Talk:Private investigator

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Page Improvements / To Do[edit]

Hi all. I wanted to start a discussion on what we can do to improve this page. At the moment, it's quite bland compared to other pages and also I think a lot of the text is verbose. Please put down suggestions so that we can improve the page and lift the quality. My first suggestion is: what about a picture? We could include perhaps the hackneyed, media representation of the PI (trenchcoat, fedora, as is in the popular imagination) and perhaps a picture of a PI working in real life. Any thoughts? Blaise Joshua 08:17, 26 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would prefer to separate the image of a PI in fiction from the realities of the job - a modern investigator has enough challenges to his role without having to counter the "hackneyed, media representation" that is prevalent in the media and in most people's minds. The last thing any PI needs is to once again reinforce that image when we should be getting rid of it! How about images of PIs at work in the real world, images of some of the equipment used - surveillance devices, ECM devices etc? --hydeblake 08:00, 27 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In general, I would agree with you. I am a PI and I quite often get people phoning me who want to hire Marlowe! However, as it is such a strong and popular stereotype, at least in Western culture, I think it would be a good image to have. It would also be a good image for non-Western readers who are perhaps unfamiliar with that stereotype. It's also worth remembering that, while many PIs work against the image generally, many actually promote it in their advertising - it's quite common to see pictures of the aforementioned stereotype in adverts, or perhaps images of magnifying glasses, etc. I think that maybe such a picture would be best placed in the 'PIs in Fiction' section. Regarding pictures of PIs in the real, yes - most definitely. I would be happy to put forward a couple. Blaise Joshua 09:55, 27 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've always considered it a lazy way for PIs to advertise themselves – it takes hard work and a lot of effort to distance yourself from what is, at face value, a seedy character, sometimes on the take, and of little importance except when dealing with the dirty end of society. Many investigators do not work at the end of the market where they come into contact with this type of work. As for putting the image into the minds of those non-westerners who do not know it – why make life more difficult putting forward such an image if you are then trying to put forward an image of a professional consultant, charging clients to do a professional job? You are right in saying that it is a strong image – however it is not necessarily a wholesome or professional one that does credit to the industry. My immediate reaction is always to put a lot of clear water between the seedy image of the fictional PI and the reality of a modern, well trained, well equipped professional consultant trying to complete a difficult assignment on a legal basis to the utmost of their ability. This is an excellent forum to promote a positive image of the industry as a whole and of investigators as individuals and to drag us back to the lazy and hackneyed image of film noir is not the way to go in my humble opinion! --hydeblake 11:48, 27 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with you in pretty much every sentiment you express, except on one thing. This article's purpose is not to promote or lift the status of the PI industry. It's purpose is to provide a quality, encyclopaedic article on private investigators and private investigation. That article would include PIs in fiction and the popular consciousness. The seedy, wise-cracking PI is such a mainstay of detective fiction that I think it would be disingenuous to leave it out. However, to counter this, the article can actually point out that this image and stereotype is a far cry from the modern, professional private investigator. I do believe that some elements of the article already do that now. Blaise Joshua 20:10, 27 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(Sorry Blaise, I didn't come back to you on this!) I agree - this is not a page to somehow 'spin' the image of the PI industry into something it is not. What I meant was that nowadays PIs are working on a more professional footing than the common media image sometimes portrays. This is really mirrored on this page. I still find it strange that on a page that deals with PIs - real people doing real jobs - that there is such emphasis on ficiton. Look at the entries for Physician, Police officer, Lawyer, Nurse, Soldier. Do any of them have a section that concentrates on the fictional aspects? No! Why is the PI the only one of these that carries the section. Should we get rid of the section PIs in fiction and the associated list of fictional characters?--hydeblake 08:18, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, we definitely should not. It's an interesting point you raise about the differences between fictional PIs and other professions, but the fact that the image of the PI is stronger in the popular consciousness is evidence that it is different! Fictional PIs are too strong a presence to ignore. I can't think of any corresponding equivalents in linked professions. That's just my opinion though, but what is very important is that this article recognises and deals with this aspect of the PI. Blaise Joshua 13:50, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
LOL - I sort of agree with you! But, having said that, there is a vast amount of literature that involves, for example, police officers - but I see no mention of Inspectors Morse, Wexford or Taggart on the police officer page! I'm not suggesting that we ignore them totally, what I would suggest is that a very clear differentiation is made between the two; I personally would be happiest if that differentiation is made by moving PIs in fiction onto a separate page, but if they are going to be on this page, then it must be made obvious within the page that the fiction and the reality are markedly different.--hydeblake 13:58, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We agree on that then - highlighting the differences between the fictional image of the cool, hard drinking, chain smoking, fast drawing, wise cracking PI and the modern overworked, underpaid, highly stressed modern PI should be a goal to aim for : o ) Blaise Joshua 14:05, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Especially if it means dumping the fiction onto a different page!  ;-) --hydeblake 14:08, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In my opinion the fictional PI nowadays is no longer the stereoyped raincoat and fedora wearer but is coming markedly closer to the true life profession that I, as a practicing Investigator, experience. Of course, this could explain the wain of popularity of the TV PI for the more gritty cop shows and the banal 'Reality TV' shows flooding the airwaves. The laws that bind any profession aligned to the legal side of life is bound to make life a little more mundane but not completely... I was responsible for script editting a TV series and it was part of my remit that I would not get involved if the writers hadnt followed the profession as closely as poetic license allowed. They did and whilst it was well received amongst the professionals it also retained some humour and grit to enable it to be entertaining. Not entertaining enough though to give it longevity, but we tried. Watsondog

