The Best TV Detectives Fictional Characters
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44  reranks 20,505 votes 1,829 voters 59,501 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
  • 44 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 535
    Down 265

    the people's #1 &most listed
    Sherlock Holmes

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes More
    100
  2. 3
    Up 352
    Down 226
    Monk More
    87
  3. 4
    Up 313
    Down 243

    Fox Mulder & Dana Scully

    The X-Files More
    87
  4. 5
    Up 366
    Down 246
    The Mentalist More
    82
  5. 6
    Up 229
    Down 212

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Hercule Poirot

    Agatha Christie Universe More
    82
  6. 7
    Up 209
    Down 220

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Gil Grissom

    CSI More
    79
  7. 8
    Up 268
    Down 165
    Mangum P.I. More
    79
  8. 9
    Up 525
    Down 300
    Castle More
    78
  9. 10
    Up 226
    Down 172
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit More
    78
  10. 11
    Up 251
    Down 156
    The Rockford Files More
    76
  11. 12
    Up 205
    Down 181

    often listed
    Jessica Fletcher

    Murder, She Wrote More
    76
  12. 13
    Up 244
    Down 172
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Special Victims ... More
    75
  13. 14
    Up 254
    Down 164

    The Scooby Gang

    Scooby Doo More
    75
  14. 15
    Up 310
    Down 214
    Veronica Mars More
    75
  15. 16
    Up 268
    Down 199
    Bones More
    74
  16. 17
    Up 533
    Down 372
    Castle More
    74
  17. 18
    Up 172
    Down 169
    Hawaii Five-O More
    72
  18. 19
    Up 231
    Down 199
    Psych More
    72
  19. 20
    Up 231
    Down 240
    Dexter More
    71
  20. 21
    Up 213
    Down 191
    Bones More
    69
  21. 22
    Up 163
    Down 143
    Kojak More
    68
  22. 23
    Up 187
    Down 88

    ranked low on reranks
    Leroy Jethro Gibbs

    NCIS More
    67
    added by: willyboymcoy
  23. 24
    Up 183
    Down 177
    Burn Notice More
    63
  24. 25
    Up 196
    Down 171
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer More
    62
  25. 26
    Up 147
    Down 159

    Remington Steele & Laura Holt

    Remington Steele More
    61
  26. 27
    Up 145
    Down 162
    Dragnet, Dragnet, Dragnet More
    60
  27. 28
    Up 146
    Down 119
    Law & Order More
    60
    added by: clash1977
  28. 29
    Up 114
    Down 89
    Rizzoli & Isles More
    59
    added by: willyboymcoy
  29. 30
    Up 156
    Down 203
    CSI: Miami More
    56
  30. 31
    Up 110
    Down 157
    NYPD Blue More
    53
  31. 32
    Up 121
    Down 164

    Charlie's Angels

    Charlie's Angels More
    51
  32. 33
    Up 125
    Down 127
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit More
    51
    added by: clash1977
  33. 34
    Up 77
    Down 46

    ranked low on reranks
    Anthony DiNozzo

    NCIS More
    51
    added by: MadisonJeannineWallace
  34. 35
    Up 75
    Down 55
    Perry Mason More
    49
    added by: joekoomen
  35. 36
    Up 103
    Down 135
    Mannix More
    48
  36. 37
    Up 84
    Down 67
    Criminal Minds More
    48
    added by: LiliaLoewenberg
  37. 38
    Up 85
    Down 64
    Criminal Minds More
    48
    added by: LiliaLoewenberg
  38. 39
    Up 71
    Down 150

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Dale Cooper

    Twin Peaks More
    46
  39. 40
    Up 85
    Down 85

    Starsky & Hutch

    Starsky & Hutch More
    46
  40. 41
    Up 63
    Down 85
    Fringe More
    46
    added by: wiabux
  41. 42
    Up 79
    Down 45

    ranked low on reranks
    Abby Sciuto

    NCIS More
    46
  42. 43
    Up 3
    Down 1
    The Closer More
    45
  43. 44
    Up 77
    Down 166

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Vic Mackey

    The Shield More
    45
  44. 45
    Up 70
    Down 119
    Mike Hammer More
    44
  45. 46
    Up 76
    Down 44

    ranked low on reranks
    Ziva David

    NCIS More
    44
    added by: MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS 
  46. 47
    Up 65
    Down 76
    Criminal Minds More
    44
    added by: LiliaLoewenberg
  47. 48
    Up 86
    Down 139

    Cagney & Lacey

    Cagney & Lacey More
    44
  48. 49
    Up 65
    Down 41

    ranked low on reranks
    Timothy McGee

    NCIS More
    42
    added by: MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS
  49. 50
    Up 2
    Down 1
    Shaft More
    42
  50. 51
    Up 86
    Down 126

    David Addison and Maddie Hayes

    Moonlighting More
    42
  51. 89 +

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