Entertainment
497 voters

The Best 1980s Crime Drama TV Shows

Updated January 6, 2021 3.2k votes 497 voters 35.6k 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!

...more
  • 1
    126
    51

    Magnum, P.I.

    Gillian Dobb, Roger E. Mosley
    Magnum, P.I. is an American television series starring Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, a private...  more

    More Magnum, P.I. 

    #14 of 51 TV Shows That Actually Deserve A Revival#23 of 122 The Best TV Crime Dramas

  • 2
    86
    34

    Columbo

    John Finnegan, Mike Lally
    Columbo is an American television series starring Peter Falk as a detective with the Los...  more

    More Columbo 

    The Best Seasons of Columbo#62 of 201 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

  • 3
    74
    28

    The Equalizer

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

    More The Equalizer 

    #199 of 538 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time#51 of 104 The Best Action TV Series Of All Time

  • 4
    104
    55

    Miami Vice

    Don Johnson, Edward James Olmos
    Miami Vice is an American television drama series created by Anthony Yerkovich and produced by...  more

    More Miami Vice 

    #5 of 13 13 Times Movies And TV Shows Totally Cheated By Giving A Character Amnesia#10 of 30 The Best Wardrobes in Television Show History

  • 5
    85
    42

    Simon & Simon

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

    More Simon & Simon 

    #27 of 51 The Greatest TV Shows About Brothers#6 of 30 The Best 1980s CBS Shows

  • 6
    80
    38

    Remington Steele

    Pierce Brosnan, James Read
    Remington Steele is an American television series co-created by Robert Butler and Michael...  more

    More Remington Steele 

    #166 of 227 The Greatest TV Shows for Women#33 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

  • 7
    68
    28

    Quincy, M.E.

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

    More Quincy, M.E. 

    #48 of 107 The Best NBC TV Shows of All Time#5 of 11 The Best 1970s Medical TV Shows

  • 8
    88
    47

    Hill Street Blues

    Taurean Blacque, James B. Sikking
    Hill Street Blues is an American serial police drama that was first aired on NBC in 1981 and...  more

    More Hill Street Blues 

    #458 of 631 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch#193 of 271 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time

  • 9
    88
    58

    Hunter

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

    More Hunter 

    #128 of 140 The Worst TV Series Finales Ever#53 of 118 The Best Shows On Peacock And The Series We Can't Wait To Watch

  • 10
    67
    37

    Hart to Hart

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

    More Hart to Hart 

    #31 of 45 The Best ABC Dramas of All Time#72 of 312 The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked

  • 11
    69
    42

    Murder, She Wrote

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

    More Murder, She Wrote 

    #19 of 79 The Best CBS Shows of All Time#5 of 298 The Best Female-Led TV Shows

  • 12
    68
    41

    Kojak

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

    More Kojak 

    #58 of 69 The Best Suspense TV Shows#91 of 241 The Best 1990s ABC Shows

  • 13
    64
    38

    CHiPs

    Brodie Greer, Larry Wilcox
    CHiPs is an American television drama series produced by MGM Studios that originally aired on...  more

    More CHiPs 

    #173 of 277 The Most Overrated TV Shows Of All Time#196 of 508 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

  • 14
    60
    34

    Knight Rider

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

    More Knight Rider 

    #16 of 33 The Best Sci-Fi Shows of the 1990s#7 of 33 The Best 1980s Sci-Fi Shows

  • 15
    57
    31

    MacGyver

    Elyssa Davalos, Richard Dean Anderson
    MacGyver is an American action-adventure television series created by Lee David Zlotoff. Henry...  more

    More MacGyver 

    #11 of 79 The Best ABC Shows of All Time#66 of 389 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

  • 16
    48
    24

    Hardcastle and McCormick

    Brian Keith, Daniel Hugh Kelly
    Hardcastle and McCormick is an American action/drama television series that aired on ABC from...  more
  • 17
    65
    45

    Matlock

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

    More Matlock 

    #10 of 40 The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time#19 of 81 The Best Legal Drama TV Shows Ever

  • 18
    58
    37

    T. J. Hooker

    Adrian Zmed, Heather Locklear
    This show is an American police drama television program starring William Shatner in the title...  more

    More T. J. Hooker 

    #51 of 80 The Best Ever Police Procedural Series#21 of 39 The Greatest Southern TV Shows Ever Made

  • 19
    52
    33

    In the Heat of the Night

    Hugh O'Connor, Carroll O'Connor
    In the Heat of the Night is an American television series based on the film and the novel of...  more

    More In the Heat of the Night 

    #19 of 85 The Best TV Shows Based on Movies#33 of 97 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time

  • 20
    39
    22

    Riptide

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

    More Riptide 

    #84 of 111 The Best Detective TV Shows#53 of 60 The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s

  • 21
    39
    23

    Cagney & Lacey

    Al Waxman, Barry Laws
    Cagney & Lacey is an American television series that originally aired on the CBS television...  more

    More Cagney & Lacey 

    #222 of 298 The Best Duos of All Time#30 of 44 The Best CBS Dramas of All Time

  • 22
    32
    21

    Barnaby Jones

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

    More Barnaby Jones 

    #10 of 40 The Best 1970s Crime Drama TV Shows#79 of 121 The Best TV Shows Set In L.A.

  • 23
    38
    28

    Matt Houston

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

    More Matt Houston 

    #37 of 51 The Best Aaron Spelling Shows and TV Series#8 of 17 The Best 1980s ABC Dramas

  • 24
    32
    23

    Sledge Hammer!

    David Rasche, Anne-Marie Martin
    Sledge Hammer! is an American satirical police sitcom produced by New World Television that...  more
  • 25
    42
    37

    Crime Story

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

    More Crime Story 

    #43 of 47 The Best 1980s NBC Shows#37 of 57 The Greatest Period TV Shows Set in the 1960s