Entertainment

The Best 1980s Procedurals 

Ranker TV
306 votes 56 voters 1.5k views 16 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite procedurals that aired in the '80s.

Help decide which shows make this list of the best 1980s procedurals! With so many top procedural dramas from the 80s, it can be hard picking just one. Is your favorite 80s procedural drama about cops, detectives, or an ingenious troubleshooter? You may recognize many of the titles in this list of 80s procedural dramas, as a few of them have been remade recently.

Other procedurals you may have forgotten about include Matlock, which stars Andy Griffith as Ben Matlock. While many procedurals from this era are set in a police station, Matlock spent most of its time seeking justice in the courtroom. Macgyver, starring Richard Dean Anderson, Bruce McGill, and Dana Elcar spent much of its time trotting around the globe.

Police procedurals are often gritty and dark, but sunny skies and blue waters made Hawaii Five-0 stand-out from the pack. Other great series that appear on this top 1980s procedurals list include Murder She Wrote, Barnaby Jones, and Jake and the Fat Man.

With so many 80s procedural dramas, it can be hard to rank them all. Think a show should be higher? Vote it up! If you don’t see your favorite 1980s procedural drama listed, be sure to add it.

list ordered by
1
MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best 1980s Procedurals
Richard Dean Anderson, Dana Elcar, Bruce McGill
MacGyver is an American action-adventure television series created by Lee David Zlotoff. Henry Winkler and John Rich were the executive producers. The show ran for seven seasons on ABC in the ...more

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2
Matlock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best 1980s Procedurals
Andy Griffith, Linda Purl, Kene Holiday
Matlock is an American television legal drama, starring Andy Griffith in the title role of attorney Ben Matlock. The show, produced by The Fred Silverman Company, Dean Hargrove Productions, ...more

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#186 of 259 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #151 of 408 The Best TV Shows to Rewatchlisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

3
CHiPs is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best 1980s Procedurals
Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox, Robert Pine
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

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#419 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #40 of 67 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows #114 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

4
Hill Street Blues is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best 1980s Procedurals
Daniel J. Travanti, Michael Warren, Bruce Weitz
Hill Street Blues is an American serial police drama that was first aired on NBC in 1981 and ran for 146 episodes on primetime into 1987. Chronicling the lives of the staff of a single police ...more

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#362 of 579 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #35 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

5
Murder, She Wrote is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best 1980s Procedurals
Angela Lansbury, William Windom, Ron Masak
This show is a television mystery series starring Angela Lansbury as mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher. The series aired for 12 seasons with 264 episodes from 1984 to 1996 on ...more

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#99 of 158 Shows with the Best Freakin' Series Finales of All Time #206 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

6
Hawaii Five-O is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best 1980s Procedurals
Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong
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

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#222 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #33 of 43 The Best TV Shows That Lasted 10+ Seasonslisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

7
B. J. and the Bear is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best 1980s Procedurals
Greg Evigan, Eric Server, Linda McCullough
B. J. and the Bear is an American comedy series which aired on NBC from 1979 to 1981. Created by Glen A. Larson and Christopher Crowe, the series stars Greg Evigan and Claude Akins. The theme ...more

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8
Barnaby Jones is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best 1980s Procedurals
Lee Meriwether, Buddy Ebsen, John Carter
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

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#1,253 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #305 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #77 of 123 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time

9
Hardcastle and McCormick... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best 1980s Procedurals
Brian Keith, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Joe Santos
Hardcastle and McCormick is an American action/drama television series that aired on ABC from September 18, 1983, through May 5, 1986. The series stars Brian Keith as Judge Milton C. Hardcastle ...more
10
Cagney & Lacey is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best 1980s Procedurals
Tyne Daly, Al Waxman, John Karlen
Cagney & Lacey is an American television series that originally aired on the CBS television network for seven seasons from March 25, 1982 to May 16, 1988. A police procedural, the show stars ...more

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11
Jake and the Fatman is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best 1980s Procedurals
William Conrad, Joe Penny, Alan Campbell
Jake and the Fatman is a television drama starring William Conrad as prosecutor J. L. "Fatman" McCabe and Joe Penny as investigator Jake Styles. The series ran on CBS for five seasons ...more

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#155 of 158 Shows with the Best Freakin' Series Finales of All Time #74 of 132 The Best TV Crime Dramas

12
21 Jump Street is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best 1980s Procedurals
Johnny Depp, Dustin Nguyen, Peter Deluise
21 Jump Street is an American police procedural television series that aired on the Fox Network and in first run syndication from April 12, 1987, to April 27, 1991, with a total of 103 episodes. ...more

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#532 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #56 of 67 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows #258 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

13
Bergerac is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best 1980s Procedurals
Bergerac
Celia Imrie, Louise Jameson, John Nettles
Bergerac is a British television show set in Jersey. Produced by the BBC in association with the Seven Network, and first screened on BBC1, it starred John Nettles as the title character ...more
14
The Bill is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best 1980s Procedurals
Graham Cole, Trudie Goodwin, Jeff Stewart
The Bill is a British police procedural television series that was broadcast on the ITV network from 16 October 1984 until 31 August 2010. The programme originated from a one-off drama, entitled ...more

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#115 of 123 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time #53 of 222 The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time

15
J.J. Starbuck is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best 1980s Procedurals
J.J. Starbuck
Jimmy Dean, Ben Vereen, Patrick O'Neal
J.J. Starbuck is an American crime drama series that aired on NBC from September 1987 to June 1988. The series follows cornpone-spouting Jerome Jeremiah "J.J." Starbuck, a billionaire ...more
16
Taggart is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best 1980s Procedurals
Blythe Duff, Colin McCredie, John Michie
Taggart is a British detective television programme, created by Glenn Chandler, who wrote many of the episodes, and made by STV Productions for the ITV network. The series revolved around a ...more

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#61 of 96 The Best British Detective Series, Ranked #413 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time