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"To be precise..."
—Thomson and Thompson
Belvision Thompson twins.png

Thomson and Thompson (French: Dupond et Dupont), also known as "The Thompson Twins," are a pair of inept Scotland Yard detectives. They were first introduced in Cigars of the Pharaoh, but do briefly cameo on the first page of Tintin in the Congo.

Though very alike in appearance, there is controversy as to whether they are related or not. Snowy himself seems to be inclined towards the former, he mentions offhand in Destination Moon that "This is it!...Sensational appearance of the Thomson twins!" [1] They are distinguishable by their moustaches. Thompson's moustache is straight while Thomson's turns up. They believe almost anything and are quick to jump to conclusions at first glance. In the episode The Land of Black Gold, the detectives mistakenly take a substance called "Formula 14," believing it to be aspirin. This chemical causes their hair to grow rapidly and change colour and they hiccup continuously. They have also arrested Tintin in the episode The Black Island for robbery.


Hergé was inspired to make the Thompsons after seeing a particular magazine cover, on the March 2, 1919 issue of Paris weekly Le Miroir. The cover was a photograph of two detectives with bowler hats and thick moustaches; one of the detectives is handcuffed to a suspect they just arrested, and the other detective is tending to their umbrellas. In addition, Hergé's father and uncle were extremely similar-looking and prone to both dressing in similar dark suits.

Thomson and Thompson first appeared in the original black and white newsprint version of Cigars of the Pharaoh. The two were only identified as X-33 and X-33A, their Interpol code names.[2] In later stories, and the revised colour version of the story, they finally were given names. In French, they were called Dupond and Dupont.

Originally, this was their first-ever appearance, but they were retroactively added to the redrawn colour version of Tintin in the Congo. They are visible in the right corner of the first panel, with one of them saying, "Seems to be a young reporter going to Africa."[3]


Thompson & Thomson in one of their many costumes.

Of the 19 books following the Cigars of the Pharaoh, not including the unfinished Tintin and Alph-Art and the cartooning of Tintin and the Lake of Sharks, they appear in 17. The only two books they do not appear in are Tintin in Tibet and Flight 714. Although their appearances may vary in importance depending on the album, they always add humor to the story and sometimes are involved in subplots, eventually achieving success by sheer luck or with Tintin's intervention.


As members of Scotland Yard and Interpol, Thompson and Thomson lead more or less discrete and efficient investigations. They are bumbling and hardly brilliant. They test the limits of discretion, dressing up in folkloric costumes in order to "blend in," which inevitably only leads to them sticking out more. They also pile up an incredible number of falls, slips and accidents, even when they claim they will be extra careful. The epitome of stupidity, they followed their own footprints in the desert during Land of Black Gold. Their total disorganization is also reflected in their language. They are experts in pleonasms and have to their credit sayings such as "I would say even more," "our lips are sealed," and "it is my opinion and I share it." Their motto, as mentioned, is "Mum's the word," which is immediately corrected to be "Dumb's the word." Also, Thomson always states "to be precise," and then either restates the statement his twin said or says the sentence mixed-up, such as instead of "He's given us the slip. Got away, with the handcuffs too. What a cheek," he says "To be precise, he's given us away. Slipped us the handcuffs, too. What a sneak." Their introduction is also humorous; Thompson identifies himself as "Thompson, with a p, as in psychology...", philosophy, or any other "p" word in which the beginning "p" is either silent or coupled with an "h" in order to change pronunciation to an "f" sound, Thomson's intro is a similar sounding, "Thomson, without a P, as in Venezuela" or any other amusing sounding name not starting with a "p".


Thomson and Thompson have fair skin, half balding black hair and their mustaches weren't to be the same but Thomson's was curved and Thompson's was clean combed, and wears black jacket, white shirt, black necktie, matching trousers and shoes, brown shoes and carries matching wooden canes.

In the 2011 animated film, they have fair skin, black half balding hair and mustaches and bright brown eyes.


Main article see: List of Thompson and Thomson's Costumes

The duo in one of their many costumes.

The duo are also renowned for their use of disguises in their detective work. They are usually used in an attempt to blend in with the crowd in foreign locations or different settings. However, the pair end up in the most ridiculous of costumes, making them more visible.


In the original French, their names are Dupont and Dupond. The translations for some languages​​ are listed below.

'To be precise' quotes

This contains a list of scenarios in which the phrase 'to be precise' is used.

