Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-26-2018, 09:46 AM
iiandyiiii's Avatar
iiandyiiii is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 35,539

Which fictional detective is the most personally miserable?


Watching Hinterland on Netflix, I'm tempted to vote for Welsh detective Tom Mathias, but there's a long tradition of fictional detectives with absolutely pathetic personal lives. So who else is up there with Tom in terms of misery? Cormoran Strike might be up there too, though he's seemed to me to be reasonably content with his personal lot, pathetic as it might be in many ways.
  #2  
Old 08-26-2018, 09:49 AM
Happy Lendervedder's Avatar
Happy Lendervedder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Michigan
Posts: 15,169
Jessica Jones on Netflix seems pretty messed up and miserable to me. Utterly joyless, always drunk. Don't read the comics so don't know how she compares between the two.
  #3  
Old 08-26-2018, 09:51 AM
iiandyiiii's Avatar
iiandyiiii is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 35,539
Jones is another good example!
  #4  
Old 08-26-2018, 10:27 AM
davidm's Avatar
davidm is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Near Philadelphia PA, USA
Posts: 12,511
Sherlock Holmes needed to mainline cocaine to cope when he wasn't working.
__________________
Check out my t-shirt designs in Marketplace. https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...php?p=21131885
  #5  
Old 08-26-2018, 04:07 PM
Colibri's Avatar
Colibri is online now
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 43,082
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidm View Post
Sherlock Holmes needed to mainline cocaine to cope when he wasn't working.
But he's quite happy (after his own fashion) when he is working. He has a highly rewarding life, he lives comfortably, he has at least one friend (in his own fashion), and is the subject of public adulation. He's actually doing extremely well for a fictional detective.
  #6  
Old 08-26-2018, 04:52 PM
Beckdawrek's Avatar
Beckdawrek is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: So.Ark ?
Posts: 17,692
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
But he's quite happy (after his own fashion) when he is working. He has a highly rewarding life, he lives comfortably, he has at least one friend (in his own fashion), and is the subject of public adulation. He's actually doing extremely well for a fictional detective.
Well, there was 'the woman'.
  #7  
Old 08-26-2018, 05:08 PM
Alessan's Avatar
Alessan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tel Aviv
Posts: 24,726
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
Well, there was 'the woman'.
So? Every detective has one of those.
  #8  
Old 08-26-2018, 05:22 PM
Colibri's Avatar
Colibri is online now
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 43,082
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
Well, there was 'the woman'.
At least in the stories (actually, story) Holmes only admired her for her cleverness.

Quote:
It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind.
-A Scandal in Bohemia

To all appearances Holmes was asexual, and happy that way.

Last edited by Colibri; 08-26-2018 at 05:22 PM.
  #9  
Old 09-06-2019, 02:17 PM
EinsteinsHund's Avatar
EinsteinsHund is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: NRW, Germany
Posts: 3,050
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidm View Post
Sherlock Holmes needed to mainline cocaine to cope when he wasn't working.
His inspiration, Poe's C. Auguste Dupin, the first classic "detective" in literature, already was a very gloomy character.
__________________
And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
  #10  
Old 08-26-2018, 10:27 AM
Novelty Bobble is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: South East England
Posts: 8,978
Wallander, Morse and Rebus?

I don't think you are allowed to be a male fictional detective and be chirpy.
  #11  
Old 08-26-2018, 10:39 AM
don't ask is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Australia
Posts: 18,315
Stuart M. Kaminsky's Lew Fonesca is as depressed as they come. He is a virtually penniless process server who lives behind his office, uses the bathroom in the building, showers at the gym and only has a bike to get around. He is seeing an 80 year old therapist trying to resolve his issues after the hit and run death of his wife. The novels are set in Sarasota which makes a nice change.
  #12  
Old 08-26-2018, 11:38 AM
Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 28,920
Quote:
Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
Wallander, Morse and Rebus?

I don't think you are allowed to be a male fictional detective and be chirpy.
I noticed Wallander and Morse's melancholy (never saw Rebus) and wondered about it. A couple of times in Morse episodes, DS Lewis even told him to cheer up. (And then when Lewis became the focus of his own show, he was melancholy.)
  #13  
Old 08-31-2018, 08:02 PM
Morgyn is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: In the time stream
Posts: 5,819
Quote:
Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
Wallander, Morse and Rebus?

