The difference between an actual PI or private investigator and say . Thomas Magnum of the television series Magnum, PI is rules and regulation by which the real thing abides by. While there is no actual statutory control over the investigation industry within the United Kingdom there is an association to which all good law abiding PIs belong and that is the ABI or Association of British Investigators which was established way back in 1913. This self-regulatory body sets extremely high standards for all who meet their criteria and become members. But once a member they have the backing of the association and can conduct business as private investigators proudly. On the other hand, Thomas Magnum, Nero Wolfe, Jessica Fletcher (Murder, She Wrote), and Agatha Christie s Poirot are fictional detectives and merely play the part for entertainment purposes on our televisions.
Call it artistic license or make believe
Many official private eyes or detectives watch the fictionalized characters on TV and laugh out loud over what their artificial counterparts can get away with. The regulations that apply to them are a far cry from what an Agatha Christie s Poirot did in nearly every episode. A Cockney private dick by the name of James Hazell was a wise cracking chap played by actor Nicholas Ball. His role mimicked those of Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe and went about his business catching the bad guy while making his own rules as he went along. But for him it worked. On TV you can even find private investigators who are teenagers.
So many loveable PI characters over the years
There have been hundreds of character type roles for private investigators or police since TV began. Many began in a book and transferred to movies and television and there was a distinction between police detectives and private investigators with roles like Cannon and Colombo being detectives who worked for some police agency. Even they did not quite follow the official rules that actual policemen must and that was the fictional part of the shows. They did not have to abide by every rule and regulation so they were far more interesting than actual cops.
Entertainment value outranks stuffy police procedurals
Entertaining police characters like Columbo, Peter Gunn or Barnaby Jones are fun to watch and the viewing audience gets caught up in their lives both professional and personal. These coppers actually have a personal life and we often follow as they go home to family and a somewhat normal life. The real police seemingly have no life other than the JOB and they are dedicated to solving crimes and saving lives. The TV cops are paid far more than those who risk their lives for us, the citizens, every day but that s to be expected because they are professionals! TV police have the advantage of being a bit better looking, taller, slimmer, and live lives that most of us envy so much so that we follow them weekly to see what they will be up to next. That just may be what television entertainment is all about. In any case it is fun to watch our TV heroes solve the dilemmas of the day.