As with all popular detective stories — whether published or televised, self-serious or haplessly stoned — Bored to Death’s success rides on the charm of its central hero. Although the ever-bumbling Jonathan Ames (the character, not the author) lacks the stern masculinity of the fictional icons he emulates, he nonetheless embodies his forebears’ creative complexity — albeit with more neuroses and postmodern angst. With the premiere of Bored to Death’s second season newly behind us, here’s a chronology of past fictional detectives worth following in the future.
C. Auguste Dupin
Although the word “detective” had not yet been coined, Edgar Allan Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin was arguably the first fictional character to fit the mold — and thus, to define the archetype. Born into a wealthy family but leveled to more humble circumstances by undisclosed forces, Dupin is a master of deductive reasoning, fan of hieroglyphics, knight in the Legion d’honneur, and observant to a point of seeming supernatural acuity. His adventures are narrated by his close friend and side kick, whose identity remains anonymous in all the stories.
Recommended Reading: The Murders in the Rue Morgue: The Dupin Tales