Watchworthy

The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows 

Ranker TV
Updated June 14, 2019 2.9k votes 606 voters 31.1k views 40 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite crime dramas that aired on TV in the '70s

These are the best 1970s crime drama TV shows, ranked by user votes. There are some good 70s crime drama series that followed cops hot on the trail of criminals, there were some more focused on lawyers and trials, and still there were some others about top secret special agents! There was really something for everybody in the 70s. What are the top 1970s crime shows in your opinion? Vote up your favorites!

What shows will you find on this best 1970s crime drama TV shows list? Crime fighting women were all the rage in the 1970s with Charlie's Angels and The Mod Squad leading the pack. Starsky and Hutch was also a popular 70s crime series. Fun Fact: Starsky and Hutch was adapted into a 2004 film starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.

Throughout the 1970s, Peter Falk starred as the incomparable homicide detective Columbo on the TV series of the same name. Other good shows that appear on this top 1970s crime drama TV shows list include Ironside, The Streets of San Francisco and Police Story.

Which 70s crime drama show is your favorite? Vote the best series up to the top of this list and share your opinion in the comments section.
Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
Peter Falk, Mike Lally, John Finnegan

Premiered: 1968

Columbo is an American television series starring Peter Falk as a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. The character and show, created by William Link and Richard Levinson, ...more

More Columbo 

The Best Seasons of Columbo #300 of 645 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #83 of 394 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch

2
The Rockford Files is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
bobwhitley3 added James Garner, Noah Beery Jr., Joe Santos

Premiered: 1974

The Rockford Files is an American television drama series starring James Garner that aired on the NBC network between September 13, 1974, and January 10, 1980, and has remained in syndication to ...more

More The Rockford Files 

#458 of 645 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #222 of 394 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch #131 of 199 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

3
Hawaii Five-O is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong

Premiered: 1968

Hawaii Five-O is an American police procedural drama series produced by CBS Productions and Leonard Freeman. Set in Hawaii, the show originally aired for 12 seasons from 1968 to 1980, and ...more

More Hawaii Five-O 

#188 of 333 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #12 of 506 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

4
Starsky and Hutch is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
David Soul, Paul Michael Glaser, Antonio Fargas

Premiered: 1975

Starsky & Hutch is a 1970s American cop thriller television series, which consisted of a 70-minute pilot movie and 92 episodes of 50 minutes each. The show was created by William Blinn, ...more

More Starsky and Hutch 

#8 of 61 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #89 of 295 The Best Duos of All Time #341 of 506 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

5
Kojak is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
Telly Savalas, Dan Frazer, Kevin Dobson

Premiered: 1973

Kojak is an American television series starring Telly Savalas as the title character, New York City Police Department Detective Lieutenant Theo Kojak. Taking the time slot of the popular Cannon ...more

More Kojak 

#31 of 125 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time #51 of 272 The Best '70s TV Shows #41 of 109 The Best TV Shows Set In New York City

6
The Streets of San Franc... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
Karl Malden, Michael Douglas, Reuben Collins

Premiered: 1972

The Streets of San Francisco is a 1970s television police drama filmed on location in San Francisco, California, and produced by Quinn Martin Productions, with the first season produced in ...more

More The Streets of San Francisco 

#23 of 125 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time #64 of 272 The Best '70s TV Shows #50 of 128 The Best TV Crime Dramas

7
Cannon is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
horseplayer added William Conrad, Patrick Culliton, Tom Pittman

Premiered: 1971

Cannon is a CBS detective television series produced by Quinn Martin which aired from March 26, 1971 to March 3, 1976. The primary protagonist is the title character, private detective Frank ...more

More Cannon 

#95 of 125 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time #451 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #93 of 272 The Best '70s TV Shows

8
Quincy, M.E. is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
Jack Klugman, John S. Ragin, Robert Ito

Premiered: 1976

Quincy, M.E. is an American television series from Universal Studios that aired from October 3, 1976, to September 5, 1983, on NBC. It stars Jack Klugman in the title role, a Los Angeles County ...more

More Quincy, M.E. 

#67 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows #33 of 125 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time #39 of 272 The Best '70s TV Shows

9
Charlie's Angels is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith

Premiered: 1976

Charlie's Angels is an American drama television series that aired on ABC from September 22, 1976 to June 24, 1981, producing five seasons and 110 episodes. The series was created by Ivan Goff ...more

More Charlie's Angels 

#176 of 506 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #42 of 296 The Best Female-Led TV Shows #70 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

10
Mannix is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
horseplayer added Robert Reed, Mike Connors, Nancy Kovack

Premiered: 1967

Mannix is an American television detective series that ran from 1967 to 1975 on CBS. Created by Richard Levinson and William Link and developed by executive producer Bruce Geller, the title ...more

More Mannix 

#180 of 506 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #97 of 125 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

11
Baretta is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
Robert Blake, Tom Ewell, Michael D. Roberts

Premiered: 1975

Baretta is an American detective television series which ran on ABC from 1975 to 1978. The show was a milder version of a successful 1973–74 ABC series, Toma, starring Tony Musante as ...more

More Baretta 

#335 of 506 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #58 of 125 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time #63 of 272 The Best '70s TV Shows

