I know I'm probably blaspheming by talking about a TV show when I should be showing off how literate I am by mentioning some brilliant literary detective hero. The truth is, so far, I haven't been drawn to the detective literary genre. Maybe someone can change my mind with some suggestions. In the mean time, I will describe my favourite TV detective. (I will contend that TV is a literary medium as well, so there!)
So, here I go. My favourite detective is Adrian Monk, from Monk. Yes, it's kind of cliché that he solves each case neatly by the end of the episode, and to be brutally honest, the crimes featured each week could probably be solved by a mediocre detective using half his brain, on his lunch break. The crimes are not that complex, and the criminals not that brainiacal. So, really, Adrian Monk is the world's best detective, basically because they say he is.
Now, here's why I like him. Because he's broken. And not simply because he lost his wife in a terrible, horrific way—he was broken even before that. The soul and his memory of his late wife is what drives him, and what moves the show forward. So, she's basically a plot device. But, it's his brokenness that gives him depth and humanity. Heroes who solve crimes or save the day without any cost to themselves are not interesting. But heroes who must constantly overcome nearly impossible obstacles—well, therein lies true heroism. It's the act of getting out of bed when the world has crumbled around you. It's choosing to live on when you've lost the love of your life. Solving crimes is just work for Adrian—I don't think he gets much joy out of it. If anything, he does it as a tribute to his wife, hoping that someday he can bring her justice.