"...and I've laid eyes on at least three of the major Canadian syndicated vampire detective shows."
"A [reformed] vampire ... mostly tries to make reparation for his previous evil by doing good deeds—most commonly, apparently, going into the crime solving business."There are all kinds of job opportunities for sexy hemovores and solarphobes. Or so one would think, but noooo. You want to make a TV series starring a good guy vampire, or other immortal being? Well, after a few rounds of development, you're almost always going to have certain bullet points in your plot setup, just due to sheer parallel evolution and the fact that all pitches eventually morph into They Fight Crime!:
— Vivian Vande Velde
- He (and it will be a he) will be a detective, either police or private.
- He will want To Become Human, or at least will be actively regretting his vampire activities in the past and be trying to act more human than before.
- Expect loads of drama related to his sire. (I Hate You, Vampire Dad, True Art Is Angsty)
- At least one unrequited love interest. (True Art Is Angsty, Who Wants to Live Forever?, Mayfly–December Romance)
- Expect a load of flashbacks about how this case ties into something in one of the main character's previous lives, either directly or through resonance with past memories.
- He rarely, if ever, feeds off innocent people.
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Anime and Manga
- The Nightwalker anime actually has the epithet "Vampire Detective," and is heavily influenced by both Forever Knight and Interview with the Vampire. It follows most of the criteria, with a few subversions: the lead is a male private detective, regrets the evil things he's done in the past, was forcefully transformed by an evil vampire who had a one-sided homosexual relationship with him, has a closer-than-business relationship with his secret agent partner and a sexual relationship with the assistant college girl he turned into a vampire, had flashbacks during the later half of the series that tied into current Demonic Possession cases, and only feeds on willing donors. It's also a rare example of a vampire detective series ending on a positive note.
- Blood+ (Japanese Anime), though with female vampires.
- The manga Blood Alone doesn't have the private investigator as a vampire; instead he adopted one. But still all the elements are there.
- A female variant in Hellsing comes in the form of Seras Victoria, a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire who is reluctant about feeding. She even gets some detective work in a few of the episodes of the first series.
- Princess Resurrection: In chapter 54 of the manga, Friendly Neighborhood Vampire Reiri invokes this trope:
Reiri: You're right, this requires my skills as a Detective.
- Hannibal King from the The Tomb of Dracula comic. Also the Ur-Example.
- The Confessor from Astro City fits a number of these conventions.
- Although Andrew Bennett from DC Comics' original I, Vampire House of Mystery miniseries never called himself a Vampire Detective, his quest to eradicate the Blood Red Moon cabal often required investigation and pitted him against human criminals. I Hate You, Vampire Dad is inverted, as he's a sire hunting down his evil offspring.
- Vampirella has gone through periods where she qualified for this. The Human Aliens space vampire has often worked as an investigator for the Catholic Church or simply on her own to hunt down various monsters hiding out among mortals. Her primary love interest has been Adam Van Helsing but recently switched to Tristan the Werewolf. She's also been the figure of unrequited love for a number of other companions.
- Gerard Way's (Vampire) Detective Agency - An AU fanfic in which the members of My Chemical Romance and associated bands are supernatural creatures in a mystery story.  Subverted, in that the eponymous Mr Way is mortal but he solves crimes that involve vampires, and his butler, Frank, is a vampire.
- From the page quote: in an interview, Vivian Vande Velde cites this as one of her reasons not to write a sequel to her popular vampire novel, Companions Of The Night.
The aforementioned quote begins with: "In a one-time book, an author can make the vampire deceitful and mysterious in an intriguing way. But if a vampire is a recurring character ... you dilute the vampire by presenting him as reformed."
- Henry Fitzroy of Tanya Huff's Blood Books series (adapted to television as Blood Ties) is not one of these, despite getting drawn in to dealing with Toronto's supernatural weirdnesses pretty frequently; he just wants to deal with the ghosts or the evil wizards or whatever and get back to his real job... which is writing romance novels.
