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The Top Ten buddy detective duos


“Yankee detectives are always on the TV,
‘Cause killers in America work seven days a week

The Clash – “I’m So Bored with the USA”

Take two of the oldest tropes in media: comedy duo + crime story, and you have a formula that has been used almost more than any other cliché in the history of entertainment. Whether it’s buddy cops, buddy detectives, an odd couple of sleuths who may or may not be compatible (or have unresolved sexual tension), or some meddling kids who have a knack of getting into the middle, and then solving crimes, this formula has been one of the most successful, and most overused – second perhaps to the Hero’s Quest; but that is another list for another time.

The beauty of this concept is that it is so versatile. You can mix and match genders, professionalism, intelligence, personalities, age, race, and nationalities. Many duos have crossed over into multiple media outlets: novels; comic books; graphic novels; movies; television; and video games. And whatever and whenever the next medium is invented, you can rest assured that a buddy detective duo story will be one of its best sellers.

So without further adieu, here is our lists:

The Top Ten Buddy Detective Duos

Keith’s List

Names (Source)

  • 10. Matthew Sykes & George Francisco (Alien Nation)
  • 9. Tom Hanson & Doug Penhall (21 Jump Street)
  • 8. Nicholas Angel & Danny Butterman (Hot Fuzz)
  • 7. Alex Murphy & Anne Lewis (Robocop)
  • 6. Chris Leece & Bill Reimers (Stakeout)
  • 5. Axel Foley, Billy Rosewood, & Taggart (Beverly Hills Cop)
  • 4. Danny Costanzo & Ray Hughes (Running Scared)
  • 3. Christine Cagney & Mary Beth Lacey (Cagney & Lacey)
  • 2. Mike Lowrey & Marcus Burnett (Bad Boys)
  • 1. Martin Riggs & Roger Murtaugh (Lethal Weapon)

Honorable Mentions: James Crockett & Ricardo Tubbs (Miami Vice); Lee & Carter (Rush Hour); Dave Starsky & Ken Hutch (Starsky and Hutch); Nick Burkhardt & Hank Griffin (Grimm); Raymond Tango & Gabriel Cash (Tango & Cash); Frank Poncherello & Jon Baker (CHiPs); Rick Hunter & Dee Dee McCall (Hunter); Sledge Hammer & Dori Doreau (Sledge Hammer!)


My List

Names (Source)

  • 10. Christine Cagney & Mary Beth Lacey (Cagney & Lacey)
  • 9. Hercule Poirot & Arthur Hastings (Agatha Christie novels)
  • 8. Shawn Spencer & Burton Guster (Psych)
  • 7. Agents J & K (Men In Black)
  • 6. Jack Cates & Reggie Hammond (48 Hrs)
  • 5. Batman & Robin (various)
  • 4. Fox Mulder & Dana Scully (The X-Files)
  • 3. Martin Riggs & Roger Murtaugh (Lethal Weapon)
  • 2. Maddie Hayes & David Addison (Moonlighting)
  • 1. Sherlock Holmes & Dr. John Watson (various)

Honorable Mentions: James Crockett & Ricardo Tubbs (Miami Vice); Elijah Bailey & R. Daneel Olivaw (Isaac Asimov novels); Mike Lowrey & Marcus Burnett (Bad Boys); Vikki, Ricardo & Skip (The Bloodhound Gang); Encyclopedia Brown & Sally Kimball (Donald J. Sobol books); Danger Mouse & Penfold (Danger Mouse); Richard Castle & Kate Beckett (Castle); Seeley Booth & Temperance Brennan (Bones); Frank & Joe Hardy (Edward Stratemeyer books); Nick & Nora Charles (various); Hawk & Fisher (Simon R. Green novels); Remington Steele & Laura Holt (Remington Steele); Jane Rizolli & Maura Isles (Rizolli & Isles); Chip & Dale (Chip & Dale’s Rescue Rangers)

Next Podcast Unlimited List: Top Ten fictional spies


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