Best Detectives in Horror

The police are a protective force, but their ineptitude is customary in any horror premise – they’re either unavailable or incapable – an earthly power dethroned. This not only unveils the severity of the circumstances– there being no protection of the law and order with which we’re familiar as security– it also reinforces the helpless condition of whoever’s victimized. A passive police force, sceptical or dumbfounded, has the person completely on their own consequently – the situation perhaps too much for their resources, whether from otherworldly machinations or absurd variables. There is hope, however, in a few detectives defying this convention in their special acumen for the most extreme to unusual of situations – we intend to list a few of these today! Conversely, there are those who’re laughable in their incompetence – we will be exploring these as a contrast in a separate list!

L Lawliet (Death Note)


L Lawliet Detective

A formidably amoral intelligenceto earn renown as the foremost private detective, consulting police agencies around the world with the toughest of cases, L is an eccentric force best equipped for confronting a mysterious ‘Kira’ – a vigilante killer on a mission to purge the world of abhorrent criminals. Sly and calculated, with unusual mannerisms to endear anybody, L is the ideal person to miraculously pinpoint a suspect who kills remotely with a mystical tool requiring only a name and face – the “Death Note”! A ‘serial killer’ is normally an immense challenge to apprehend, but L’s shear cunning overcomes all odds – the absolute unknown is another logical case to solve. 

Clarice M. Starling (Silence of the Lambs)

Clarice Starling Detective

Interacting with extremely dangerous psychopaths is no casual field day for any agent, where their hubris to inquire into the darkness may be their downfall, but Clarice does so with a ferocious purpose. Calmly interrogating the notorious Hannibal himself to solve another nefarious case, she withstands all his manipulations to fulfil her mission – utilizing his monstrous psychology for her own ends. Clarice is undoubtedly a detached, methodical force to deliberately tiptoe around the abyss and remain collected unlike Will Graham in the Hannibal television series. Shrewd and sharp, the most proud and gloating serial killers are little match for her easily underestimated demeanour. 

Rust Cohle (True Detective)

Rust Cohle Detective

A hard-boiled misanthrope embodying the acidic philosophy of Thomas Ligotti, Rust is steadfast in his commitment to a ritualistic homicide case with hallmarks of a cult, speculating it represents a rot underlying each echelon of society and is implicative of a wider conspiracy. Embroiled into an obsession which implodes his career and rapport with his partner, whilst pensive in his approach to the mysteries insinuating deeper horrors, Rust’s determination is admirable for the ultimate small victory against an unconquerable cosmic evil (metaphorical or tangible) – a powerful statement to be resolute over whatever sorcery protects the vast corruptions of our world .

Kenichi Nakagawa (Ju-On: The Grudge)

Detective Kenichi Nakagawa

Supernatural curses typically have a complex history and it would be easier to accept more tangible, straightforward answers, but Nakagawa not only researches a backstory unveiling the supernatural force as a hypothesis, he fearlessly attempts to amend the root cause of it – a house tenaciously killing anybody daring to trespass inside. Nakagawa bravely contends with forces outside of his jurisdiction and opens his mind to the maddening possibilities. The curse itself is no usual routine and he takes full responsibility for these dark forces in his neighbourhood – no sacrifice too much for his noble mission. 

Keokoa Shaw & Regina Moss (Malignant

Malignant Detectives

The duo are embroiled into a case of unfathomable body horror as a twist – neither could be prepared for either the reality of the suspect or the martial art skills they possess. The two, however, have an energetic partnership which endures the twists and turns of a rather erratic plot unfolding – they persevere until the trotting end approaches. Regina tampers Keokoa’s impulsive but proactive instincts into a more focused and thoughtful direction, completing these two as a necessary dynamic to face a chaotic culprit requiring a wild flair to begin understanding. Whilst Keokoa has compassion to guide along with a dazzling initiative, Regina has a strong wit and will to carry him safely. As with Fox Mulder and Dana Scully in The X-Files, these two function best as a partnership and not solo, deserving special mention as a team who would otherwise likely fail in their case. 

