The Best TV Detectives Fictional Characters

The Best TV Detectives

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59,956 votes 4,436 voters 140,766 views 250 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
  • 85 ReRanks
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  • 2 See list ranked by
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  1. 1
    + 1,334
    - 577

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Sherlock

    ;
  2. 2
    + 977
    - 380

    added by Scott Klingaman
    Columbo

    ;
  3. 3
    + 800
    - 574


    Monk

    ;
  4. 4
    + 736
    - 609


    The X-Files

    ;
  5. 5
    + 583
    - 523

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Agatha Christie Universe

    ;
  6. 6
    + 636
    - 462


    Law & Order: SVU

    ;
  7. 7
    + 600
    - 280

    added by willyboymcoy
    NCIS

    ;
  8. 8
    + 659
    - 393


    Scooby Doo

    ;
  9. 9
    + 601
    - 387


    Mangum P.I.

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  10. 10
    + 573
    - 388


    The Rockford Files

    ;
  11. 11
    + 482
    - 482

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    CSI

    ;
  12. 12
    + 962
    - 611


    Castle

    ;
  13. 13
    + 657
    - 533


    Bones

    ;
  14. 14
    + 774
    - 577


    The Mentalist

    ;
  15. 15
    + 499
    - 422


    Murder, She Wrote

    ;
  16. 16
    + 720
    - 492


    Veronica Mars

    ;
  17. 17
    + 548
    - 427


    Psych

    ;
  18. 18
    + 517
    - 411


    Law & Order: SVU

    ;
  19. 19
    + 930
    - 647


    Castle

    ;
  20. 20
    + 398
    - 346


    Kojak

    ;
  21. 21
    + 480
    - 568

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Dexter

    ;
  22. 22
    + 348
    - 397

    often listed
    Hawaii Five-O

    ;
  23. 23
    + 398
    - 213

    ranked low on reranks
    NCIS

    ;
  24. 24
    + 485
    - 480

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Bones

    ;
  25. 25
    + 366
    - 195

    ranked low on reranks & added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS NCIS 

    ;
  26. 26
    + 360
    - 207

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS

    ;
  27. 27
    + 520
    - 407


    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ;
  28. 28
    + 354
    - 314

    added by clash1977
    Law & Order

    ;
  29. 29
    + 254
    - 137

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ;
  30. 30
    + 295
    - 182

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    NCIS NCIS

    ;
  31. 31
    + 317
    - 333


    Dragnet, Dragnet, Dragnet

    ;
  32. 32
    + 320
    - 360

    often listed
    Remington Steele

    ;
  33. 33
    + 327
    - 274

    added by willyboymcoy
    Rizzoli & Isles

    ;
  34. 34
    + 258
    - 212

    added by joekoomen
    Perry Mason

    ;
  35. 35
    + 344
    - 381

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Burn Notice

    ;
  36. 36
    + 304
    - 209

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ;
  37. 37
    + 187
    - 134

    added by JacobMurray
    House, House Universe

    ;
  38. 38
    + 272
    - 234

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ;
  39. 39
    + 279
    - 225

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

    ;
  40. 40
    + 328
    - 280

    added by clash1977
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

    ;
  41. 41
    + 164
    - 169

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

    ;
  42. 42
    + 191
    - 329

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Twin Peaks

    ;
  43. 43
    + 138
    - 124

    added by looksharp
    Law & Order: Criminal Intent

    ;
  44. 44
    + 234
    - 250


    Starsky & Hutch

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  45. 45
    + 285
    - 347
    Charlie's Angels is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Charlie's Angels Charlie's Angels

  46. 46
    + 313
    - 456


    CSI: Miami

    ;
  47. 47
    + 213
    - 342


    NYPD Blue

    ;
  48. 48
    + 140
    - 116
    Quincy is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    ranked low on reranks & added by looksharp
    Quincy

  49. 49
    + 181
    - 255

    added by wiabux
    Fringe

    ;
  50. 50
    + 195
    - 327
    Cagney & Lacey is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Cagney & Lacey Cagney & Lacey

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