- In The Hollows series of novels by Kim Harrison, witch-detective Rachel Morgan has a vampire partner, the incredibly sexy Ivy Tamwood.
- However, Ivy isn't very old, she's female, and her angst isn't so much with her parents as with the leader of the vampires, who's more like an uncle. But there sure is a lot of angst.
- Mario Acevedo's Felix Gomez series of novels are about a vampire who is a detective, but the drama comes mainly from the near constant danger his investigations put him in, rather than from angst. In fact, one of the plot points of the first book was Gomez recognizing that he needed to overcome the angst because it was impeding his survival.
- The real appeal of these books, though, is just how cheesy they are, and how they manage to be compelling and interesting despite that.
- Despite being a literal vampire detective, Jack Fleming from The Vampire Files is an aversion of this trope: he doesn't express any desire to become human, the only angst about his sire is that she was murdered, his love interest is requited with no major problems and he rarely discusses the past. He is a Vegetarian Vampire, however.
- One of the founding examples: Blood Hunt (1987) and BLOODLINKS (1988), by Lee Killough. The protagonist is a homicide cop who's turned into a vampire and, after adjusting to his condition, hunts down his maker to bring her to justice and uses his powers to fight crime.
- Averted in the Discworld City Watch novels, which waited for seven books to add a vampire to the force at all, long after it had recruited dwarfs, trolls, gargoyles, werewolves, zombies, golems and gnomes. When Lance-Constable Sally von Humpeding finally does sign on, she subverts every aspect of this trope except being a Black Ribboner, and isn't even really there as a copper, but a spy for political authorities in Uberwald.
- On the other hand, Angua fits the trope quite well, apart from being a female werewolf with a steady boyfriend instead of a male vampire in a tragic relationship. Reg Shoe, a zombie who joined the Watch, averts this trope entirely, being happier as an activist advocating equal rights for the undead than he ever was while alive.
- Although never actually seen directly, Fred Saberhagen's Dracula novels indicate that Sherlock Holmes has a vampiric twin brother. This individual isn't necessarily an example, as he may not have gone into the same line of work, but it's an intriguing possible usage.
- New Amsterdam, Elizabeth Bear's short story collection (no connection to the TV series of the same name, listed below). Unlike a lot of recurring themes in vampire stories, Don Sebastian a) does not want to become human again b) the drama relating to his sire is only his sadness that their love was not as eternal as they were (and the news that she has died by the time the stories start c) his love interests are requited, though he knows that time will separate them sooner or later, d) no flashbacks, only mentions to episodes in his past. He is a Consulting Detective, though, and quite a good one - we see him doing much more detecting than vamping.
- Samantha Moon of J.R. Rain's Vampire For Hire series has held a private investigator job since she was turned.
- The Lee Nez novels are about a vampire who worked as a New Mexico state trooper and did regular undercover work. 1) Straight. 2) Averted: He was turned in the 1940s while serving as a state trooper, and because of his sense of duty never actually fed on anyone. He's got nothing to regret. 3) Subverted. He kills the vampire who turned him in the first book, but mainly because he's a cop and said vamp happened to be an escaped Nazi war criminal. 4) Averted: he married once, outlived his wife, and is currently dating an FBI agent. 5) No real flashbacks, but some cases do tie into him being a vampire. 6) Straight: vampires don't actually require human blood so he gets cow blood from a slaughterhouse.
- Parodied in Straight Outta Fangton as Peter Stone doesn't care about the law or vampire society in general but ends up roped into investigating mysteries for his creator. He doesn't particularly dislike being a vampire even with its extensive downsides and makes fun of Romantic Vampire Boy fiction. At the end of the first novel, he's made the bellidix (sheriff) of New Detroit.
- Possibly as a nod to this trope (it nods to pretty much all other vampire tropes), Genevieve Deiudonné in Anno Dracula gets her PI license in the 70s. Granted, this is after centuries in which she's been a mercenary, a physician, a coroner, a spy, and damn near everything else, so she was bound to get there eventually.
