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->''"I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun."''
-->-- '''Literature/PhilipMarlowe''', ''Farewell My Lovely''

A tough, cynical guy with a gun and a lot of {{Street Smart}}s, who solves mysteries with [[{{Determinator}} dogged persistence]] rather than astounding insight, the Hardboiled Detective was America's DarkerAndEdgier response to the classic ideal of the GreatDetective.

The hardboiled detective is generally a KnightInSourArmor or even an AntiHero who lives in a world of BlackAndGreyMorality. He's a PrivateDetective or AmateurSleuth--usually the former. His services are required because the police are [[PoliceAreUseless useless]], [[DirtyCop corrupt]] or [[BadCopIncompetentCop both]], so he'll never be a cop, though he may be a [[RetiredBadass retired]] one. Expect him to keep a [[INeedAFreakingDrink bottle of scotch]] in his desk, which is probably located in an office in the [[TheCityNarrows low rent district]]. Recent depictions typically include the trademark [[BadassLongcoat trenchcoat]] and [[NiceHat fedora]] over a rumpled suit, made popular by Creator/HumphreyBogart.

Originating in the early part of the twentieth century, hardboiled detective stories quickly became a major subgenre of MysteryFiction. Later, they became strongly associated with FilmNoir. Creator/RaymondChandler is considered the master of the genre, but it was Creator/HumphreyBogart's depiction of detective Sam Spade in the 1941 film, ''Film/TheMalteseFalcon'' (based on a novel by Creator/DashiellHammett), that became the TropeCodifier.

By the [[TheSixties 1960s]], the hardboiled detective had nearly become a DeadHorseTrope, but continuing interest in FilmNoir kept it from the brink of extinction. Today it is most often seen in parodies and [[FantasticNoir genre crossovers]] (the Hardboiled Detective [[RecycledINSPACE In SPACE!!]]), but can still be played straight in Noir revival or homage. The style, language and fashion of the hard-boiled detective tends to remain solidly anchored in the [[TheThirties 1930s]] and [[TheForties 1940s]], though, no matter where he appears. Expect him to call his gun a "gat", to refer to women as "dames" and their legs as "gams".

See also: PrivateDetective, AmateurSleuth, FilmNoir and FantasticNoir. Contrast with GreatDetective, KidDetective, and LittleOldLadyInvestigates. If the character simply provides first-person narration the way detectives in FilmNoir often do, that's PrivateEyeMonologue.
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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Gai Kurasawa, a minor character in ''DarkerThanBlack'' is an affectionate parody of the hardboiled detective.
* ''{{Manga/Gintama}}'' has an entire chapter parodying hardboiled detectives. The hardboiled detective in question uses the phrase to describe so many things that nobody knows what it means anymore.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Audio Play]]
* In Creator/TheFiresignTheater's "AudioPlay/TheFurtherAdventuresOfNickDanger", from the album, ''How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All?'', the character Nick Danger, Third Eye is a surrealist take on the trope.
* Decoder Ring Theatre's ''Podcast/BlackJackJustice'' follows the adventures of two hardboiled detectives, occasionally switching between their often-conflicting narratives.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Hannibal King from MarvelComics is a [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampiric]] hardboiled detective.
* Rorschach from ''Comicbook/{{Watchmen}}'' has some elements that seem like a shout-out to the trope, including the trenchcoat and fedora and the PrivateEyeMonologue (which is actually excerpts from his journal).
* Dr. Occult from TheDCU is a hardboiled OccultDetective.
* From the Franchise/{{Batman}} universe, Harvey Bullock is usually one of these. As was late 1980s supporting character Joe Potato.
* The nameless protagonist of ''Potter's Field'' by Creator/MarkWaid is another.
* ComicBook/{{Hellboy}} is an otherworldly version of the noir classic model, a heavy-drinking, chain-smoking, cynical demon with BadassLongcoat who sticks his nose where it doesn't belong, takes a beating, etc. etc. He's often referred to as "The World's Greatest Paranormal Investigator".
* The DC comic character ''ComicBook/MsTree'', created by Max Allan Collins, is a relatively rare female hardboiled detective.
* Steve Ditko loved Hardboiled Detectives, and his two (very similar) characters MrA and TheQuestion are objectivist takes on the Trope.
* The title character of the Spanish comic ''{{Blacksad}}'' is a hardboiled detective in the 1950s -- and a cat.
