The Greatest TV Doctors Of All Time

Over 7.4K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Greatest TV Doctors Of All Time
Voting Rules
Only fictional medical physicians or surgeons from television

List of the best television doctors, ranked by fans of the doctor characters and their medical shows. Plenty of memorable TV doctors have graced our small screens over the last 50 years, but some television doctors stand out from the rest. From medical dramas and comedies to soap operas and sci-fi thrillers, every great TV show needs a compassionate, competent and - of course - good looking doctor to save the day. Who are the most famous TV doctors of all time? 

Ever since General Hospital opened its doors more than 50 years ago, there has been a flood of TV shows featuring every type of TV doctor you could imagine. In the beginning, TV doctors were dependable, noble and considerate medical healers in TV shows like Medic and Dr. Kildare. As television evolved, so too did the doctors. On modern TV, doctors now feature complex personalities and dramatic background stories, such as the drug-addicted, enigmatic and astoundingly intelligent antihero Dr. Gregory House and the entire medical squad on ER.

So who are the greatest TV doctors of all time? Whether you prefer dreamy medical heroes like Derek Shephard, Michaela Quinn and James Kildare; the funny antics of Hawkeye Pierce, Perry Cox and Sheldon Cooper; or the drama that comes with Grey's Anatomy female doctors Meredith Grey and Christina Yang, you can rest assured that there is an excellent fictional physician on call.

Most divisive: Isobel "Izzie" Stevens
Ranked by
  • Dr. Gregory House
    3,728 votes
    • Played By: Hugh Laurie

    Remarkably brilliant yet deeply flawed, this diagnostician tackled rare and baffling medical cases with a combination of unparalleled intellect and biting wit. Portrayed masterfully by Hugh Laurie, he provided an intense view into the workings of a tortured genius while navigating the complexities of human disease. A cornerstone of House M.D., this complex character frequently prioritized a diagnostic mystery over forming personal connections, making each diagnosis all the more captivating.

  • Derek Shepherd
    Grey's Anatomy
    2,026 votes
    • Played By: Patrick Dempsey

    Charming and undeniably skilled, this neurosurgeon played by Patrick Dempsey stole hearts and saved lives in equal measure. Balancing the demands of a high-profile career with a tumultuous love life, this doctor was a cornerstone of Grey's Anatomy for over a decade. His dedication to his work, as well as the perpetual development of his personal relationships, made him one of television's most iconic and beloved medical professionals.

  • Cristina Yang
    Grey's Anatomy
    2,415 votes
    • Played By: Sandra Oh

    Sandra Oh's portrayal of this fiercely ambitious and unapologetically competitive cardiothoracic surgeon brought depth and relatability to the role. With an unwavering commitment to succeeding in her career and an equally steadfast loyalty to her friends, this character navigated complex personal and professional situations with both grace and ferocity. In Grey's Anatomy, Cristina Yang was an inspiring figure, always pushing herself and those around her to seek new heights.

  • James Wilson
    House, M.D.
    2,074 votes
    • Played By: Robert Sean Leonard

    As a steadfast friend and compassionate oncologist, Robert Sean Leonard brought warmth and empathy to this character in House M.D. Often serving as the moral compass for the titular character, he navigated his own relationships and career with grace and selflessness. His tender approach to patient care provided a stark contrast to the tough demeanor of Dr. House, making him an indispensable part of the series.

  • Miranda Bailey
    Grey's Anatomy
    2,280 votes
    • Played By: Chandra Wilson

    Played by Chandra Wilson, this no-nonsense general surgeon and chief resident guided the careers of numerous young doctors in Grey's Anatomy. Unyielding in her expectations and always ready with sage advice, she was a true force to be reckoned with, earning respect from both her patients and her colleagues. Her role as a mentor showcased the importance of strong leadership and dedication in medicine, all while displaying immense personal growth throughout the series.

  • Meredith Grey
    Grey's Anatomy
    2,280 votes
    • Played By: Ellen Pompeo

    At the heart of Grey's Anatomy is this general surgeon, portrayed with depth and realism by Ellen Pompeo. Navigating the complex world of medicine and her own personal relationships, she has grown over the seasons from a young intern into a strong and capable leader. Faced with countless challenges both professionally and personally, she has consistently demonstrated an unwavering commitment to her patients and her profession.