- Forever Knight, the first television series version.
- Angel, although the detective business eventually morphed into a specialized pest extermination outfit and the main unrequited love interest was offscreen, since Angel was a Spin-Off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Spike: You're "Angel: Vamp Detective" now? What’s next? Vampire cowboy? Vampire fireman? Oh, vampire ballerina.
Angel: I do like to work with my legs. [kicks Spike in the face]
- And though skilled in many areas, the fact that Angel isn't a particularly good detective does get lampshaded, to the point that he ends up having to hire a private detective in one episode, despite ostensibly being one himself.
- Franklin Mott in True Blood is both a vampire and a detective, but instead of the typical good guy, he's a psychopathic yandere.
- There's a Korean drama titled Vampire Prosecutor which is about exactly what it sounds like. It's about a Vegetarian Vampire with memory issues who solves crime, albeit as a prosecutor rather than the typical private investigator. He is assisted by a human detective, though.
- GURPS Supers for 3rd Edition (Published in the late 1980s originally) Included a Broody, dark Vampire Detective who was part Batman and part Dracula.
- Solomon Stone is advertised as being "the World's Greatest Half-Vampire Skateboard Champion Private Detective".
- Walking In The Dark: Said vampire in question is more a reporter, but same deal. He uses it to investigate supernatural ongoings.
- Freedom City Play By Post's Avenger, aka Jack Faretti is one of Dracula's many descendants, with the distinction that he uses his vampiric abilities like mind control and invisibility to pass for a non-powered costumed adventurer and fight crime. While many of his fellow superheroes are aware of his true nature, his deliberately cultivated 90s anti-hero persona makes him seem much less threatening than he really is.
- Mona the Vampire tries to be a vampire detective (with Charley/Zapman as a "superhero detective" and Lily/Princess Giant as a "princess detective"), but she just wears a vampire costume, plus all the strange happenings she investigates may or may not be all in her imagination...
Non-vampire examples that hit most of the numbered list in the description
- Highlander often fits this trope to a T, despite not involving vampires. (In particular, the TV series fits into the genre.)
- Note that it misses point 1, but yeah, the rest of the items fit (particularly if you substitute "teacher" for "sire").
- The immortals' need to kill other immortals and take their Quickening essentially makes them vampires who only feed on each other.
- Captain Jack Harkness, of the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood, fits this to a T. He's an immortal, ancient man from the future, who has been with us in real time since the eighteen hundreds. He wants to be normal and to die, he's had numerous tragic romances, numerous failed romances, and the agency he leads, Torchwood-3, is basically the Angel example above, but with no detective side and with aliens instead of demons, complete with their vampire-equivalent, Weevels (not due to any vampyness, but due to being common enemies with large fangs and a thing for humans, and being such a common pest in Cardiff that you wonder how there's a Masquerade there— before remembering there apparently isn't, outside of some story-needed idiots, seeing as grannies know who Torchwood are). Entire episodes, season endings, and even seasons, are all tied around his past, and there's plenty of angst regarding the source of his immortality.
- New Amsterdam definitely belongs here, even if the lead isn't a vampire but merely an immortal. Points 1, 2, 4 and 5 all bring it firmly under the Vampire Detective Series aegis.
- In Dexter, Dexter isn't technically a vampire, but he's obsessed with blood and kills only at night, so we'll take it. He fits all the requirements for the Vampire Detective Series but no. 4. (1) He is a cop (a blood analyst) (2) wants to be normal and (3) has a lot of daddy issues (his are 75% positive but it's a big deal). His daddy made him what he is, too. He (5) has lots of flashbacks about his earlier life, and he (6) only kills other killers. He fits even no. 4, since the Lumen story arc.
