Mike Hammer

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Michael "Mike" Hammer is a fictional detective created by the American author Mickey Spillane in the 1947 book I, the Jury (made into a movie in 1953 and 1982).



Several movies and radio and television series have been based on the books in the Hammer series. The actor most closely identified with the character in recent years has been Stacy Keach, who portrayed Hammer in a CBS television series, Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, which ran from 1984–1987 and had a syndicated revival in 1997–1998. (An earlier syndicated version, originally aired in 1957–1958, starred Darren McGavin as Hammer.) Spillane himself played Hammer in a 1963 motion picture adaptation of The Girl Hunters. Spillane himself favoured ex-Marine and former Newburgh, New York police officer Jack Stang, on whom he based the character, to play him. Stang appeared with Spillane in the 1954 film Ring of Fear and in the film adaptation of I, the Jury.


While pulp detectives such as Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe are hard-boiled and cynical, Hammer is in many ways the archetypal "hard man": brutally violent, misogynistic, and fueled by a genuine rage that never afflicts Raymond Chandler's or Dashiell Hammett's heroes. In The Big Kill Hammer describes himself to a bargirl as a misanthrope.

While other hardboiled heroes bend and manipulate the law, Hammer holds it in total contempt, seeing it as nothing more than an impediment to justice, the one virtue he holds in absolute esteem. Hammer nevertheless has a strong respect for the majority of police, realising they have a difficult job and their hands are frequently tied by the law when trying to stop criminals.

Mike Hammer is a no-holds barred Battle of Guadalcanal veteran private investigator who carries a .45 Colt M1911, named "Betsy" in a shoulder harness under his left arm. His love for his secretary Velda is only outweighed by his willingness to kill a killer. Hammer's best friend is Pat Chambers, Captain of Homicide NYPD.

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