The Best TV Detectives

62k votes 4.6k voters 146k views 266 items tags f p @

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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  1. 1
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    Sherlock Holmes is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Sherlock Holmes Sherlock

  2. 2
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    - 406
    Columbo is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    added by Scott Klingaman
    Columbo Columbo

  3. 3
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    - 608
    Adrian Monk is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Adrian Monk Monk

  4. 4
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    The X-Files

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  5. 5
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    - 555
    Hercule Poirot is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Hercule Poirot Agatha Christie Universe

  6. 6
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    Olivia Benson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Olivia Benson Law & Order: SVU

  7. 7
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    - 309
    Leroy Jethro Gibbs is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    added by willyboymcoy
    Leroy Jethro Gibbs NCIS

  8. 8
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    Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Thomas Magnum Mangum P.I.

  9. 9
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    The Scooby Gang is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    The Scooby Gang Scooby Doo

  10. 10
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    - 409
    Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Jim Rockford The Rockford Files

  11. 11
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    Castle

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  12. 12
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    Temperance "Bones" Bre... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Temperance "Bones" Brennan Bones

  13. 13
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    Gil Grissom is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Gil Grissom CSI

  14. 14
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    The Mentalist

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  15. 15
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    Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Jessica Fletcher Murder, She Wrote

  16. 16
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    Veronica Mars

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  17. 17
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    Shawn Spencer is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Shawn Spencer Psych

  18. 18
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    Elliot Stabler is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Elliot Stabler Law & Order: SVU

  19. 19
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    Richard Castle is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    ranked low on reranks
    Richard Castle Castle

  20. 20
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    Kojak is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Kojak Kojak

  21. 21
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    Steve McGarrett is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Steve McGarrett Hawaii Five-O

  22. 22
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    Abby Sciuto is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    ranked low on reranks
    Abby Sciuto NCIS

  23. 23
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    Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Dexter Morgan Dexter

  24. 24
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    Seeley Booth is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Seeley Booth Bones

  25. 25
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    Ziva David is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    ranked low on reranks & added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    Ziva David NCIS NCIS 

  26. 26
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    Anthony DiNozzo is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    Anthony DiNozzo NCIS

  27. 27
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    Buffy Summers is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Buffy Summers Buffy the Vampire Slayer

  28. 28
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    Lennie Briscoe is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    added by clash1977
    Lennie Briscoe Law & Order

  29. 29
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    - 153
    Spencer Reid is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Spencer Reid Criminal Minds

  30. 30
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    - 198
    Timothy McGee is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    added by MadisonJeannineWallace
    Timothy McGee NCIS NCIS

  31. 31
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    Joe Friday is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Joe Friday Dragnet, Dragnet, Dragnet

  32. 32
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    often listed
    Remington Steele

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  33. 33
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    - 290

    added by willyboymcoy
    Rizzoli & Isles

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  34. 34
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    added by joekoomen
    Perry Mason

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  35. 35
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    - 397
    Michael Westen is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Michael Westen Burn Notice

  36. 36
    + 328
    - 222
    Aaron

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner Criminal Minds

  37. 37
    + 216
    - 147
    Dr. Gregory House is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    added by JacobMurray
    Dr. Gregory House House, House Universe

  38. 38
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    - 246

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    Criminal Minds

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  39. 39
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    - 237
    David Rossi is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    added by LiliaLoewenberg
    David Rossi Criminal Minds

  40. 40
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    - 288
    John Munch is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    added by clash1977
    John Munch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

  41. 41
    + 181
    - 179
    Miss Marple is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Detectives

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

  42. 42
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    Robert Goren is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    added by looksharp
    Robert Goren Law & Order: Criminal Intent

  43. 43
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Twin Peaks

    ;
  44. 44
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    - 258
    Starsky & Hutch is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Starsky & Hutch Starsky & Hutch

  45. 45
    + 296
    - 356
    Charlie's Angels is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Charlie's Angels Charlie's Angels

  46. 46
    + 332
    - 467
    Horatio Caine is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Horatio Caine CSI: Miami

  47. 47
    + 150
    - 128
    Quincy is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    ranked low on reranks & added by looksharp
    Quincy

  48. 48
    + 219
    - 354


    NYPD Blue

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  49. 49
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    - 337
    Cagney & Lacey is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Detectives


    Cagney & Lacey Cagney & Lacey

  50. 50
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    - 269
    Olivia Dunham is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Detectives

    added by wiabux
    Olivia Dunham Fringe

267 +

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