The Best TV Detectives Fictional Characters
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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
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  1. 1
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    the people's #1 & most listed Sherlock

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  2. 3
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    Monk

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  3. 4
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    Fox Mulder & Dana Scully The X-Files

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  4. 5
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    The Mentalist

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  5. 6
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Agatha Christie Universe

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  6. 7
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    ranked low on reranks Castle

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  7. 8
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    often listed CSI

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  8. 9
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    Bones

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  9. 10
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    Mangum P.I.

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  10. 11
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    Veronica Mars

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  11. 12
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    Law & Order: SVU

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  12. 13
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    Castle

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  13. 14
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    The Rockford Files

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  14. 15
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    Murder, She Wrote

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  15. 16
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    Law & Order: SVU

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  16. 17
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    The Scooby Gang Scooby Doo

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  17. 18
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    Psych

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  18. 19
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    Dexter

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  19. 20
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    Hawaii Five-O

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  20. 21
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    Bones

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  21. 22
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    Kojak

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  22. 23
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    ranked low on reranks & added by willyboymcoy NCIS

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  23. 24
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    Burn Notice

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    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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  25. 26
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    Remington Steele & Laura Holt Remington Steele

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  26. 27
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    added by willyboymcoy Rizzoli & Isles

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  27. 28
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    Dragnet, Dragnet, Dragnet

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  28. 29
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    added by clash1977 Law & Order

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  29. 30
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    CSI: Miami

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  30. 31
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    NYPD Blue

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    added by clash1977 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

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  32. 33
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    Charlie's Angels Charlie's Angels

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  33. 34
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    ranked low on reranks & added by MadisonJeannineWallace NCIS

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  34. 35
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    added by joekoomen Perry Mason

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  35. 36
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    added by LiliaLoewenberg Criminal Minds

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  36. 37
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    Mannix

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  37. 38
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    NCIS

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  38. 39
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    added by LiliaLoewenberg Criminal Minds

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Twin Peaks

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    added by wiabux Fringe

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  41. 42
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    Starsky & Hutch Starsky & Hutch

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  42. 43
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    added by LiliaLoewenberg Criminal Minds

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  43. 44
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    The Closer

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  44. 45
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    ranked low on reranks & added by MadisonJeannineWallace NCIS NCIS 

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  45. 46
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    Mike Hammer

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  46. 47
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    Cagney & Lacey Cagney & Lacey

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  47. 48
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    The Shield

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  48. 49
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    ranked low on reranks & added by MadisonJeannineWallace NCIS NCIS

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  49. 51
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    Shaft

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  50. 52
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    Barnaby Jones Barnaby Jones

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  51. 91 +

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