Sunday, May 28, 2023

List: Top 3 Movie Detectives

This week on Episode 325 of the InSession Film Podcast, inspired by Detective Pikachu, we decided to talk about the best detectives in film. Movie detectives are about as old as film itself. There are legendary characters that fall under the brand of “detective” as mystery and thrill help make up the backbone of many dramas. Whether it be classic noir, neo-noir or contemporary crime thrillers, there are so many characters to choose from for this exercise and we had a ton of fun with this list. That said, here are our lists:

(Note: Please keep in mind that we each had different criteria for our selections)


1) Jake Gittes – Chinatown
2) Robert Graysmith – Zodiac
3) Marge Gunderson – Fargo


1) Eddie Valiant – Who Framed Roger Rabbit
2) Brendan Frye – Brick
3) Rigby Reardon – Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid


1) Mills / Sommerset – Se7en
2) John McClane – Die Hard
3) Leonard – Momento

Honorable Mentions (Combined)

Scottie Ferguson – Vertigo
Holly Martins – The Third Man
The many iterations of Sherlock
Doc Sportello – Inherent Vice
Gay Perry – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Clarice Starling – The Silence of the Lambs
Bud / Ed – L.A. Confidential
Sam Spade – The Maltese Falcon
Will Dormer – Insomnia
John Anderton – Minority Report
Alonzo Harris – Training Day
Patrick Kenzy – Gone Baby Gone
Jackson / Holland – The Nice Guys
Jimmy Popeye Doyle – The French Connection
Frank Bullitt – Bullitt
Deckard – Blade Runner
K – Blade Runner 2049
Phillip Marlow – The Big Sleep
The Dude – The Big Lebowski
Nicholas Angel – Hot Fuzz
Harry Caul – The Conversation
Alex Foley – Beverly Hills Cop
Carter / Lee – Rush Hour
Ace Ventura – Ace Ventura
Riggs / Murtaugh – Lethal Weapon

Hopefully you guys enjoyed our lists and if you agree or disagree with us, let us know in the comment section below. As mentioned above, there are countless detectives to choose from for this list, and there’s a good chance we missed something from your list. That being said, what would be your Top 3? Leave a comment in the comment section or email us at

For the entire podcast, click here or listen below.

For more lists done by the InSession Film crew and other guests, be sure see our Top 3 Movie Lists page.

JD Duran
JD Duran
InSession Film founder and owner. I love film. Love art. Love how it intersects with our real lives. My favorite movies include Citizen Kane, The 400 Blows, Modern Times, The Godfather and The Tree of Life. Follow me on Twitter @RealJDDuran. Follow us @InSessionFilm.

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