I don't think you are allowed to be a male fictional detective and be chirpy.
Peter Wimsey and Tom Barnaby are pretty happy fellows. OK, Peter still has nightmares from WWI, but for the most part he's got a fantastic sense of humor.
  #14  
Old 08-31-2018, 08:29 PM
Roderick Femm's Avatar
Roderick Femm is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: On the cusp, also in SF
Posts: 7,255
I have another candidate, Commissario Ricciardi. He is a detective in Naples in the early 30's, so among other things he has to deal with the politics of Fascism as a public official. But what makes him unhappy is that

He sees dead people.

Specifically, he sees the ghosts of people who were murdered constantly re-enacting the moment of their death, at the place of their death, and the ghosts say the last things on their minds as they died. This can occasionally be useful to a detective on a murder case, but virtually all of the time, the thoughts are opaque rather than useful. Also, since Italians are (in this universe) superstitious and paranoid, he can't share this curse with anyone, and he has to maintain a solitary and sterile existence, with his only solace being his old nurse who takes care of his household. There are two women who love him but can't have him. Because he is so completely upright and incorruptible, the other cops can't stand him. He is truly alone.
  #15  
Old 09-02-2018, 01:44 AM
Siam Sam is offline
Elephant Whisperer
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posts: 41,035
Quote:
Originally Posted by blob View Post
I think having a disorder that affects every aspect of your life would be pretty hard to deal with. Somebody without that type of illness can try to come to terms with whatever has come their way in life.
But does "pretty hard to deal with" equal "most personally miserable"? I'm not seeing it. I'm not saying Monk doesn't hurt, I just think there are some even more miserable buggers out there.
__________________
The two most interesting things in the world: Other people's sex lives and your own money.

Last edited by Siam Sam; 09-02-2018 at 01:45 AM.
  #16  
Old 09-02-2018, 01:49 AM
blob's Avatar
blob is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Australia
Posts: 940
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siam Sam View Post
But does "pretty hard to deal with" equal "most personally miserable"?
Well, I don't think you can say who is "most" anything because it's never a comparison of exactly the same thing, but there are lots of scenes that show just how much and how badly it affects him personally, I think it'd be pretty hard to live like that. He's irritating, yes, but he's also suffering, day in and day out. There's no respite from all of his compulsions.
  #17  
Old 09-04-2018, 11:10 AM
Just Asking Questions is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 7,364
Quote:
Originally Posted by blob View Post
Well, I don't think you can say who is "most" anything because it's never a comparison of exactly the same thing, but there are lots of scenes that show just how much and how badly it affects him personally, I think it'd be pretty hard to live like that. He's irritating, yes, but he's also suffering, day in and day out. There's no respite from all of his compulsions.
Don't forget, he did get respite. "Now" in the story timeline, Monk had gotten a lot better. Near the end, he resolved his claustrophobia by being locked in the car trunk with Harold. And after solving Trudy's murder, in the last scene we see Monk in, going on to a new murder scene, he looks genuinely happy. Like a huge weight has been lifted.

He made big progress from the pilot episode, or before, when he never even left his apartment for six years. I wouldn't be surprised if getting closure made a lot of his OCD recede.
  #18  
Old 08-26-2018, 10:34 AM
davidm's Avatar
davidm is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Near Philadelphia PA, USA
Posts: 12,511
Quote:
Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
Wallander, Morse and Rebus?

I don't think you are allowed to be a male fictional detective and be chirpy.
What about Poirot? I haven't read any of the books but on the TV show he always seemed chipper enough. Eccentric as hell, but happy.
__________________
Check out my t-shirt designs in Marketplace. https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...php?p=21131885
  #19  
Old 08-26-2018, 10:41 AM
Robot Arm is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Medford, MA
Posts: 23,549
Jim Rockford lived in a trailer, got beat up a lot, and the calls on his answering machine were never good news. He was cynical as hell, but seemed to be holding up okay.
  #20  
Old 08-26-2018, 10:47 AM
Wolf333 is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1,168
Adrian Monk
  #21  
Old 08-26-2018, 12:23 PM
Darren Garrison's Avatar
Darren Garrison is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 11,620
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf333 View Post
Adrian Monk
Yeah, I'm suprised it took to the 9th post to get the obvious answer.
  #22  
Old 08-26-2018, 12:33 PM
Riemann's Avatar
Riemann is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Santa Fe, NM, USA
Posts: 7,595
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
Yeah, I'm suprised it took to the 9th post to get the obvious answer.
The "troubled genius" trope is so common in detective fiction that Monk seems no more than an average example to me! It's as though you have to go as horrific as Blank Slate's example of Ash Henderson to make the misery notable.