* Nightbeat from ''ComicBook/TheTransformers'', ''Franchise/TransformersClassics'', and IDW's "-ations" is a HumongousMecha homage to the genre, up to and including sporting a [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Image:MarvelUK-230.jpg fedora and trenchcoat]] and [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Bird_of_Prey! "Bird of Prey!"]] in particular being almost a retelling of ''Film/TheMalteseFalcon''. Whether he's an AmateurSleuth, a "consulting detective" for the Autobots, or a PrivateDetective varies depending on the continuity, but he always has the same general hardboiled, noir-ish personality.
* The two ''NathanielDusk'' mini-series from DCComics in the mid 1980s were a loving homage to the genre.
* The titular character from ''[[ComicBook/TwoThousandAD 2000 AD]]'s'' short lived gamebook/comic hybrid ''Diceman'', Rick Fortune was a variation on this trope, being a hard boiled ''psychic'' investigator with a pair of magical dice that could summon a demon amongst other powers.
* Dwight [=McCarthy=] of the ''ComicBook/SinCity'' series is a quite violent one of these, though he becomes more of a vigilante as the series goes on.
* Bigby Wolf from the Fables series has all the archetypes of a hard boiled detective. In a way, Bigby subverts it; many hard boiled detectives take beatings, but Bigby is the only one who can (and does) retaliate by turning into a wolf and delivering violent beatdowns on his attackers.
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[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/TheMalteseFalcon'' features Creator/HumphreyBogart as Sam Spade, one of the most iconic hardboiled detectives of all time, seeking revenge for the death of his partner and hunting for a [[MacGuffin missing statuette]].
* ''Film/TheBigSleep'' features Bogart again as detective Philip Marlowe, probably the second best known example.
* Another Creator/HumphreyBogart example is ''Film/TheEnforcer'', where Bogie plays a hardboiled district attorney chasing gangsters. As a lawyer, he's more the AmateurSleuth version in this one.
* A lesser known example would be the Bogart film ''Film/DeadReckoning''. He's actually an army man, so it's again more of an AmateurSleuth type, but Bogart had a cool PrivateEyeMonologue, which he didn't have in the more iconic Bogart films.
* ''Out of the Past'' is a classic FilmNoir starring Robert Mitchum as a hardboiled detective trying to escape his past (no spoiler to say [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin he's unsuccessful]]).
* Jake Gittes in Creator/RomanPolanski's ''Film/{{Chinatown}}'' is an homage to (and subversion of) the archetype.
* Parodied with hapless detective Rigby Reardon in the SteveMartin film, ''Film/DeadMenDontWearPlaid'', which features lots of actual footage from classic FilmNoir to add to the atmosphere.
* ''Anime/TheAnimatrix'': "The Detective's Story" stars a hardboiled detective.
* Eddie Valiant, the protagonist of ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'', which used appropriately parodic FilmNoir atmospheric touches.
* Creator/HPLovecraft in ''Film/CastADeadlySpell'' is an OccultDetective who is also a perfect example of a Chandlerian detective.
* Hoyle from the surreal and cerebral Noir/SF crossover ''Film/YesterdayWasALie'' is a distaff version, with fedora, trenchcoat and all, trying to find a missing scientist.
* Louis Simo from ''Film/{{Hollywoodland}}'' is a deconstruction loosely based on a real detective, Milo Speriglio.
* The 1971 film ''Gumshoe'', starring Albert Finney, features a London man who decides to adopt a Sam Spade-like persona to escape his boring life, and quickly becomes embroiled in a plot involving drugs, gun smuggling, and gangsters.
* Deckard (Creator/HarrisonFord) from ''Film/BladeRunner'' is more of a deconstruction, being an Antihero with [[DefectiveDetective some serious psychological conflicts]].
* Sam Diamond (Peter Falk) in ''MurderByDeath'' is a parody.
* Brendan Frye of ''{{Film/Brick}}'' is this despite only being in high school.
* Ed Harris as Ed Du Bois III in ''Film/PainAndGain''.
* Jeff, the tough and cynical PI in ''Film/OutOfThePast''.
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[[folder:Literature]]

* Creator/RaymondChandler's Literature/PhilipMarlowe, protagonist of ''Literature/TheBigSleep'', ''Farewell, My Lovely'', and other novels, is an iconic and much-copied example. Even the introduction to Marlowe in recent prints sums this trope up pretty well:
-->''I'm a licensed private investigator and have been a while. I'm a lone wolf, unmarried, getting middle aged, and not rich. I've been in jail more than once and don't do divorce business. I like liquor and women and chess and a few other things. The cops don't like me too well, but I know a couple I get along with. I'm a native son, born in Santa Rosa, both parents dead, no brothers and sisters, and when I get knocked off in a dark alley sometime, if it happens, at it could to anyone in my business, nobody will feel the bottom has dropped out his or her life.''