Eliminate the section for associations[edit]

Considering WP's external link guidelines and what this article is not about (I agree with Blaise on that issue) I think we should probably eliminate the section for associations. PeetMoss 13:48, 30 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On which part of the guidelines would you base that arguement? Having read them again in the light of what you suggest I can see lots of reasons why they should be there, and not many reasons why they should not! Is there any particular point you would base the elimination on?--hydeblake 19:22, 30 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Most of those links fail at least one of the following guidelines: 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 (under Links normally to be avoided). Even if a link passes 1 through 5 we still need to justify why it's there: "No page should be linked from a Wikipedia article unless its inclusion is justified." What justification is there for including each of those links? PeetMoss 02:25, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Personally I would argue that professional associations are justified on the basis that most will carry in-depth information and background to and about the subject under discussion. That is not to say all such "associations" will! This seems to be a page that has suffered from the pseudo-association, which is, in fact, just an advertising address book. I have not been through all the links, but I know some of them are good sites which give a broader picture of the work and world of PIs - things that fall under points 1 and 4 of the What should be linked section. To take up your 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 (under Links normally to be avoided point) I would say the following: 1 - There is too much broad information contained in many of these sites to replicate for a featured article without the page becoming too long and unwieldy. 2 - "factually inaccurate material or unverifiable research" I have not gone through each of the sites, so I cannot say 100% that all of them will be OK on this score, but these are professional organisations that we are dealing with and should be okay. 3 - This is where this page has suffered before from the pseudo-association. There may well be one or two in the list that fall foul of this, but on the whole I think that most of the links probably justify inclusion. 4 - Selling products or services. Okay - this is where we come to the crunch! I think there may be one or two that fall foul of this one - WAD, for example. 5 - Advertising. Curiously worded for a Wiki guideline - "Objectionable" to whom! Again with some of them there may be one or two that fall foul of this, but on the whole I think we are OK. What I think I do agree with you on is that this section needs to be closely looked at and those links that are in place need to pass ALL the guidelines for inclusion and non-inclusion. If that means some serious pruning of the list, then I'm all for it. --hydeblake 08:11, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Based on what you wrote I'm not sure if you agree or disagree that it is not WP policy or even common practice to assume a site contains unbiased reliable in-depth information because it is a professional trade association and then provide a collection of links to associations in that industry (which is exactly what we are promoting by having a section called "Associations"). These links should each be justified according to the guidelines (no one has done that) and included under "see also" (if they are notable enough to have their own article) or under "external links" so it is clear they are not just a collection of links. I also didn't see any information in those links, at least not in their sections open to the public, worthy of inclusion here that would make this article long and unwieldy. PeetMoss 14:30, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree entirely that each and every link should be justifiable under the guidelines, not just the blanket coverage of "All Associations must gain entry" - and this is the problem. I think that once you have a few up there, people automatically add a couple of others, without applying the judgment of whether they fit with the guidelines. I would not always assume that an external body would have contain unbiased reliable in-depth information - indeed, all associations are self-serving and so would always have information that is somehow biased towards its members. What I would say is that there is a huge amount of information on a number of these sites that is unbiased reliable and in-depth and we would weaken the value of the page if we remove all the association links. What we should do is objectively go through the list and see if they pass the WP's external link guidelines - both for and against inclusion and come to a decision at that point. It may be as well to have a small section pointing out that there are a number of associations based on geography, specialty etc, give a very brief overview of this part of the industry and then the links would sit more happily within the page as a whole.--hydeblake 14:43, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's always going to be debated which associations merit a link and which don't, but the links should definitely stay. People sometimes forget that private investigation is a profession, a regulated one in most jurisdictions. Therefore, it has professional associations. These are invaluable sources of info that cannot be placed here for reasons of making the article too long, complicated and, to most casual readers, boring. Blaise Joshua 13:55, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We continue to overlook the fact that the burden of proving each link contains "invaluable sources of info that cannot be placed here" (and that the site meets the guidelines) falls on the person placing the link, not on the rest of the community. I also don't think the task of this article is to remind people of what they sometimes forget by including a link to all of the associations. I suggest trying to create a page about the industry's trade associations and including a link to it from here like they have done with the article on lawyers. PeetMoss 14:58, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that the burden falls onto the individual placing the link, but surely that is always the case on Wiki? It’s also the case that when something is placed on a page by an individual it is scrutinised by other interested parties who monitor the input and remove or edit if it falls outside the Wiki Guidelines. Onto your second point: I’m not suggesting that we put on the page the criteria of what should and should not go on: what I was suggesting was that we put in a piece on the existence, use and benefits of the associations themselves and how they work within the investigations industry. The links then fall naturally into place within that framework. I’ve looked at the lawyers page and they have their section of Professional associations and regulation that outlines what they are and how they work. I don’t see a very happy fit with their associations, which I think are on separate pages because of their historical nature and because they have so many different names (Bar association, Inns of Court, Law Societies, Orders of Advocates, Chambers of Advocates, Colleges of Advocates, Faculties of Advocates etc. At least investigators only have professional Associations to have to explain!--hydeblake 15:17, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I take that as a yes on removing the links for now. PeetMoss 15:39, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not on my account - I would prefer to have them there and work on the background to their existence whilst culling out those that fail to meet the criteria.--hydeblake 15:41, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Why not follow WP policy and remove the links? If someone wants a link back up there they can justify putting it under "External links" like it's done on every other WP article. PeetMoss 15:57, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Of course you can do, if you think it is the correct way to do it, but I'll be reposting 4 of the links back up there pretty much straight away as I know they can be fully justified against the policy. If others want to repost the links then we will have to judge them at that point - I think most will probably be reposted by people within a couple of weeks...--hydeblake 16:00, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, I'll delete the section. External links can go where they normally go - under external links. PeetMoss 13:10, 1 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Detective. (Discuss)[edit]

