Why Sherlock Isn’t the Perfect PI

Sherlock Holmes is possibly the world’s most famous detective, famed for solving the trickiest of cases with the greatest of ease, assisted by his ever-loyal sidekick, Dr Watson. However, Sherlock is a fictional character and in reality isn’t perfect PI material, especially in modern times.sherlock-holmes

Here’s a look at why Sherlock Holmes is a far cry from real-life private investigators, and why he wouldn’t cut it as a modern day detective.

The Pipe

Since the Smoking Ban was introduced, it is illegal to smoke inside work environments. Clients wouldn’t take too kindly to the smoke-filled atmosphere of 221b Baker Street.

The Opium

Today’s Private Investigators need an impeccably clean criminal record to gain an SIA endorsed licence. A clean driving licence is also essential. Sherlock’s habitual opium use would more likely see him incarcerated than solving crimes.

People Skills

Aloof, arrogant, offensive and dismissive, Sherlock’s lack of essential communication skills would make him a complete failure as a real-life PI. A good PI must be approachable, patient, discreet and possess the ability to put clients at ease.


The sleuthing genius is often called upon to solve cases that are above the limited capabilities of the clueless British police force. In reality, a real-life PI’s role is to gather information and report the findings to the proper authorities. Private investigators work closely with police authorities and lawyers, however they are rarely called upon to confront dastardly villains!


PIs use a range of state-of-the-art technology for observation and de-bugging services, but they don’t dress up in disguises. A good PI will need to be unobtrusive and able to blend in and adapt to situations without donning elaborate disguises as Sherlock does.

For further information on our range of private investigation services, contact Insight Investigations today.