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Old 04-26-2012, 08:58 PM
tellyworth tellyworth is offline
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The Holmes and Watson archetype

The detective is obsessive, brilliant, and unconventional. He/she is willing and able to solve the cases that no one else can, often by working outside the mainstream structure and methods. He is presumptuous and insensitive, has few friends, and often offends or alienates people. He does not seek fame and fortune, but simply wants to solve the mystery, and often lets others take the credit (leading to a grudging respect from other detectives, who otherwise regard him as reckless). He indulges an addiction when he is not working on a case.

His partner, an educated professional, is intelligent, trustworthy, and conservative. He/she is a conventional thinker, perceptive but unable to follow the detective's methods. Nonetheless he trusts the detective implicitly, and is willing to assist despite being in the dark about the true nature of the mystery. He does the talking when empathy is required, and will try to mollify those the detective offends. He is often called on to distract or placate the police to prevent them from interfering with the detective's investigation. He does the paperwork, and acts admirably when bravery is needed.

Together, they fight crime.

I've just described:

Holmes and Watson
Mulder and Scully
House and Wilson

Who else? Bonus points for listing the detective's addiction.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:07 PM
brainstall brainstall is offline
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Nothing to add, but once I realized it, I thought the Holmes/Watson - House/Wilson thing was a bit too obvious an allusion.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:09 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings
C. August Dupin and the unnamed narrator of the story (which, of course, predated Holmes).
The Old Man in the Corner and the Lady Journalist. The Old Man solves the mystery from his corner in the tea shop (though he does talk about visiting the crime scenes and trials)
Mr. Linley and Smithers in "The Two Bottles of Relish" by Lord Dunsany (he was probably parodying Holmes and Watson).
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:18 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings
I stealing your bonus!

Poirot could arguably be described as "addicted" to obsessive neatness and symmetry, and in fact if the character were created nowadays he would probably be interpreted clinically as suffering from OCD.

The OCD-plagued detective Adrian Monk in the eponymous TV series could be considered a modern black-comedy reworking of Poirot (as Dr. House was of Sherlock Holmes), with his nurse Sharona Fleming acting as his sidekick.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:20 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin
A.J. Raffles and Bunny Manders
  #6  
Old 04-26-2012, 09:23 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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The basic trope is the sidekick serves as the stand-in for the readers. He asks the questions the readers are wondering and the hero explaining things to the sidekick serves as exposition.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:05 PM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is offline
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From Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy fantasy/mystery stories, Lord Darcy and Master Sean O'Lochlainn are pretty close; unsurprising since they are in part a Holmes/Watson homage.
  #8  
Old 04-26-2012, 10:18 PM
tellyworth tellyworth is offline
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
The basic trope is the sidekick serves as the stand-in for the readers. He asks the questions the readers are wondering and the hero explaining things to the sidekick serves as exposition.
It also allows the author to delay the explanation till the reveal at the end. The protagonist Watson (and thus the reader) sees the same clues as Holmes, but isn't privy to his internal knowledge and deductions.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:20 PM
tellyworth tellyworth is offline
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Interesting that you describe Monk as based on Poirot. I've only seen the show once or twice, and assumed it was a direct Holmes homage, particularly given Sharona's medical qualification.
  #10  
Old 04-26-2012, 10:21 PM
njtt njtt is offline
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Morse and Lewis.

There's gotta be a million of these.
  #11  
Old 04-26-2012, 10:31 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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..and often lets others take the credit (leading to a grudging respect from other detectives, who otherwise regard him as reckless)...
Pardon my ignorance, as I haven't read much of Conan Doyle's original Holmes stories, but were there any other real (if inferior) detectives? The police in the films always seem to be portrayed as thugs or bullies, with never an original thought among them. They don't seem to investigate at all, just simply arrest the most convenient suspect.
  #12  
Old 04-26-2012, 10:35 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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Batman and Robin?
  #13  
Old 04-26-2012, 10:43 PM
K364 K364 is offline
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1605: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
  #14  
Old 04-26-2012, 10:47 PM
tellyworth tellyworth is offline
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Pardon my ignorance, as I haven't read much of Conan Doyle's original Holmes stories, but were there any other real (if inferior) detectives?
Inspector Lestrade, primarily. In the stories he's eventually described as competent, though too conventional to solve Holmes's cases.

The movies invariably ruin the minor characters. The Guy Richie ones are reasonably faithful with Holmes and Watson as films go, but Lestrade, Irene Adler etc are caricatures. The Basil Rathbone ones are worse, they reduce Watson to bumbling comic relief.
  #15  
Old 04-26-2012, 10:58 PM
tellyworth tellyworth is offline
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
Morse and Lewis.
"Police detective and another police detective" seems a stretch, unless they match some of the other attributes (you may be right, I've never seen that one).