Last edited by Riemann; 08-26-2018 at 12:34 PM.
  #23  
Old 08-26-2018, 01:13 PM
Roderick Femm's Avatar
Roderick Femm is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: On the cusp, also in SF
Posts: 7,255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
Yeah, I'm suprised it took to the 9th post to get the obvious answer.
I don't think Monk is particularly miserable. He has lots of issues but he mostly deals with them, he's in therapy, and he gets a fair amount of pleasure out of life. Yes, his wife was murdered. There's lots worse in a lot of other detectives' lives.

The Irish detectives that I have read seem especially unable to be happy. There's Ed Loy, in a series by Declan Hughes, who seems to not only be pretty miserable himself, but brings misery to those around him. Then there's Quirke, in a series by Benjamin Black; he's the Dublin forensic pathologist who drinks too much and can't seem to keep his nose out of things that get him beaten up.

But the most miserable detective of all is Ian Rutledge, Scotland Yard inspector. An officer in WWI, he survived physically but his mental state is crippling. In the war he had to execute his Scottish sergeant for failure to order his men to charge as ordered, and now he carries the sergeant's voice in his head. The voice gives him no peace and no quarter, although it also occasionally warns him of danger, since the sergeant knows if Rutledge dies he dies finally too. Rutledge is a very good detective but he gets no kudos because of bureaucratic jealousies, and he can never allow himself to get close to anyone lest they discover his secret -- the voice in his head would get him diagnosed with shell shock and sent to an institution.
  #24  
Old 08-30-2018, 03:50 AM
Bullitt's Avatar
Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SF Giants Nation
Posts: 25,900
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robot Arm View Post
Jim Rockford lived in a trailer, got beat up a lot, and the calls on his answering machine were never good news. He was cynical as hell, but seemed to be holding up okay.
Yeah but he drove a great car and had a popular theme song, so I’ll take it.

The Gary Busey character in the Tom Cruise movie, The Firm — he eeked out a pretty miserable existence.
  #25  
Old 08-26-2018, 10:52 AM
DCnDC's Avatar
DCnDC is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: The Dueling Grounds
Posts: 12,578
Gregory House. He's a doctor by profession, but really his job as "diagnostician" is detective work.
  #26  
Old 08-26-2018, 10:54 AM
wonky's Avatar
wonky is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: DC area
Posts: 30,703
Dick Francis has a protagonist in one of his books, Blood Sport, who is clinically depressed and suicidal. He was the first one who leapt to mind, though I don't usually think of Francis's characters as "detectives."

My guess would be something from Scandinavia. Or maybe they just make me personally miserable.
  #27  
Old 08-26-2018, 11:22 AM
Irishman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Denton, TX, USA
Posts: 12,546
I was gonna say Adrian Monk. Everything is an anxiety disorder for him. Going out, staying in, touching things, not touching things, being with other people, being alone....
  #28  
Old 08-26-2018, 11:54 AM
Blank Slate's Avatar
Blank Slate is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 5,460
Ash Henderson. He is the protagonist in a two book (so far) series by Scottish author Stuart MacBride (best known for the popular Logan McRae books.) Now, Henderson has plenty to be depressed about. Here is a brief synopsis of the plot:

Quote:
Detective Constable Ash Henderson has a dark secret

Five years ago his daughter, Rebecca, went missing on the eve of her thirteenth birthday. A year later the first card arrived: homemade, with a Polaroid picture stuck to the front – Rebecca, strapped to a chair, gagged and terrified. Every year another card: each one worse than the last.

The tabloids call him ‘The Birthday Boy’. He’s been snatching girls for twelve years, always in the run-up to their thirteenth birthday, sending the families his home-made cards showing their daughters being slowly tortured to death.


But that's not the worst of it, because...

SPOILER:
He's too late to save his daughter and after endless scenes of beatings, torture and other assorted mayhem, he finds her mutilated corpse.


But it couldn't get wore...could it?

