Law Enforcement

The Best Shows & Movies About Police  

Ranker Entertainment
580 votes 72 voters 1.6k views 42 items

List Rules Vote up the most entertaining films & shows about police and law enforcement, including streaming series.

Love them or hate them, the cops are out there protecting and serving their communities. However, because police officers are so ubiquitous throughout civilized society, TV shows and movies about them and their lives have often been of great interest to the public. Just what are police officers like in real life and how do they go about their investigations? Movies and TV shows about police, detectives, and law enforcement often dig deep into how an investigation can turn on the discovery of even the most microscopic of clues, while other shows depict the police from the perspective of the accused. From exposing the darker side of operations to depicting them as heroes, the best shows about cops span a range of genres and topics.

Whatever your interest in watching the police on your TV screen or in the movies, there are a number of genres suited to the topic. Action and adventure films like Die Hard feature a lone cop trying to survive and save the day during a hostage situation while television shows like Law & Order tend to follow a more procedural drama in depicting the police. Then you have somewhat new shows about law enforcement, such as the comical Brooklyn Nine-Nine. This list compiles some of the more recent examples of police TV shows and films anyone interested in the topic are sure to enjoy.

Which police movies and shows deserve the top spots on this list? Help decide by giving your favorites a thumbs up and adding any good police movies or shows missing from the list.

list ordered by
1
The Departed is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
The Departed is a 2006 American crime drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, and a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. Irish Mob boss Francis "Frank" Costello (Jack ...more
2
The Wire is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
The Wire is an American drama television series set and produced in and around Baltimore, Maryland. Created and primarily written by author and former police reporter David Simon, the series was ...more
3
The Silence of the Lambs is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American thriller film that blends elements of the crime and horror genres. Directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Scott ...more
4
Dirty Harry is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
Dirty Harry is a 1971 American action film produced and directed by Don Siegel, the first in the Dirty Harry series. Clint Eastwood plays the title role, in his first outing as San Francisco ...more
5
The Shield is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
The Shield is an American drama television series starring Michael Chiklis that premiered on March 12, 2002, on FX, in the United States, and concluded on November 25, 2008, after seven seasons. ...more
6
The Fugitive is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
This film is a 1993 American action film based on the 1960s television series of the same name created by Roy Huggins. The film was directed by Andrew Davis and stars Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee ...more
7
Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
Law & Order is an American police procedural and legal drama television series, created by Dick Wolf and part of the Law & Order franchise. It originally aired on NBC and, in ...more
8
Hill Street Blues is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
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
9
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
Fargo is a 1996 American neo-noir dark comedy crime film written, produced, edited, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It stars Frances McDormand as a pregnant Minnesota police chief who ...more
10
Criminal Minds is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
Criminal Minds is an American police-procedural television program that premiered September 22, 2005, on CBS. The series follows a team of profilers from the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit based ...more
11
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
This show is an American drama television series that premiered on CBS on October 6, 2000. The show was created by Anthony E. Zuiker and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It is filmed primarily at ...more
12
In the Heat of the Night is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
In the Heat of the Night is a 1967 American mystery drama film directed by Norman Jewison. It is based on John Ball's 1965 novel of the same name which tells the story of Virgil Tibbs, a black ...more
13
Hawaii Five-0 is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
Hawaii Five-0 is an American police procedural drama television series and a remake of the original 1968–80 television series. The series is produced by K/O Paper Products and 101st Street ...more
14
NCIS is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
NCIS is an American police procedural drama television series, revolving around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which conducts investigations ...more
15
Chinatown is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir mystery film, directed by Roman Polanski from a screenplay by Robert Towne, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. The film was inspired by the ...more
16
Heat is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
Heat is a 1995 American crime thriller film written, produced and directed by Michael Mann, and starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Val Kilmer. The film was released in the United States on ...more
17
Die Hard is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart. It is based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, by Roderick Thorp. Die ...more
18
Kojak is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
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
19
Dog Day Afternoon is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
Dog Day Afternoon is a 1975 American drama film directed by Sidney Lumet, written by Frank Pierson, and produced by Martin Bregman and Martin Elfand. The film stars Al Pacino, John Cazale, ...more
20
The French Connection is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
The French Connection is a 1971 American dramatic thriller film directed by William Friedkin and produced by Philip D'Antoni. It stars Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, and Roy Scheider. The film was ...more
21
Seven is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
Seven is a 1995 American psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher. The film stars Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, with Gwyneth Paltrow, R. Lee Ermey, John C. McGinley, and Kevin ...more
22
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
Dexter is an American television drama series. Set in Miami, the series centers on Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter pattern analyst for Miami Metro Police Department who also leads a secret life ...more
23
NYPD Blue is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
NYPD Blue is an American television police drama set in New York City, exploring the internal and external struggles of the fictional 15th precinct of Manhattan. Each episode typically ...more
24
No Country for Old Men is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
No Country for Old Men is a 2007 American neo-western neo-noir thriller film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. Mayhem ensue after a hunter (Josh Brolin) ...more
25
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Shows & Movies About Police
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox, 2013) is an American police television sitcom created by Dan Goor and Michael Schur. Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg), an immature but talented NYPD detective in Brooklyn's ...more