* Creator/DashiellHammett has several, most notably, Sam Spade in ''Literature/TheMalteseFalcon'', as well as the recurring, nameless character called Literature/TheContinentalOp, as seen in ''Literature/RedHarvest''.
* Though not a private investigator, the self-described "salvage consultant" Travis [=McGee=] from John D. [=MacDonald=]'s mystery novels is a detective as dogged, streetsmart, and heavy-drinking as the best of them.
* Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer is a postwar update.
* Nick Feldman's ''Literature/PutTheSepiaOn'' stars an unnamed detective who owes the lion's share of his personality to Spade and Chandler, though he's a bit more self-loathing and less effective.
* Carroll John Daly's "Three Gun" Terry Mack is possibly the UrExample of this trope, predating Hammett's Continental Op by several months. Daly's Race Williams is also an example.
* Rex Stout:
** Archie Goodwin, in the Literature/NeroWolfe series, was a partial deconstruction. Created during the trope's peak years, Goodwin had many of the classic elements, but he worked for Wolfe, the fat, home-bound GreatDetective. Archie did all the footwork and fighting, but tended to avoid the cynicism and world-weariness of the true hardboiled detective.
** Stout had another, much smaller and less popular series starring Tecumseh Fox, who was much more the straight hard-boiled type.
* Mickey Spillane's ''MikeHammer'' was an early, over-the-top, ultraviolent, KnightTemplar example who is often credited with helping turn the genre into a parody of itself.
* ''Literature/GarrettPI'' is the Hardboiled Detective RecycledIn a StandardFantasySetting.
* NeilGaiman wrote some short stories featuring LawrenceTalbot, the Wolfman, as a hardboiled private investigator. "Only the End of the World Again" is one.
* The ''Literature/MarcusDidiusFalco'' series starts out as the hardboiled detective RecycledIn AncientRome (though he mellows as the series goes on). Living centuries before Noir was invented makes him amusingly GenreBlind.
* Harry Dresden from ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' is part this, part SherlockHolmes (showing surprising deductive skills on occasion, to nigh SherlockScan levels), part [[LordOfTheRings Gandalf]]. With emphasis on the world weariness by around book 3. The snark continues unabated.
* [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] by Vincent Rubio in ''Literature/AnonymousRex''. He's a detective -- and a velociraptor! He claims he's not ''really'' hard-boiled, but he acts like he is because that's what the customers expect. He even uses the "[[Creator/HumphreyBogart Bogart]]" persona to pick up female dinos.
* Sara Paretsky's VIWarshawski is a distaff version of the (usually) male hardboiled detective.
* Lazlo Woodbine, from the FarFetchedFiction of RobertRankin, is a blatant parody. He insists on using the first person, getting knocked unconscious at his first appearance and can only appear in four scenes (his office, a bar, an alleyway and a rooftop). Considering the outlandish nature of his books, often involving things such as [[TimeTravel time-traveling]] Elvis doing battle with {{Eldritch Abomination}}s out to unmake existence, this makes things awkward.
* Eddie Valiant from ''Literature/WhoCensoredRogerRabbit'' is an homage.
* Conrad Metcalf, the protagonist of Creator/JonathanLethem's ''Gun, With Occasional Music''. is a hard-boiled detective in a world that doesn't really have a use for them anymore.
* Kinsey Milhone from Sue Grafton's "Alphabet Mysteries" is another example of a female hard-boiled detective.
* Rosie Lavine from Creator/MelisaMichaels' ''Cold Iron'' and ''Sister to the Rain'' is a Chandleresque hardboiled detective RecycledIn UrbanFantasy. (Though she prefers gin to scotch.)
* Patrick Kenzie from the ''Literature/KenzieAndGennaroSeries'' is an updated version set in Boston; a sort of homage to the classics, with all the style, but without many of the stereotypes found in parodies.
* Nohar Rajastan, from the Literature/MoreauSeries takes the trope into the BioPunk 21st Century, being an anthropomorphic tiger.
* Glen Novak, the "hero" of ''Literature/UndeadOnArrival'' is a violent thug who solves his own murder by beating everyone in sight until he finds the right one.
* Idriel Ramirez of the sci-fi noir ''Literature/NerveZero'' seems like he has to shoot his way through his homeworld to find his old flame.
* Literature/MickOberon embodies this trope, except that the bottle in his desk is milk, and he carries a wand in his holster instead of a gun.
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* The 1980s TV adaption of ''MikeHammer'' is either a straight example or a parody, depending on who you ask.
* ''Series/SpenserForHire'' was a rarity; a Hardboiled Detective with an even harder-boiled partner.