Damn stupid idea!--hydeblake 10:33, 30 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The above writer has apparently assumed ownership of this article. Baseball Bugs 11:14, 30 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nope - I don't know (or care) who suggested it - it's just a bad idea!--hydeblake 11:24, 30 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you really want to know why then it is extremely simple. A Detective is an official rank within most police services around the world: it has a very real definition when talking to someone from law enforcement. A private investigator isn't a detective. They may be a private detective, although this nomenclature is used infrequently, with the current name being a Private Investigator (or broken down into a specialist field, such as a Corporate Investigator). Personally I would be happier to dump all the information about fictional PIs into the PD page and let the PI page stand as an outline of the role of the modern investigator as a real job, not just the one-dimensional character found in the pages of pulp fiction. --hydeblake 13:05, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree - it's a poor idea and I can't see the basis for it. The argument Hydeblake makes is debatable - where I work, there is no specific police exclusivity on the word 'detective'. My ID carries the title 'Private Detective'. However, a detective is a much broader definition than private detective. The detective article concerns itself mainly with police detectives, which is what is usually thought of when that word is used. This page deals with private detectives, which are completely different. I don't know what we're debating here because no reasons seem to have been put forward as to why it should be merged. Blaise Joshua 14:00, 31 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree they shouldn't be merged, and will remove the tags. I believe editors who propose to merge articles should be obliged to make an argument as to why. There's too much to be said about PI's and police detectives to make one big cluttered article. Historically though, they are not so distinct as Hydeblake suggests; the "I" in PI comes from the "eye that never sleeps" of the Pinkerton detective agency, the forerunner to American police detectives. bobanny 19:15, 4 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yep - I KNOW where it comes from!! However, you're also falling into the same fault as many others - using PIs etc to talk about being the FORERUNNERS of detectives. In your own words you have talked about a distinction there. I still hold there is a clear distinction between the two with Private Detective being either confined to pulp fiction, or an outmoded term in todays profession.--hydeblake 07:56, 6 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Flatfoot, gumshoe, etc.[edit]

