Jules Amedée François Maigret [ʒyl mɛɡʁɛ], simply Jules Maigret or Maigret to most people, including his wife, is a fictional French police detective, actually a commissaire or commissioner of the Paris "Brigade Criminelle" (Direction Régionale de Police Judiciaire de Paris), created by writer Georges Simenon.
Seventy-six novels and twenty-eight short stories about Maigret were published between 1931 and 1972, starting with Pietr-le-Letton (Pietr the Lett) and concluding with Maigret et Monsieur Charles (Maigret and Monsieur Charles). The Maigret stories were also adapted for television and radio.
An ambitious project by Penguin Books saw the publication of new translations of 75 books in Georges Simenon’s Maigret series over as many months begin in November 2013, by translators David Bellos, Anthea Bell, and Ros Schwartz.
The character of Maigret was invented, but after the first few novels was influenced by Chief Inspector Marcel Guillaume, said to be the greatest French detective of his day, who became a long-time friend of Simenon.
Maigret is described as a large, broad shouldered man, he is gruff, but patient and fair. Recurring characters in the series include Maigret's wife Louise (usually referred to simply as Madame Maigret) and in particular "The Faithful Four", a group consisting of his four loyal police colleagues (Sgt./Inspector Lucas, Janvier, Lapointe and Torrence).
List of Maigret novels by date of French-language publication.
List of Maigret short stories by date of publication.
The cinematic potential of Maigret was realized quickly: the first screen Maigret was Pierre Renoir in 1932's Night at the Crossroads, directed by his brother Jean Renoir; the same year brought The Yellow Dog with Abel Tarride, and Harry Baur played him in 1933's La Tête d'un homme, directed by Julien Duvivier.
Charles Laughton played the first English-language Maigret in the 1950 film, The Man on the Eiffel Tower (adapted from the 1931 novel "La Tête d'un homme (A Man's Head)"). The film co-starred Franchot Tone, Burgess Meredith and Wilfrid Hyde-White.
In France, Jean Gabin played the part in three films, released in 1957, 1959 and 1963.
There have been numerous incarnations of Maigret on the small screen all around the world. He has been portrayed by French, British, Irish, Austrian, German, Italian, Dutch, Japanese and Russian actors.
A French version, Les Enquêtes du Commissaire Maigret, starred Jean Richard in more than 80 episodes of a long-running series from 1967 to 1990 on French television — however, Simenon himself is said to have disliked Richard's Maigret because he would not take his hat off when entering a room. Later, Bruno Cremer played the character in 54 adaptations during 1991–2005.
The Italian actor Gino Cervi played the character on Italian television, starting from 1964 up to 1972; Simenon himself considered Cervi's interpretation of the character to be possibly the best. This series resulted in 14 novels and 2 short stories being adapted: "Maigret and the Spinster", "To Any Lengths", "Maigret's Christmas", "A Battle of Nerves", "Death of a Nobody", "Death of a Harbour Master", "The Old Lady of Bayeux", "Madame Maigret's Admirer", "Maigret's Pipe", "The Headless Corpse", "Maigret and the Surly Inspector", "The Lock at Charenton", "Maigret on the Defensive", "Madman of Bergerac", "Maigret and the Loner", and "Maigret in Retirement".
In the Soviet Union Russian theater actor Boris Tenin portrayed Maigret in a number of TV films in the 1970s. In Soviet cinema, apart from Boris Tenin, Maigret was portrayed by cinema actors Vladimir Samoylov and Armen Dzigarkhanyan.
In Japan, Kinya Aikawa played Megure, a Japanese-born equivalent to the French Maigret, reinvented in a modern Japanese setting, in Tōkyō Megure Keishi, a 25-episode TV Series aired from 14 April to 29 May 1978 on Asahi TV. Megure's wife was played by Etsuko Ichihara, who earned the praises of Simenon himself: "The best 'Madame Maigret' in my opinion, even including the French ones, was the 'Madame Maigret' on Japanese television. She was exactly right".
The title role in the British Maigret TV series was played by the actor Rupert Davies who made his debut on 31 October 1960. Davies took over the part after Basil Sydney, who appeared as Maigret in the original transmitted pilot, proved unavailable due to ill-health. Davies went on to star in 52 adaptations for BBC TV in the 1960s. His portrayal won two of the highest accolades: his versions were dubbed into French and played across the Channel; and Simenon himself presented Davies with a novel inscribed to his "perfect Maigret". The theme tune to the TV series was composed by Ron Grainer.
Granada Television produced an adaptation of Maigret for ITV in 1992 and 1993, in which Michael Gambon starred as Maigret; there were 12 adaptations in the two series. An earlier version (1988) on ITV cast Richard Harris in the lead role, with a somewhat idiosyncratic reading of the character.
Rowan Atkinson played Maigret in Maigret for TV-films made by ITV from 2016. The first two episodes were adapted from Maigret Sets a Trap and Maigret's Dead Man. Two further episodes have been commissioned for broadcast in 2017.
Maurice Denham played Chief Inspector Maigret in a series of half-hour dramatizations of the novels on BBC Radio 4 from 1992 to 2002, with Michael Gough playing Georges Simenon.
The format of each play would begin with Maigret and Simenon sitting together discussing some fact or event which would then lead into Maigret's recounting a particular case, with Simenon asking questions or commenting from time to time.
After Denham's death, the series was continued in 2003 with Nicholas Le Prevost playing a gruffer, more earthy Maigret and Julian Barnes playing Simenon.
Jacques Blondeau adapted the novels into the comic series 'Maigret' (1950-1953), published in Samedi Soir and Paris Journal. Rumeu (drawings) and Camille Dulac (script) adapted the Maigret story 'L' Affaire Nahour' into the comic strip 'Maigret' in 1969. Between 1992 and 1997 the series 'Maigret' inspired five albums, drawn by Philippe Wurm and Frank Brichau.
Inspector Juzo Megure from Detective Conan is loosely based on Maigret, in both appearance and name. Both are police inspectors, and are known for wearing hats and overcoats. The rendering in the Japanese syllabary for Megure and Maigret is the same (me-gu-re; in other words, the names are pronounced the same in Japanese).
Maigret himself was also highlighted in volume 5 of the Detective Conan manga's edition of "Gosho Aoyama's Mystery Library", a section of the graphic novels where the author introduces a different detective (or occasionally, a villain) from mystery literature, television, or other media.
The character of Detective Marcel Guillame appears as a visiting investigator on the fourth season episode "Monsieur Murdoch" of "Murdoch Mysteries".