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Detective Drama
aka: Detective Story

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Detective Drama is a type of Mystery Fiction that follows the cases of a central detective character as they investigate a crime, usually from initial investigation to arrest. The character is usually a police detective or Private Detective, but can also be an Amateur Sleuth or even a Kid Detective with acute sleuthing skills.

There are two varieties of Detective Drama, which correspond to the two basic types of mystery: closed and open. In a "closed" mystery, the viewer is as in the dark as the detective (and maybe moreso), and only learns the answer to the mystery when the detective reveals it. In an "open" mystery (Reverse Whodunnit), the viewer has an omniscient view of the plot and knows the solution to the mystery; the entertainment value comes from watching the detective unravel it.

For common types of detectives, see Cops and Detectives.


For a list of related tropes, see Mystery Tropes and Crime and Punishment Tropes. For a list of creators, see Mystery Story Creator Index.


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     Anime and Manga  

     Comic Books  

  • Gotham Central manages to put a standard Detective Drama into the world of superheroes within a comic book. Their foes might be Batman and The Flash supervillains, but the storylines are straight drama involving normal police detectives going about their work. Everybody said it would not work, but it wound up wining critical acclaim and several awards (but was still too good to last, the sales numbers never quite matched the praise).
  • Resident Alien stars Amateur Sleuth Harry Vanderspiegle, who also happens to be a stranded alien.
  • The Crusader chronicles the adventures of a Nazi fighting detective.
  • Ric Hochet tell the adventures of Ric Hochet, an amateur detective, who solving various crimes.
  • Ace Powers is the head of the city's detective bureau, and the comic chronicles his weird adventures.

     Fan Fiction  



  • The Three Apples, a story from Arabian Nights, is the Ur-Example. Basic setup; a crime occurs and Ja'far ibn Yahya has three days to solve it. However, it differs in that, not only does Ja'far not care about solving the case, he doesn't. The case is solved when the killer reveals himself. And during another case, Ja'far only solves the case at the very last second thanks to some blind luck.
  • Edgar Allan Poe's C. Auguste Dupin stories are the Trope Maker.
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens is considered the first English novel to have a major character be a police detective (Mr. Bucket) with a crime-solving role in the plot.
  • Sherlock Holmes is the Trope Codifier.
  • For the rest of the examples, see Detective Literature


     Live Action Television  

     Video Games  

     Visual Novel  


     Western Animation  

Alternative Title(s): Detective Story, Detective Fiction


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