The Best TV Detectives Fictional Characters
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originally by  tags 35,739 votes 2,951 voters 111,019 views 100 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.

  • 61 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 896
    - 401

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Sherlock

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 600
    - 218

    added by Scott Klingaman
    Columbo

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 501
    - 426


    Fox Mulder & Dana Scully The X-Files

  4. 4
    + 555
    - 387
    ) open
  5. 5
    + 384
    - 352

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Agatha Christie Universe

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 397
    - 259


    The Rockford Files

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 410
    - 285


    Law & Order: SVU

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 497
    - 335


    Veronica Mars

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 537
    - 399


    The Mentalist

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 406
    - 275


    Mangum P.I.

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 341
    - 160

    added by willyboymcoy
    NCIS

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 733
    - 437
    ) open
  13. 13
    + 322
    - 301


    Murder, She Wrote

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 414
    - 254


    The Scooby Gang Scooby Doo

  15. 15
    + 444
    - 350
    ) open
  16. 16
    + 359
    - 289


    Law & Order: SVU

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 327
    - 344
    ) open
  18. 18
    + 363
    - 310
    ) open
  19. 19
    + 719
    - 496
    ) open
  20. 20
    + 346
    - 386
    ) open
  21. 21
    + 338
    - 334
    ) open
  22. 22
    + 241
    - 282


    Hawaii Five-O

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 261
    - 239


    Kojak

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 342
    - 282


    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 212
    - 101

    ranked low on reranks
    NCIS

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 232
    - 257


    Remington Steele & Laura Holt Remington Steele

  27. 27
    + 240
    - 207

    added by clash1977
    Law & Order

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 226
    - 234


    Dragnet

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 251
    - 270

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Burn Notice

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 189
    - 114

    ranked low on reranks & added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 157
    - 91

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS NCIS

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 214
    - 172

    added by willyboymcoy
    Rizzoli & Isles

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 196
    - 98

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS NCIS 

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 230
    - 329


    CSI: Miami

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 128
    - 231

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Twin Peaks

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 152
    - 161


    Starsky & Hutch Starsky & Hutch

  37. 37
    + 214
    - 198

    added by clash1977
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 207
    - 247


    Charlie's Angels Charlie's Angels

  39. 39
    + 158
    - 122

    added by joekoomen
    Perry Mason

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 141
    - 227

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

  41. 41
    + 161
    - 135

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 166
    - 129

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 132
    - 190


    Mike Hammer

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 143
    - 214


    Mannix

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 151
    - 244


    NYPD Blue

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 146
    - 197


    David Addison and Maddie Hayes Moonlighting

  47. 47
    + 152
    - 140

    ranked low on reranks & added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 113
    - 163

    added by wiabux
    Fringe

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 51
    - 32

    added by looksharp
    Quincy

  50. 50
    + 118
    - 173


    Crockett & Tubbs Miami Vice

101 +

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