Since the editor asserts that my wording on those terms is ungrammatical (which is irrelevant to the presence of those facts in the article) and also incorrect, he needs to step up and present what the thinks are the correct origins of those terms. Baseball Bugs 11:22, 30 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No, I don't need to do anything!! One of the terms is already dealt with satisfactorily in the text (it's the correct definition as well) and the other is an outdated term that isn't used by anyone anymore!--hydeblake 19:01, 30 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"See also" - More deletion?[edit]

Whilst we're on the subject and theme of deleting section, I have an issue with the "See Also" section. This is a list of supposedly connected pages that really should be explained within the text itself. A number of the terms are already linked onto the relevant pages, so deletion would not cause any problems or confusion. Would anyone have any objections if I deleted this list?--hydeblake 13:34, 1 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is common practice to include a "see also" section but you make a good point. I'll go along with deleting it because almost all of the effort put into this article since inception has been spent on dealing with links (mostly with people trying to promote their organization or company). I think the focus should be on content for now (keeping in mind there is a global bias tag in place), which has not changed much since it was copied over from a .gov article. PeetMoss 14:10, 1 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll leave it 24 hours or so to see if anyone defends it, but I'll remove it after that. Personally speaking I don't like the "see also" lists - if they are relevant enough to have a link then they are relevant enough to have something written about them - even if it is only a line!--hydeblake 15:22, 1 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Should we delete the "PIs in fiction" section?[edit]

I don't see the reason we need a section about fictional PI's where we try to include links and short descriptions of every show produced. Why not dump the "PIs in fiction" section onto another page and call it "Private Investigators in Mass Media"? If we move this section to it's own page it will probably get plenty of attention and the move might help keep this article focused on describing what a private investigator is. I suggest using the term Mass media so it can include fictional, non-fictional, TV shows, movies, books, magazines, comic books, etc. PeetMoss 13:20, 11 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'd be happy with that - we sort of covered bits of this above, but only in the midst of other bits and it was never really discussed fully. I'm all for getting rid of this info from this page and putting it elsewhere... --hydeblake 08:16, 13 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Although I don't like the section as it is, I'm against deleting it. Many pages have a section entitled "**Subject of Article**s in Fiction", from diseases to professions. As previously stated, I think that the PI in the popular consciousness is too strong a force to be ignored, whether or not we think it's a positive or negative image. However, I certainly don't like long lists of shows, characters and programmes which few people have ever heard of and barely register on a list of notable fiction. Blaise Joshua 09:20, 14 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Text removed from article[edit]

This was removed from the main page on Sept 5 at 10.11, UK time.--hydeblake 09:12, 5 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Article Edit - The 21st century PI


--Begin my Edit-- **MOST of this article is correct; however there are many changes to the work of the 21st
century P.I. Having been working in this field for the past 15 years; I can attest to
the rapidly changing times and techniques. What is now available is truly
The major impact of change resonates with the internet; its people
and its databases. Many PI's (at least those worth their salt) have come to at least
realize, if not yet learned and taken advantage of, the many varied aspects the internet
provides to the Private Investigator.

Information which used to take weeks or even longer to compile can now be found with a
couple of dollars and a few mouse-clicks. Where P.I.'s used to have to wait for the
*snail-mail* to arrive with say -- birth information, can now be had
within minutes and emailed to the client right away. The days of the old *gum-shoe* are
mainly past -- one exclusion to this is survellience (but the equipment for that now
used has also changed dramatically -- the high tech gear available now is truly amazing!)

One great example of the new internet P.I. work is legal phone tracing - now, while it is true that Congress recently made obtaining toll-records to Joe-public illegal; there is still nothing illegal about reversing a cell phone number to the users name and address - a good example of this type of work being done is at:

There is now no waiting for an answer on the phone or a call back from a message left on a machine - just send an email with what you need and usually (if you have gotten ahold of a reputable company as mentioned above) - you will have your information within HOURS.