12
Barnaby Jones is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
Lee Meriwether, Buddy Ebsen, John Carter

Premiered: 1973

Barnaby Jones is a television detective series starring Buddy Ebsen and Lee Meriwether as a father and daughter-in-law who run a private detective firm in Los Angeles, California. The show ran ...more

More Barnaby Jones 

#211 of 506 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #98 of 125 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time #76 of 272 The Best '70s TV Shows

13
Adam-12 is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
Martin Milner, Kent McCord, Shaaron Claridge

Premiered: 1968

Adam-12 is a television police drama that followed two police officers of the Los Angeles Police Department, Pete Malloy and Jim Reed, as they rode the streets of Los Angeles in their patrol ...more

More Adam-12 

#236 of 394 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch #173 of 309 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #41 of 125 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time

14
McCloud is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
horseplayer added Dennis Weaver, Terry Carter, J. D. Cannon

Premiered: 1970

McCloud is an American television police drama that aired on NBC from 1970 to 1977. The series starred former Gunsmoke regular Dennis Weaver, and for six of its seven years on the air it aired ...more

More McCloud 

#195 of 309 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #67 of 125 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time #62 of 272 The Best '70s TV Shows

15
McMillan & Wife is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
bobwhitley3 added Rock Hudson, Julie Newmar, Stefanie Powers

Premiered: 1971

McMillan & Wife was a lighthearted American police procedural that aired on NBC from September 17, 1971, to April 24, 1977. Starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James in the title roles, the ...more

More McMillan & Wife 

#46 of 61 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #69 of 125 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time #68 of 272 The Best '70s TV Shows

16
Ironside is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
Bruce Lee, Raymond Burr, Don Galloway

Premiered: 1967

Ironside is a Universal television series that ran on NBC from September 14, 1967, to January 16, 1975. The show starred Raymond Burr as a paraplegic Chief of Detectives, Robert T. Ironside. The ...more

More Ironside 

#73 of 272 The Best '70s TV Shows #97 of 190 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s #48 of 100 The Best Legal Drama TV Shows Ever

17
Police Woman is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
horseplayer added Angie Dickinson, Keenan Wynn, Earl Holliman

Premiered: 1974

Police Woman is an American television police drama starring Angie Dickinson that ran on NBC for four seasons, from September 13, 1974, to March 29, 1978.

More Police Woman 

#116 of 309 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #62 of 125 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time #89 of 272 The Best '70s TV Shows

18
CHiPs is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox, Robert Pine

Premiered: 1977

CHiPs is an American television drama series produced by MGM Studios that originally aired on NBC from September 15, 1977, to July 17, 1983. CHiPs followed the lives of two motorcycle police ...more

More CHiPs 

#19 of 61 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #197 of 506 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #42 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

19
S.W.A.T. is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
Steve Forrest, Robert Urich, Rod Perry

Premiered: 1975

S.W.A.T. is an American action/crime drama series about the adventures of a Special Weapons And Tactics team operating in an unidentified California city. A spin-off of The Rookies, the series ...more

More S.W.A.T. 

#363 of 506 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #440 of 535 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #92 of 125 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time

20
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Leo G. Carroll

Premiered: 1964

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is an American television series broadcast on NBC from September 22, 1964, to January 15, 1968. It follows secret agents, played by Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, who ...more

More The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 

#547 of 645 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #40 of 61 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #231 of 506 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

21
The Mod Squad is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
Michael Cole, Clarence Williams III, Peggy Lipton

Premiered: 1968

The Mod Squad is an American drama series that ran on ABC from September 24, 1968 to August 23, 1973. It stars Michael Cole as Peter "Pete" Cochran, Peggy Lipton as Julie Barnes, ...more

More The Mod Squad 

#317 of 506 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #82 of 125 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time #79 of 272 The Best '70s TV Shows

22
Harry O is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
David Janssen, Anthony Zerbe, Paul Tulley

Premiered: 1974

Harry O, sometimes spelled Harry-O, is an American crime drama series that aired for two seasons on ABC from 1974 to 1976. The series starred David Janssen and was executive produced by Jerry ...more

More Harry O 

#499 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #65 of 124 The Best Detective TV Shows #70 of 233 The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows

23
Police Story is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
David Cassidy, Lloyd Bridges, Cleavon Little

Premiered: 1973

Police Story is an anthology television crime drama that aired on NBC from 1973 through 1978. The show was the brainchild of author and former policeman Joseph Wambaugh and represented a major ...more

More Police Story 

#81 of 125 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time #29 of 41 The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series #54 of 111 The Best TV Shows Set In L.A.

24
The F.B.I. is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Marvin Miller

Premiered: 1965

The F.B.I. is an American television series broadcast on ABC from 1965–74. It was sponsored by the Ford Motor Company, and the characters almost always drove Ford vehicles in the series. Alcoa ...more

More The F.B.I. 

#20 of 39 The Best Shows About the FBI #131 of 272 The Best '70s TV Shows #116 of 190 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s

25
It Takes a Thief is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows
Robert Wagner, Malachi Throne

Premiered: 1968

It Takes a Thief is an American action-adventure television series that aired on ABC for three seasons between January 9, 1968, and March 24, 1970. It stars Robert Wagner in his television debut ...more

More It Takes a Thief 

#106 of 190 The Very Best Shows That Aired in the 1960s #33 of 48 The Best Ever Spy TV Shows #22 of 101 The Best Espionage TV Shows