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From London to Hawaii: Best Detectives in Television, Ranked

Image Source: Warner Bros. Television

From London to Hawaii: Best Detectives in Television, Ranked

From veterans of crime to high school proteges, here’s the who’s who of television detectives.

It is evident that viewers in the United States and audiences all over the globe like a good mystery due to the continued success of detective series and channels dedicated to crime-solving. There is a diverse range of people who play the role of detective on television, from young adults to those in their golden years, from rank amateurs to people at the very top of their fields.

Some are rule-followers, while others won’t think twice about breaking the laws in the name of doing what’s right; some work alone, while others have partners; and yet others are not financially compensated for their job in fighting crime. The following is a list of some of the most recognizable detectives from the world of television.

10. Sherlock Holmes – Sherlock

Image Source: BBC Studios

In this modern retelling of the famous detective’s adventures from the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle classics, Sherlock comes off as arrogant and superior on almost every occasion. But he makes up for it with his superhuman brilliance and keen eye for detail while solving crimes.

Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his faithful sidekick John Watson (Martin Freeman) are a formidable force, solving cases that no one else can interpret with the help of their uncanny brilliance and cutting-edge technology. Sherlock is like a more realistic Bruce Wayne in that every episode ends with him cracking the case and upholding his legendary title.

9. Dave Starsky and Ken Hutchinson – Starsky and Hutch

Image Source: Warner Bros. Television

The phrase “dynamic duo” is best exemplified by these two handsome police detectives who crack wise and drive about town in a brilliant red Ford Gran Torino embossed with a huge white stripe on either side. Starsky and Hutch, two characters that epitomize the “buddy” type of television police procedurals, were among the first of their kind.

Their two-door Ford Gran Torino, the “Striped Tomato,” made Starsky and Hutch the prototypical 1970s police duo. Huggy Bear, portrayed by Antonio Fargas, was their primary source of information and jiving. With their trademark leather jackets, turtlenecks, and classic ride, they defined crazy cool.

8. Olivia Benson – Law and Order: SVU

Image Source: NBCUniversal Television

This fierce NYPD investigator was abused when she was a youngster; as a result, she often becomes emotionally immersed in her investigations and serves as an advocate for victims. Benson has risen through the ranks from the position of Junior Detective to her present level of Captain as a direct result of her hard work and commitment. This character is currently the record holder for the longest-running prime time live-action character in the history of television, beginning with the 2019 season.

Olivia Benson has held the role of “people’s detective” on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit from the show’s premiere in 1999. Benson was able to flourish and create a career as a sex crimes investigator, which eventually led her to the position of Captain in charge of the unit. Not only did fans get to witness Benson develop professionally throughout the years, but they also got to see her mature as a person.

7. Thomas Magnum – Magnum, PI

Image Source: NBCUniversal Television

Because he has a lucrative position supervising the security of superstar Robin Masters’ property, the Vietnam veteran who served in the Navy now enjoys a life of luxury in Hawaii. Magnum and his buddies solve problems while enjoying “the good life” that is supplied for them by Masters. This includes cruising about the island in a red Ferrari, drinking great wine, engaging in sexual encounters with attractive ladies, and lounging around on the beach.

Even while Magnum isn’t the kind of moody and relentless investigator that most of his colleagues are, he is still more than capable of maintaining order in his own little slice of paradise. Magnum has the unmistakable cool factor, but he also has the intellect to solve the often ridiculous cases he takes on.

6. Veronica Mars – Veronica Mars

Image Source: Warner Bros. Television

This young lady, who used to be popular but has now transformed into a geeky amateur sleuth, assists her father, who is a private investigator, in solving murders, most notably the death of her best friend. In the style of film noir, the rookie detective solves a fresh crime every week while simultaneously pursuing the clues in a larger mystery that spans many episodes.

Mars deals with some very weighty problems and gloomy themes that are typical of grittier police procedurals and detective shows, despite the fact that she is a substantial number of years younger than the protagonists of most police procedurals and detective shows. Even though she is young and lacks experience, Veronica Mars is nonetheless a formidable opponent and is considered to be one of the most formidable female detectives in popular culture.

