The second animated series from De Patie Freleng Enterprises, and something of a Spin-Off from The Pink Panther series. The Inspector can best be described as what would happen if you turned the Mind Screw of the Pink Panther films Up to Eleven, while dialling down the incompetence of its main character. The cartoons feature the titular Inspector attempting to solve surreal crimes in his home country of France, and generally failing miserably. The other main characters are the Inspector's dim-witted Spanish assistant, Deux-Deux, and the Inspector's boss, the Commissioner.There were 34 cartoons produced between 1965 and 1969, making it DFE's longest running series apart from the animated Pink Panther shorts. The Inspector was also the companion series for the Pink Panther cartoons in The Pink Panther Show for its first three seasons, after which it was replaced by The Ant and the Aardvark.Both the Inspector and Commissioner were revived as recurring characters in the 1993 Pink Panther revival.
The Inspector provides examples of:
- Animated Adaptation: While the series differs in many ways from the live-action Pink Panther films, it's far more like an animated version of the films than the actual Pink Panther cartoons are.
- The Bad Guy Wins: The Inspector very rarely solves cases successfully, and even when he does, the bad guys still find some way to screw him over.
- Actually, the villains are almost always brought to justice, though it's often by accident rather than design.
- Butt Monkey: The Inspector only rarely wins at the end, and is usually screwed over when he does.
- Chained Heat: When the Inspector was transporting a criminal back to Paris while handcuffed to him, the criminal escaped with the Inspector being dragged along in an homage to The Defiant Ones. In the end, the Inspector managed to regain control of the situation when the two got stuck in a hay bale with the criminal immobilized.
- Early Installment Weirdness: An unusual example of late installment weirdness occurs in the 1968 short "La Feet's Defeat", in which Deux-Deux is recast as an eager new recruit and Butt Monkey.
- Expy: The Inspector himself, for the live-action Inspector Clouseau. Unlike Clouseau, the animated Inspector isn't dangerously incompetent, and while he certainly isn't very good at his job, he's much more prone to bad luck than bad judgement. Likewise, the Commissioner is in effect an animated version of Dreyfus from the live-action films, though he only lashes out at the Inspector in anger rather than actually plotting to kill him. He did throw a bomb at the Inspector for failing to protect him from a bomber, though this being a cartoon series, being blown up is just a minor inconvenience.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Sergeant Deux Deux's name is "two two" in French. Whether or not you were aware of that, it's still a Double Entendre.
- Hyper-Competent Sidekick: In the episode "Reaux, Reaux, Reaux Your Boat", Crab Louie appears to be this for Captain Clamity.
- Instrumental Theme Tune: Originally composed by Henry Mancini for the live-action Clouseau film A Shot in the Dark.
- Large and in Charge: The Commissioner towers over the Inspector and is typically roaring at the top of his lungs at the Inspector's latest goof-ups.
- Laser-Guided Karma: In "Les Misèrobots", the Commissioner got rid of the Inspector by replacing him with a robotic officer. The robot was so competent he also got the Commissioner's job.
- Mean Boss: Averted in the sense that the Commissioner usually has good reason to reprimand the Inspector for his goof-ups, but that does not excuse him being such a loudmouth tyrant with zero patience for any of his subordinate's mistakes or explanations.
- Only Sane Man: Either the Inspector or the Commissioner. If the Commissioner appears in the cartoon, then he'll be the Only Sane Man, and if not, then the Inspector himself will take on the role.
- Take That: "London Derierre" is basically one gigantic Take That against the British Police, mocking them because they don't carry guns.