The Perry Mason-Poirot Connexion:
My other favourite mystery programme is Poirot, which is about a Belgian private detective who solves murders (well, mostly murders, with the occasional jewel theft thrown in now and again), all episodes being based on books by Dame Agatha Christie. A short while ago it struck me that the character set for each series is quite similar! Have a look:
Perry Mason - Hercule Poirot:
Strong but reserved personalities, dark looks.
Della Street - Felicity Lemon:
Indispensible confidential secretaries, occasional actresses! Both have smaller rôles in the books than in their respective television series.
Paul Drake - Arthur Hastings:
Right-hand-men, somewhat bumbling (Hastings bumbles more than Drake). Both are tall, have slightly melancholy blue eyes and long, straight noses dominating their (immensely attractive) faces.
Arthur Tragg - James Japp:
Antagonistic rivals in the police force, always against Perry's/Poirot's ideas at the start, and always coming round in the end, sometimes risking their jobs in order to help.
In addition to the similarities listed above, the end scenes for both programmes are set up in a like manner: all suspects are gathered together at a single location where the protagonist wears down each with accusations and questions until he reaches the murderer/murderess, forcing him/her to confess. By the way, the only main character from PM for whom there is no counterpart in Poirot is Hamilton Burger. Sorry, Ham! Take it up with Agatha!