Cigars of the Pharaoh

  • Thompson: He won't get far, if my name‘s Thompson! Thomson: To be precise: if my name‘s Thomson we won‘t get far!
  • The Thompsons are looking for Tintin to arrest him. Thompson: We must stop him slipping out..."Thomson: "To be precise: we must stop slipping!
  • The Thompsons have whacked a random Arab on the head. Thompson: Bother! We were mistaken! Thomson: To be precise: we're a mistake.
  • The Thompsons have just found Tintin. Thompson: Well, well, what a surprise to see your face again! We'd lost you completely! Thomson: To be precise: we'd completely lost face!
  • The Thompsons have just accidentally knocked out the ticket collector on the train thinking he was Tintin. Thomson: Goodness gracious! It's the ticket collector!" Thompson: "To be precise: we've collected a ticket!
  • Thompson: He's gone: it's all clear. Thomson: To be precise: the all clear's gone!
  • Thomson: And there was a plan of this bolt-hole, too. We heard about it so here we are. Thompson: To be precise: so where are we?

The Blue Lotus

  • Thompson: What's so funny, Your Worship? Thomson: To be precise, why's he making fun of us? 
  • The Thompsons are on a train and arriving at the station. Thomson: Here we are again. Thompson: To be precise: here we aren't. It's three hours, walk to Hukow... What a life, Thomson, what a life!
  • Thomson: Good morning... Er... Here we are at last... Thompson: To be precise: good morning. Here we are, last as usual...

The Broken Ear

  • A fetish was stolen from a museum. Thomson: Well, the Arumbaya fetish has no in...er...no instinctive value...The solution is quite simple: it was removed by a collector. Thompson: To be precise: it was collected by a remover.
  • Thomson: My mind is made up: this letter is anonymous. Nobody knows who wrote it! Thompson: To be precise: I agree. A anonymous letter nobody wrote!

The Black Island

  • Thompson: It all looks very fishy to me. Thomson: To be precise: the whole thing looks like me, very fishy.
  • The Thompsons slip on a wet floor. Thompson: Why can‘t you look where you‘re going? Thomson: To be precise: speak for yourself!
  • The Thompsons arrest Tintin. He was in handcuffs, but when they were asleep he got away and handcuffed the Thompsons together. When they wake up: Thomson: He‘s given us the slip. Got away, with handcuffs, too. What a cheek! Thompson: To be precise: he‘s given us away. Slipped us the handcuffs, too. What a sneak!
  • The Thompsons are having their handcuffs broken.Thomson: Just wait till I get my hands on him! Thompson: To be precise: ...er ... just wait till we get our hands!
  • Thompson and Thomson are chasing Tintin, handcuffed. Thomson: We’re gaining on him! Thompson: To be precise: We’re... Thompson and Thomson‘s handcuffs bump into a lamppost.
  • A private plane dives at the Thompsons and Tintin. Thomson: Ruffians! Thompson: To be precise: road-hogs!
  • Thomson: I'm beginning to agree with Tintin: they look like crooks. Thompson: To be precise: so do I. Tintin may be right: they look like rooks!
  • Thompson: A g-g-ghost! Thomson: To be p-p-precise: a s-s-sp-spook!
  • Tintin: You aren't coming back with me by air? Thompson: By air? ...No thank you...To be precise: we don't find the pilots entirely... reliable!

King Ottokar's Sceptre

  • Thompson: Get going! We’re all set! Thomson: To be precise: we’re all set!
  • Thomson: But of course we’ve come... Thompson: To be precise: of course...

3. The Thompsons are meeting a king. Thompson: “Majesty, you sire is very good...Good Majesty...no, I mean...” Thomson: “To be precise...it’s a majesty, Your Pleasure...”

4. Thomson: “This time our honour is at stake! We have sworn to find the sceptre; we must keep out word!” Thompson: To be precise: we must keep our word!”

The Crab with the Golden Claws

  • Thompson: "My dear Tintin, how nice to see you again!" Thomson: "To be precise: how nice to see you again, my dear Tintin!" -pg.2

2. Tintin has just asked the Thompsons what was up. Thompson: "Everything's fine: we've just been entrusted with a very important case." Thomson: "To be precise: a very... er ... important case." -pg.3

3. Thomson: "That's odd; in fact, it's fishy. Thompson: "To be precise: it's fishy..." -pg.5

4. They are talking to Allan, having no idea that he's a crook. Thomson: "...so this sailor used to drink. On the night of his death you met him in the town, very drunk; then he fell into the water trying to get back to the ship. Plain as a pikestaff!" Thompson: "To be precise: plain as a pikestaff." -pg.11

5. Thompson: "Hmm!... Very odd." Thomson: "To be precise: very odd; in fact, very queer..." -pg.46

6. Thomson: "Hmm, no one about?" Thompson: "To be precise: no one about..." -pg.47

7. Thomson: "At last, the police!... Gentlemen, this is the man we have brought to justice." Thompson: "To be precise: ... this is the man!"