Now, simply because cell "phonebooks" do not exist does not make it illegal to obtain the
information. A cell phone number by nature is not an "unlisted nor non-published"

Even if the day arrives where someone trys to put a cell phonebook together (yes, they are trying now), it will be out-dated within minutes; people change their cell numbers like their clothing. This is one type of database that will NEVER be up to date or accurate. This is a fine example of when the 21st century P.I.; schooled in this particular type of investigation; IS the answer and probably the Only answer.

Further to this original article, there are over 500 *Types* of investigation/investigators. This is probably a very little known fact--but it is important because if you need a very specific type of information -- make sure that the P.I. you go to knows what they are doing! You don't want to be paying for someone who cannot produce what you need for you!

This original atricle also states there is "little room for advancement" in this profession. While that may have been true at some time (I would not be sure when) - if you are good at what you do and a self-motivated curious person, you will find there is lots of room for advancement! Number one on the list is the best -- simply put, if you have the knowledge and skills, it is very easy and inexpensive to set up your own agency and be self-employed. This is so attractive for many and it is one field where it is quite simple to find a niche. Hone one skill well; be honest and promote yourself well, and you are on your way to making a lot of money quickly.

---end EDIT---

Copyright violation notice removed[edit]

See: This issue was dealt with sometime last year.

A work of the United States government, as defined by United States copyright law, is "a work prepared by an officer or employee of the U.S. government as part of that person's official duties."[1] The term only applies to the work of the federal government, not state or local governments. Such works are not entitled to domestic copyright protection under U.S. law, sometimes referred to as "noncopyright." PeetMoss (talk) 19:33, 2 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

List of Private investigative agencies[edit]

I believe that this article should mention the current private investigative agencies. Such is because private investigative agencies play a premier role the investigative industry. private detective agencies of all sizes have out paced freelance private detectives. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:05, 21 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No, per WP:NOT#DIRECTORY. --Dirk Beetstra T C 14:30, 21 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
User Detective81 is continually adding lists of jurisdicions and agencies. I'm assuming it is the same person as anon user above. (See next comments below). Can we get some sort of official ruling on this from an admin, as I have better things to do than constantly revert.--Dmol (talk) 22:15, 23 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The user in question is already in violation of the three revert rule, if he/she insists on reverting the article, then they can be banned. Also, note WP:COMMUNISM and WP:COI ——Ryan | tc 22:41, 23 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

the list about private investigator service and license sure[edit]

This list does not serve as directory but simply lists current and future articles about the license requirements of each juristiction for one to become a private investigator. This articles alsodiscuss the nature of private investigative work in various juristictions.

Most Publicized Female Private Investigator[edit]

Sandra Hope of Mate Check Private Investigations is the most publicized female private investigator of modern day. She is a real life private investigator see all of her media on —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thomasscharrer (talkcontribs) 02:46, 19 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've removed the paragraph on her from the main page as this is blatent advertising and of no merit at all.--hydeblake (talk) 09:15, 19 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I sorry that you feel this way but we have to do something that will make everyone happy. If you were to view the media page of SAndra Hpe you will see what I'm saying is true about her. She is part of a movement in the modern P.I. world and should be recognized for that directing your readers to her media page was to educate your readers about the type of investigative work she does with decoy's. The paragraph I incerted was below a paragraph that was talking about infidelity investigations and this just adds to the topice. Decoy opporations are very popular and highly publiciized. Se the media page for yourself. No where in your article does it mention undercver decoy opperations. Sandra Hope has media coverage dating back to 1994 she has recently been on Larry King regarding the Spritzer fallout and what she could have done as an investigator to eliminate the problem for the spouse before it was to late. We have to figure out some way of refferencing Sandra Hope and bringing the content of the media available to your readers. Sandra Hope is of course very much alive and in business so I'm sorry you thought it was an advertisement, I just pointed your readers to the media page. I hope she does not have to die before she is recognized. She really is the most publicly recognised female private investigator that also happens to help people deal with infdelity. I am open to suggestions to how we can include her to your standards. Please help with idea's, because to not include her will be a contradiction of the page, Sandra definatley hold water see for yourself. She is no different than other P.I.s in history because she is making history. She is the first P.I. agency to offer the decoy service over 16 years ago. She is the founder of this service that no one ccan make a claim to this specialty prdating Sandra. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thomasscharrer (talkcontribs) 13:47, 19 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A few points, if I may: Firstly, can you sign your posts when you write them - it helps everyone answer you properly and we can all address our concerns to you as an individual, rather than just a block of type. Secondly you are taking a rather geographically narrow view of the topic. It is difficult to talk about her being "most publicly recognised female private investigator" when most of the planet have not heard of her as she and her work is US-centric and there are bigger companies that are in the public domain in an international sense who do not appear on this page. Thirdly, we have to hold the line on who is particularly pertinant to put on this page or everyone who thinks they do something slightly different will put themselves on the page and advertise through spurious claims of being "new" or "different".--hydeblake (talk) 14:47, 19 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


