You know the expression "cunning as a fox"? Well, Inspector Fox doesn't quite live up to his name. Not to say he isn't clever - he very much is - but "cunning" isn't quite the right word for it. He's more of a classic bloodhound type: a rumpled, portly, plain-speaking copper who sniffs out clues wherever he goes. That's what makes him the perfect companion to the sleek, slender, and impeccably posh Inspector Alleyn, who affectionately dubs him "Brer Fox". They may hail from very different classes (in an era when these things mattered), but they make a perfect partnership.
You can't get much more yin and yang than George Gently and John Bacchus. Just compare them: George is a mature silver fox with a gentle, thoughtful temperament who hails from London. Bacchus, meanwhile, is a mop-haired whippersnapper from the North with the kind of fiery temper that could almost lead him to cross over into "bent copper" territory if he's not careful. Fortunately, he has George to keep him on the straight and narrow. In return, he proves to be a brilliantly dynamic sidekick, injecting real energy into the cases they crack. That's when he isn't barking at suspects and treating witnesses like they're in the dock, of course.
Is it even fair to describe Death in Paradise's Camille Bordey as a mere "sidekick"? After all, she was already working as a cop on the island of Saint Marie long before befuddled English detective Richard Poole showed up in his too-tight suit. At first they fought like cats and dogs - she called him annoying, while he just huffed and puffed and flailed about in irritation. And yet... a grudging friendship developed, which blossomed into genuine affection. Camille proved an invaluable asset to Poole, helping him understand the ways of the Caribbean, and even getting him to kick off his shoes and go paddling in the surf. For a few seconds. Before he splashed back to the show in fright. Well, you can't expect the lady to work miracles...
And the award for best sidekick name ever goes to... Magersfontein Lugg. It's not just his name that's colourful: so is his backstory. Lugg was once a criminal himself before changing his ways and becoming the faithful manservant of gentleman detective Campion. He's the chalk to Campion's cheese: a man of earthy wit and wisdom, fond of sinking pints and given to complaining to his suave boss about all the odd jobs Campion makes him do. But, while he may be uncouth, Lugg is also invaluable, able to ferret out clues and supply his master with insider gossip that comes in mighty handy when solving cases.
Jonathan Creek's original and most iconic sidekick, Maddy Magellen is everything Jonathan isn't: bolshy, gobby, and supremely self-confident. Well, in public anyway. When she isn't blustering about and sticking her oar in, she can be a bit of a neurotic shambles. Still, her brazen demeanor makes her an effective investigative journalist, and during her time with Jonathan she helped him come out of his shell and make headway in various cases. In fact, without Maddy, he may well have never shuffled out of the comfort zone of his windmill. Just don't mention the time they slept together...
Ah yes, the quintessential sidekick. The man who set the template for all long-suffering partners to come after him. Dr John Watson: medical man, war veteran, and chief witness to the deeds of Sherlock Holmes. The modern incarnation, hitting the streets of London with the 21st Century Sherlock, is far from being the buffoonish Watson of popular imagination.
Level-headed and sharp-minded, he does his best to keep Sherlock grounded, and while he is naturally in awe of his colleague's brilliance, he also knows how to put him down a peg or two. As Watson himself says:
We solve crimes, I blog about it, and he forgets his pants.