The Shooting Star

  • There are no quotes in this book.

The Secret of the Unicorn

  • Thomson: “First, here’s the victim...” Thompson: “To be precise: here’s the victim!” -pg.28

2. Thomson: “Now, if there’s a victim, there must be a culprit.” Thompson: “A brilliant deduction! Now we only have to find him... and he can’t be far away. To be precise: he isn’t far away...” -pg.28

3. The sun shining through the magnifying Thomson is holding is burning his jacket. Thomson: “Very odd... To be precise... Can you smell something burning?” -pg.29

Red Rackham's Treasure

  • Thomson: “A real herd of elephants!” Thompson: “To be precise: a real herd of elephants!” -pg.4

2. Thomson: “Maybe, maybe. But anyway, now we are aboard you will be able to feel that you are perfectly safe.” Thompson: “To be precise: perfectly safe.” -pg.14

3. Thomson: “This island is h-h-haunted, Captain. Let’s hurry back t-t-to the sh-sh-ship.” Thompson: “To b-b-be precise: l-let’s hurry back t-t-to the sh-sh-ship.” -pg.28

4. Thompson: “You never ordered us to stop pumping, Captain. So here we are, pumping.” Thomson: “To be precise: we’re pumping.” -pg.45

5. Thomson: “Now for the simple, healthy tasks of the countryside! No more pumping!” Thompson: “To be precise: no more pumping!” -pg.57

The Seven Crystal Balls

  • Tintin: “Hello! ... How are things?” Thomson: “Hmm... All right... We can’t deny that we’re right as ever.” Thompson: “Quite right... quite right... To be precise: we can deny that we’re ever right.” -p.17

2. Thomson: “It is my duty, Dr. Midge, my duty... To be precise: headquarters expects that every detective will do his duty.” -p.22

3. Thompson: “Between ourselves, let’s face it -- that was a narrow escape...” Thomson: “Between ourselves, to be precise: I agree!” -p.23

Prisoners of the Sun

  • Thompson: “That sounds like the telephone.” Thomson: To be precise: the telephone.” -p.10

2. The Thompsons and Captain are looking for footprints at the beach. Thompson: “It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.” Thomson:“To be precise: we look like needles in a haystack.”-p.11

3. The Thompsons don’t know where Tintin, Captain, are. They looked for them and now are reporting back to headquarters. Thomson:“We’ve searched South America from top to bottom, sir, without result. We lost all trace of Tintin, the Captain, and the Professor.” Thompson: “To be precise: we got lost.” -p.51

4. Thomson: “We have decided to undertake a fresh search using entirely new methods. It’s the only way: otherwise we have absolutely no hope.” Thompson: “To be precise: we’re absolutely hopeless.” -p.51

Land of Black Gold

  • Tintin: “Good morning. What news?” Thomson: “What news! Plenty! Something very odd has just happened!" Thompson: “To be precise...we just happen to be very odd!” -p.3

2. The Thompsons just got kicked down stairs. Thomson: “How uncouth!” Thompson: “To be precise: most impolite! But you have to admit, he’s got plenty of push...” -p.8

3. Thomson: “A real stroke of luck hitting this road.” Thompson: “To be precise: we’ve really had a stroke!” -p.29

4. Thompson: “Driving in the sun has given me a spitting headache!” Thomson: “To be precise: I’m a headache too!” -p.59

Destination Moon

  • The Thompsons are being arrested. Thomson: “...You’ve got the strong end of the wick... no, I mean...” He is silenced. Thompson: “To be precise: the stick!” -p.18

2. Thompson: “I don’t know why, but it strikes me that Baxter and Wolff are behaving suspiciously.” Thomson: “To be precise: most auspiciously.” -p.23

3. Thomson: “Well, you’re very wise not to go on such a wild goose chase!... It’s a ridiculous idea!... Besides, at your age it would be sheer madness!” Thompson: “To be precise: sheer madness at your age.” -p.54

