The Best TV Detectives Fictional Characters

The Best TV Detectives

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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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  • 86 ReRanks
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  • 2 See list ranked by
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G Options B Comments & Embed 2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 1289
    - 555

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Sherlock

    ;
  2. 2
    + 932
    - 369

    added by Scott Klingaman
    Columbo

    ;
  3. 3
    + 777
    - 556


    Monk

    ;
  4. 4
    + 711
    - 594


    The X-Files

    ;
  5. 5
    + 560
    - 507

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Agatha Christie Universe

    ;
  6. 6
    + 616
    - 443


    Law & Order: SVU

    ;
  7. 7
    + 571
    - 268

    added by willyboymcoy
    NCIS

    ;
  8. 8
    + 636
    - 385


    Scooby Doo

    ;
  9. 9
    + 557
    - 379


    The Rockford Files

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  10. 10
    + 580
    - 377


    Mangum P.I.

    ;
  11. 11
    + 462
    - 464

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    CSI

    ;
  12. 12
    + 929
    - 594


    Castle

    ;
  13. 13
    + 635
    - 512


    Bones

    ;
  14. 14
    + 488
    - 410


    Murder, She Wrote

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  15. 15
    + 745
    - 561


    The Mentalist

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  16. 16
    + 696
    - 479


    Veronica Mars

    ;
  17. 17
    + 502
    - 397


    Law & Order: SVU

    ;
  18. 18
    + 524
    - 418


    Psych

    ;
  19. 19
    + 910
    - 631

    ranked low on reranks
    Castle

    ;
  20. 20
    + 386
    - 335


    Kojak

    ;
  21. 21
    + 465
    - 550

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Dexter

    ;
  22. 22
    + 336
    - 388

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Hawaii Five-O

    ;
  23. 23
    + 375
    - 202

    ranked low on reranks
    NCIS

    ;
  24. 24
    + 470
    - 466

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Bones

    ;
  25. 25
    + 346
    - 184

    ranked low on reranks & added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS NCIS 

    ;
  26. 26
    + 500
    - 395


    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ;
  27. 27
    + 338
    - 195

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS

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  28. 28
    + 343
    - 305

    often listed & added by clash1977
    Law & Order

    ;
  29. 29
    + 234
    - 127

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ;
  30. 30
    + 279
    - 174

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS NCIS

    ;
  31. 31
    + 311
    - 324


    Dragnet, Dragnet, Dragnet

    ;
  32. 32
    + 318
    - 265

    added by willyboymcoy
    Rizzoli & Isles

    ;
  33. 33
    + 311
    - 353

    often listed
    Remington Steele

    ;
  34. 34
    + 253
    - 206

    added by joekoomen
    Perry Mason

    ;
  35. 35
    + 334
    - 374

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Burn Notice

    ;
  36. 36
    + 288
    - 199

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ;
  37. 37
    + 168
    - 122

    added by JacobMurray
    House, House Universe

    ;
  38. 38
    + 260
    - 224

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ;
  39. 39
    + 268
    - 216

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ;
  40. 40
    + 321
    - 272

    added by clash1977
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

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  41. 41
    + 185
    - 319

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Twin Peaks

    ;
  42. 42
    + 157
    - 160

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

    ;
  43. 43
    + 276
    - 339


    Charlie's Angels Charlie's Angels

  44. 44
    + 128
    - 114

    added by looksharp
    Law & Order: Criminal Intent

    ;
  45. 45
    + 303
    - 441

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    CSI: Miami

    ;
  46. 46
    + 225
    - 244


    Starsky & Hutch

    ;
  47. 47
    + 208
    - 333


    NYPD Blue

    ;
  48. 48
    + 132
    - 110

    ranked low on reranks & added by looksharp
    Quincy

  49. 49
    + 175
    - 244

    added by wiabux
    Fringe

    ;
  50. 50
    + 192
    - 315


    Cagney & Lacey Cagney & Lacey

215 +

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