SPOILER:
It sure could! Because after that, his other daughter is kidnapped by a copycat psycho. And guess what? He's too late to save her either. Yes, both daughters die horribly


One of the few times I was actually angry upon finishing a work of fiction. I love the McRae novels, but I'm not touching another Henderson book.
  #29  
Old 08-26-2018, 12:09 PM
RobDog is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Peak District, England
Posts: 2,049
Not quite a detective, but a criminal psychologist... How about Fitz from the Brit series Cracker? Wikipedia describes him as "alcoholic, a chain smoker, obese, sedentary, addicted to gambling, manic, foul-mouthed and sarcastic" which is a roundabout way of saying "Scottish"*

*kidding
  #30  
Old 08-26-2018, 12:09 PM
cmkeller's Avatar
cmkeller is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: New York, NY, USA
Posts: 13,454
I think Kinsey Millhone, in her fictional life, is miserable at the frustrating knowledge that she came so close to Z, but will never cross that finish line.
  #31  
Old 08-26-2018, 12:20 PM
salinqmind is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Liverpool NY USA
Posts: 10,146
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmkeller View Post
I think Kinsey Millhone, in her fictional life, is miserable at the frustrating knowledge that she came so close to Z, but will never cross that finish line.

*I'M* miserable, too, over this! I was hoping Z would wrap up with Kinsey writing from the present day in the 21st century, looking back on her last big case and updating us on what she is doing now, what happened to Henry and her exes, that kind of thing. As it is, I suppose she will forever be working away in the 1980's with the same old cast of characters, living in her tiny house, never moving on AFAIK.
  #32  
Old 08-26-2018, 12:29 PM
digs's Avatar
digs is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: West of Wauwatosa
Posts: 9,966
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmkeller View Post
I think Kinsey Millhone, in her fictional life, is miserable at the frustrating knowledge that she came so close to Z, but will never cross that finish line.
I happen to know that she's right in the middle of her last case as we speak! See, she got a call from an old high school crush, Matt, who's "working" in Switzerland, in a tiny mountain village (hence the "Z is for Zither" appellation). I won't spoil it, but the rumor is that at the end of the alpine adventure, she'll find out that Matt is actually Matteo von Graffengriff, next in line to restore the village's ancient-yet-quaint castle.

The reason we'll never read Z is for Zither is that Kinsey will be too busy making wedding plans and renovating the castle... and she'll never have time to type "Respectfully submitted, Kinsey Milhone."



ETA: She'll also have her hands full with the newest businesses in the village: Henry's Bakery and Rosa's Hungarian Café.

Last edited by digs; 08-26-2018 at 12:32 PM.
  #33  
Old 08-30-2018, 12:32 PM
Bricker is offline
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 56,416
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmkeller View Post
I think Kinsey Millhone, in her fictional life, is miserable at the frustrating knowledge that she came so close to Z, but will never cross that finish line.
Robert B Parker died in 2010, but seven new Spenser novels have been published.

Just sayin'.
  #34  
Old 08-30-2018, 01:55 PM
TreacherousCretin's Avatar
TreacherousCretin is offline
Horrified Onlooker
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Posts: 5,616
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blank Slate View Post
I'll second Harry Hole. The first two books in the series can be safely skipped but the rest of it is great stuff. There is a dark humor at work that offsets the self-loathing and binge drinking.
My vote as well. The first two books aren't all that great, but set the stage for the rest of the series which is terrific and IMO must be read in chronological order.

For what it's worth, I've read that in Norway his first name is pronounced either "Harry" like we say it, or rhyming with "sorry"; "Hole" is a common surname and is pronounced "HO-leh."
  #35  
Old 08-26-2018, 11:53 AM
Bijou Drains is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,418
Columbo never looked all that happy.
  #36  
Old 08-26-2018, 04:31 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 16,733
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bijou Drains View Post
Columbo never looked all that happy.
How do you figure? Near as I can tell, he seems to genuinely like his job — and he seems genuinely fond of his wife, and of his favorite restaurant, and of his dog, and of the music he listens to, and so on; and he doesn’t seem to drink to dull the pain, but because he just enjoys it, same way he just enjoys ice cream. Or reminiscing about old times. Or watching a good film. Or hearing a good joke.