Explorers On The Moon

  • 1. Thomson: “Ha! ha! ha! That’s a good one! Always ready for a laugh, Professor!” Thompson: “To be precise: Ha! ha! ha!” -p.3

2.Captain Haddock Calls the Thompsons Punch and Judy Men Thomson "Yes, you sir! ...Did you or did you not say that we need two Punch-and-Judy men on the pier, and we'd do perfectly for the job? ...Isn't that insulting us?" Thompson "Quite right! ...This man has apologized to us, and we demand an insult!" -p.19

3. Thomson: “Yes, we’re satisfied.” Thompson: “To be precise: we certainly are!” -p.19

The Calculus Affair

  • Thomson: “Yes, it’s us. Hello...The local police have told us all about that business last night. So we’re here to investigate.” Thompson:“To be precise: we’re here.” -p.12

The Red Sea Sharks

  • 1. Thompson: "Aha! That surprised you, eh? You forget, my friend, in our job there's nothing we don't know." Thomson: "To be precise: we know nothing in our job!" -p.10

2. Thompson: "Why are we suspect? I mean, what do we suspect? My dear fellow, if you imagine we'll tell you he's smuggling aircraft, you're much mistaken. "Mum's the word", that's our motto." Thomson: "Well said!... To be precise: "Dumb's the word", that's our motto. The general may have come to Europe to buy up old aircraft, but you won't learn that from us! Now we must be going. Goodbye, Tintin." -p.10

Tintin in Tibet

  • There are once again no quotes in this book.

The Castafiore Emerald

  • The Thompsons crash the front of their car against the back of a parked truck. Thompson:“I...er...I think I must have braked a little late...” Thomson: “To be precise: I think you didn’t brake at all!” -p.37
  • Bianca Castafiore’s jewels have just been stolen; or so everyone thinks. Thomson: “Madam, we are here to set light to...er, to throw light on the circumstances surrounding your terrible loss...” Thompson: “To be precise...er...” -p.38
  • Thomson: “It’s clear as day to us, eh Thompson?” Thompson: “To be precise: dear as clay. That’s my opinion and I’m stuck with it!” -p.58
  • Thomson: “It’s a sight for sore eyes...” Thompson: “To be precise, I’d say...” -p.60

Flight 714

  • The Thompsons are absent from this book.

Tintin and the Picaros

  • The Thompsons are at their trial.
    • The Accuser: “...Men who, to appear as loyal supporters of General Tapioca and the noble ideology of Kurvi-Tasch, carried their duplicity so far as to grow moustaches!” Thompson: “That’s a lie!...We’ve been wearing moustaches since we were born!” Thomson: “To be precise: we’ve worn bearing them!” The Accuser: Silence! You will speak when you are spoken to! 
    • The Accuser: “...Gentlemen, for these two wretches, who can have no claim to extenuating circumstances, I demand the DEATH PENALTY!” Thompson: “The death penalty!!...He certainly doesn’t mince his words...He means to go the whole hog!” Thomson: “To be precise: his words certainly mince the hog whole!”

3. The time for the Thompsons’ execution has come. The Gaurd: “I’m sorry, gentlemen, but we must go, please... It’s time...” Thomson:“And one must be on time.” Thompson: “To be precise: time, gentlemen please!” -p.59

4. The Thompsons are about to be executed by being shot. They are being offered blindfolds. Thompson: “Blindfolds? Certainly not! ...A Thompson looks death straight in the face!” Thomson: “To be precise: A Thomson with a straight face looks like death!” -p.60


Popular culture

Thompson and Thomson as seen in Asterix in Belgium.

The detectives had a brief appearance in Asterix in Belgium, in 1979, the last album of Uderzo & Goscinny together. In the cartoon, they appear dressed in traditional Belgian, and announce the arrival of Julius Caesar. It is a clear reference to the beloved characters and a tribute of the creators of Asterix to Herge, in respect to fame and honour of Belgian comics. To be precise, they appear on page 31.

The pair also inspired the name for the British New Wave rock band, The Thompson Twins (Even though the band has had as many as seven members at a time), who were most famous for their hit 1983 song, "Hold Me Now."


  1. http://www.tintinologist.org/guides/characters/t.html
  2. Farr, Michael. Tintin: The Complete Companion. San Francisco, Last Gasp, 2002. pg. 41.
  3. Tintin in the Congo. Casterman, 1946. pg. 1.