Entertainment

The Best TV Crime Dramas  

Reference
Originally by
34.1k votes 2.8k voters 101.9k views 131 items

List Rules Must only be the best Crime Fiction TV series.

The very best crime fiction shows on television, ranked from best to worst. This is a list of the greatest crime fiction shows to ever grace the airwaves. Airwaves are the waves that TV shows ride on. They are in the air and you can't really see them. Popular crime fiction TV shows have been a staple of television for years because they are, uh, popular - so there's often debate about what the most entertaining crime fiction show of all time is. Seriously, these are the things that people debate. Don't let your favorite crime fiction television programs in history get to the bottom of the list- be sure to vote them up so they have the chance to reach the top spot. 

This list includes Law & Order, Ironside and more. These are some of the best Crime Dramas of all time! Cops! Lawyers! THE SYSTEM!

This list answers the questions, "What is the best crime fiction show of all time?" and "What are the greatest crime fiction shows?"

These are the best crime shows! The best crime TV shows! Get it?! What do you think are the best crime shows on TV? Why don't you vote about it?

list ordered by
1
Criminal Minds is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, Thomas Gibson
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

More Criminal Minds

#67 of 780 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #160 of 2,286 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Timefeaturing How Accurate Is The Depiction of Behavioral Analysts In 'Criminal Minds?'

2
Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina
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

More Law & Order

#56 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writingfeaturing The Best Law & Order Actorslisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

3
NCIS is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette
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

More NCIS

#101 of 780 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #135 of 2,286 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Timefeaturing The Greatest Guest Stars on NCIS, Ranked

4
Law & Order: Special... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is an American police procedural, legal, crime drama television series set in New York City, where it is also primarily produced. In the style of the ...more

More Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

#109 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writingfeaturing 16 Big Stars Who Showed Up On 'Law and Order: SVU' Before They Were Famouslisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

5
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs
Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it ...more

More Sherlock

#8 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #4 of 780 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watchfeaturing Ranking the Best Seasons of 'Sherlock'

6
Castle is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Susan Sullivan
Castle is an American drama television series, which premiered on ABC on March 9, 2009. The series is produced jointly by Beacon Pictures and ABC Studios. Created by Andrew W. Marlowe, it ...more

More Castle

#108 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #91 of 780 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watchfeaturing The Best Seasons of Castle

7
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
DebayushChakraborty added David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi
The X-Files is an American science fiction horror drama television series created by Chris Carter. The program originally aired from September 10, 1993 to May 19, 2002 on Fox, spanning nine ...more

More The X-Files

#13 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writingfeaturing Fan Theories About The X-Fileslisted on Longest Running Sci-Fi TV Shows

8
CSI: Crime Scene Investi... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Laurence Fishburne, Marg Helgenberger, George Eads
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

More CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

#215 of 780 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watchfeaturing The Greatest Guest Stars to Ever Appear on 'CSI'listed on Longest Running US Drama Shows

9
Monk is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Tony Shalhoub, Jason Gray-Stanford, Ted Levine
Monk is an American comedy-drama detective mystery television series created by Andy Breckman and starring Tony Shalhoub as the eponymous character, Adrian Monk. It originally ran from 2002 to ...more

More Monk

#93 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writingfeaturing The Best Seasons of Monklisted on USA Network TV Shows/Programs

10
Bones is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, Michaela Conlin
Bones is an American procedural comedy-drama television series that premiered on Fox in the United States on September 13, 2005. The show is based on forensic anthropology and forensic ...more

More Bones

#98 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #136 of 780 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watchfeaturing The Best Seasons of Bones

11
The Mentalist is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
David Grasch added Simon Baker, Robin Tunney, Tim Kang
The Mentalist is an American police procedural television series that ran from September 23, 2008 until February 18, 2015, broadcasting 151 episodes over seven seasons, on CBS. The show was ...more

More The Mentalist

#65 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #174 of 780 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #187 of 2,286 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time

12
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Peter Falk, Mike Lally, John Finnegan
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

#51 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #145 of 780 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watchfeaturing The Best Seasons of Columbo

13
Hill Street Blues is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
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

More Hill Street Blues

#36 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #426 of 780 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #82 of 2,286 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time

14
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas
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

More Dexter

#24 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writingfeaturing Behind-The-Scenes Facts About Michael C. Hall And Jennifer Carpenter On 'Dexter'listed on Showtime TV Shows/Programs

15
Magnum, P.I. is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, Roger E. Mosley
Magnum, P.I. is an American television series starring Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, a private investigator living on Oahu, Hawaii. The series ran from 1980 to 1988 in first-run broadcast on the ...more

More Magnum, P.I.

#121 of 2,286 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #4 of 67 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Showslisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

16
Law & Order: Crimina... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Kathryn Erbe, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jamey Sheridan
This show is an American police procedural television drama series set in New York City, where it was also primarily produced. Created and produced by Dick Wolf and René Balcer, the ...more

More Law & Order: Criminal Intent

#257 of 2,286 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #26 of 43 The Best TV Shows That Lasted 10+ Seasonslisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

17
Person of Interest is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
antony23 added Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Chapman
Person of Interest is an American science fiction drama television series created by Jonathan Nolan that premiered on September 22, 2011, on CBS. The series revolves around John Reese, a former ...more

More Person of Interest

#78 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #148 of 780 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watchfeaturing The Best Seasons of Person of Interest

18
Cold Case is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Kathryn Morris, Danny Pino, John Finn
Cold Case is an American police procedural television series which ran on CBS from September 28, 2003 to May 2, 2010. The series revolved around a fictionalized Philadelphia Police Department ...more

More Cold Case

#296 of 780 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #653 of 2,286 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #134 of 408 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch

19
Hawaii Five-O is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
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

More Hawaii Five-O

#127 of 2,286 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #13 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

20
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn
Breaking Bad is an American drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. The show originally aired on the AMC network for five seasons, from January 20, 2008, to September 29, ...more

More Breaking Bad

#1 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #1 of 780 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watchfeaturing All of the Breaking Bad Easter Eggs in Better Call Saul

21
Dragnet is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Jack Webb, Harry Morgan, Don Ross
Dragnet is an American radio, television and motion picture series, enacting the cases of a dedicated Los Angeles police detective, Sergeant Joe Friday, and his partners. The show takes its name ...more

More Dragnet

#195 of 2,286 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #37 of 62 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Serieslisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

22
Murder, She Wrote is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
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

More Murder, She Wrote

#206 of 780 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #208 of 2,286 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

23
Without a Trace is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
KaraAnnPalmer added Anthony LaPaglia, Poppy Montgomery, Marianne Jean-Baptiste
Without a Trace is an American police procedural television drama series that originally aired on CBS from September 26, 2002 to May 19, 2009, following the cases of a Missing Persons Unit of ...more

More Without a Trace

#446 of 2,286 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #112 of 253 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #162 of 579 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

24
The Wire is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn
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

More The Wire

#9 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #4 of 134 The Best of Premium Cable TV Seriesfeaturing The Best Things Cast Members of The Wire Have Done Since the Genius Show Ended

25
24 is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Crime Dramas
Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard
24 is an American television series produced for the Fox network created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, and starring Kiefer Sutherland as Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer. Each ...more

More 24

#87 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writingfeaturing Ranking The Best Seasons of '24'listed on Longest Running US Drama Shows