Top 10 TV Detectives
The following is the Top 10 list for TV Detectives. Here's the criteria for making the list.
- The selection must be the main character of the show
- The main character can only be a detective or a private investigator - that means no doctors, lawyers, authors and such.
Feel free to share your top 10 list in the comments section.
#10 - Ellery Queen
Ellery Queen was a very accomplished book series and radio show. Eventually in the late 1950s Ellery Queen made it to television in several adaptations.
- (1950-1952) - The Adventures of Ellery Queen
- (1958-1959) - The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen
- 1971 - A television movie - Ellery Queen Don't Look Behin You
But it's the 1975 tv series that stands out. This adaptation starred Jim Hutton and was a classic detective show. Each episode had a big Hollywood star make an appearance and gave the audience clues throughout the show so that they can solve the case.
#9 - Joe Mannix
Mannix aired for 8 seasons from 1967 to 1975. Mike Connors starred as Mannix, a former U.S. Army soldier who served in the Korean War. Mannix could be one of the toughest detectives on this list.
#8 - Mike Hammer
Another detective series with multiple television adaptations.
- Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer (1958 - 1960 ; starring Darren McGavin)
- Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer (Jan. 1984 - Jan. 1985 ; starring Stacy Keach)
- The New Mike Hammer (Sept. 1986 - May 1987 ; starring Stacy Keach)
- Mike Hammer, Private Eye (Sept. 1997 - June 1998 ; starring Stacy Keach)
Stacy Keach became the face for Mike Hammer and really brought the character to life.
#7 - Andy Sipowicz
Andy Sipowicz was played by Dennis Franz on one of the greatest Cop shows of all-time, NYPD Blue. The character lasted the entire series and became the main star after David Caruso, Jimmy Smits, and Kim Delaney left the show.
Franz served in Vietnam before becoming an actor. Early in his career, he made notable appearances on shows such as The A-Team and HillStreet Blues.
#6 - Jim Rockford
The Rockford Files aired from 1974 to 1980 and starred James Garner as Jim Rockford.
Rockford served time in San Quentin for a wrongful conviction of armed robbery. After being pardoned Rockford became a private investigator. A self-described chicken, Rockford lived in a trailer on the beach of Malibu, California.
#5 - Kojak
Theo Kojak was played by Telly Savalas. He became a pop icon for his lollipos and catchphrase "Who Loves Ya Baby".
The show aired for 5 seasons from 1973 to 1978.
#4 - Adrian Monk
Adrian Monk, played by Tony Shalhoub, was a former police detective turned private investigator after the death of his wife Trudy. Monk has a nervous breakdown and develops a long list of disorders and phobias from OCD to being afraid of milk.
The show is currently in it's 8th and final season. It debuted in 2002 and broke the mold for detective shows with it's creative comedy style.
3) Thomas Magnum
Magnum P.I. aired for 8 seasons from 1980 - 1988 and starred Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum. Magnum was a former U.S. Navy SEAL who became a private investigator on the islands of Hawaii. Selleck became a star of the 1980s.
#2 - Columbo
Peter Falk starred as the titled character Lt. Columbo. His first name has never been officially revealed. The show regularly aired from 1971-1978 and then several TV movies and special episodes periodically ran until 2003.
The show had a unique way of how it presented the mystery. Instead of ending with solving the case, the show opened up with the crime being committed and then proceeds to show Columbo finding the clues to catch the criminal.
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