The Best TV Detectives Fictional Characters
Ultimate List
45  reranks 22,014 votes 1,943 voters 64,613 views more info

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.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 45 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
</> Rerank List
Score
  1. 1
    Up 570
    Down 283

    the people's #1 & most listed Sherlock

    open report item
  2. 3
    Up 377
    Down 246

    Monk

    open report item
  3. 4
    Up 339
    Down 262

    Fox Mulder & Dana Scully The X-Files

    open report item
  4. 5
    Up 383
    Down 267

    The Mentalist

    open report item
  5. 6
    Up 247
    Down 230

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Agatha Christie Universe

    open report item
  6. 7
    Up 564
    Down 314

    ranked low on reranks Castle

    open report item
  7. 8
    Up 220
    Down 236

    often listed CSI

    open report item
  8. 9
    Up 282
    Down 181

    Mangum P.I.

    open report item
  9. 10
    Up 297
    Down 208

    Bones

    open report item
  10. 11
    Up 235
    Down 188

    Law & Order: SVU

    open report item
  11. 12
    Up 338
    Down 225

    Veronica Mars

    open report item
  12. 13
    Up 566
    Down 384

    Castle

    open report item
  13. 14
    Up 264
    Down 168

    The Rockford Files

    open report item
  14. 15
    Up 269
    Down 178

    The Scooby Gang Scooby Doo

    open report item
  15. 16
    Up 213
    Down 195

    Murder, She Wrote

    open report item
  16. 17
    Up 254
    Down 186

    Law & Order: SVU

    open report item
  17. 18
    Up 245
    Down 217

    Psych

    open report item
  18. 19
    Up 248
    Down 257

    Dexter

    open report item
  19. 20
    Up 177
    Down 182

    Hawaii Five-O

    open report item
  20. 21
    Up 229
    Down 204

    Bones

    open report item
  21. 22
    Up 172
    Down 152

    Kojak

    open report item
  22. 23
    Up 199
    Down 98

    ranked low on reranks & added by willyboymcoy NCIS

    open report item
  23. 24
    Up 196
    Down 188

    Burn Notice

    open report item
  24. 25
    Up 211
    Down 182

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    open report item
  25. 26
    Up 154
    Down 170

    Remington Steele & Laura Holt Remington Steele

    open report item
  26. 27
    Up 154
    Down 169

    Dragnet, Dragnet, Dragnet

    open report item
  27. 28
    Up 129
    Down 97

    added by willyboymcoy Rizzoli & Isles

    open report item
  28. 29
    Up 154
    Down 132

    added by clash1977 Law & Order

    open report item
  29. 30
    Up 168
    Down 215

    CSI: Miami

    open report item
  30. 31
    Up 114
    Down 168

    NYPD Blue

    open report item
  31. 32
    Up 127
    Down 175

    Charlie's Angels Charlie's Angels

    open report item
  32. 33
    Up 132
    Down 140

    added by clash1977 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

    open report item
  33. 34
    Up 86
    Down 57

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace NCIS

    open report item
  34. 35
    Up 83
    Down 65

    added by joekoomen Perry Mason

    open report item
  35. 36
    Up 89
    Down 78

    added by LiliaLoewenberg Criminal Minds

    open report item
  36. 37
    Up 106
    Down 149

    Mannix

    open report item
  37. 38
    Up 91
    Down 77

    added by LiliaLoewenberg Criminal Minds

    open report item
  38. 39
    Up 94
    Down 54

    NCIS

    open report item
  39. 40
    Up 71
    Down 96

    added by wiabux Fringe

    open report item
  40. 41
    Up 90
    Down 95

    Starsky & Hutch Starsky & Hutch

    open report item
  41. 42
    Up 74
    Down 161

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Twin Peaks

    open report item
  42. 43
    Up 76
    Down 80

    added by LiliaLoewenberg Criminal Minds

    open report item
  43. 44
    Up 12
    Down 10

    The Closer

    open report item
  44. 45
    Up 87
    Down 50

    ranked low on reranks & added by MadisonJeannineWallace NCIS NCIS 

    open report item
  45. 46
    Up 77
    Down 127

    Mike Hammer

    open report item
  46. 47
    Up 78
    Down 176

    The Shield

    open report item
  47. 48
    Up 89
    Down 148

    Cagney & Lacey Cagney & Lacey

    open report item
  48. 49
    Up 74
    Down 47

    ranked low on reranks & added by MadisonJeannineWallace NCIS NCIS

    open report item
  49. 50
    Up 90
    Down 135

    David Addison and Maddie Hayes Moonlighting

    open report item
  50. 52
    Up 81
    Down 129

    Barnaby Jones Barnaby Jones

    open report item
  51. 92 +

    Something missing? Add it!

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS + 20 MORE

items 1 - 50 of 91

think you can do better?

Rerank This List
why?

got a blog or website?

embed this list
why?

viewers of this list also saw

more popular lists