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The Best 1980s Crime Drama TV Shows

Updated January 6, 2021 2.9k votes 433 voters 30.2k views39 items

List RulesVote up your favorite crime dramas that aired on TV in the '80s

In the mood to catch up on the some legendary crime dramas? Well, this list is a place to start! These are the best 1980s crime drama TV shows, ranked by user votes. From some good 80s crime drama series that follow law enforcement agents as they attempt to catch criminals, to others that are about lawyers, to still other top 1980s crime shows that are about undercover cops pretending to be high schoolers.

What shows will you find on this best 1980s crime drama TV shows list? David Hasselhoff got some crime-fighting help from his car KITT in the 80s show Knight Rider. Fun Fact: KITT was actually a customized 1982 Pontiac Trans-Am sports model. T.J. Hooker was also a good crime show that aired in the 1980s.

TV viewers got a look inside the dramatic lives of a group of Hill Street police officers in the 80s crime series Hill Street Blues. Other good shows that appear on this top 1980s crime drama TV shows list include Miami Vice, 21 Jump Street and L.A. Law.

So which 80s crime show is the best? Vote up your favorites now!

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  • Magnum, P.I.1
    108
    43

    Magnum, P.I.

    Tom Selleck, John Hillerman

    Premiered1980

    Magnum, P.I. is an American television series starring Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, a private...  more

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  • Columbo2
    82
    26

    Columbo

    Peter Falk, Mike Lally

    Premiered1968

    Columbo is an American television series starring Peter Falk as a detective with the Los...  more

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  • Miami Vice3
    97
    49

    Miami Vice

    Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas

    Premiered1984

    Miami Vice is an American television drama series created by Anthony Yerkovich and produced by...  more

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  • Hill Street Blues4
    87
    42

    Hill Street Blues

    Daniel J. Travanti, Michael Warren

    Premiered1981

    Hill Street Blues is an American serial police drama that was first aired on NBC in 1981 and...  more

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  • The Equalizer5
    70
    29

    The Equalizer

    Edward Woodward, Keith Szarabajka

    Premiered1985

    The Equalizer was an American drama television series, originally airing on CBS from fall 1985...  more

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  • Remington Steele6
    80
    38

    Remington Steele

    Stephanie Zimbalist, Pierce Brosnan

    Premiered1982

    Remington Steele is an American television series co-created by Robert Butler and Michael...  more

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  • Simon & Simon7
    81
    40

    Simon & Simon

    Gerald McRaney, Tim Reid

    Premiered1981

    Simon & Simon is an American detective television series that originally ran from November 24,...  more

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  • Quincy, M.E.8
    63
    29

    Quincy, M.E.

    Jack Klugman, John S. Ragin

    Premiered1976

    Quincy, M.E. is an American television series from Universal Studios that aired from October...  more

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  • Hunter9
    84
    54

    Hunter

    Fred Dryer, Stepfanie Kramer

    Premiered1984

    Hunter is an American police drama television show that was created by Frank Lupo, and...  more

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  • MacGyver10
    54
    30

    MacGyver

    Richard Dean Anderson, Dana Elcar

    Premiered1985

    MacGyver is an American action-adventure television series created by Lee David Zlotoff. Henry...  more

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  • Kojak11
    63
    39

    Kojak

    Telly Savalas, Dan Frazer

    Premiered1973

    Kojak is an American television series starring Telly Savalas as the title character, New York...  more

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  • Hart to Hart12
    58
    37

    Hart to Hart

    Robert Wagner, Stefanie Powers

    Premiered1979

    Hart to Hart is an American television series, starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers as...  more

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  • Knight Rider13
    56
    34

    Knight Rider

    David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare

    Premiered1982

    Knight Rider is an American television series that originally ran from September 26, 1982, to...  more

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  • CHiPs14
    60
    39

    CHiPs

    Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox

    Premiered1977

    CHiPs is an American television drama series produced by MGM Studios that originally aired on...  more

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  • Hardcastle and McCormick15
    44
    24

    Hardcastle and McCormick

    Brian Keith, Daniel Hugh Kelly

    Premiered1983

    Hardcastle and McCormick is an American action/drama television series that aired on ABC from...  more
  • Murder, She Wrote16
    63
    44

    Murder, She Wrote

    Angela Lansbury, William Windom

    Premiered1984

    This show is a television mystery series starring Angela Lansbury as mystery writer and...  more

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  • T. J. Hooker17
    55
    37

    T. J. Hooker

    William Shatner, Heather Locklear

    Premiered1982

    This show is an American police drama television program starring William Shatner in the title...  more

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  • Matlock18
    62
    46

    Matlock

    Andy Griffith, Linda Purl

    Premiered1986

    Matlock is an American television legal drama, starring Andy Griffith in the title role of...  more

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  • In the Heat of the Night19
    48
    32

    In the Heat of the Night

    Carroll O'Connor, Howard Rollins

    Premiered1988

    In the Heat of the Night is an American television series based on the film and the novel of...  more

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  • Cagney & Lacey20
    36
    24

    Cagney & Lacey

    Tyne Daly, Al Waxman

    Premiered1982

    Cagney & Lacey is an American television series that originally aired on the CBS television...  more

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  • Riptide21
    31
    21

    Riptide

    Kelly Preston, Anne Francis

    Premiered1983

    Riptide is an American TV detective series that ran on NBC from December 3, 1983 to August 22,...  more

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  • Barnaby Jones22
    32
    21

    Barnaby Jones

    Lee Meriwether, Buddy Ebsen

    Premiered1973

    Barnaby Jones is a television detective series starring Buddy Ebsen and Lee Meriwether as a...  more

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  • Matt Houston23
    33
    26

    Matt Houston

    Lee Horsley, Pamela Hensley

    Premiered1982

    Matt Houston is an American crime drama series that aired on ABC from 1982 to 1985. Created by...  more

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  • Jake and the Fatman24
    29
    23

    Jake and the Fatman

    William Conrad, Joe Penny

    Premiered1987

    Jake and the Fatman is a television drama starring William Conrad as prosecutor J. L. "Fatman"...  more

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  • Crime Story25
    38
    37

    Crime Story

    Dennis Farina, Bill Smitrovich

    Premiered1986

    Crime Story is an American television drama, created by Gustave Reininger and Chuck Adamson,...  more

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