I don't know what you're up to, Claw, but you'll never get away with it!
~ Inspector Gadget to Dr. Claw

Inspector Gadget, formerly Jonathan "John" Brown, is the titular protagonist of the 1999 live-action Disney film of the same name and its 2003 sequel. He protects the city of Riverton from a myriad of threats that include Sanford Scolex (who later takes on the alias "Dr. Claw") and the deadly Robogadget. In addition, he helps the police department by generating good public relations by working on ordinary cases such as saving kittens. With the help of his niece Penny and his pet dog named Brain, he helps Dr. Brenda Bradford retrieve stolen robotics. He is portrayed by Matthew Broderick in the film and by French Stewart in the sequel.

Inspector Gadget wears a typical detective's outfit, which includes a long brown trench coat and matching fedora. His hat has a black band that periodically acts as a marquee display. He wears a white dress shirt with a black necktie along with black suit pants and black shoes. His underwear preference is boxer shorts. In the film, Inspector Gadget is kind-hearted and friendly to everyone, including Dr. Claw. He doesn't read the manual for his cybernetic implants and therefore is not aware how to fully utilize all his robotic powers. Due to the unpredictable use of his robotic implants, Inspector Gadget provides a lot of comic relief. In the 2003 sequel, his personality is more like his original cartoon counterpart and his gadgets are shown to have a lot of glitches and his trench coat is gray instead of brown like his original cartoon counterpart.

1999 film heroics

The film explores the origin stories of Inspector Gadget and Dr. Claw. Before he became Inspector Gadget for the Riverton Police Department, John Brown was a security guard for the Bradford robotics company. During one night, Sanford Scolex owner of Scolex Industries kills Artemus Bradford and steals the company's latest breakthrough (a robotic foot that can be controlled by a person's will). Security guard John Brown chases Scolex and a confrontation between the two men take place. This confrontation changes both men's lives. After Scolex throws an exploding cigar at John Brown, there is a huge explosion. John Brown is severely injured and Scolex loses his left hand when a bowling ball flies from Brown's car and crushes it when he opens the sunroof.

Inspector Gadget after throwing Robogadget's head over the bridge

Inspector Gadget war-torn and ravaged after winning his fight with Robogadget

The next day's morning, John Brown wakes up in the hospital and discovers he is used as Bradford's experimental robotic project called the Gadget project. Meanwhile, Scolex has his left hand replaced with a deadly mechanical claw and takes on the moniker of "Dr. Claw". Inspector Gadget starts out by helping the Riverton police department by working on relatively high publicity and less critical roles such as hall monitor, crossing guard, sanitation worker, traffic cop, and rescuer of kittens in trees. Meanwhile, Scolex uses the stolen technology from Bradford robotics to create an evil version of Inspector Gadget called Robogadget.

Inspector Gadget eventually connects Scolex Industries with the murder of Artemus Bradford. Gadget infiltrates Scolex Industries and attempts to retrieve the stolen robot foot. However, his plan fails. Scolex captures Gadget and destroys a chip in Gadget's torso that allows Gadget to control his robotic body. Scolex has Gadget dumped in the city landfill. While Robotgadget is wreaking havoc in Riverton, Gadget's friends are worried why Gadget is missing when all this carnage is happening. They track Gadget using a locator technology embedded in Gadget's body. They find Gadget's deactivated body in the landfill. After Brenda kisses Gadget, he miraculously learns to control his robotic body without the use of the chip.

Inspector Gadget's pet dog Brain tearing off Dr. Claw's boxer shorts

Brain tried to stop Dr. Claw, but just tore off his boxers instead.

Gadget and his friends go to stop Dr. Claw and his robotic menace Robogadget. When Gadget and his friends find Dr. Claw and Robogadget they are split up. Gadget gets into a fight with Robogadget on a bridge while Dr. Claw is being pursued by Brenda, Penny, and Brain. During the fight with Robogadget, Inspector Gadget is shown having trouble trying to subdue his evil counterpart. Eventually, Inspector Gadget gets the upper hand and detaches Robogadget's head and throws it over the bridge into the water. Meanwhile, Dr. Claw has taken Brenda hostage but loses his boxer shorts when Brain attacked him. When Robogadget's threat to the city is neutralized, Gadget goes after Dr. Claw. Inspector Gadget confronts Dr. Claw on the roof of Scolex Industries. Dr. Claw initially gets the upper hand in the fight by trapping Gadget in one of the runners of his helicopter. In a flash of good luck, Inspector Gadget fires a missile pen that makes Dr. Claw lose control of his helicopter. While colliding towards to Earth, Inspector Gadget saves Brenda by using his built-in parasol. Dr. Claw is captured by the Gadgetmobile as he parachuted to the ground. When both Dr. Claw and Robogadget are both on the ground everything is cleared up. Penny shows the evidence of that Dr. Claw is responsible for the death of Artemus Bradford and he created Robogadget to impersonate and discredit Inspector Gadget. Brain shows the evidence he tore off from Dr. Claw earlier.

With everything cleared up, Inspector Gadget is now well-respected by everyone in town even the police chief who initially disliked Gadget at the beginning.


  • Brendan Frasier, Kevin Kline, Steve Carrell, Chevy Chase and Steven Martin originally auditioned for the role of Inspector Gadget, but they turned down the role before the role was given to Matthew Broderick.
  • This wasn't the first time Inspector Gadget appears in live-action, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show live-action segment episode, "Defective Gadgetry" marked the first appearance of a live-action Inspector Gadget ten years earlier.


1999 gallery

2003 gallery

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