Private Investigators Name Sherlock Holmes Their Favorite Fictional PI

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A recent PI themed March Madness competition revealed that private investigators favor Holmes over other investigators and detectives of lore.

The mindset of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes is the same that investigators worldwide are required to have in order to do this job. [He's] one of the things that made me go after my first job.

In a recent private investigator themed March Madness competition, fans of the Official PInow Facebook Fanpage participated in a bracket that pitted fictional private investigators against each other. The fanpage, hosted by, a network of trusted private investigators, ran the bracket for the month of March and allowed fans to vote for their favorites and crown one fictional PI the winner.

“If Sherlock Holmes doesn’t win the whole thing I will stop being a P.I. and become a baker!” Texas-based investigator Scott Fulmer declared before the bracket was even released. Literary and film greats faced off against oddball characters and animated family favorites.

The Sweet Sixteen:

  • Sherlock Holmes vs. Hercule Poirot
  • Columbo vs. Batman
  • Remington Steele vs. Veronica Mars
  • Adrian Monk vs. Bones
  • Thomas Magnum vs. Crockett & Tubbs
  • Inspector Clouseau vs. Ace Ventura
  • Scooby Doo vs. The Great Mouse Detective
  • The Hardy Boys vs. Nancy Drew

Mission Possible Investigations delivered an omen early on, saying, “The way the bracket is set up it should boil down to Sherlock Holmes vs. Thomas Magnum.” The New York-based investigations firm examined, “Batman may have the best technology for surveillance but if this is a battle of the minds Sherlock Holmes wins! Hands down.”

With a Final Four of Sherlock Holmes, Adrian Monk, Thomas Magnum and Nancy Drew, few investigators were surprised when Holmes and Magnum faced off in the final round. As predicted, Magnum fell to Holmes in the championship match, but Magnum didn’t walk away empty-handed, winning a separate mini-match where fans awarded him the title for “Best Private Investigator Mustache.”

One surprising development of’s competition was when investigators shared their stories on how the fictional characters inspired them to pursue careers in investigations. Colorado-based investigator Michael Wells explained, “The mindset of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is the same that investigators worldwide are required to have in order to do this job.” Wells explained that Holmes inspired him to enter the profession at age 17. “One of the things that made me go after my first job was the old Basil Rathbone version of Sherlock Holmes,” he said, “I began to think like he did: examining every situation in the back of my mind and combining the facts to lead me to the next clue.” At 62, Wells explains that his mind still follows the same thought patterns. “I think I have done fairly well by listening and watching the way Sherlock Holmes taught me to.”

But participating investigators were inspired by PI’s of both fact and fiction. Holmes’s character was loosely inspired by Francois Vidocq, a French criminal turned private detective who was highlighted during several Famous PI Spotlights throughout the competition. As the father of modern criminology, Vidocq inspired writers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Victor Hugo and Edgar Allen Poe. Most educational programs for private investigation reference Vidocq.

In another spotlight, Jay J. Armes, an industry legend and the only real-life private eye to ever be made into an action figure inspired investigators after losing both hands at age thirteen and starting a private investigation agency after a brief stint as an actor. “I read his autobiography in 1973,” investigator Scott Fulmer said, “it’s one of the reasons I got into this business.” Other trivia noted fun facts about the profession. Allan Pinkerton, credited as America’s first private eye, once saved President Abraham Lincoln from assassination and was asked to create The Secret Service as a result, while Hercule Poirot is the only fictional character to ever receive an obituary in the New York Times--it ran on August 6th, 1975.

As fans laid down their loyalties and voted Sherlock Holmes the winner it’s quite clear that even private investigators often enjoy the mystique and literary history of their profession. PInow’s PI March Madness competition offered a fun activity for a hard-working industry, and as many participants wondered where people like Psych, Rockford and Moonlighting’s David Addison (we’re not sure Bruce Willis’s character would qualify as Willis worked as a private investigator before he became an actor) next year’s competition is sure to be a nail biter. EPIC Investigations & Consulting words conclude the competition best, saying, “Holmes is the most famous for a reason!”

About, a subsidiary of LAWgical, is the most widely used source for finding trusted and local private investigators. assists legal professionals, insurance companies, corporations, public institutions, government agencies and the public in locating a qualified investigator.

Kimberly Faber
2854 Larimer Street
Denver, CO 80205

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