Most of the time, he just strikes me as an upbeat guy.
  #37  
Old 08-26-2018, 05:48 PM
Tapiotar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,600
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
How do you figure? Near as I can tell, he seems to genuinely like his job — and he seems genuinely fond of his wife, and of his favorite restaurant, and of his dog, and of the music he listens to, and so on; and he doesn’t seem to drink to dull the pain, but because he just enjoys it, same way he just enjoys ice cream. Or reminiscing about old times. Or watching a good film. Or hearing a good joke.

Most of the time, he just strikes me as an upbeat guy.
I think that Columbo is very happy. He loves his job, he loves his car, his dog, his wife. And especially his raincoat. He's one of the happiest of detectives.
  #38  
Old 08-26-2018, 06:29 PM
Siam Sam is offline
Elephant Whisperer
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posts: 41,035
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapiotar View Post
I think that Columbo is very happy. He loves his job, he loves his car, his dog, his wife. And especially his raincoat. He's one of the happiest of detectives.
Side note: Until Mrs. Columbo got her own TV series, there was wide speculation that Columbo didn't really have a wife. You never saw her, and it was thought that making references to a nonexistent wife was one way of making the perp let his guard down.
__________________
The two most interesting things in the world: Other people's sex lives and your own money.

Last edited by Siam Sam; 08-26-2018 at 06:29 PM.
  #39  
Old 08-26-2018, 07:04 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 16,733
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siam Sam View Post
Side note: Until Mrs. Columbo got her own TV series, there was wide speculation that Columbo didn't really have a wife. You never saw her, and it was thought that making references to a nonexistent wife was one way of making the perp let his guard down.
But we’d see him telling other cops on the force about her at the end of an episode: after getting the perp to blurt out incriminating stuff, after which said perp was never seen or heard from again. Or, in the ‘vacation’ episode, we repeatedly saw a guy who works on the cruise ship flatly state that he’d seen her — including in the final scene, well after the perp had already been caught.

And et cetera, and AFAICT all before the other show ever hit the air...
  #40  
Old 08-27-2018, 12:05 PM
Just Asking Questions is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 7,364
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapiotar View Post
I think that Columbo is very happy. He loves his job, he loves his car, his dog, his wife. And especially his raincoat. He's one of the happiest of detectives.
Plus, on more than one occasion he's been seen whistling his own theme music! Most of us don't even have theme music.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Siam Sam View Post
Side note: Until Mrs. Columbo got her own TV series, there was wide speculation that Columbo didn't really have a wife. You never saw her, and it was thought that making references to a nonexistent wife was one way of making the perp let his guard down.
Nitpick - she wasn't his wife at the end of the very brief 13 episode run.

For detectives who are personally miserable, I'll nominate Jeff Goldblum's Raines. Raines saw dead people, but even he knew they were hallucinations. He feared the fact that he had them, feared anyone ever finding out (which would end his career as a detective) and feared he was actually going insane. The show only lasted 9 episodes, and I was worried that the only path for him was that he'd eat his gun.

Last edited by Just Asking Questions; 08-27-2018 at 12:05 PM.
  #41  
Old 09-04-2019, 01:47 PM
terentii's Avatar
terentii is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Moscow/Toronto
Posts: 18,226
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
How do you figure? Near as I can tell, he seems to genuinely like his job — and he seems genuinely fond of his wife, and of his favorite restaurant, and of his dog, and of the music he listens to, and so on; and he doesn’t seem to drink to dull the pain, but because he just enjoys it, same way he just enjoys ice cream. Or reminiscing about old times. Or watching a good film. Or hearing a good joke.

Most of the time, he just strikes me as an upbeat guy.
I agree 110%. His real sense of enjoyment obviously comes from watching the murderer squirm and sweat as he narrows in on him. Compared to hounding the suspect, slapping the cuffs on him is just the icing on the cake.
__________________
"Makes you wonder why we bother, eh, Fawlty?"
"Didn't know you did, Major."

Last edited by terentii; 09-04-2019 at 01:47 PM.
  #42  
Old 09-04-2019, 02:16 PM
SciFiSam is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Beffnal Green innit
Posts: 8,482
Morse. In the main series named after him, he's the typical miserable older detective with an alcohol problem and a classic car. He gets joy from classical music, so he's not without hope. But he clearly wants a life partner, and never gets one. He never gets the promotion he wants, he was sent down from Oxford for unfair reasons, he's not well liked, he's clearly very lonely, and he dies relatively young, with only a few colleagues to mourn him.

