Detectives in Pop Culture

Posted by Stefani Sloma

Photo by João Silas on Unsplash.

From amateurs to policeman to private investigators, we’re a bit obsessed with detectives in pop culture. After questioning witnesses and examining the evidence, we’ve compiled a list of six of our favorite detectives. The results are in, and they are random and strange and possibly not the ones you would’ve chosen.


[Movie still from Sherlock Holmes, Warner Bros.]

Sherlock Holmes

Is there really any other character that would work as the first on a list of detective in pop culture? We certainly don’t think so. It’s elementary, our dear Watson. (Did you know Sherlock Holmes never actually said that in any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works?) Holmes has been around since 1887 and has since appeared in countless books, TV shows, movies, and more.


[TV still from Poirot, Carnival Film & Television and ITV Studios]


If we rely on our “little grey cells,” it only makes sense to have Hercule Poirot, the self-named “greatest detective in the world,” come next in our list. Don’t let his mustache distract you, Poirot (written by Agatha Christie) is a curious but brilliant character who first appeared in 1920 and has stayed in our consciousness for so long that a new movie about the detective will be premiering in November starring Kenneth Branagh.


[Movie still from Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, Warner Bros. Animation]

Scooby Doo and Shaggy

Zoinks! Any list of pup culture detectives would be remiss without everyone’s favorite dogtective. Scooby, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal, we love you even if you are a bit ridiculous. Anyone up for a Scooby Snack?


Nancy Drew

We fell in love with Nancy the moment she said “Read, read read” in The Secret of the Old Clock. We probably didn’t need more reasons to bury ourselves under a pile of books but we’ll take it. She’s an inspiration to many for her intelligence, strength, independence, and self-reliance.


[TV still from Veronica Mars, Warner Bros Television]

Veronica Mars

So she might technically be called a Private Investigator, but that doesn’t mean we love her any less. If anyone can warm this cold, cold heart of ours, it’s the quippy, sarcastic Veronica Mars. If you disagree, check yourself before you wreck yourself.



He is the World’s Greatest Detective, after all. Of course we had to add him to the list. Maybe he doesn’t solve his crimes in a strictly legal way—unless punching, cracking security systems, and holding criminals off the side of buildings has become legal now—but he gets the job done. We’ve got to give it to him though—he’s put away a lot of criminals in his career (even if they usually do break out again).


We know we’re missing a TON of amazing detectives on this list (The Great Mouse Detective, anyone?). Hop on over to Twitter and tell us who your favorite pop culture detective is @quirkbooks!