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|WITH his trademark mustache and bright red shirt, Thomas Magnum personified ’80s cool. A former US Navy SEAL, Magnum works as a security consultant for a mysterious author named Robin Masters and takes private cases on the side. As part of this sweet deal, Magnum lives on his boss’s sprawling Hawaiian estate and enjoys unlimited access to Robin’s beautiful Ferrari 308 GTS, which he uses often (and with verve) to impress the ladies. Consistently one of the highest-rated shows on TV, Magnum, P.I. ran for eight seasons and made Tom Selleck a household name and an Emmy Award winner.|
|ONE of author Agatha Christie’s most famous characters, Hercule Poirot has been portrayed on TV by a number of actors, but the role is most often associated with Englishman David Suchet, who has played the 1930s Belgian detective for 22 years. Unswervingly polite and charming, Poirot is a neat freak with an eye for detail who often attends high-society parties that end in someone’s untimely death. A man of keen intellect, he takes pleasure in outsmarting his opponents and usually forces them to confess their crimes. At the end of 2011, Suchet had starred in all of the Poirot stories.|
|EASILY the most celebrated fictional private detective, Sherlock Holmes was created by Scotsman Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the 1880s. Known as a master of disguise with incredible powers of deduction, the super sleuth first appeared on the small screen in 1951 and has since been played by a host of great actors, notably Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing and Jeremy Brett. In 2010, the BBC brought Holmes out of the Victorian era and into the present day with bold reboot, Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character. The network needn’t have worried, as the brilliant show won the 2011 BAFTA Television Award for ‘Best Drama Series’. Three new episodes aired in January 2012.
|BILLED as “Hotter than Bond, cooler than Bullitt”, John Shaft was one of the first-ever black P.I.s in fiction. A sharp-dressing, super-tough New Yorker with bags of attitude and an ultra-snarky temperament, Shaft doesn’t trust anyone and won’t stop until he gets his man. The character was so well received by the African American community that creator, Ernest Tidyman, was given an award by the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), even though he was white. After starring as Shaft in the hit 1971 movie, Richard Roundtree reprised the role in seven TV films from 1973 to 1974.|
|CREATED by Blake Edwards of The Pink Panther fame, Peter Gunn (Craig Stevens) is a noir gumshoe with a difference. While most fictional detectives of the 1950s and ’60s are clichéd hard-boiled loners, Gunn is a sophisticated hipster who loves jazz and has a sultry girlfriend
who sings at a trendy nightclub. Cool, calm and collected, he always solves his cases in time for cocktail hour. The series, simply titled Peter Gunn, is perhaps best remembered for its iconic, classic theme: the instantly recognisable ‘The Peter Gunn Theme’ (deservedly) won composer Henry Mancini one Emmy Award and two Grammys.
|BEFORE he was 007, Pierce Brosnan was a suave private eye… well, sort of. The premise of 1980s series Remington Steele is that licensed P.I. Laura Holt (Stephanie Zimbalist) is finding it tough to compete in a male-dominated industry, so she invents a fictitious boss named Remington Steele who is brought to life by a former thief and conman (Brosnan). Over time, however, Steele becomes Holt’s true partner and develops into an intuitive detective in his own right. Due to his commitment to the show, Brosnan was forced to turn down the role of James Bond in The Living Daylights, though he eventually stepped into the famous tuxedo in 1995′s GoldenEye.|
|HOLLYWOOD cutie Kristen Bell is precocious high school student Veronica Mars. Mars charges fellow students for her investigative services and moonlights at her father’s P.I. agency. While the short-lived neo-noir series didn’t rate well, it was a critical success, and the
sharp and savvy dialogue created for Veronica by Rob Thomas continues to influence TV screenwriters today. When the show was cancelled in 2007, die-hard fans sent 10,000 Mars Bars to the network to try to convince it to renew it.
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