Entertainment The Most Brilliant TV Detectives  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
127.9k votes 8k voters 210.4k views 203 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
2,313 1,093
Sherlock Holmes is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
RafaelR. added Sherlock
2
1,724 858
Lieutenant Columbo is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Scott Klingaman added Columbo
3
1,464 1,054
Adrian Monk is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
4
1,381 907
Olivia Benson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Law & Order: SVU
5
1,264 1,037
Fox Mulder is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
6
1,030 948
Hercule Poirot is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Agatha Christie Universe
7
1,281 657
Leroy Jethro Gibbs is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
willyboymcoy added NCIS
8
1,270 835
Scooby-Doo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Scooby Doo
9
1,272 900
Temperance
10
851 872
Gil Grissom is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
11
900 764
Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Murder, She Wrote
12
897 709
Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
The Rockford Files
13
964 719
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Mangum P.I.
14
1,299 955
Patrick Jane is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
The Mentalist
15
1,016 740
Elliot Stabler is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Law & Order: SVU
16
1,441 982
Kate Beckett is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Castle
17
1,098 848
Veronica Mars is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Veronica Mars
18
1,053 777
Shawn Spencer is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
19
1,392 978
Richard Castle is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
20
913 355
Spencer Reid is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
LiliaLoewenberg added Criminal Minds
21
950 473
Abby Sciuto is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
22
921 771
Seeley Booth is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Bones
23
833 466
Ziva David is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
MadisonJeannineWallace added NCIS
NCIS 
24
634 712
Steve McGarrett is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Hawaii Five-O
25
843 916
Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Dexter