As a genre, mystery is famous for its loners, guys like Jack Reacher, Monk and Lucas Davenport. But mysteries are also rife with bromances, all you have to do is look. What exactly is a bromance? The term is used to describe a non-sexual relationship between two men that are unusually close. In mystery, this can take the form of a traditional sidekick, a work colleague, or even a dog.
Here is my take on the top ten ten mystery bromances, in reverse order:
Number 10: Hercule Poirot and James Japp in the PBS Mystery! Series Poirot
Technically Poirot spends more time with Captain Hastings, but it is the unlikely evolution of his relationship with Scotland Yard’s Inspector Japp that is most impressive. The Brit and the Belgian are as different as two men can be, yet they develop a mutual respect and fondness for one another. Poirot invites Japp to stay at his house, and when Japp gives lectures about his career, he gives all the credit to Poirot. It’s a friendship of international detection perfection.
Number 9: Shaggy and Scooby in the Classic Cartoon: Scooby Doo, Where Are You!
This duo cannot be separated and although one is technically a dog and both are two dimensional. Shaggy and Scooby share interests, such as their intense love of food and running away from just about anything. Shaggy even eats dog treats (the so-called “Scooby snacks”) to be close to his friend, although some attribute this to other things.
Number 8: Shawn and Gus from the USA Network series, Psych
Best friends since childhood, Shawn and Gus have now teamed up to run a psychic detective agency where fun is often prioritized over the psychic crime solving. Although they are polar opposites, their mutual passion for anything from the 80s to quatros quesos dos fritos make them fabulous to watch.
Number 7: Magnum and Higgins (and TC and Rick) from Magnum P.I.
Thomas Magnum and Jonathan Quail Higgins are yet another unlikely pair. One refined and formal focused on garden shows and club dinners, and the other into drinking beer with his buddies. (A bit like The Odd Couple, in fact!) But as many times as they argue, and as many times as Magnum gets on Higgins’ last nerve, their deep sense of right and wrong binds this friendship together.
Number 6: Detectives Ryan and Esposito from ABC’s Castle
The romantic tension between Beckett and Castle might be the star of the show, but Kevin Ryan and Javier Esposito super sidekick bromance often steals it. This bromance even has its own fan fiction website. The friendship between this comedic duo will be seriously tested this season.
Number 5: Detectives Flynn and Provenza from The Closer
Flynn and Provenza were already late for the Dodger game when an unexpected dead body showed up in Provenza’s garage. The two decided to head to Dodger Stadium, and call in the murder after the game. Why waste skybox seats when the poor slob was already dead? This episode alone would land them in the top ten, but there’s so much more.
Number 4: Starsky and Hutch from the 70s TV series.
Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchenson, the well-read, deep thinker, and David Michael Starsky, the brash former Brooklynite, are tough guy opposites, but through car chases and crime fighting, they weren’t afraid to show their affection for one another. And then there was Huggy Bear.
Number 3: Elvis Cole and Joe Pike from the books by Robert Crais
Elvis Cole has Disney figurines on his desk and wears Hawaiian shirts, while Joe wears his sunglasses—all the time. If you haven’t read this series, you’d be well-advised to start at the beginning with The Monkey’s Raincoat. Elvis is the protagonist in most of these books, but, trust me, if you ever get in trouble you want Joe Pike to back you up. The next book in this series is due out in January 2012 and Joe will get his second run as the star of the show when Elvis gets Taken.
Number 2: Spenser and Hawk from the TV show Spenser for Hire and the books by Robert B. Parker
Both the books by Robert B. Parker, and the old TV series Spenser for Hire starring Robert Urich and Avery Brooks feature Spenser and Hawk as good friends who often draw the line between good and evil in different places. It’s a complicated friendship that often makes the thoughtful Spenser question his own behavior.
Number 1: Sherlock and Watson
Each Sherlock and Watson portrayal is different, but this relationship is always a bromance, otherwise why would Watson spend so much chronicling their adventures and why would Sherlock allow him to tag along? They live, fight and detect together. Occasionally, they even allow their affection for one another to show through. It’s the fact that this bromance can last through so many different imaginings—the books, multiple TV series and multiple movies—that make it number one.
So there you have it, my take on the top ten mystery bromances of all time. Who did I miss? What’s your favorite mystery bromance?
Deborah Lacy is an avid mystery reader who lives in California.