In case you’ve not already been taught this, it’s considered mandatory that your hero have a flaw, something for him/her to overcome, something to provide an inner journey while shooting up the world with an AK-47 on the outer levels, something to make the reader identify with him/her: “Hey, this character is more screwed up than I am. Go, guy/gal!”
Okay, maybe that’s not exactly what’s happening, but having shown you the necessity of giving your protagonist a flaw, I’ll now show you an exception: Detective stories.
Historically, detective novels have not had pronounced character arcs:
Holmes’s cocaine habit is a minuscule feature of the stories, with no mention at all in most of the Canon. It’s questionable whether he was truly addicted.
Poirot has little of importance in his personal life except getting ze little moustaches trimmed.
Emphasis in detective novels is on the intellectual: the solution of the puzzle of who did it, why, and how, along with the methodology of the detective–how did he/she figure it out?
I suspect the fact that detective novels tend to be part of a series works against the “flawed hero” concept. You could give the hero an internal conflict in the first book, yes. He overcomes it to arrive at the successful conclusion. Then, in a series, you’d have to give him another flaw for the next book, and another for the one after that, and so on. That’s going to make him/her seem like some sort of sad sack sooner or later.
A detective with the same ongoing flaw, book after book, like Wallender, makes the reader want to give him a good, swift one. Why should a tec clever enough to catch villains be too dumb to get effective help?
I think a character flaw with a large intellectual component is incompatible with intellectual achievement, the sine qua non of detective fiction. Thus the recent tendency to introduce a permanent psychic flaw in the tec is ultimately a poor way to differentiate him/her from the jillion others out there. Let’s stick with the traditional differentiation method: multiple, bizarre character traits, e.g., making your detective a blind, Mohican, epileptic vegan with a stutter.
Can you name other famous characters that had no evident flaw?