Unspeakable Crimes The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows  

Reference
Originally by
25.6k votes 2.7k voters 129.3k views 226 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite police procedurals, current and long gone

The very best police procedural shows on television, ranked from best to worst. What is it about a group of detectives that can carry a series for years and years? Some of the longest running drama shows have been police procedurals, including the original "Law & Order," which ran for 22 seasons, and "Dragnet," which aired 450 episodes. This list of the greatest police procedural shows also includes pictures from the shows when available. Popular police procedural TV shows have been a staple of television for years, so there's often debate about which is the most entertaining in the genre. While older whodunit shows like "Murder, She Wrote" have a bit of whimsical comedy in each episode, grittier versions like "SVU" are darker with gritty grimes. What is your favorite police procedural show? Don't let your favorite cop dramas and detective series get to the bottom of the list. Be sure to vote them up so they have the chance to reach the top spot. The list of police procedural television shows below includes information like the program's cast, creator, and premiere date when available. With shows ranging from "Criminal Minds" to "Dexter," this is a great starting point for a list of your favorites.

What do you think are the best police procedurals? What are your favorite current cop shows?
list ordered by

1
409 221
The Wire is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

2
371 202
Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

3
681 267
Criminal Minds is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

4
565 224
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

5
474 239
NCIS is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

6
506 256
The Mentalist is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
matt.lack8 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

7
448 167
Law & Order: Special Victims U... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

8
309 133
Castle is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
mattlieves added 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

9
211 104
Blue Bloods is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
LolitaFP added Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, Will Estes Blue Bloods is an American police procedural drama series shown on CBS in the United States and Canada and on Sky Atlantic in the United Kingdom. The series is filmed on location in New York ...more

10
196 125
NYPD Blue is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
Dennis Franz, Gordon Clapp, James McDaniel 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

11
155 123
Hill Street Blues is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

12
246 140
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

13
205 112
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

14
114 95
The Rockford Files is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
James Garner, Noah Beery Jr., Joe Santos The Rockford Files is an American television drama series starring James Garner that aired on the NBC network between September 13, 1974, and January 10, 1980, and has remained in syndication to ...more

15
242 151
Rizzoli & Isles is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
Angie Harmon, Jordan Bridges, Bruce McGill Rizzoli & Isles is a TNT television series starring Angie Harmon as police detective Jane Rizzoli and Sasha Alexander as medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles. The one-hour drama is based on the ...more

16
245 124
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

17
316 173
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

18
194 94
Law & Order: Criminal Intent is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

19
431 154
bones is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

20
324 159
Psych is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
James Roday, Dulé Hill, Timothy Omundson Psych is an American detective comedy-drama television series created by Steve Franks and broadcast on USA Network with syndication reruns on ION Television. It is produced by Franks and Tagline ...more

21
174 151
CSI: NY is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
Gary Sinise, Carmine Giovinazzo, Hill Harper CSI: NY is an American police procedural television series that ran on CBS from September 22, 2004 to February 22, 2013 for a total of nine seasons and 197 original episodes. The show follows ...more

22
250 114
Monk is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

23
252 121
The Blacklist is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
matt.lack8 added James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff The Blacklist is an American crime drama television series that premiered on NBC on September 23, 2013. Raymond "Red" Reddington, a former U.S Navy officer turned high-profile ...more

24
195 126
Numbers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
Rob Morrow, David Krumholtz, Judd Hirsch Numbers is an American drama television series that ran on CBS from January 23, 2005, to March 12, 2010. The series was created by Nicolas Falacci and Cheryl Heuton, and follows FBI Special ...more

25
255 145
Lie to Me is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
Tim Roth, Kelli Williams, Brendan Hines Lie to Me is an American drama television series. It originally ran on the Fox network from January 21, 2009 to January 31, 2011. In the show, Dr. Cal Lightman and his colleagues in The Lightman ...more

26
182 98
Cold Case is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

27
209 119
The Closer is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
Kyra Sedgwick, J.K. Simmons, Corey Reynolds The Closer is an American television police procedural, starring Kyra Sedgwick as Brenda Leigh Johnson, a Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, and ...more

