Detective Chief Inspector James Harold Japp, portrayed by Philip Jackson in the long-running Poirot series, is my favorite. He goes into every new adventure believing he’ll finally one-up the Belgian penguin, but always loses. Still he maintains his humor and indulges Poirot’s whims.
I can’t remember the episode number, but there’s a very affecting moment when Japp gives a lecture about modern crime-solving and credits everything he’s learned to Poirot. Though perhaps not about food:
Gumshoes and detectives are underdogs by default. The entire universe seems against them when they can’t string clues together, and they tend to relish the opposition. I like the inspectors—Japp, Lestrade, Gregson, and every cop upended by Miss Marple—because they’re characters I can relate to. They’ve got jobs to keep, and stupid bosses. They like puzzles, but find them to difficult if not impossible to solve. And sometimes when the inspectors are sourpusses or bullies—throwing around their brawn when their brains come up short—I find it endearing. They’re human after all. Just because a guy works with a detective super-genius doesn’t mean he’s not still a man with his own ego to tend.