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Famous Private Detectives in movies, televisions

The detective story has been a popular genre in books, radio, television, and movies since the early 19th century. In many police drama series, detectives are depicted as being something of an elite, with most uniformed police officers deferring to them. Most famous fictional government detectives work for local or regional agencies.


Element of detective work are also featured in famous "federal" characters, such as Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan and Ian Fleming's James Bond. (The first two Bond film adaptations featured more investigative work than their successors.)


Police detectives


  • Detective Andy Sipowicz, played by Dennis Franz in the television series NYPD Blue
  • Detective Vic Mackey, played by Michael Chiklis in the television series "The Shield"
  • Lennie Briscoe, played by Jerry Orbach in the television series Law & Order
  • Sergeant Joe Friday, portrayed by Jack Webb and later by Ed O'Neill in the television series Dragnet
  • Lieutenant Columbo, played by Peter Falk in the television series Columbo (and also some television movies)
  • Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, played by Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect.
  • Detective Chief Inspector Morse, in the novels of Colin Dexter and played by John Thaw in Inspector Morse.
  • Detective Sonny Crockett, played by Don Johnson, and Detective Ricardo Tubbs, played by Philip Michael Thomas, in the television series "Miami Vice"
  • Detective Inspector Jack Regan, also played by John Thaw, and Detective Sergeant George Carter, played by Dennis Waterman, in the television series The Sweeney.
  • Thompson and Thomson, from the comic Tintin, created by Hergé
  • Inspector Gadget
  • Inspector Koichi Zenigata, from the anime and manga series Lupin III, created by Monkey Punch
  • Detective Harvey Bullock from the comic book series Batman and cartoon series Batman: The Animated Series
  • Plainclothesman Elijah Baley from Isaac Asimov's Robot series.


Private detectives

  • J.J. Gittes, played by Jack Nicholson in the film Chinatown
  • Adrian Monk, played by Tony Shalhoub
  • Auguste Dupin, created by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple, both created by Agatha Christie
  • Jim Rockford, created by Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell, and portrayed by James Garner in the television series The Rockford Files
  • Thomas Sullivan Magnum, played by Tom Selleck in the television series Magnum P.I.
  • Philip Marlowe, created by Raymond Chandler
  • Sam Spade, created by Dashiell Hammett and portrayed on film by Humphrey Bogart
  • Sherlock Holmes, created by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Simon Templar, the book, movie and TV character created by Leslie Charteris


All text of this article available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).

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