5. Theo Kojak – Kojak

Image source: NBCUniversal Television

This fair-minded police officer from New York City is prepared to break the laws if it means getting justice for his community. This investigator has become somewhat of a pop culture icon due to his signature lollipop, his bald noggin, and his sly slogan, “who loves ya, baby?”

Regardless of a person’s line of work, Kojak is among the most known characters in the history of television. Throughout the majority of the 1970s, the famous Telly Savalas featured as the vivacious and sophisticated lieutenant who offered a healthy balance between the good and bad cops. Savalas’ performance was undoubtedly a highlight of the show.

Kojak had compassion for those who were rejected by society but was merciless for those who preyed on others. The program maintained its excellent quality right up to the very end, balancing serious topics with comedic relief, and never shying away from addressing civic concerns.

4. Lieutenant Columbo – Columbo

Image Source: NBCUniversal Television

The LAPD murder detective gives off the impression that he is not very skilled due to his rumpled jacket and quiet manner. However, underlying his affable and chatty attitude is a clever investigator who identifies the “just one more item” that will perfectly entangle the perpetrator of the crime.

He has a rough demeanor and enjoys chewing on smokes while donning an umbrella and raincoat. Columbo was indeed an outstanding investigator, and his ability to reason and deduce looked to be flawless, despite the fact that he sometimes seemed unkempt. Even when he’s facing up against a killer, he maintains a low profile. Columbo is also innovative in terms of its structure.

At the beginning of each episode, we are shown a murder that has already been committed, and we are aware of the perpetrator. The reason why we continue to watch is so that we can witness Columbo figure out the murderer’s plan by dissecting the little errors that he has made. Even though he does not always have any proof and even though he does not always succeed in getting a conviction, he is certain that the case has been solved.

3. Adrian Monk – Monk

Image Source: NBCUniversal Television

Monk has significant obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety, all of which often cause conflict with those with whom he works or is employed. He is troubled by the fact that he was unable to solve his wife’s murder, his lone unsolved case.

He is, however, able to overcome his fears and consult with the police since his issues have also given him a keen attention to detail, a firm attitude, and an exceptional memory, making him the best in his field. Tony Shalhoub’s portrayal as the detective in this USA Network comedy is a real classic for those who prefer to blend humor with murder-of-the-week police dramas.

2. Rustin Cohle – True Detective

Image Source: Warner Bros. Television

Thanks in large part to the game-changing performance of Matthew McConaughey as Rustin Cohle. Cohle is a broken and tragic guy who is tormented by the eschatological speculations of Nietzsche as well as a crime that has never been solved. Cohle does not follow any code and does not follow any rules. He’s a loose cannon, a wildcard without a plan, which makes him unpredictable and shocking.

His method of thought is quite philosophical, and it identifies Rust as a dark and brilliant guy who is exceptionally adept at capturing criminals despite the fact that he doesn’t care about the consequences. Rust is a genuinely brilliant detective, with a keen intellect and an even sharper eye for every little detail, which he writes down in his enormous ledger. Despite the fact that some people find him to be a bit unusual, or even frightening, Rust proves to be an excellent investigator each and every time.

1. Robert Goren – Law and Order: Criminal Intent

Image Source: NBCUniversal Television

One of the few Law & Order programs that does not concentrate primarily on cases “ripped from the headlines” is Law & Order: Criminal Intent. This makes it a unique member of the Law & Order family. Criminal Intent is centered on the singular mind of Vincent D’Onofrio‘s character, Robert Goren, a Major Case Squad detective with unnerving psychological policing skills and a tendency to bend his head at odd angles while scrutinizing subjects, as though he is trying to see through an exposed defect in their skin.

Because he is so passionate and intelligent, as well as because he uses his intuition and his understanding of human nature to assess suspects and investigate crime scenes, he is a dangerous individual. He employs this talent in the process of evaluating suspects and analyzing crime scenes. For Goren, there is nothing more important than taking criminals off the streets, and he is willing to go to whatever lengths necessary to find them and bring them to justice. In spite of the fact that he gives off the image of being emotionally unstable or unbalanced, the fact is that these attributes truly contribute to his effectiveness as a great police officer.

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