The Best TV Detectives Fictional Characters
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originally by  tags 37,101 votes 3,064 voters 113,354 views 110 items 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.

  • 65 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 935
    - 413

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Sherlock

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 632
    - 228

    added by Scott Klingaman
    Columbo

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 575
    - 401
    ) open
  4. 4
    + 517
    - 441

    Fox Mulder & Dana Scully The X-Files

  5. 5
    + 399
    - 363

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Agatha Christie Universe

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 411
    - 271

    The Rockford Files

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 558
    - 412

    The Mentalist

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 515
    - 345

    Veronica Mars

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 751
    - 449
    ) open
  10. 10
    + 424
    - 298

    Law & Order: SVU

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 358
    - 166

    added by willyboymcoy
    NCIS

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 420
    - 283

    Mangum P.I.

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 430
    - 261

    The Scooby Gang Scooby Doo

  14. 14
    + 463
    - 360
    ) open
  15. 15
    + 334
    - 311

    Murder, She Wrote

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 370
    - 296

    Law & Order: SVU

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 334
    - 351
    ) open
  18. 18
    + 737
    - 505
    ) open
  19. 19
    + 379
    - 320
    ) open
  20. 20
    + 355
    - 398
    ) open
  21. 21
    + 350
    - 344
    ) open
  22. 22
    + 278
    - 244

    Kojak

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 252
    - 289

    Hawaii Five-O

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 225
    - 108

    ranked low on reranks
    NCIS

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 354
    - 289

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 250
    - 212

    added by clash1977
    Law & Order

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 239
    - 264

    Remington Steele & Laura Holt Remington Steele

  28. 28
    + 231
    - 238

    Dragnet, Dragnet, Dragnet

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 201
    - 117

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 168
    - 95

    ranked low on reranks & added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS NCIS

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 256
    - 277

    Burn Notice

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 222
    - 178

    added by willyboymcoy
    Rizzoli & Isles

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 202
    - 103

    ranked low on reranks & added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS NCIS 

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 159
    - 165

    Starsky & Hutch Starsky & Hutch

  35. 35
    + 166
    - 126

    added by joekoomen
    Perry Mason

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 224
    - 203

    added by clash1977
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 239
    - 335

    CSI: Miami

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 134
    - 235

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Twin Peaks

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 213
    - 251

    Charlie's Angels Charlie's Angels

  40. 40
    + 169
    - 139

    ranked low on reranks & added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 144
    - 232

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Cagney & Lacey Cagney & Lacey

  42. 42
    + 174
    - 132

    ranked low on reranks & added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 159
    - 142

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 139
    - 194

    Mike Hammer

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 147
    - 217
    ) open
  46. 46
    + 155
    - 247

    NYPD Blue

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 149
    - 201

    David Addison and Maddie Hayes Moonlighting

  48. 48
    + 58
    - 34

    ranked low on reranks & added by looksharp
    Quincy

  49. 49
    + 90
    - 56

    ranked low on reranks & added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 120
    - 166

    added by wiabux
    Fringe

    ) open
111 +

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