The Best TV Detectives Fictional Characters
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43  reranks 18,562 votes 1,662 voters 51,037 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
  • 43 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 474
    Down 244

    the people's #1 &most listed
    Sherlock Holmes

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes More
    100
  2. 3
    Up 290
    Down 214

    Fox Mulder & Dana Scully

    The X-Files More
    88
  3. 4
    Up 317
    Down 204
    Monk More
    86
  4. 5
    Up 204
    Down 193

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Hercule Poirot

    Agatha Christie Universe More
    82
  5. 6
    Up 338
    Down 221
    The Mentalist More
    81
  6. 7
    Up 191
    Down 198

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Gil Grissom

    CSI More
    80
  7. 8
    Up 240
    Down 147
    Mangum P.I. More
    78
  8. 9
    Up 208
    Down 153
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit More
    78
  9. 10
    Up 486
    Down 276
    Castle More
    78
  10. 11
    Up 226
    Down 140
    The Rockford Files More
    76
  11. 12
    Up 184
    Down 167
    Murder, She Wrote More
    75
  12. 13
    Up 221
    Down 154
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Special Victims ... More
    75
  13. 14
    Up 225
    Down 145

    The Scooby Gang

    Scooby Doo More
    75
  14. 15
    Up 244
    Down 180
    Bones More
    74
  15. 16
    Up 278
    Down 189
    Veronica Mars More
    74
  16. 17
    Up 506
    Down 349
    Castle More
    74
  17. 18
    Up 156
    Down 149
    Hawaii Five-O More
    73
  18. 19
    Up 214
    Down 177
    Psych More
    71
  19. 20
    Up 212
    Down 213
    Dexter More
    71
  20. 21
    Up 199
    Down 164
    Bones More
    70
  21. 22
    Up 146
    Down 126
    Kojak More
    68
  22. 23
    Up 159
    Down 72

    ranked low on reranks
    Leroy Jethro Gibbs

    NCIS More
    67
    added by: willyboymcoy
  23. 24
    Up 169
    Down 158
    Burn Notice More
    64
  24. 25
    Up 178
    Down 148
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer More
    63
  25. 26
    Up 135
    Down 143

    Remington Steele & Laura Holt

    Remington Steele More
    61
  26. 27
    Up 137
    Down 141
    Dragnet, Dragnet, Dragnet More
    61
  27. 28
    Up 131
    Down 100
    Law & Order More
    60
    added by: clash1977
  28. 29
    Up 96
    Down 73
    Rizzoli & Isles More
    59
    added by: willyboymcoy
  29. 30
    Up 138
    Down 181
    CSI: Miami More
    54
  30. 31
    Up 96
    Down 134
    NYPD Blue More
    53
  31. 32
    Up 114
    Down 108
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit More
    51
    added by: clash1977
  32. 33
    Up 104
    Down 148

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Charlie's Angels

    Charlie's Angels More
    50
  33. 34
    Up 56
    Down 31

    ranked low on reranks
    Anthony DiNozzo

    NCIS More
    49
    added by: MadisonJeannineWallace
  34. 35
    Up 60
    Down 40
    Perry Mason More
    49
    added by: joekoomen
  35. 36
    Up 72
    Down 49
    Criminal Minds More
    48
    added by: LiliaLoewenberg
  36. 37
    Up 60
    Down 63
    Fringe More
    48
    added by: wiabux
  37. 38
    Up 93
    Down 118
    Mannix More
    48
  38. 39
    Up 66
    Down 130

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Dale Cooper

    Twin Peaks More
    47
  39. 40
    Up 68
    Down 47
    Criminal Minds More
    47
    added by: LiliaLoewenberg
  40. 41
    Up 58
    Down 55
    Criminal Minds More
    45
    added by: LiliaLoewenberg
  41. 42
    Up 69
    Down 73

    Starsky & Hutch

    Starsky & Hutch More
    45
  42. 43
    Up 68
    Down 146
    The Shield More
    45
  43. 44
    Up 79
    Down 120

    Cagney & Lacey

    Cagney & Lacey More
    44
  44. 45
    Up 60
    Down 105
    Mike Hammer More
    44
  45. 48
    Up 80
    Down 109

    David Addison and Maddie Hayes

    Moonlighting More
    42
  46. 49
    Up 53
    Down 34
    NCIS More
    42
  47. 50
    Up 53
    Down 29

    ranked low on reranks
    Ziva David

    NCIS More
    42
    added by: MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS 
  48. 52
    Up 73
    Down 127
    Ghost Whisperer More
    40
  49. 53
    Up 67
    Down 112

    Barnaby Jones

    Barnaby Jones More
    40
  50. 54
    Up 74
    Down 130

    Emily Thorne (born Amanda Clarke)

    Revenge More
    40
  51. 78 +

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