This trope is confusing a common but not universally used police title with a character archetype commonly used as a story telling convention (ie a character trope).
By doing so, it is placing an arbitrary limit on a trope that could be defined in a way that makes it more commonly used. It claims to be one of the most commonly used protagonists in crime fiction, yet it has only 15 on page examples and 29 wicks (counting indices).
The page defines itself as "this is a plain clothes police officer who holds the rank of Detective Inspector or Detective Chief Inspector in British works, or Lieutenant in American works."
I see a couple of problems with that.
- We are defining a trope in terms of a rank that is used in some police forces, yet many different police forces might not use the same words, but still could provide characters that play equivalent roles.
- While "Lieutenant" might be the technical equivalent to the British rank, it terms of the role played in police detective stories, it is my observation that police lieutenants rarely play the staring roles in American stories the way that police inspectors do with British series.
- Many detective sergeants (or comparable ranks) even mid level detectives whose ranks are never given play a comparable story telling role the one that is described for the police inspector, namely as a older and more senior of a police duo, who is occasionally yelled at by Da Chief yet also has subordinates of his own.
Also, one final note is that we seem to lack a Police Detective
trope, to contrast with the Private Detective
and the Amateur Sleuth
I propose one of two solutions:
- A: Make this a supertrope for all police detectives.
- B: Make this a trope covering all police detectives who serve as the protagonist and chief investigator of a series and have subordinates of their own but are not Da Chief of their particular organization as portrayed, whether they be sergeant, lieutenant, inspector, chief inspector, captain, or some German or Japanese word I don't even know.
Also, it needs to be sent to YKTTW
to gather more examples, and the existing examples need more context than a name and a rank.
edited 16th Nov '13 4:22:04 PM by Catbert