Entertainment The Most Brilliant TV Detectives  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
128.5k votes 8.1k voters 212.1k 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
2,323 1,103
Sherlock Holmes is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
RafaelR. added Sherlock
2
1,740 861
Lieutenant Columbo is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Scott Klingaman added Columbo
3
1,477 1,060
Adrian Monk is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
4
1,384 914
Olivia Benson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Law & Order: SVU
5
1,269 1,043
Fox Mulder is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
6
1,034 953
Hercule Poirot is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Agatha Christie Universe
7
1,284 659
Leroy Jethro Gibbs is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
willyboymcoy added NCIS
8
1,275 839
Scooby-Doo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Scooby Doo
9
1,275 905
Temperance
10
852 874
Gil Grissom is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
11
904 765
Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Murder, She Wrote
12
902 709
Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
The Rockford Files
13
970 720
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Mangum P.I.
14
1,302 960
Patrick Jane is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
The Mentalist
15
1,020 743
Elliot Stabler is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Law & Order: SVU
16
1,444 986
Kate Beckett is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Castle
17
1,100 851
Veronica Mars is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Veronica Mars
18
1,062 778
Shawn Spencer is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
19
1,394 980
Richard Castle is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
20
914 358
Spencer Reid is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
LiliaLoewenberg added Criminal Minds
21
951 475
Abby Sciuto is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
22
922 773
Seeley Booth is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Bones
23
833 469
Ziva David is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
MadisonJeannineWallace added NCIS
NCIS 
24
636 713
Steve McGarrett is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Hawaii Five-O
25
846 919
Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Brilliant TV Detectives
Dexter