Hello everyone and welcome to "Thursday Thirteen"!
A quick introduction: My name is Colleen Collins, and I'm a writer a day, a PI by night (or sometimes vice versa). My current book, The Zen Man, features a man-and-woman private eye team (I often refer to them as the “21st century Nick and Nora”). Therefore, for today’s Thursday Thirteen I thought it’d be fun to list 13 popular sleuth couples or teams (because not all of them are romantic pairings) in books and film.
Nick and Nora Charles. They first appeared in Dashiell Hammett’s 1934 novel The Thin Man,
the last novel he wrote. But Nick and Nora went on to star in a string of popular Thin Man films, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, followed by a radio show, then a TV show that aired from 1957-1959, starring Peter Lawford and Phyllis Kirk as Nick and Nora.
Rick Castle and Detective Kate Beckett. They star in Castle, a witty TV drama featuring Castle (played by Nathan Fillion), a bestselling mystery novelist who gains the permission of the mayor to consult with the NYPD detective division, especially with the beautiful-but-tough Detective Kate Beckett (played by Stana Katic).
Batman and Robin. Batman, a comic book superhero whose secret identity is the American millionaire Bruce Wayne, first appeared in Detective Comics in 1937. Batman’s kid sidekick, Robin, joined him in 1940. Batman and Robin went on to star in comic strips, an animated series, games, and movies.
Maddie Hayes and David Addison Jr. They were opposites-that-attracted-each-other in Moonlighting, a quirky TV drama that aired from 1985 to 1989. It starred top model Maddie Hayes (played by Cybill Shepherd) who, after being swindled and left broke, inherits a run-down detective agency (ever notice how often women "inherit" detective agencies in stories?). She wants to sell this agency, but its sole remaining detective David Addison (played by Bruce Willis) convinces her to keep the agency and be its boss.
Jennifer and Jonathan Hart. Who can forget the married, amateur detective team in Hart to Hart, an 80s’ TV show? Stefanie Powers played Jennifer, a successful journalist, and Robert Wagner played Jonathan, a self-made millionaire. Let’s also not forget their burly chauffer Max, who – as was heard every week in the opening credits — “takes care of both of them, which ain’t easy, because when they met, it was murder.”
Sherlock and Dr. Watson. Probably the most famous sleuth team is Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson, immortalized by author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Emma Peel and John Steed. In the 60s television show, The Avengers, Diana Rigg played the intelligent and stylish Emma Peel, and John Steed the impeccable English gentleman. There were other actresses who played Peel in this series that ran from 1961 through 1969, but Diana Rigg won viewers’ hearts with her catsuits, fencing expertise and bon mots.
Agents 86 and 99. The secret-agent spoof TV show, Get Smart, aired from 1965-1970, and starred the bumbling Agent 86 (Maxwell Smart), played by Don Adams. Agent 86 was typically saved by his ever-faithful and uber-stylish Agent 99, played by Barbara Feldon.
Jim Rockford and Christine Dusseau. One of my favorites is the private eye TV show The Rockford Files that aired from 1974 to 1980. Did you know in 1975, Rockford, played by James Garner, had a lovely female private eye sidekick named Christine Dusseau, played by Stefanie Powers? I think there should have been more shows with Rockford and Dusseau. A few years later, Powers became part of another popular TV sleuth couple in Hart to Hart.
The Hardy Boys. The fictional Hardy Boys – Frank and Joe — came onto the scene in 1927, appearing to this day in mystery books for children and teens.
McMillan and Wife. Another popular 70s whodunit TV series, starring an attorney-turned-police commissioner Stuart McMillan, played by Rock Hudson, and his pretty-but-kooky wife, played by Susan Saint James.
Laura Holt and Remington Steele. This 80s sitcom featured Laura Holt (played by Stephanie Zimbalist), who – after discovering nobody wants to hire a female private detective – creates an imaginary male boss, Remington Steele. In the pilot episode, Pierce Brosnan’s character shows up to impersonate the mysterious and dangerous Remington Steele.
Rick Levine and Laura Fitzhugh. The hero and heroine in my murder mystery The Zen Man. For fans of The Thin Man series, it’s no big surprise that the second book I’m writing in this series is titled After the Zen Man.
There are other sleuth couples/teams that could’ve been on this list — such as the Mr. and Mrs. North novels or Jonathan Ames and one of his sidekicks in the recently cancelled HBO Bored to Death series — but the name of this blog is “Thursday Thirteen” so that’s the magic cut-off number.
Are one of the above sleuth pairings one of your favorites? Or do you have another crime-stopping team you’d like to nominate? Mention them in the comments and be eligible to win a gift e-copy of my murder-mystery The Zen Man plus a “Zen Man” T-shirt (size L or XL). I’ll post the winner’s name at the end of the day (it's helpful if you sign in with your email address so I can contact you — or add your email address in a format like sally (at) gmail-dot-com in your comment).
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