Entertainment The Most Brilliant TV Detectives  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
129k votes 8.1k voters 214.3k views 202 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
2,328 1,109
Sherlock Holmes is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
RafaelR. added Sherlock
2
1,750 868
Lieutenant Columbo is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Scott Klingaman added Columbo
3
1,487 1,068
Adrian Monk is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
4
1,390 923
Olivia Benson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Law & Order: SVU
5
1,276 1,049
Fox Mulder is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
6
1,038 958
Hercule Poirot is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Agatha Christie Universe
7
1,287 663
Leroy Jethro Gibbs is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
willyboymcoy added NCIS
8
1,279 845
Scooby-Doo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Scooby Doo
9
1,280 911
Temperance
10
856 879
Gil Grissom is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
11
905 770
Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Murder, She Wrote
12
904 714
Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
The Rockford Files
13
972 725
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Mangum P.I.
14
1,304 966
Patrick Jane is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
The Mentalist
15
1,026 750
Elliot Stabler is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Law & Order: SVU
16
1,449 992
Kate Beckett is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Castle
17
1,104 855
Veronica Mars is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Veronica Mars
18
1,070 782
Shawn Spencer is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
19
1,401 981
Richard Castle is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
20
924 361
Spencer Reid is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
LiliaLoewenberg added Criminal Minds
21
953 480
Abby Sciuto is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
22
929 776
Seeley Booth is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Bones
23
836 473
Ziva David is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
MadisonJeannineWallace added NCIS
NCIS 
24
850 926
Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Dexter
25
637 719
Steve McGarrett is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Hawaii Five-O