Then Endeavour shows that that was basically the pattern for his entire life. Other characters like Wallander had marriages and kids and seem to have had at least a few years of happiness when they were younger, but Morse tried to get that, worked hard for it, and never got it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapiotar View Post
I think that Columbo is very happy. He loves his job, he loves his car, his dog, his wife. And especially his raincoat. He's one of the happiest of detectives.
I think he might actually be the only lead detective in a major TV show who seems to be happy and have an OK home life.

Poirot is sort of happy. He's fulfilled, anyway. He had a lost love but not one that haunted him. He gained major acclaim and really enjoyed it. The only really sad part of his story, for him, was the way he died. (I don't think that's a spoiler).

Quote:
Originally Posted by LVBoPeep View Post
I've been watching The Tunnel lately with a practically chirpy Stannis Baraetheon and his miserable partner, Elyse Wasserman. I like the switching of roles here- Elyse is beautiful (played by Clemence Posey) and a total mess. Her twin died, she's a bundle of raw nerves about it every second of every day but she is of course a brilliant detective.
I LOVE that show. It does not get the recognition it deserves. Elyse might be a good suggestion, actually - especially given

SPOILER:
how things turned out for her, and how young she was when that happened. Most detectives have a past story that implies some periods of happiness, but her age means it's even more unlikely that she had any prolonged good times.


Stephen Dillane's character has some really extreme reasons for sadness that we actually see happen on screen, as opposed to us usually being told about them. But he also has good things going on and seems to be coping.
  #43  
Old 09-06-2019, 10:09 AM
Morgyn is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: In the time stream
Posts: 5,819
Quote:
Originally Posted by SciFiSam View Post
<referencing Colombo>
I think he might actually be the only lead detective in a major TV show who seems to be happy and have an OK home life.
Naw. As mentioned above, both the Barnaby's in the Midsomer Murder series have been happy with their lives, and other than the initial detective in the Death in Paradise series, the next two leads have been fairly happy (even if each had a tragedy early on, they've mostly moved past and are enjoying life and their job in the Caribbean). The detectives in the New Tricks series are also fairly happy in their lives. There are ups and downs, but it's not a constant gloom-fest.

I just noticed that all the series I mention are English. Interesting.

Well, Alan Cumming's character in Instinct was pretty happy with his life. Of course, CBS canceled that, the miserable bastards!
  #44  
Old 08-26-2018, 12:40 PM
iiandyiiii's Avatar
iiandyiiii is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 35,539
James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux is another example -- long-term alcoholic who has lost something like 3 wives to murder or accidents. And his best friend Clete Purcell, a private eye, is even more messed up. And they're both Vietnam vets who somehow are still getting into fistfights and chasing baddies well into the 2010s.
  #45  
Old 08-26-2018, 12:41 PM
Riemann's Avatar
Riemann is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Santa Fe, NM, USA
Posts: 7,595
Here we go

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.p...ctiveDetective
  #46  
Old 08-26-2018, 12:47 PM
iiandyiiii's Avatar
iiandyiiii is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 35,539
Quote:
Originally Posted by Riemann View Post
Great!
  #47  
Old 08-26-2018, 12:55 PM
k9bfriender is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 11,384
I'd nominate Dirk Gentley of the Dirk Gentley books. Been a while since I read them, but he was pretty miserable in all aspects. No friends, no money, a feud with his house cleaner over his refrigerator, and his clients seemed to have a tendency to die before they had a chance to pay, when he did have clients.
  #48  
Old 08-26-2018, 01:14 PM
ftg's Avatar
ftg is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 20,274
Quote:
Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
I'd nominate Dirk Gentley of the Dirk Gentley books. Been a while since I read them, but he was pretty miserable in all aspects. No friends, no money, a feud with his house cleaner over his refrigerator, and his clients seemed to have a tendency to die before they had a chance to pay, when he did have clients.
The guy had a really positive attitude! That's because of the whole holistic thing. He knew stuff would just work out.

Some of Douglas Adams quirks leaked into him, but not as much as Mr. Adams lived with.
  #49  
Old 08-26-2018, 12:56 PM
Sefton is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Stalag 17
Posts: 1,707
I nominate John River, whose only friend is the ghost of his former partner.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4258440/
  #50  
Old 08-26-2018, 03:48 PM
Son of a Rich's Avatar
Son of a Rich is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Barsoom
Posts: 4,303
Batman.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:53 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017