The Best TV Detectives Fictional Characters

The Best TV Detectives

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58,530 votes 4,338 voters 137,857 views 216 items tags f p @
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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.


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Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 86 ReRanks
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  • 2 See list ranked by
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  1. 1
    + 1307
    - 566

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Sherlock

    ;
  2. 2
    + 957
    - 370

    added by Scott Klingaman
    Columbo

    ;
  3. 3
    + 790
    - 561


    Monk

    ;
  4. 4
    + 721
    - 599


    The X-Files

    ;
  5. 5
    + 571
    - 512

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Agatha Christie Universe

    ;
  6. 6
    + 625
    - 452


    Law & Order: SVU

    ;
  7. 7
    + 585
    - 273

    added by willyboymcoy
    NCIS

    ;
  8. 8
    + 649
    - 388


    Scooby Doo

    ;
  9. 9
    + 592
    - 380


    Mangum P.I.

    ;
  10. 10
    + 565
    - 381


    The Rockford Files

    ;
  11. 11
    + 470
    - 472

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    CSI

    ;
  12. 12
    + 951
    - 603


    Castle

    ;
  13. 13
    + 648
    - 520


    Bones

    ;
  14. 14
    + 492
    - 416


    Murder, She Wrote

    ;
  15. 15
    + 753
    - 570


    The Mentalist

    ;
  16. 16
    + 710
    - 486


    Veronica Mars

    ;
  17. 17
    + 537
    - 421


    Psych

    ;
  18. 18
    + 509
    - 402


    Law & Order: SVU

    ;
  19. 19
    + 920
    - 639

    ranked low on reranks
    Castle

    ;
  20. 20
    + 391
    - 341


    Kojak

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  21. 21
    + 473
    - 558

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Dexter

    ;
  22. 22
    + 340
    - 392

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Hawaii Five-O

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  23. 23
    + 388
    - 206

    ranked low on reranks
    NCIS

    ;
  24. 24
    + 478
    - 473

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Bones

    ;
  25. 25
    + 357
    - 188

    ranked low on reranks & added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS NCIS 

    ;
  26. 26
    + 510
    - 399


    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ;
  27. 27
    + 351
    - 198

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS

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  28. 28
    + 350
    - 309

    often listed & added by clash1977
    Law & Order

    ;
  29. 29
    + 246
    - 133

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ;
  30. 30
    + 289
    - 178

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS NCIS

    ;
  31. 31
    + 314
    - 328


    Dragnet, Dragnet, Dragnet

    ;
  32. 32
    + 316
    - 356

    often listed
    Remington Steele

    ;
  33. 33
    + 322
    - 270

    added by willyboymcoy
    Rizzoli & Isles

    ;
  34. 34
    + 255
    - 209

    added by joekoomen
    Perry Mason

    ;
  35. 35
    + 340
    - 377

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Burn Notice

    ;
  36. 36
    + 296
    - 206

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ;
  37. 37
    + 174
    - 129

    added by JacobMurray
    House, House Universe

    ;
  38. 38
    + 266
    - 230

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ;
  39. 39
    + 274
    - 222

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ;
  40. 40
    + 323
    - 277

    added by clash1977
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

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  41. 41
    + 188
    - 325

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Twin Peaks

    ;
  42. 42
    + 160
    - 164

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

    ;
  43. 43
    + 281
    - 343


    Charlie's Angels Charlie's Angels

  44. 44
    + 132
    - 120

    added by looksharp
    Law & Order: Criminal Intent

    ;
  45. 45
    + 229
    - 246


    Starsky & Hutch

    ;
  46. 46
    + 308
    - 448


    CSI: Miami

    ;
  47. 47
    + 211
    - 337


    NYPD Blue

    ;
  48. 48
    + 136
    - 113

    ranked low on reranks & added by looksharp
    Quincy

  49. 49
    + 178
    - 249

    added by wiabux
    Fringe

    ;
  50. 50
    + 194
    - 321


    Cagney & Lacey Cagney & Lacey

217 +

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