Mystery-Lovers, This Is Your New Show

If you’ve ever felt utterly directionless, as though you’re lost in an endless fog of existentialism, you’ll most certainly relate to TBS' new show Search Party. Also, welcome to your mid-20s.

Search Party is a dark comedy that's unlike anything currently in your to-watch queue. Surrounded by successful friends and no job prospects, Dory (played by Alia Shawkat) becomes wholly invested in solving the mysterious disappearance of a former college acquaintance. With a newfound purpose in place, Dory corrals a motley crew of her self-absorbed Brooklynite friends to help with the creepy case.

In celebration of the Search Party premiere on November 21, we're giving you a peek at the show’s cleverly designed posters, which are inspired by another iconic female detective: Nancy Drew. We caught up with Sam Hadley, the illustrator behind the posters, for insight on his creative process, what to expect from the series, and why Shawkat is the modern heroine television has been waiting for.

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Illustrated by Sam Hadley.
How was the show described to you?
“A dark comedy with a mystery storyline. I thought the idea of creating these posters in the style of those classic Nancy Drew book covers was perfect for the show.”
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Illustrated by Sam Hadley.
“I was excited by the prospect of creating the posters for such a modern show in my retro illustration style.”
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Illustrated by Sam Hadley.
What makes Dory an unlikely heroine?
“Dory seems a little lost in life, but when she finds something to care about, she becomes a very determined character.”
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Illustrated by Sam Hadley.
“Dory has this mop of curly hair that catches the light and looks great against a dark background. It’s cool to see a heroine character that’s more down to earth.”
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Illustrated by Sam Hadley.
Search Party is very Brooklyn-centric. How did you invoke the feeling of small-town mystery but within a metropolis?
“Wherever you live, you have a neighborhood or some kind of local framework, even in a big city. There are plenty of strange and mysterious places — it doesn’t need to be a spooky graveyard or forest. A dark city stairwell does the job equally well. It’s really all about the characters.”
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Illustrated by Sam Hadley.
You’re known for retro-inspired illustrations. What do you like about them?
“I just love the expressive brush strokes that bring energy to the work. That lovely loose brushwork and then the detail in just the right places.”
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Illustrated by Sam Hadley.
“Modern audiences have become so used to seeing photoshopped posters that nothing really stands out from the crowd. These painted posters can express so much more than a photograph, and I think they look fresh again after all those years of airbrushed perfection.”
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Illustrated by Sam Hadley.
“Retro is modern again. It’s like rediscovering a forgotten way of engaging the viewer.”
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Illustrated by Sam Hadley.
What about Nancy Drew covers did you try to emulate?
“I considered what needed to be conveyed to the viewer in each scene and the character interactions within it. It should be possible to read a narrative in each painting.”
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Illustrated by Sam Hadley.
Why are you excited for Search Party?
“It’s refreshing and current. It feels like a snapshot of a generation and a place. It’s witty in an understated sort of way while the mystery keeps you hooked. I’m excited for everyone to see it, and, of course, to get my posters out there in the world, too.”
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To learn more about Hadley and the creation of these posters, watch this video.
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