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.
  • 56 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 802
    - 370

    the people's #1 & most listed Sherlock

    ) open
  2. 3
    + 459
    - 377

    Fox Mulder & Dana Scully The X-Files

    ) open
  3. 4
    + 510
    - 357
    ) open
  4. 5
    + 352
    - 324

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Agatha Christie Universe

    ) open
  5. 6
    + 499
    - 366

    The Mentalist

    ) open
  6. 7
    + 356
    - 236

    The Rockford Files

    ) open
  7. 8
    + 462
    - 308

    Veronica Mars

    ) open
  8. 9
    + 368
    - 264

    Law & Order: SVU

    ) open
  9. 10
    + 693
    - 404
    ) open
  10. 11
    + 376
    - 255

    Mangum P.I.

    ) open
  11. 12
    + 306
    - 318

    often listed & ranked high on reranks CSI

    ) open
  12. 13
    + 216
    - 44

    added by Scott Klingaman Columbo Columbo

    ) open
  13. 14
    + 380
    - 235

    The Scooby Gang Scooby Doo

    ) open
  14. 15
    + 404
    - 313
    ) open
  15. 16
    + 334
    - 266

    Law & Order: SVU

    ) open
  16. 17
    + 303
    - 142

    added by willyboymcoy NCIS

    ) open
  17. 18
    + 289
    - 273

    Murder, She Wrote

    ) open
  18. 19
    + 681
    - 461
    ) open
  19. 20
    + 328
    - 285
    ) open
  20. 21
    + 324
    - 346
    ) open
  21. 22
    + 310
    - 294
    ) open
  22. 23
    + 223
    - 260

    Hawaii Five-O

    ) open
  23. 24
    + 233
    - 217

    Kojak

    ) open
  24. 25
    + 213
    - 233

    Remington Steele & Laura Holt Remington Steele

    ) open
  25. 26
    + 220
    - 189

    added by clash1977 Law & Order

    ) open
  26. 27
    + 306
    - 256

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ) open
  27. 28
    + 206
    - 220

    Dragnet

    ) open
  28. 29
    + 239
    - 251

    often listed Burn Notice

    ) open
  29. 30
    + 166
    - 101

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace NCIS

    ) open
  30. 31
    + 181
    - 88

    ranked low on reranks NCIS

    ) open
  31. 32
    + 193
    - 153

    added by willyboymcoy Rizzoli & Isles

    ) open
  32. 33
    + 136
    - 79

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace NCIS NCIS

    ) open
  33. 34
    + 161
    - 87

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace NCIS NCIS 

    ) open
  34. 35
    + 218
    - 301

    often listed & ranked high on reranks CSI: Miami

    ) open
  35. 36
    + 184
    - 228

    Charlie's Angels Charlie's Angels

    ) open
  36. 37
    + 194
    - 185

    added by clash1977 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

    ) open
  37. 38
    + 139
    - 145

    Starsky & Hutch Starsky & Hutch

    ) open
  38. 39
    + 139
    - 109

    ranked low on reranks & added by joekoomen Perry Mason

    ) open
  39. 40
    + 143
    - 226

    NYPD Blue

    ) open
  40. 41
    + 147
    - 118

    added by LiliaLoewenberg Criminal Minds

    ) open
  41. 42
    + 126
    - 208

    Cagney & Lacey Cagney & Lacey

    ) open
  42. 43
    + 116
    - 213

    Twin Peaks

    ) open
  43. 44
    + 131
    - 181

    David Addison and Maddie Hayes Moonlighting

    ) open
  44. 45
    + 136
    - 200

    Mannix

    ) open
  45. 46
    + 141
    - 122

    ranked low on reranks & added by LiliaLoewenberg Criminal Minds

    ) open
  46. 47
    + 121
    - 177

    Mike Hammer

    ) open
  47. 48
    + 102
    - 146

    added by wiabux Fringe

    ) open
  48. 49
    + 131
    - 127

    ranked low on reranks & added by LiliaLoewenberg Criminal Minds

    ) open
  49. 50
    + 107
    - 158

    Crockett & Tubbs Miami Vice

    ) open
  50. 51
    + 103
    - 224

    often listed & ranked high on reranks The Shield

    ) open
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