52,047 votes 3,966 voters 129,430 views 221 items tags f p @

The Best TV Detectives

List Criteria: TV crime solvers only. No movies or books.

This list of the best TV detectives includes some of the greatest crime-solving sleuths in television history. TV is full of amazing detectives with lots of different kinds of skills. Supernatural, intuitive, or just plain brilliant... it's like comparing apples to oranges in some ways. But you have to pick. Which one would you want following the clues that would bring your murderer to justice? Vote for your favorite detectives, psychics, cops, or scientists, and rerank your own version if you want. Feel free to add anyone who's missing!

Many of the TV detectives listed here are part of some of the best serial cop dramas and legal dramas of all time. They are fierce, intelligent, and dogged in their determination to solve some of the most complex fictional crimes on television.

Who would you want investigating your murder? Choose carefully, because obviously you'll want the TV detective with the best skill set to uncover the clues that will bring your killer to justice. And keep in mind that looks and mannerisms can be deceiving: Adrian Monk is certainly a little goofy and neurotic, but he gets the job done. Columbo can be disarmingly bumbling, but he's sharp as a tack. Sometimes, being cleverly disarming can make all the difference in solving crimes.

The Best TV Detectives Fictional Characters
  • 82 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
Z
G Options
B Comments
& Embed
2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 1212
    - 516

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Sherlock

    ;
  2. 2
    + 854
    - 338

    added by Scott Klingaman
    Columbo

    ;
  3. 3
    + 725
    - 520


    Monk

    ;
  4. 4
    + 658
    - 546


    The X-Files

    ;
  5. 5
    + 520
    - 466

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Agatha Christie Universe

    ;
  6. 6
    + 570
    - 397


    Law & Order: SVU

    ;
  7. 7
    + 430
    - 424

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    CSI

    ;
  8. 8
    + 523
    - 350


    The Rockford Files

    ;
  9. 9
    + 590
    - 346


    Scooby Doo

    ;
  10. 10
    + 517
    - 240

    added by willyboymcoy
    NCIS

    ;
  11. 11
    + 599
    - 468


    Bones

    ;
  12. 12
    + 878
    - 553


    Castle

    ;
  13. 13
    + 544
    - 350


    Mangum P.I.

    ;
  14. 14
    + 655
    - 443


    Veronica Mars

    ;
  15. 15
    + 695
    - 530


    The Mentalist

    ;
  16. 16
    + 449
    - 386


    Murder, She Wrote

    ;
  17. 17
    + 500
    - 391


    Psych

    ;
  18. 18
    + 469
    - 368


    Law & Order: SVU

    ;
  19. 19
    + 867
    - 598

    ranked low on reranks
    Castle

    ;
  20. 20
    + 443
    - 509

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Dexter

    ;
  21. 21
    + 355
    - 314


    Kojak

    ;
  22. 22
    + 332
    - 178

    ranked low on reranks
    NCIS

    ;
  23. 23
    + 442
    - 436

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Bones

    ;
  24. 24
    + 307
    - 366

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Hawaii Five-O

    ;
  25. 25
    + 305
    - 164

    ranked low on reranks & added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS NCIS 

    ;
  26. 26
    + 304
    - 174

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS

    ;
  27. 27
    + 468
    - 360


    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ;
  28. 28
    + 327
    - 274

    added by clash1977
    Law & Order

    ;
  29. 29
    + 252
    - 152

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS NCIS

    ;
  30. 30
    + 235
    - 182

    added by joekoomen
    Perry Mason

    ;
  31. 31
    + 289
    - 237

    added by willyboymcoy
    Rizzoli & Isles

    ;
  32. 32
    + 318
    - 349

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Burn Notice

    ;
  33. 33
    + 288
    - 302


    Dragnet, Dragnet, Dragnet

    ;
  34. 34
    + 196
    - 105

    ranked low on reranks & added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ;
  35. 35
    + 288
    - 334

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Remington Steele

    ;
  36. 36
    + 260
    - 177

    ranked low on reranks & added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ;
  37. 37
    + 143
    - 95

    added by JacobMurray
    House, House Universe

    ;
  38. 38
    + 301
    - 248

    added by clash1977
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

    ;
  39. 39
    + 233
    - 201

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ;
  40. 40
    + 172
    - 296

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Twin Peaks

    ;
  41. 41
    + 248
    - 191

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ;
  42. 42
    + 287
    - 411


    CSI: Miami

    ;
  43. 43
    + 257
    - 314


    Charlie's Angels Charlie's Angels

  44. 44
    + 115
    - 88

    ranked low on reranks & added by looksharp
    Law & Order: Criminal Intent

    ;
  45. 45
    + 164
    - 221

    added by wiabux
    Fringe

    ;
  46. 46
    + 197
    - 308

    often listed
    NYPD Blue

    ;
  47. 47
    + 184
    - 294

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Cagney & Lacey Cagney & Lacey

  48. 48
    + 201
    - 225


    Starsky & Hutch

    ;
  49. 49
    + 112
    - 90

    ranked low on reranks & added by looksharp
    Quincy

  50. 50
    + 141
    - 140

    added by dee123
    Miss Marple: Nemesis, Murder Most Foul, Agatha Christie's Miss Marple: ...

    ;
222 +

Something missing? Add it!

L List Options 2 Rerank List B Comments & Embed z Share Next List >