webb Mansion in the year 1968. There he found his machine in possession of the Men of the Machine cult in what was formerly his house. He demanded back his machine, but the cult refused to give it up and Webb had to flee.[2]

Still intendintg to get it back, Webb stayed in the future, whose technological advances fascinated him. Webb figured out a way to make the time machine he had traveled with into the Unlimited Energy Device. He took on the name Edgar Spring, moved into the Ridgely building, and proceeded to build a business empire and a fortune, eventually becoming a billionaire.[2]

During his time as Edgar, he continued to make small jumps forward to keep himself safe and let his investments flourish.[4]

In 1978, Edgar buried his own power grid in a three-mile radius around the Ridgely building, naming the area Springsborough, and powered it independently by the Unlimited Energy Device.[5]

In 1981, Edgar lived at the Ridgely as a successful and wealthy man.[2]

During the 1980s the Men of the Machine came to him and demanded his UED. Edgar refused them, which started a period of open struggle, with each party trying to seize the other's machine.[2]

A new life[]

In 1995, he was injured in a fight with the cultists, collapsing in the street, where he was found by a woman, Catherine. They fell in love and married.[2]

Edgar took on the new identity of Patrick Spring, supposedly the son of Edgar, who simply 'disappeared'.[2] Patrick bought the Webb Mansion from the government, and moved out of the Ridgely into the new Spring Mansion.[1] He took the Unlimited Energy Device with him, disconnecting Springsborough from its power source.[5]

Simon Black was Patrick's chief of security, and he and his daughter Farah spent a lot of time at the Spring Mansion.[1]

Patrick and Catherine had a daughter, Lydia Spring, and all lived happy for a while.

This period abruptly ended when the cult murdered Catherine[2], on the 17.07.2001[3].

A fateful circle[]

Patrick spring dghda107 armor atu

Patrick in armor at the ATU.

In response to his wife's murder, Patrick decided to time travel to the future to catch the cult unaware to take revenge. Arriving on 03.08.2016, Patrick (armed with his steampunk armor) stormed the cult's base at the Animal Transfer Unit and murdered a large number of cultists, including their leader, Jake Rainey. At the ATU, he also found two men, Dirk Gently and Todd Brotzman, who knew his life's story and told him they were on a mission to save his daughter Lydia. They told him Lydia was taken to the Perryman Grand Hotel to meet the older Patrick, prompting him to rush off without listening to further explanations.[2]

Patrick made his way to the Perryman Grand Hotel penthouse where he burst into the hostage exchange negotiantions between Old Patrick and Gordon Rimmer, incensed that his future self would parley with the cult. During the confrontation, he shot at a cultist who dropped the Kitten-Shark he had been holding. This triggered it and the shark ghost killed two cultists and the Old Patrick. Dirk and Todd, who had arrived at the penthouse just before, got Patrick out and took him with them, leaving the hotel.[2]

At a pier the three talked. Dirk and Todd revealed they had come from one week in the future, with his time machine he had given them clues to find, and hired by Old Patrick to save Lydia. Initially believing he could still fix his troubles, Patrick understood and accepted that changing his past or future was impossible, that everything would have to play out as it already had. He told Dirk and Todd to save his daughter Lydia, and provided them with the knowledge and tool to send their machine back to the younger him in 1886 to close the time loop when they were done. Patrick then traveled back to 2001.[2]

Preparing for the end[]

Afterwards he removed himself in public from any dealings with Springsborough.[5] Sometime during the following fifteen years, Patrick dismantled his Unlimited Energy Device and buried the parts in Skagit Valley, and built the Springsborough maze. He prepared and laid a series of clues that would lead from the Spring Mansion's laboratory to the maze to the buried machine, starting with an envelope to be handed to Farah and Dirk after his death by his lawyer John Dollow.[1]

A full six weeks before his approaching death, Patrick hired Dirk Gently to investigate the case of his yet-to-happen murder.[6]

Patrick's daughter ran away and into a trap by the Men of the Machine, and was kidnapped by them to use as leverage, to be exchanged for the Unlimited Energy Device.

A meeting was arranged, to take place in the Perryman Grand Hotel penthouse. Patrick had moved into the penthouse at least the day before, and the penthouse had a "do not disturb" sign on the door since 2 p.m. (on the 02.08.)[6]

On 03.08.2016, sometime between 9:36 a.m. and 10+ a.m., the final meeting took place. Rimmer arrived with two men and Lydia's body, inhabited by Rimmer's dog Rapunzel as insurance, promising to deliver her soul when they got the UED. Patrick phoned Dirk Gently to wake him to come to the penthouse. Immediately after that the meeting was crashed by the younger Patrick from 2001, tailed by one-week-from-the-future Dirk and Todd. Old Patrick told the latter two to tell Lydia he loved her and he was sorry, but that it had always ended like this, wished them luck, and apologized to Dirk for hitting him years before. Then the situation escalated as before, triggering the Kitten-Shark. Patrick was killed by the ghost shark soul, who threw his body across the room.[2]


Behind the scenes[]

  • Patrick Spring is portrayed by actor Julian McMahon.
  • In the show bible, Patrick was named Michael.