- Harry Dresden from The Dresden Files replaces vampire with wizard and sire with teacher, but otherwise sticks to the classical trope, complete with angst over love interest and desire to act human. The emphasis is lampshaded. Thomas might be a case of a secondary character being the Vampire Detective, given Backup and White Knight, but he doesn't do the private eye stuff for cash. It's just a distraction from his real job, which he isn't really doing for money either.
- Given that the skill-set for "reporter" is pretty close to that for "detective", Susan Rodriguez could rate as an example once she's infected as a half-Red, although her role in the Fellowship's crusade against the Red Court mostly takes place off-screen. Also, as Harry took out Bianca within hours of Susan's getting infected, #3 is inverted: it's her daughter that Susan worries about.
- Bit of a stretch, but F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack is probably as close to fitting this trope as an ordinary human is likely to get. He's an investigator of sorts, in that he's hired to find out what's hassling his clients and stop it (1). He's been living under the radar of authorities for so long, re-establishing himself in a legal identity so that he can marry his girlfriend isn't an easy prospect (2 & 4). His relationship with his father stagnated for years, because he couldn't admit that he works as a hired vigilante, not an appliance repairman (3). And while he doesn't have centuries of memories to flash back to, his confrontations with the Otherness invariably contain Shout Outs to previous books' encounters (5). He has strong ethics about only undertaking "fixes" that punish people who really have it coming (6), keeping innocent bystanders safely out of the crossfire. Oh, and he runs into weirder shit than anyone on this list except John Taylor and Harry Dresden.
- John Taylor of the Nightside series probably qualifies, if having Lilith for a Mom can substitute for having a vampiric sire. #2 and #5 are covered too, if flashforwards to a future where you've caused The End of the World as We Know It suffice as a guilt-generator. His eventual Love Interest, Shotgun Suzie, has issues of her own that prevent them from touching for most of the series. And whether or not John is immortal has yet to be determined: as was Lampshaded at the Griffins' party, time will have to tell about that qualifier.
- Kevin J. Anderson's Dan Shamble is a zombie detective, who was able to openly resume his profession after his death because it's The Unmasqued World. He doesn't have a sire (although tracking down his murderer was a major plot of the first book), and he's never succumbed to the addict's craving to eat anyone's brains, but he does struggle to maintain his body's integrity, for fear of decomposing into a half-skeletal horror. Oh, and his girlfriend's a ghost, so the angst of being unable to touch her is played completely straight. No flashbacks, but excusable given that he's only been undead for a few months.
- Dan also works with a retired werewolf police detective in one of his short stories.
- Played with in-Verse, as a successful series of detective novels based on Dan's exploits kicks off a craze for Unnatural Detective fiction, vampire detectives included.
- Lost Girl: Though not a true vampire but a succubus, Bo is close enough. She did not know she was different until she accidentally killed her boyfriend at age 17, causing her to run away from home. Ten years later, she still does not know what she is (she just thinks she is some sort of freak), until she is found by the Fae authorities. Rather than choose between joining the light Fae or dark Fae, she decides to remain neutral and becomes a supernatural private detective for the Fae or humans. Her 'Sire' issues mostly relate to why she was abandoned as a baby (being raised without any warning of what she was). Though not said specifically, Bo is trying to atone for her years of feeding and running, made possible because her Fae lovers can be fed on more safely until she learns how to feed off human lovers without killing them.
- iZombie is, as the name indicates, a zombie detective series. After being scratched at a boat-party-turned-zombie-outbreak, Liv becomes a pale, white-haired zombie, still fully capable, but now with a hunger for brains (which help keep her higher brain functions). She quits her promising medical career and gets a job as an assistant medical examiner. She finds out that, for a short time after eating a brain, she starts to get visions, memories of the deceased person, as well as some of their mannerisms and skills. She uses the former to help a police detective track down the killer, claiming to be psychic. She's also capable of defending herself, usually by going into "full-on zombie mode" (the fast kind, not the shambling kind). Only one human knows about her condition, her boss ME, who helps her (by covering up her brain-eating) and tries to find a cure in his spare time.