Unspeakable Crimes The Most Brilliant TV Detectives  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
127.1k votes 8k voters 208.5k views 207 items

List Rules 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.

1
2,303 1,085
Sherlock Holmes is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
RafaelR. added Sherlock

2
1,707 853
Lieutenant Columbo is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Scott Klingaman added Columbo

3
1,452 1,048
Adrian Monk is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives

4
1,373 900
Olivia Benson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Law & Order: SVU

5
1,256 1,031
Fox Mulder is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives

6
1,022 943
Hercule Poirot is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Agatha Christie Universe

7
1,271 652
Leroy Jethro Gibbs is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
willyboymcoy added NCIS

8
1,260 832
Scooby-Doo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Scooby Doo

9
1,264 897
Temperance

10
848 865
Gil Grissom is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives

11
896 759
Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Murder, She Wrote

12
892 705
Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
The Rockford Files

13
962 715
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Mangum P.I.

14
1,292 950
Patrick Jane is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
The Mentalist

15
1,013 735
Elliot Stabler is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Law & Order: SVU

16
1,436 979
Kate Beckett is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Castle

17
1,094 845
Veronica Mars is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Veronica Mars

18
1,044 774
Shawn Spencer is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives

19
1,383 976
Richard Castle is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives

20
905 351
Spencer Reid is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
LiliaLoewenberg added Criminal Minds

21
945 468
Abby Sciuto is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives

22
784 363
Dr. Gregory House is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
JacobMurray added House, House Universe

23
913 770
Seeley Booth is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Bones

24
831 462
Ziva David is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
MadisonJeannineWallace added NCIS
NCIS 

25
630 707
Steve McGarrett is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Hawaii Five-O