28
207 119
NCIS: Los Angeles is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
Chris O'Donnell, Daniela Ruah, Barrett Foa NCIS: Los Angeles is an American television series combining elements of the military drama and police procedural genres, which premiered on the CBS network on September 22, 2009. NCIS: Los ...more

29
158 85
The Shield is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent, Walton Goggins 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

30
217 88
Elementary is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
gothicfrog1 added Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Aidan Quinn Elementary is an American drama series that presents a contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes. The series was created by Robert Doherty and stars Jonny Lee ...more

31
133 106
Without a Trace is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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. The series follows the cases of a Missing Persons ...more

32
114 116
Life on Mars is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
John Simm, Philip Glenister, Liz White Life on Mars is a British television series broadcast on BBC One between January 2006 and April 2007. The series combines elements of science fiction and police procedural, featuring an officer ...more

33
143 94
Southland is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
Michael Cudlitz, Shawn Hatosy, Regina King Southland is an American television crime drama series created by writer Ann Biderman and produced by Warner Bros. Television. It originally aired on NBC for one season from April 9 to May 21, ...more

34
128 81
Magnum, P.I. is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

35
136 119
CSI: Miami is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
David Caruso, Emily Procter, Adam Rodriguez CSI: Miami is an American police procedural television series that ran from September 23, 2002, to April 8, 2012, on CBS. It is the first spin-off of the orignal series. The pilot episode was ...more

36
113 74
NCIS: New Orleans is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
gothicfrog1 added Scott Bakula, Lucas Black, Zoe McLellan NCIS: New Orleans is an American television series combining elements of the military drama and police procedural genres that airs on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET on CBS. It premiered on ...more

37
102 95
Eureka is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
Colin Ferguson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Erica Cerra Eureka was an American science fiction television series that premiered on Syfy on July 18, 2006. The fifth and final season ended on July 16, 2012. The show was set in a fictional town in ...more

38
118 88
Rookie Blue is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
willyboymcoy added Missy Peregrym, Gregory Smith, Enuka Okuma Rookie Blue is a Canadian police drama television series starring Missy Peregrym and Gregory Smith. It was created by Morwyn Brebner, Tassie Cameron, and Ellen Vanstone. The police drama ...more

39
103 75
Prime Suspect is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
Helen Mirren, Zoë Wanamaker, Tom Bell Prime Suspect is a British police procedural television drama series starring Helen Mirren as Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, one of the first female Detective Chief Inspectors in ...more

40
159 90
Hawaii Five-O is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

41
93 69
Dragnet is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

42
92 69
The Killing is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
sangamo added Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman, Billy Campbell This show is an American drama television series that premiered on April 3, 2011, on AMC, based on the Danish television series Forbrydelsen. The American version was developed by Veena Sud and ...more

43
85 71
Miami Vice is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, Saundra Santiago Miami Vice is an American television drama series created by Anthony Yerkovich and produced by Michael Mann for NBC. The series starred Don Johnson as James "Sonny" Crockett and Philip ...more

44
73 84
Walker, Texas Ranger is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
Chuck Norris, Clarence Gilyard Jr., Sheree J. Wilson Walker, Texas Ranger is an American television series created by Leslie Greif and Paul Haggis. It was inspired by the film Lone Wolf McQuade, with both this series and that film starring Chuck ...more

45
68 55
21 Jump Street is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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

46
84 77
In Plain Sight is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
Mary McCormack, Frederick Weller, Paul Ben-Victor In Plain Sight is an American dramatic television series on USA Network. The series revolves around Mary Shannon, a Deputy United States Marshal attached to the Albuquerque, NM, office of the ...more

47
104 64
Homicide: Life on the Street is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
Richard Belzer, Clark Johnson, Yaphet Kotto This series is an American police procedural television series chronicling the work of a fictional version of the Baltimore Police Department's Homicide Unit. It ran for seven seasons on NBC ...more

48
76 74
Kojak is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
Telly Savalas, Dan Frazer, Kevin Dobson 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

49
70 67
Starsky and Hutch is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
David Soul, Paul Michael Glaser, Antonio Fargas Starsky & Hutch is a 1970s American cop thriller television series, which consisted of a 70-minute pilot movie and 92 episodes of 50 minutes each. The show was created by William Blinn, ...more

50
76 80
Cagney & Lacey is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Ever Police Procedural Shows
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