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Vampire Detective Series

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"A 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:

  1. He (and it will be a he) will be a detective, either police or private.
  2. 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.
  3. Expect loads of drama related to his sire. (I Hate You, Vampire Dad, True Art Is Angsty)
  4. At least one unrequited love interest. (True Art Is Angsty, Who Wants to Live Forever?, Mayfly–December Romance)
  5. 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.
  6. He rarely, if ever, feeds off innocent people.

This might be because vampires fit so easily into the Film Noir Private Detective with their tendency to be out at night, tendency to wear long coats, messy backstories, inevitable love difficulties, not-so-clean morality, and in some sense of the word, a drinking problem.

Note that being a vampire is not an absolute requirement to qualify for this trope; hitting enough of the above list (preferably at least five of them, although an otherwise immortal character can skip out on any two of points 2, 3 and 6) usually qualifies the series as falling under this banner.

A subtrope of Friendly Neighborhood Vampires. Needless to say, when vampiric, falls firmly under Our Vampires Are Different. A specific type of Defective Detective, and a stock trope of the Urban Fantasy genre. Usually overlaps with Occult Detective, but doesn't sufficiently often that it makes the numbered list above.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City: The Confessor fits a number of these conventions. The Confessor is Batman as a ninja priest vampire. He’s a master detective, acrobat and martial artist who implacably and methodically stalks crime in the night.
  • I, Vampire: Although Andrew Bennett from the original 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.
  • The Tomb of Dracula: Hannibal King. Working as a private detective, King was bitten and killed by Deacon Frost while on a case in London, England. Horrified to find himself one of the undead, King vowed never to consummate the curse by passing it on. He subsists on blood purchased or stolen from blood banks and consumes only corpses or animals. For the most part eschewing his vampirism, King continues to operate as a private detective, traveling freely only by night.
  • Vampirella: 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.

    Fan Works 

  • 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.
  • Henry Fitzroy of Tanya Huff's Blood Books series (adapted to television as Blood Ties (2007)) 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.
    • Of course eventually there is a vampire private detective in the series...But they were a PI before becoming a vampire.
    • And the spinoff Smoke and Shadows series features Henry again, now as sidekick to a gay wizard who works in television - for a low-budget Vampire Detective Series!
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Night Huntress: Cat Crawfield is initially a half-breed vampire hunter who resents her own status as a Dhampyr. She eventually becomes a paranormal investigator and embraces her undead status.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Samantha Moon of J.R. Rain's Vampire For Hire series has held a private investigator job since she was turned.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel, although the detective business eventually morphed into a specialized demon-fighting 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.
    • Season 5 abruptly shifted the theme to a dark Occult Law Firm Work Com and an allegory for the corruptive influence of corporate American culture. A lot of plots still ended with fighting demons and such, but it's not like private detectives do that a lot either.
  • Forever Knight, the first television series version. It follows the exploits of Nick Knight, a reformed vampire who is atoning with the help of a coroner and the Toronto police. (The series had a big Canadian following due to being set in Toronto and not simply being filmed in Toronto.) It's a bit ridiculous that almost nobody in the police ever suspects that Nick is a vampire, but the show is self-aware and pokes fun at that fact with Nick's lame excuses.
    Captain Stonetree: Look, I've been doing you a lot of favors: You say you're allergic to sunlight, so I put you on the night shift. Then you say you wanna work alone. My instincts are kicking in me in the face, but I say, "Okay, let him work alone." But I am not gonna postpone this investigation when the sun comes up!
  • Moonlight: Mick St John is an 85-year-old PI who picks up dinner at the blood bank. He tries to cope with his vampiric existence by investigating other vampires who prey on humanity.
  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS Supers for 3rd Edition (Published in the late 1980s originally) Included a Broody, dark Vampire Detective who was part Batman and part Dracula.

    Video Games 
  • Rope Town Perils is a freeware game and series of stories about a vampire detective named Raven Blackblood. It's notable in averting many of the above bullet points note , being more about wacky misadventures than a serious piece of detective fiction.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • 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

  • Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Ishmael Jones Mysteries: Ishmael Jones, also from Simon R. Green, is an alien example: the Sole Survivor of a crashed space vessel, disguised as human but accidentally memory-wiped by his damaged and now-lost transport. Although not formally a detective, his work as an agent for the Organization keeps forcing him to play the part anyway. Due to Going Native, he sorely wants to live as a human, and dreads that intermittent flashbacks to his original, otherworldly identity will one day override his adopted one as a man. #4 is not applicable, as he's in a stable relationship with Penny Belcourt, although angst does crop up when either of them recalls that Ishmael doesn't age and will probably outlive human Penny.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • While it eventually became its own thing, the TV adaptation of Mike Carey's Lucifer got a fair bit of critique for turning Lucifer Morningstar into a police consultant for the LAPD, using his interest in free will and what humans consider sin - as well as his ability to get people to confess their deepest desires - to aid detective Chloe Decker in her investigations, mainly for the laughs.
  • The web game series A Matter Of Caos has the player character taking control of an Eldritch Abomination detective.
  • New Amsterdam (2008) 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.
  • John Taylor of Simon R Green's 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Vampire Detective