It is my understanding that PI's have a badge of some sort that identifies them, Is this correct, and if so, who issues them? The State? Sephiroth storm (talk) 07:21, 3 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It depends which jurisdiction they work in. In Britain and Ireland, which doesn't have licensing yet, there is no official form of ID. Blaise Joshua (talk) 09:53, 4 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A section on privacy rights.[edit]

When we picture private investigators, especially in divorce cases, we picture them hiding in the bushes taking pictures of people doing "questionable" things. This is just one of many things that could easily justify an invasion of privacy, and not only have the evidence gathered thrown out due to that, but also, have a tort that the defendant can counter-sue over.

I'd like to see a section that addresses this issue, and how private eyes overcome this obstacle. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:07, 11 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


What details on licensing? What does an investigative license let someone do which an unlicensed person cannot? What responsibilities does a licensed person have which an unlicensed person does not? -- (talk) 04:58, 24 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is the information I came to this page to find, and I was disappointed that there was no discussion of it in relation to the United States (which is the opposite of the usual problem on Wikipedia). What does being a licensed PI let you do? Under what circumstances can you get into trouble for not having such a license? Suttkus (talk) 08:51, 4 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Suttkus I'm sure you have found your answers by now, but ill try to answer them anyway for the benefit of others. Having a PI licence in the United States allows one to legally contract to conduct an investigation, collection of info and to present themselves as a Private Investigator or Detective. By not having the licence you are usually prohibited from doing all three of those things depending on state. There are exceptions such as for attorneys, or persons who only conduct internal investigations. Each state is a little different. As far as special privileges or powers there are not really any except for carrying a gun in a few jurisdictions, others grant that authority using a separate card or a concealed weapons permit. One advantage of having the licence is you can then attend training and join associations that compile databases that are very helpful in doing the job. I hope you find that helpful. Editors if anyone wants to find a way to incorporate this information in some way feel free.Schemel (talk) 14:05, 14 December 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Distinction between Private investigator and Undercover investigator[edit]

I recently created an article on Undercover investigator but was quickly deleted as it was thought to refer to this article, Private investigator. But looking at the contents of this article, it seems the titles are quite different in meaning. In my opinion, a private investigator is a person who is hired to conduct an inquiry into a matter while an undercover investigator conducts investigations of an activity while impersonating a disinterested party with hidden aims and methods. Undercover investigators keep their real identities secret throughout their work while the same cannot be said of private investigators. Based on the aforementioned reasons, I think the article should make a clear distinction between the two subjects. -- Michael K (talk) 02:10, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You make an excellent argument for an article on undercover agents, Michael K. Why don't you create a section here incorporating the (main) parts of your *deleted* article, and maybe after a while it can be expanded sufficiently to merit standing alone –
 – Gareth Griffith-Jones |The Welsh Buzzard| 03:05, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Employment Section - Context Lost or Confusing[edit]

Under the Employment Section where it reads: "Most jurisdictions require a clean criminal record at the licensing application entry point. When a board of directors exists, it will review an applicant's appeal to determine whether the board can approve the application based on the elapsed amount of time since the last offence was recorded. The board of appeal may approve an application based on good conduct within the last five to ten years."

Seems out of context and flow of the rest of the section. It needs to be clarified, should the Template:Confusing_section be added? Aresilek (talk) 02:13, 18 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

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An anon IP has repeatedly added Batman to the list of fictional private investigators. There's no similarity whatsoever. Rather than break the 3RR I have added a warning to the users talk page, but would welcome input from others. Thanks.

List of Private Investigators in Fiction[edit]

Many of the investigators in this list are not PIs by use of the definition at the beginning of this article.

I have made additions in brackets to a number of the entries but I would prefer to delete the non-PIs from this list entirely.

This I will do sometime after 1/1/18 unless there is a convincing case for clemency.

--Davidbrookesland (talk) 18:05, 7 December 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Is there the professions of "private inspector" and "private special agent"? There are the professions of "private investigator" and "private detective". Kenixkil (talk) 05:49, 4 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]