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Androids and Detectives

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Del Spooner: Robots don't feel fear. They don't feel anything. They don't eat. They don't sleep.
Sonny: I do. I have even had dreams.
Del Spooner: Human beings have dreams. Even dogs have dreams, but not you, you are just a machine. An imitation of life. Can a robot write a symphony? Can a robot turn a... canvas into a beautiful masterpiece?
Sonny: Can you?

Salt and Pepper Buddy Cop Show In Cyberpunk! When there's a series of mysterious murders or crimes taking place in a cyberpunk setting, the local gumshoe is paired up with a shiny new partner with all sorts of attachments. Usually done in the form of a Wunza Plot with one or both characters overcoming prejudices/technophobia. Sometimes the human detective will say something like "I hate technology" with the android responding "I am technology".

A lot of times this leads to someone asking What Measure Is a Non-Human?

Compare Cop and Scientist. A specific form of Fantastic Noir.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Heat Guy J, the eponymous J is a large stoic android always ready to hand out an epigram on what it means to be a man, who works with the 'cool' and laid back Daisuke (Dice). Collectively they form the investigative team of the Special Services Bureau in the city of Judoh.
  • In Dimension W, main character Kyoma is a technophobic bounty hunter who tracks down illegal power sources and their distributors. Early on, he finds himself partnered with Mira, a highly-advanced android. He spends most of the series casually insulting her.
  • Astro Boy: Though not technically cop buddies, Astro's crime-fighting often leads him to work alongside Inspector Tawashi. And by "works alongside", we mean "argues with". Pluto, Naoki Urasawa's re-take on one of the story arcs in the original manga, has Gesicht filling in both the detective and the robot role.
  • Armitage III plays this straight, down to the "I hate technology" exchange.
  • Appleseed, sorta. Less Android and more Cyborg; less Detective and more SWAT/Counterterrorism. Besides the Deunan-Briareos pairing, there is also the Deunan-Hitomi pairing; Deunan is initially shocked that Hitomi is a bioroid.
  • Giant Robo includes an android detective.
  • Ghost in the Shell is a variation, with a team of cyborg investigators (with much more of their bodies being cyber than organic). Togousa, being the least cyberized (and implied to be the most human) is The Heart of the squad, but most of the characters are shown to still be essentially human, even if some installments of the franchise seek to explore what that exactly means.
  • Steam Detectives pairs young detective Narutaki with a Robot Buddy named Goriki. They solve crimes together in a city powered by coal and steam. One interesting twist on this trope is that the robot detective is huge; he's built more like a tank than a crime-solver.

    Comic Books 
  • The comic The Surrogates is definitely noir and cyberpunk, as well as the movie adaptation.
  • Fables has the uneasy alliance between the Imperial Guard and the Brothers of the Sacred Grove (not technically robots, but magically-animated puppets with many robot-like mannerisms).
  • In Top 10, android cop Joe Pi has to deal with several cyber-phobic colleagues, including his new partner Irma Geddon.
  • The premise of Darkminds has detective Nagawa paired up with android Akane Nakiko (well, officially she's a cyborg, but it's more a matter of being an android with some biological components) to solve the "Paradox" murders, which turn out to have been perpetrated by one of Nakiko's prototypes.
  • Any Autobot or Decepticon in The Transformers with a police vehicle as their alt-mode tends to be some form of cop, though the exact nature varies. Prowl, for example, is a rabidly By-the-Book Cop (at least before he started suffering Sanity Slippage) while Streetwise tends to be portrayed as more of a Cowboy Cop.

    Films — Animation 
  • Osmosis Jones is a parody of this, with the "human" cop as a white blood cell and the "robot" cop as a pill.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • I, Robot, which is loosely based on Isaac Asimov's work. note 
  • In Theodore Rex, cyborgs and dinosaurs are commonplace. The main characters are a dinosaur and a cyborg (played by Whoopi Goldberg) who are buddy cops.
  • Robot and Frank is about a human and a robot as partners, in this case partners in crime. Despite this, many of the requisite tropes remain intact.

