Detectives, FBI Agents and Sleuths – Oh, My!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day, readers! I hope you've enjoyed a wonderful long weekend. Mine has been uneventful but I manged to finish one of my favorite TV shows - one that made me sad, and would like to share with you, this giveaway. If you've not read The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, Rosie is offering a copy in her first ever giveaway. Check it out! 
Last year when the release of Femnista, celebrating detectives, I wrote up this list of my favorite detectives, three-letter government agents and the likes. Below you will encounter beloved characters from both past and present television. Whether it is a driven deputy chief with a penchant for chocolate, a guy whose car is an antique or a slightly obsessed detective determined to right her mother’s murder, ammeter sleuths to characters that work best alone or a well-oiled team, my library of DVD sets that feature the “good guys” is… well, larger than it probably should be. Nevertheless, here are my brief thoughts and conclusions on those that have stood out. In order to be “fair” without showing favoritism (*wink*), I’ve alphabetized the characters.

Kate Beckett (Castle)
Occupation: NYPD Detective
Kate is one driven detective – she is a tough detective. Perhaps not any more so than the average television character, but her vendetta goes way beyond mental determination. Instead she is emotionally driven by a case she may never know all the answers too – or come to grips with. Paired with an arrogant (according to Kate) writer during an investigation that greatly resembles one of mystery-novelist Richard Castle’s plots. Needing his assistance on the case, Castle just won’t leave… even when the investigation is done! And, guess what: Kate has just been nominated as Castle’s newest “inspiration” for the titular characters in his latest book series. Seeing Kate meet her on-screen alter-ego in S3 was the most humorous meeting to date. 
Peter Burke (White Collar)
Occupation: FBI Special Agent
Initially, this character was not who kept me returning night-after-night to this show. Instead it was Neal, Mozzie and Elizabeth. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Peter, in fact I did, but for the most part, he was a little too… staid and outwardly unintelligent to seem all that interesting a character study. Turns out that is just what he wants us to think. Despite his fumbling through various romantic gestures or engaging in the simple act of flirting with his wife, Peter is no fool. Many a time has Neal’s mouth dropped when it is Peter who manages to coerce the information out of a suspect – and all without Neal’s assistance!

G. Callen (NCIS: LA)
Occupation: Navel Criminal Investigative Service Agent
Mr. Callen… here is a man who is nothing if not a mystery. Dedicated to his job and in that protecting his country from the bad guys, Callen is a man without a past. For a period of time, Callen doesn’t even know the first thing about himself – not where he came from, if he had family or not. Instead his family are the people he works with including his friend and partner Sam Hanna. He has no "need" or want to purchase a home or apartment and instead must be "forced" by his boss to put down even the barest of roots. 

Columbo (Columbo)
Occupation LA Police Lieutenant
Ah! Lt. Columbo – what more can be said about the now-iconic, rumpled detective who pegged the murderer within moments of meeting them? Played with confidence and the right kind of finesse, the late Peter Falk was spot-on brilliant in the unforgettable characterization. Through it all he drives his barely-running car, occasionally takes his floppy-eared dog to crime scenes, never is without his crinkled trench coat and he talks about Mrs. Columbo with the utmost affection but we never do meet her! How is that fair? 

Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock)
Occupation: Private Detective, Consulting Police Detective
I remember how much speculation there was prior to this British series premiere. I’d not read a great deal about it but I was quite excited to see it – especially given that I’d just been entertained by the recent feature film. This 21st century Sherlock is unforgettable. I do not know how Sherlock is meant to be portrayed, but I am told this interpretation is his ideal character. I will never forget how comedic his witty one-liners were, and if you’ve not seen this show, then you don’t know what a treat you are in for: you’ve never seen Sherlock quite like this. 

Brenda Leigh Johnson (The Closer)
Occupation: LA Police Department Deputy Chief
Heaven help us – what can be said about this woman? Competent and skilled as a detective, a craver of everything chocolate (check out the stash in her drawer!) she isn’t afraid of anyone whether it be her boss (the guy she has a past with) or the Internal Affairs investigator, she frequently clashes with numerous people. Her quest to earn the respect of her squad got her notice within the department, but I’ve a feeling Brenda has many challenges ahead as we enter the final *sniff* chapter in the life of this tough-as-nails southerner. 

Miss Jane Marple (Marple)
Occupation: Amateur Sleuth
Meeting Miss Marple was a loooong time coming for me. I really wanted to try the more recent ITV series but knew that there were “issues” which prevented me from seeing it. All of that changed a year ago and I now adore this grandmotherly sleuth who is never without her knitting bag and solves each case with a twinkle in her eye.

Jane Rizzoli (Rizzoli & Isles)
Occupation: Boston Detective
Introduction to Detective Rizzoli comes as she is confronted yet again with a man who terrorized her during her early days on the police force. Surrounded by her family and friend, medical examiner Maura Isles, Jane is as ready as she can be to face her daemons while everyone attempts to coddle her and protect her from the unknown dangers that lurk following the escape of the man she thought she’d never have to face again. I like that Jane is afraid but she also knows that – intelligent precautions aside, she cannot stop “living” just because a criminal is out to get her.

Team Gibbs (NCIS)
Occupation: Navel Criminal Investigative Service Field Agents
As you can see, I had a large group of people to choose from when this Femnista topic came up. Ultimately, I chose NCIS and am not sorry to have done so. Since this post is already quite long, I’ll let you read about them in the webzine should you chose.

Annie Walker (Covert Affairs)
Occupation: CIA Trainee
USA’s light-hearted spy caper is as breezy as its girl-next-door star Piper Perabo who plays Annie Walker. Annie assumes that her appointment to Langley is because of her skills – which includes knowledge of several languages but she uncovers a plot that goes deeper than that: her bosses are actually using her. Annie is unlike any CIA agent I’ve encountered. She feels deeply for people and struggles daily with the lies she is building – most especially where it concerns her family.

Michael Westin (Burn Notice)
Occupation: Ex-CIA Agent, Burned Spy
Michael is kind of like a 21st century McGyver – and he is quite good at it! Like every other character on this list, Michael has his share of family squabbles and is forever disappointing his on-again, off-again girlfriend (not that she is always right!), but whatever his faults, Michael is a genuine good guy. Now, all the ex-spy needs to accept is his life as it stands now.

Interested in learning more about these shows? Check out the “TV Show” link on the right sidebar for reviews on most of these shows!


  1. Thanks, Rissi!! I just now saw your post. :D

    And oh, my. I love several of the wonderful crime-fighting characters you mentioned. Hehe. :D

  2. My pleasure, Rosie. I wish you the best of luck with your giveaway. :-)

    I know, right: Aren't these crime-fighters totally awesome!? LOL! :-D

  3. Interesting, somehow I thought I would be "acquainted" with more of the people on your list than I am. I'm only "friends" (LOL, I couldn't resist phrasing it that way) with Peter Burke and the gang from NCIS. I recognize several others, but haven't actually watched their shows.

    Somehow I feel that I may be missing out....LOL! I keep thinking about giving Castle a try, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Anyway, great list, very interesting!

  4. I know, right!? Until you sit down and do something like this, it makes you realize one way or the other - either how many you do "know" or how few. In my case, it was the former - and these aren't even all the detectives! LOL! :-D

    The NCIS gang is a great team and I love their humor while Peter has really grown on me as a character - plus it helps that I love he and Elizabeth together. ;-D


    You've not seen Castle yet, Valerie? You MUST try an episode! It is totally awesome! :-)


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