* Michael Garibaldi of ''Series/BabylonFive'' has flashes of this from time to time. Picked up, bizarrely enough, by G'Kar of all people.
* In ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', Dixon Hill is a hardboiled detective holodeck character that Captain Picard is fond of playing.
* Parodied in the Creator/PBSKids' show, ''Series/BetweenTheLions'', which had a recurring skit featuring "Sam Spud, [[IncrediblyLamePun parboiled potato]] detective".
* ''TheElectricCompany'''s [[PunnyName Fargo North, Decoder]] was as hard boiled as a kid's show could show.
* In a StorybookEpisode of ''Series/{{Fringe}}'', Walter casts Olivia as this.
* ''Series/KamenRiderDouble'' uses this concept as its main motif.
** Protagonist Shotaro Hidari very much wants to be hard-boiled but is too emotional, leading his friends to dub him "half-boiled"; eventually he realizes that [[TheHeart this is a strength]]. Each two-episode StoryArc [[BookEnds begins and ends]] with him doing a PrivateEyeMonologue, and the second half starts with [[StringTheory a corkboard diagram showing the character relationships]].
** His [[MentorOccupationalHazard late mentor]] Sokichi "Boss" Narumi, on the other hand, had [[EnsembleDarkhorse much more]] [[MemeticBadass success]] modeling himself on the Chandler-esque ideal of manliness. Chandler is name-dropped in TheMovie, and Sokichi named the young man who would become Shotaro's partner after Literature/PhilipMarlowe.
** Ryu Terui, although a police detective rather than a private eye, comes rather closer to the trope than Shotaro, with comparison explicitly drawn to his being the kind of person Shotaro aspires to be. However, all that goes out the window in his RoaringRampageOfRevenge quest to find the man who murdered his family. Thankfully, interacting with Shotaro and Philip helps Ryu level out, eventually leading him to marry Sokichi's daughter Akiko.
* ''MagnumPI'' has the [[PrivateEyeMonologue voice over]] and cynicism, but wears loud hawaiian shirts instead of a trenchcoat.
* ''RichardDiamondPrivateDetective''
* In the noir-esque South African Sci-Fi thriller, ''Series/CharlieJade'', Charlie is an homage to the older Chandler/Hammett style of hardboiled detective. He even sports the classic trenchcoat (though no fedora), and uses the PrivateEyeMonologue.
* ''Series/PeterGunn'' made from 1958-60, was a Hardboiled Detective with a [[TheFifties 50s]] Jazz cool to him.
* The main cast from the supernatural neo-noir series ''Series/{{Angel}}'' act as a general deconstruction of the trope, although play some parts to a T.
* In ''Series/QuantumLeap'', Sam Beckett leaped into one of these in the episode "Play It Again, Seymour".
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[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* In ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'', Calvin's imaginary alter-ego, Tracer Bullet, is a pure parody of the hardboiled detective.
-->"I keep two magnums in my desk. One's a gun, and I keep it loaded. The other's a bottle, and it keeps ''me'' loaded. I'm Tracer Bullet. I'm a professional snoop."
* ''{{ComicStrip/Garfield}}'' occasionally features Garfield as Sam Spade. Due to his being a cat, however, having people ask "[[StealthPun Spade]][[hottip:*: Spayed]]?" tends to get a "Why do people keep asking me that?" in response.
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[[folder:Pinball]]
* Nick Spade from ''[[Pinball/WHODunnit WHO dunnit]]'', complete with fedora and trenchcoat.
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[[folder:Radio]]
* On ''Radio/APrairieHomeCompanion'', the character of Guy Noir is a parodic example.
* In the ''Radio/CabinPressure'' episode ''Uskerty'', Arthur and Douglas are drinking in an airport bar, and Arthur tries to channel this trope.
-->Arthur: Hey you guy. The dames, eh? Yeah the dames. Stupid dames. Do you have any luck with the horses? No, the horses are all idiots. You know between the dames and the horses sometimes I don't even know why I put my hat on. That's how we talk in bars, isn't it?
-->Douglas: No, Arthur. That's not how anyone talks...anywhere.
* [[RadioDrama The Golden Age of Radio]] had dozens of hardboiled detective series, including
** Sam Spade
** Phillip Marlowe
** Pat Novak
** Jeff Regan
** Harry Lime
** Box 13
** Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
** Richard Diamond
** Bold Venture
** Big Town
** Michael Shayne
** Nightbeat
** That Hammer Guy
** Rogue's Gallery
** The Falcon
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[[folder:Roleplay]]
* Detective Bogart in Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG.
