The Best TV Detectives Fictional Characters
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originally by  tags 40,081 votes 3,282 voters 115,646 views 118 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.

  • 67 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 992
    - 438

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Sherlock

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 679
    - 252

    added by Scott Klingaman
    Columbo

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 614
    - 423
    ) open
  4. 4
    + 550
    - 464

    Fox Mulder & Dana Scully The X-Files

  5. 5
    + 423
    - 387

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Agatha Christie Universe

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 563
    - 363

    Veronica Mars

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 599
    - 432

    The Mentalist

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 437
    - 292

    The Rockford Files

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 396
    - 181

    added by willyboymcoy
    NCIS

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 475
    - 275

    The Scooby Gang Scooby Doo

  11. 11
    + 792
    - 469
    ) open
  12. 12
    + 461
    - 315

    Law & Order: SVU

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 495
    - 384
    ) open
  14. 14
    + 449
    - 298

    Mangum P.I.

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 357
    - 330

    Murder, She Wrote

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 410
    - 336
    ) open
  17. 17
    + 363
    - 367
    ) open
  18. 18
    + 773
    - 521
    ) open
  19. 19
    + 391
    - 313

    Law & Order: SVU

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 379
    - 420
    ) open
  21. 21
    + 380
    - 363
    ) open
  22. 22
    + 265
    - 308

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Hawaii Five-O

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 298
    - 261

    Kojak

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 253
    - 120

    ranked low on reranks
    NCIS

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 384
    - 300

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 224
    - 127

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 187
    - 105

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS NCIS

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 269
    - 229

    added by clash1977
    Law & Order

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 249
    - 281

    often listed
    Remington Steele & Laura Holt Remington Steele

  30. 30
    + 245
    - 254

    Dragnet, Dragnet, Dragnet

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 274
    - 292

    Burn Notice

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 222
    - 112

    ranked low on reranks & added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS NCIS 

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 239
    - 192

    added by willyboymcoy
    Rizzoli & Isles

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 170
    - 178

    Starsky & Hutch Starsky & Hutch

  35. 35
    + 182
    - 138

    added by joekoomen
    Perry Mason

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 191
    - 152

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 198
    - 139

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 239
    - 213

    added by clash1977
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 180
    - 153

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 145
    - 248

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Twin Peaks

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 228
    - 262

    Charlie's Angels Charlie's Angels

  42. 42
    + 122
    - 63

    ranked low on reranks & added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 244
    - 351

    CSI: Miami

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 150
    - 248

    Cagney & Lacey Cagney & Lacey

  45. 45
    + 146
    - 208

    Mike Hammer

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 158
    - 232
    ) open
  47. 47
    + 162
    - 261

    NYPD Blue

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 134
    - 176

    added by wiabux
    Fringe

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 157
    - 215

    David Addison and Maddie Hayes Moonlighting

  50. 50
    + 68
    - 49

    ranked low on reranks & added by looksharp
    Quincy

119 +

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