When it comes to crime dramas, we really dig detectives. For hundreds of years, we’ve been told stories of heroic law enforcement officials and the professionals they contract to help them. They’ve appeared in books, movies, and television shows throughout the ages. Just about everyone out there has a special place in their hearts for their favorite on-screen detective. Here’s a look at some of the most beloved characters to catch the bad guys.
Played by the irresistibly mustachioed Tom Selleck, Thomas Magnum (or as we know and love him,Magnum, P.I.) is the ultimate detective. Not only did he steal our hearts as the quirky head of security for his boss, Robin Masters, but he also solved cases as a private investigator with just the right balance of hilarity and danger.
He donned the best Hawaiian shirts ever, pulled off that ridiculous mustache with uncanny ease, and brought laughter into the houses of Americans for years. No list of top fictional detectives would be complete without this guy.
Admit it. You felt a shiver work its way down your spine. If you didn’t, you probably haven’t seen Hannibal, or maybe you just don’t have a soul or something. Either way, Clarice Starling forever etched herself onto this list when she enlisted the help of Hannibal Lecter to solve the case of crazed serial killer Buffalo Bill. The brilliant psychiatrist turned cannibalistic serial killer struck a chord with Starling, and their relationship became creepily intimate.
Portrayed by Jodi Foster in The Silence of the Lambs, and later by Julianne More in Hannibal, Clarice Starling was a measly FBI trainee when she initially interviewed Lecter. But she applied the criminal justice theory she learned from her mentor at the Bureau, and gradually grew into the strong, empowered woman she was toward the end of the franchise.
Indiana Jones dominated both the film and TV circuit in his heyday. The adventurous Dr. Henry Jones wore many hats; other than the classic wardrobe staple he sports throughout the franchise. He narrowly escaped death more times than anyone would care to count, but always managed to solve the mystery at hand. Accompanied by a barrage of supporting marketing efforts, such as the epic ride at Disneyworld, action figures, comic books, not to mention various spinoffs and sequels, Indiana Jones will forever be one of America’s most beloved adventurer-turned-detectives.
Debra Morgan is the hilariously foul-mouthed, spunky younger sister of America’s favorite serial killer,Dexter Morgan. She’s impossibly oblivious of her brother’s escapades. She works alongside Dexter at the Miami Metro Police Department. Debra serves as the ever-present conscience in Dexter’s world, and easily highlights the flaws in his attempt to seem “normal.” Audiences love Debra because of her ruthless allegiance to the law and dedication to her job, as well as always being there for Dexter when he needs her.
Last but most decidedly not least, the original lovable detective, Dr. Sherlock Holmes. Based in London,Holmes’ character originated in 1887 in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s four novels, and later 56 short stories.Since then he has been adapted and reinvented countless times, but the fact remains that the world adores Sherlock Holmes.
Accompanied by his colleague and best friend, Dr. John Watson, Holmes captured the attention of audiences through his keen ability to adopt outrageously intricate disguises, combined with an incredibly innate ability to apply his extensive forensic knowledge to solve crimes otherwise deemed unsolvable. Most recently the duo has been portrayed by Benedict Cumber batch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson respectively, in the BBC series Sherlock. It has been widely well-received by viewers all over the world.
There you have it. Five of the top detectives in TV and film. Who’s your favorite fictional detective? Is there someone that you feel we should’ve included? Leave a comment below and let us know!