  • Isaac Asimov's Robot Trilogy, starting with The Caves of Steel, are the Ur-Example of this trope. These feature Earth detective Elijah Baley teaming with R. Daneel Olivaw, one of the very first "humaniform robots" — realistic-looking androids. Lije and Daneel are partners in the first book and remain good friends throughout the rest of the series, but each book of the trilogy examines a different facet of the relationship between robots and humans at a societal level. As the Ur-Example, it established many of the conventions of this trope, despite the lack of many traditional Cyberpunk elements (unsurprising, as the book was written before the advent of microcomputers, let alone the Internet).
  • Brillo by Ben Bova and Harlan Ellison. (It's steel fuzz, get it?)
  • The sixth book in the Thursday Next series, One of our Thursdays is Missing, has the fictional Thursday and her newfound clockwork butler Sprockett investigates an accident.
  • Discworld: No-one actually officially partners with them in the traditional sense, but from Feet of Clay onwards, Golems begin to join the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. They're treated largely in-line with this trope until eventually they're just treated as coppers.
  • The Alan Dean Foster novel Greenthieves deals with a detective who's paired with a singularly perverted 'humaniform' android, as well as a snarky (if only in his mind) Minder, basically a floating, orb-shaped AI.
  • Mia Sorelli and Gizmo in Colony Mars.
  • Lyttle Lytton Contest: From the 2011 entries, a line from Will Nicholes that has a "robot lieutenant" with a "humanoid partner".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Joey from Friends gets a gig as the human half of the TV detective team "Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E.".
  • Eureka by way of Jack Carter and Andy in one episode. Andy is back, as Jack's permanent deputy, Jo is now head of security at Global Dynamics, as of season 4.
  • Mann & Machine was a sadly short-lived 1992 series where Yancy Butler plays an android detective that, as is often seen in such series, her human partner didn't trust to make life-and-death decisions.
  • Holmes & Yoyo is one of the earliest TV examples, as it ran from 1976-77. It was a more comedic take on the idea than the later shows that would run with it, as Holmes tries to conceal the nature of the frequently-malfunctioning Yoyo (aka Gregory Yoyonovich) from the rest of the department.
  • 1973's Robot Detective had this going, though it hewed closer to the action-based Tokusatsu style common at the time.
  • Recurring character Hymie (a robot) would often team with Max during a case on Get Smart.
  • RoboCop had a partner in the spin-off TV series (and Officer Ann Lewis in the movies).
  • Future Cop: The first TV example, predating Holmes & Yoyo by several months. Based on Brillo (see Literature folder), but without giving Bova or Ellison any credit, or payment, until after they sued.
  • The sadly short-lived Total Recall 2070 (which always seemed more of a Blade Runner spin-off somehow) paired senior detective David Hume with Alpha Class android Farve.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, the android Data likes to play Sherlock Holmes on the holodeck, with his human best friend Geordi LaForge as Dr. Watson.
  • Almost Human has Karl Urban teaming up with a Super Prototype android partner. It's either law or department policy that all detectives must have an android partner, though most of them prefer the emotionless MX line.
  • The Doctor Who story "The Robots of Death" has a subplot revolving around an apparently unrelated human and robot (Poul and D84), who turns out to be a buddy cop team there to identify which person on the sand miner is secretly a terrorist. Unfortunately, Poul's Uncanny Valley phobia causes him to have a meltdown and D84 dies in a Heroic Sacrifice to protect the Doctor.


    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Snatcher is a prime example. You can choose how you treat your Robot Buddy, so you can either be good pals or you can be a total asshole to him.
  • In Fallout 4, Nick Valentine is both: He's a (self-aware) old-model synth who has the neural copy of a pre-war police officer, and has a Hardboiled Detective persona (and a significant amount of missing skin coverings).
  • Two of the hunters in Evolve, Bucket and Cabot, used to be partners in the Hub Marshalls. By the events of the game, they've been retired for some time, but the mutual respect they formed had them stick together as Planet Tamers.
  • Connor, one of the main characters in Detroit: Become Human is an android working for the police. He gets teamed up with Hank Anderson — a grizzled cop with an alcohol problem — to solve murders. Similar to Snatcher, you get to decide how their relationship plays out; either they become Fire-Forged Friends, or you effectively ruin Hank's life.
  • In Overwatch's comic "Searching", Zarya has to team up with the omnic hacker Lynx. Since she's one of the more bigoted characters in the setting, she is not happy about it but comes around at least enough to save Lynx' life when they are threatened by Sombra's EMP.


    Web Original 

  • Spoofed in Chuck Steel: Raging Balls of Steel Justice. The cliched claymation Cowboy Cop finds himself stuck with a Robot Buddy that's more interested in sexually molesting household objects than backing him up during a shootout. In the end Steel blows it away with his Hand Cannon, insisting that he works alone.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): A Cop And His Robot