Deliberate homages usually throw it some clues like an addiction for Holmes, a medical background for Watson.

NCIS seems to play with multiple Holmes/Watson pairs:

Gibbs (coffee) and Ducky (medical background)
Abby (caffeine) and McGee (writer)

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Batman and Robin?
"Crime fighting duo" is too vague by itself.

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Originally Posted by K364 View Post
1605: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
Interesting. Don Quixote might fit, in an ironic way. What makes Sancho Panza fit the Watson archetype?
  #16  
Old 04-26-2012, 11:03 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is offline
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1605: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
A reverse of sorts? Sancho Panza showed that he was almost as good as a "Holmes" when being the ruler and judge of Barataria, a fictional ínsula ("isle"). And throughout the tale Sancho is usually the voice of reason, even if he was a little ignorant.

Don Quixote was mad as a hatter.




As for the OP, Edgar Alan Poe with his Murders in the Rue Morgue was one of the first to come with the archetype with C. Auguste Dupin and his "Watson" the narrator of the few tales of Dupin and his friend. AFAIK the "Watson" was not ever named.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 04-26-2012 at 11:06 PM.
  #17  
Old 04-26-2012, 11:11 PM
TonySinclair TonySinclair is offline
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Originally Posted by tellyworth View Post
"Police detective and another police detective" seems a stretch, unless they match some of the other attributes
Because I had just looked at tonight's TV listings before reading this, the first thing I thought of was Jane and Lisbon of "The Mentalist." The only thing that doesn't fit the OP to a tee is that Jane has an obsession, rather than an addiction.
  #18  
Old 04-26-2012, 11:49 PM
StGermain StGermain is offline
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Bones and Booth.

StG
  #19  
Old 04-27-2012, 12:09 AM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
Pardon my ignorance, as I haven't read much of Conan Doyle's original Holmes stories, but were there any other real (if inferior) detectives? The police in the films always seem to be portrayed as thugs or bullies, with never an original thought among them. They don't seem to investigate at all, just simply arrest the most convenient suspect.
As tellyworth noted, in the books the Scotland Yard detectives Lestrade and Gregson are not totally incompetent, if far inferior to Holmes. But I think Inspector Stanley Hopkins, a fan and more-or-less protege of Holmes, comes closer than either to counting as another "real detective".

ETA: Oh, and so does Inspector Baynes of the uniformed police force.

Post-ETA: And all the rest.

Last edited by Kimstu; 04-27-2012 at 12:13 AM.
  #20  
Old 04-27-2012, 01:11 AM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is online now
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This is also detective/detecttive, but Goren and Eames in Law and Order:Criminal Intent were this.
  #21  
Old 04-27-2012, 02:04 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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William of Baskerville and Adso, in The Name of the Rose. As suggested by William's place of origin, they're a deliberate homage to Holmes.
  #22  
Old 04-27-2012, 02:30 AM
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James Rockford and Angel Martin

Thomas Magnum and Higgins

Deitrich and Fish
  #23  
Old 04-27-2012, 06:31 AM
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Morse and Lewis
Lewis and Hathaway
  #24  
Old 04-27-2012, 06:40 AM
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Tony Stark and Pepper Potts?
  #25  
Old 04-27-2012, 07:04 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Quote:
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The basic trope is the sidekick serves as the stand-in for the readers. He asks the questions the readers are wondering and the hero explaining things to the sidekick serves as exposition.
In this way and in the unusualness of the pater's methods, Father Brown and Flambeau match, but the good father is lacking on known addictions.
  #26  
Old 04-27-2012, 07:17 AM
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In Sax Rohmers Fu Manchu series we have detective Nayland Smith and his associate Dr Petrie.

In S S Van Dines Philo Vance series we heave detective Philo Vance and his Watson S S Van Dine. (Van Dine used his own name for the character.)
  #27  
Old 04-27-2012, 07:18 AM
nudgenudge nudgenudge is offline
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Who else? Bonus points for listing the detective's addiction.
Who else indeed? The title character of Doctor Who is often said to owe a lot to Sherlock Homes. Addiction: jelly babies?
  #28  
Old 04-27-2012, 08:35 AM
njtt njtt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
Morse and Lewis.
"Police detective and another police detective" seems a stretch, unless they match some of the other attributes (you may be right, I've never seen that one).
Yes, I think it fits. Morse is the intellectual, lazy, misanthropic loner who solves crimes through insight into character and occasional flashes of brilliance. Lewis, his sidekick, is the salt of the Earth, commonsensical everyman, very loyal to Morse despite how Morse teases and takes advantage of him (just as Holmes does of Watson). In the TV show, also (I imagine the books were too long ago) Lewis also has one significant area of expertise that Morse lacks, although in this case it is computers rather than medicine.