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[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* A ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu'' scenario included "Artie Gumshoe - Tough Private Investigator" as a pregenerated character, packing a .45 Automatic and with an illustration showing him with a cigarette wearing a fedora and trench coat, inviting him to be played like this trope.
* Joe Diamond in ''TabletopGame/ArkhamHorror''. He was even given this assignment by a [[FilmNoir classic]] [[FemmeFatale dame]].
* One of the first and third edition pregen characters in ''{{Shadowrun}}'' was one of these. Trenchcoat and fedora, too. And a .38 revolver. Just ignore the fact that he's an ork ... or embrace it, actually.
* {{TabletopGame/Cyberpulp}} is an in-development RPG about detectives fighting crime in a [[TheBigRottenApple New York like]] MegaCity where TheNightNeverEnds. The central character class of the game is meant to be this.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* In addition to the NeilGaiman example above, LawrenceTalbot also headined a short-lived webcomic in this vein, complete with trenchcoat, fedora, and PrivateEyeMonologue.
* Parodied in ''Webcomic/ProblemSleuth'', where the main characters think they are this, and occasionally do things like practice their hardboiled monologues or are drawn in {{Chiaroscuro}}. From the reader's perspective, they act more like unspeakably, unspeakably silly EasternRPG characters.
* ''MuktukWolfsbreathHardBoiledShaman'' is based on "the realization that shamans were kind of like detectives".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Richmond from ''VideoGame/SuikodenII'' is an homage to the classic noir version.
* Tex Murphy from the ''VideoGame/TexMurphy''/''Mean Streets'' series of noir/thriller video games is an AffectionateParody of the genre.
* Scott Shelby from the game ''VideoGame/HeavyRain'' is an aging, asthmatic retired-cop-turned-PI who's on the edge of hardboiled. (Softboiled?)'
* In ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney'' Tyrell Badd's appearance and demeanor are intended to evoke the hardboiled detective image. He has a bullethole-riddled trenchcoat, PermaStubble, a gruff and cynical attitude, and his color scheme is DeliberatelyMonochrome. However, he works for the actual police [[spoiler: when he's not moonlighting as a PhantomThief.]]
* Lewton in ''VideoGame/DiscworldNoir'' both embodies and parodies this trope, due to the Disc's TheoryOfNarrativeCausality; he doesn't know why being a private investigator means he has to wear a trenchcoat and fedora, but he's quite sure it does.
* Booker [=DeWitt=], the protagonist of ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'', is a hardboiled ex-Pinkerton PI sent on OneLastJob to clear the debts of his gambling addiction. Unlike most hardboiled detectives, however, his milieu is the bright, shiny, blue-skied floating city of Columbia (although you barely have to scratch the surface before realising how screwed up that place is, and that's before finding out about [[TownWithADarkSecret its real secrets]]...).
* Big Band, from ''{{Skullgirls}}'', is a hardboiled {{Cyborg}} detective [[MusicalAssassin outfitted with a suite of brass instrument-themed weapons]].
* ''MaxPayne'' borrows just as much from Hardboiled Detective fiction and Film Noir as it does the HeroicBloodshed genre. In the first two games, he's an actual police officer as opposed to a private detective, going on a RoaringRampageOfRevenge. The third game plays the spirit of the trope a bit straighter, however. Max is no longer a police officer and works as private security, and spends most of the game trying to rescue a DamselInDistress and overcoming [[TheAlcoholic his alcoholism]]. Though, the setting switches ([[{{Flashback}} mostly]]) from gritty and dark New York to bright and vibrant São Paulo.
* ''[[VideoGame/PokemonXandY Pokemon X and Y]]'' invoke this with a sidequest featuring [[PokemonDiamondAndPearl Looker]] (who notably wears a long trenchcoat), having you tag along with him in a series of film noir-esque cases. He even describes himself as "hard-boiled." Parodied as Looker isn't all that talented at acting dark or gritty, as hard as he tries. [[spoiler:Also subverted in that he isn't ''actually'' a private detective, he's just playing the role to hide his true status as an International Police member.]]
* Manny Pardo from [[VideoGame/HotlineMiami Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number]] is a detective working for the Miami Police. The first time you play as him? He goes to a shopping mall who's under siege by criminals, takes a shotgun from the trunk and slaughters them all.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' in ''Where's Wanda''; Timmy wishes to become such a detective after the disappearance of Wanda, and ends up spoofing Sam Spade and Rick Blaine.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'', Hank gets a fedora and affects a classic hardboiled detective personality whenever he's wearing it. It gets him laid for the first time.
* ''WesternAnimation/RubyRocketPrivateDetective''. Ruby.
* Parodied in the ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' episode "This Pun for Hire".
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