The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time TV Programs

The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time

8,348 views 61 items 3,761 votes 293 voters 20 followers 12reranks
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.
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  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 87
    Down 43

    the people's #1
    The Wire

    2002 More
    94
  2. 2
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    most listed
    Hill Street Blues

    1981 More
    87
  3. 3
    Up 69
    Down 40
    2002 More
    83
  4. 4
    Up 63
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    1990 More
    81
  5. 5
    Up 63
    Down 49
    1993 More
    81
  6. 6
    Up 64
    Down 39
    1968 More
    79
  7. 7
    Up 55
    Down 43
    1993 More
    78
  8. 8
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    Down 47
    1999 More
    77
  9. 9
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    2003 More
    75
  10. 10
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    2000 More
    72
  11. 11
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    1952 More
    72
  12. 12
    Up 51
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    2009 More
    69
  13. 13
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    controversial
    Criminal Minds

    2005 More
    68
  14. 14
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Miami Vice

    1984 More
    66
  15. 15
    Up 55
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    1968 More
    65
  16. 16
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    2006 More
    65
  17. 17
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    The New Hawaii 5-0

    56
    added by: analise.dubner
    That girl needs to eat a sandwich.
  18. 18
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    2009 More
    56
  19. 19
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    1988 More
    54
  20. 20
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    controversial
    CSI: Miami

    2002 More
    54
  21. 21
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    1972 More
    54
  22. 22
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    1968 More
    53
  23. 23
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    1999 More
    53
  24. 24
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    1959 More
    53
  25. 25
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    1975 More
    53
  26. 26
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    1973 More
    53
  27. 27
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    1975 More
    51
    added by: zxray
  28. 28
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    2004 More
    51
  29. 29
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    2005 More
    50
  30. 30
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    1977 More
    50
  31. 31
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    2003 More
    50
  32. 32
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    2011 More
    49
    added by: zxray
  33. 33
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    2001 More
    48
  34. 34
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    2006 More
    48
  35. 35
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    2002 More
    48
  36. 36
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    1986 More
    46
  37. 37
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    1976 More
    45
    added by: zxray
  38. 38
    Up 20
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    1982 More
    44
  39. 39
    Up 22
    Down 13
    1980 More
    44
  40. 40
    Up 12
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    often listed
    Barney Miller

    1975 More
    43
    added by: thewrecker
  41. 41
    Up 11
    Down 5
    2002 More
    42
    added by: JayceEverling
  42. 42
    Up 23
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    1976 More
    41
    added by: zxray
  43. 43
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    2011 More
    41
  44. 44
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    2010 More
    40
  45. 45
    Up 9
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    2012 More
    39
    added by: zxray
  46. 46
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    2010 More
    37
  47. 47
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    2007 More
    37
  48. 48
    Up 7
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    2010 More
    37
    added by: MargrietHesseling
  49. 49
    Up 1
    Down 1
    2012 More
    37
    added by: LanaYoshii
  50. 50
    Up 9
    Down 10
    2001 More
    36
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