Mike Norris (Child’s Play)

Mile Norris Detective

Successfully hunting and killing the serial killer Charles Lee Ray, Mike Norris already proved his worth to eliminate a dangerous maniac, but when Charles returns with black voodoo magick, possessing a Good Guy doll named “Chucky”, he is a rare detective to follow through and believe the impossible. He not only survives the nightmare of a possessed doll repeatedly and acts courageously in such a ludicrous scenario, he remains around in conviction to finalise an intimidating duty – finishing the notorious killer once and for all, no matter their magical powers. Mike Norris avoids the stereotype of a doubting police officer in a horror movie and is never once a coward – he absolutely fulfils the allegiance of his profession which beckoned him against a slasher villain. 

Dale Cooper (Twin Peaks)

Dale Cooper Detective

All-American boy Dale Cooper possesses a mystical flair to his detective repository, bestowing him with an abstract skillset needed for a case bending reality itself – dreams his intuitive guidance over any concrete evidence. Charmingly amiable, he easily develops rapport with anybody, including persuading people to follow his unorthodox techniques to investigate, and was the ideal person to direct the investigation of Laura Palmer’s shocking murder – divisive as it was confusing. Without being as open and optimistically minded, not to mention immersing himself in the local community for cooperation, it is likely the FBI would have been stonedwalled from any clear answers – no other affable, insightful person could be as appropriate for such a unique case. 

Peter Strahm (Saw IV)

Agent Strahm FBI SAW

A whole police department was stumped at Jigsaw’s murders and elaborate traps, even succumbing themselves to his schenes, but the FBI’s involvement was a decisive change to the situation – Peter Strahm brazenly changing the pace of their hindered investigation. A no-nonsense, harsh approach would define his attitude – he was solely there to solve the case and not be likable. Confident, dedicated and decisive, he independently uncovers and verifies the final accomplice behind Jigsaw’s antics – a feat nobody else successfully achieved in law enforcement – whilst also ingeniously surviving a seemingly rigged trap to prove himself stern as ever. 

Fox Mulder (The X-Files)

Fox Mulder Detective

Superstitious whilst rich in esoteric knowledge, Fox Mulder deciphers a tremendous number of cases involving the supernatural – demonstrating a profound ability to ground history of folklore and mysticism into practical solutions equally as answers. On an impassioned crusade to unravel the unknown and alien, he has naturally cultivated the perfect mindset to resolve the deepest mysteries of any dimension. Beginning his career as a prestigious criminal profiler, which proves humans are complex as any supernatural phenomenon, he would progress onto exploring every kind of otherworldly enigma and conspiracies as a much mocked mission. He is the epitome of an investigator prepared to take on unthinkable horrors – Lovecraftian private eyes would idolize him.


Mike Harrigan (Predator 2)

Mike Harrigan Detective

Yautja are on earth to hunt humans with sportsmanship – they have advanced technology but restrict their weaponry to engage honourably. Los Angeles is a warzone in the 90’s – savage gang warfare on the streets – and Mike Harrigan is forged in such public disorder – an unshakable detective who’s able to take on organised crime as much as alien predators. His ‘street smarts’ not only solves the riddle of an alien incursion into his streets, he displays the toughness to duel with an alien experienced in slaying humans. Mike Harrigan is the archetype of a street hardened detective during the surging narcotics era – forceful, cocky and crafty. 

William F. Kinderman (The Exorcist 3)

Kinderman Exorcist 3

Sardonically humorous but personable, Kinderman is embroiled into the events of The Exorcist 3 as responsible for apprehending an unhinged serial killer with all the hallmarks of a satanic practice, and it soon becomes personal as a close friend is murdered in a cruel manner awfully described. Kind and dutiful, as an interesting contrast to Joseph Thorne’s corrupt wickedness in Hellraiser Inferno, Kinderman patiently unravels the demonic forces in play and tampers an understandably rising temper – his jovial nature grounding him into a righteous poise. He serves as the perfectly level-headed detective to contend with biblical evils and not succumb to any corrupting effects. 

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