The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time TV Programs
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12  reranks 4,461 votes 365 voters 14,622 views more info

The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time

The best serial cop dramas of all time include long-running police television shows that managed to combine elements of mystery and suspense, captivating viewers along the way. TV cop dramas have long been a major part of American television (with many ranking among the best TV shows of recent momory), and they've remained popular for decades. This list includes some of the greatest police TV dramas ever, but if you know of a particularly good one that's missing, feel free to add it. And be sure to vote for your favorites, and vote down any programs you really didn't like.

A truly great television cop drama combines interesting, unique story lines with fast-paced action and a solid script. Having an extraordinarily strong ensemble cast doesn't hurt, either. What's the best cop show ever on TV? Many fans will argue that it's the brilliant, David Simon-created HBO drama 'The Wire.' Others might maintain that the FX drama 'The Shield,' which starred Michael Chiklis, is the greatest of all time. And, love them or hate them, it's hard to deny that the 'Law & Order' franchise programs are almost always solid choices, too.

Older, classic serial cop dramas are also included on this list, because they paved the way for more modern police procedurals. Among them: The ABC crime drama 'The Untouchables' (1959 to 1963) and the long-running classic 'Dragnet.' And of course, no list of the best serial cop dramas ever would be complete without 'Columbo,' which starred the late, great Peter Falk as homicide detective Lt. Frank Columbo.

Hopefully everyone will find at least one or two favorites among these fantastic serial cop dramas, but if not, remember: You can always add your favorite cop drama, and you can rerank this list your way!

If you just can't get enough of the greatest serial cop dramas, make sure to check out the best police movies ever and the most epic police fails of all time.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 12 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 108
    Down 46

    the people's #1
    The Wire

    2002 More
    94
  2. 2
    Up 79
    Down 46

    most listed
    Hill Street Blues

    1981 More
    88
  3. 3
    Up 88
    Down 46
    2002 More
    87
  4. 4
    Up 80
    Down 43
    1968 More
    83
  5. 5
    Up 76
    Down 48
    1990 More
    82
  6. 6
    Up 78
    Down 50
    1999 More
    81
  7. 7
    Up 70
    Down 57
    1993 More
    78
  8. 8
    Up 65
    Down 47
    1993 More
    76
  9. 9
    Up 63
    Down 46
    2000 More
    75
  10. 10
    Up 81
    Down 48
    2005 More
    72
  11. 11
    Up 69
    Down 25

    ranked low on reranks
    Castle

    2009 More
    70
  12. 12
    Up 47
    Down 53

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Dragnet

    1952 More
    69
  13. 13
    Up 88
    Down 49
    2003 More
    67
  14. 14
    Up 56
    Down 59

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Miami Vice

    1984 More
    67
  15. 15
    Up 67
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    1968 More
    59
  16. 16
    Up 50
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    2009 More
    58
  17. 17
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    2006 More
    55
  18. 18
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    1973 More
    55
  19. 19
    Up 38
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    1999 More
    52
  20. 20
    Up 44
    Down 36
    1972 More
    51
  21. 21
    Up 27
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    1959 More
    50
  22. 22
    Up 44
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    2002 More
    48
  23. 23
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    1975 More
    48
    added by: zxray
  24. 24
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    2010 More
    48
  25. 25
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    Down 32

    The New Hawaii 5-0

    47
    added by: analise.dubner
    That girl needs to eat a sandwich.
  26. 26
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    2001 More
    47
  27. 27
    Up 33
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    1968 More
    47
  28. 28
    Up 38
    Down 35
    2003 More
    47
  29. 29
    Up 35
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    1988 More
    47
  30. 30
    Up 37
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    1975 More
    46
  31. 31
    Up 17
    Down 25
    1975 More
    46
    added by: thewrecker
  32. 32
    Up 36
    Down 39
    2002 More
    45
  33. 33
    Up 33
    Down 38
    2005 More
    44
  34. 34
    Up 29
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    1977 More
    44
  35. 35
    Up 37
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    2004 More
    44
  36. 36
    Up 27
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    2011 More
    43
    added by: zxray
  37. 37
    Up 26
    Down 28
    2006 More
    43
  38. 38
    Up 33
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    2010 More
    42
  39. 39
    Up 23
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Crime Story

    1986 More
    42
  40. 40
    Up 23
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    1982 More
    41
  41. 41
    Up 26
    Down 20
    1980 More
    37
  42. 42
    Up 30
    Down 26
    2011 More
    36
  43. 43
    Up 20
    Down 8

    new! Monk

    2002 More
    35
    added by: JayceEverling
  44. 44
    Up 26
    Down 24
    2007 More
    34
  45. 45
    Up 16
    Down 34

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Charlie's Angels

    1976 More
    34
    added by: zxray
  46. 46
    Up 10
    Down 23

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    The District

    2000 More
    31
  47. 47
    Up 25
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    ranked low on reranks
    Quincy, M.E.

    1976 More
    30
    added by: zxray
  48. 48
    Up 6
    Down 22

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Brooklyn South

    1997 More
    30
  49. 49
    Up 14
    Down 12

    ranked low on reranks
    Elementary

    2012 More
    29
    added by: zxray
  50. 50
    Up 14
    Down 13
    2010 More
    29
    added by: MargrietHesseling
  51. 56 +

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