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I thought of this: but no. Lewis is still the same Lewis, except that he is now the boss (and they killed off his wife, making him a bit more dour). Hathaway is the supercilious intellectual. In some respects Hathaway is like Morse (though not so obviously misanthropic), but since he is younger, and the subordinate, the dynamic is quite different. I am not sure that I do not think Lewis and Hathaway actually works better than Morse and Lewis did, but the former does not fit the archetype and the latter did.
  #29  
Old 04-27-2012, 08:39 AM
njtt njtt is offline
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In this way and in the unusualness of the pater's methods, Father Brown and Flambeau match, but the good father is lacking on known addictions.
Flambeau, the mercurial former criminal, could hardly be more unlike Watson, though.

And if an addiction is a requirement, to return to my former theme, Morse has beer and Wagner. (Of course, Holmes is a music lover too.)
  #30  
Old 04-27-2012, 08:47 AM
Prelude to Fascination Prelude to Fascination is offline
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Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. Wolfe's addiction was orchids.
  #31  
Old 04-27-2012, 09:11 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Flambeau, the mercurial former criminal, could hardly be more unlike Watson, though.
But he's there to be asking the questions the reader would ask and to provide clues which he does not recognize as such.

Last edited by Nava; 04-27-2012 at 09:12 AM.
  #32  
Old 04-27-2012, 10:01 AM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. Wolfe's addiction was orchids.
and beer and food.

Archie's was females, it would almost get him killed on occasion.
  #33  
Old 04-27-2012, 10:22 AM
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The basic trope is the sidekick serves as the stand-in for the readers. He asks the questions the readers are wondering and the hero explaining things to the sidekick serves as exposition.
I wanted to mention Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin from the Master and Commander series as an example of this trope. They are a particularly interesting pair because each is hyper-competent in their own field and incompetent in their partner's, so each one takes a turn as the reader stand-in.

They don't fight crime, though.
  #34  
Old 04-27-2012, 10:36 AM
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Wendell Urth and H. Seaton Davenport from Isaac Asimov's "Wendell Urth" stories. Urth is an agoraphobe who never leaves his apartment. Davenport is actually a competent cop and manages to solve one of the mysteries without Urth being involved.
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  #35  
Old 04-27-2012, 10:48 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Shawn and Gus on Psych. The brilliant unconventional detective who is addicted to Eighties pop cultural references, and his medical-supplies sidekick who can distract the police, comfort victims, and act like a grownup when necessary.

Last edited by Tim R. Mortiss; 04-27-2012 at 10:50 AM.
  #36  
Old 04-27-2012, 10:51 AM
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Batman and Robin?
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William of Baskerville and Adso, in The Name of the Rose. As suggested by William's place of origin, they're a deliberate homage to Holmes.
No to both; the junior partner is more of a protege or naif, which is a different kind of audience stand-in.

Batman makes a good Holmes; someone has got to have paired him with a Watson at some point in the thousands of stories that have been told over the years, but I don't know who. Alfred, maybe?

In comics, there's Rorschach and Nite Owl. Entertainingly enough, Rorschach, the unconventional brilliant one, is barking up the wrong tree the whole time until Nite Owl cracks the case.
  #37  
Old 04-27-2012, 10:59 AM
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R. Daneil Olivar & Elijah Baily.
  #38  
Old 04-27-2012, 11:44 AM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Lord Peter Wimsey and Charles Parker are a detective/detective pair, and Parker's not the narrator, but he's definitely the solid counterpart to Wimsey's eccentric brilliance.

Wimsey suffers from WWI-induced PTSD, but I don't know that you could call him "addicted" to anything. Music? First editions?
  #39  
Old 04-27-2012, 01:13 PM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is offline
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The professions are different, but I always thought Henry Higgins (irascible genius) & Colonel Pickering (more gentlemanly & recently returned from The East) were a similar pair of confirmed bachelor housemates in old London.....
  #40  
Old 04-27-2012, 01:16 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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Batman makes a good Holmes; someone has got to have paired him with a Watson at some point in the thousands of stories that have been told over the years, but I don't know who.
A number of team-ups with Superman pretty much went the way the OP described.
  #41  
Old 04-27-2012, 01:56 PM
Dendarii Dame Dendarii Dame is offline
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Rabbi David Small and Chief Lannigan.

The rabbi isn't popular with much of his congregation, generally because he won't compromise on a point of doctrine. (For example, he won't let a couple use a non-kosher caterer for their daughter's wedding.)
  #42  
Old 04-27-2012, 02:25 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin
I disagree with you- part of what made the Nero Wolfe series fun was that Archie Goodwin was NOT like Dr. Watson or Captain Hastings.

Watson and Hastings were in AWE of their detective friends, and were constantly flabbergasted by their friends' brillaince.

Archie Goodwin certainly respects Nero Wolfe, but unlike Hastings and Watson, Archie is a wise guy and a bit of an iconoclast. Watson would NEVER dream of mocking Holmes' affectations, whereas Archie Goodwin takes great enjoyment in teasing his boss and in ridiculing some of Wolfe's pretensions and peccadilloes.

Hastings would NEVER laugh at Poirot's dandyish attire. Archie Goodwin DOES laugh at the way the enormous Wolfe looks in his bright yellow pajamas.

Hastings would NEVER snap "Quit waxing your moustache and get to work" at Poirot, any more than Watson would tell Holmes, "You're behind on the rent- put down the pipe, quit playing your stupid violin, and start looking for a paying client!" But Archie Goodwin DOES rile his boss when necessary, and often has to drag Wolfe away from his orchard or from the book he's reading, and force him to get down to business.

Nero Wolfe is a British-style intellectual detective in the Sherlock Holmes mold. Archie is a wisecracking American gumshoe, in the Philip Marlowe mold. The juxtaposition of the two is what makes the series work.

Last edited by astorian; 04-27-2012 at 02:29 PM.
  #43  
Old 04-27-2012, 03:02 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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I disagree with you- part of what made the Nero Wolfe series fun was that Archie Goodwin was NOT like Dr. Watson or Captain Hastings.

Watson and Hastings were in AWE of their detective friends, and were constantly flabbergasted by their friends' brillaince.

Archie Goodwin certainly respects Nero Wolfe, but unlike Hastings and Watson, Archie is a wise guy and a bit of an iconoclast. Watson would NEVER dream of mocking Holmes' affectations, whereas Archie Goodwin takes great enjoyment in teasing his boss and in ridiculing some of Wolfe's pretensions and peccadilloes.

Hastings would NEVER laugh at Poirot's dandyish attire. Archie Goodwin DOES laugh at the way the enormous Wolfe looks in his bright yellow pajamas.

Hastings would NEVER snap "Quit waxing your moustache and get to work" at Poirot, any more than Watson would tell Holmes, "You're behind on the rent- put down the pipe, quit playing your stupid violin, and start looking for a paying client!" But Archie Goodwin DOES rile his boss when necessary, and often has to drag Wolfe away from his orchard or from the book he's reading, and force him to get down to business.
I see your point but I think you exaggerate. Watson does indeed occasionally scold Holmes for, e.g., his untidiness or his habit of shooting bullet-pock patterns in the walls and especially for his recklessness with regard to his own health (cocaine in particular). And Hastings does tease Poirot about his vanity and his obsession with symmetry and tidiness and so forth.

The classic sidekick is indeed in awe of his friend's brilliance, but he's also got a mind of his own and is occasionally quite critical of his friend. We're not talking sycophantic doormats here.
  #44  
Old 04-27-2012, 03:11 PM
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"Police detective and another police detective" seems a stretch, unless they match some of the other attributes (you may be right, I've never seen that one).
Wasn't Lewis initially newly promoted? So he's essentially a trainee.
  #45  
Old 04-27-2012, 03:20 PM
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I see your point but I think you exaggerate. Watson does indeed occasionally scold Holmes for, e.g., his untidiness or his habit of shooting bullet-pock patterns in the walls and especially for his recklessness with regard to his own health (cocaine in particular). And Hastings does tease Poirot about his vanity and his obsession with symmetry and tidiness and so forth.

The classic sidekick is indeed in awe of his friend's brilliance, but he's also got a mind of his own and is occasionally quite critical of his friend. We're not talking sycophantic doormats here.
Archie is more Wolfe's other, outside, half. Wolfe is the brain, trapped in one place, Archie is the body, roaming and reporting.
  #46  
Old 04-27-2012, 03:26 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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Archie is more Wolfe's other, outside, half. Wolfe is the brain, trapped in one place, Archie is the body, roaming and reporting.
Of course, the odd part is that Archie has solved a number of crimes without bothering to consult with Wolfe.
  #47  
Old 04-27-2012, 03:38 PM
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Thomas Magnum and Higgins
I don't see how that fits at all.
  #48  
Old 04-27-2012, 03:43 PM
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The House/Wilson is actually a homage to Holmes/Watson. Even the name House is a play on words (synonym of a homonym of Holmes). The series creator Bryan Singer alluded to this in some interview.
  #49  
Old 04-27-2012, 04:22 PM
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It's not really a detective thing, but I immediately thought of Buffy and Willow.

Although one of my favorite of Willow's lines is "I am NOT YOUR SIDEKICK!"
  #50  
Old 04-27-2012, 04:25 PM
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Lord Peter Wimsey and Charles Parker are a detective/detective pair, and Parker's not the narrator, but he's definitely the solid counterpart to Wimsey's eccentric brilliance.

Wimsey suffers from WWI-induced PTSD, but I don't know that you could call him "addicted" to anything. Music? First editions?
I came in to say Lord Peter and Harriet Vane, in the later books.
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