Comic Book Curious

Top 5 TV Detectives

September 3, 2021

Across the many decades of television, the character of the detective has been an enduring archetype. Characters who put themselves at risk to get to the truth, whether they work for a police department or solve crimes privately, these heroes have long fascinated TV audiences. Let’s take a look at 5 of these investigators who stand the test of time. Please note this list is of characters who were created exclusively for television (sorry Sherlock fans).

John Luther walks down a street

Credit: BBC

5. John Luther (Idris Elba)

Steely, intense and brooding, John Luther won’t win many friends at work with his brusque and to the point attitude. However, when you’re tasked with hunting down the most vicious and depraved killers in London, you might get a bit grumpy too. Played with extreme command by the intensely watchable Elba, Luther has captivated audiences with his unpredictable and often violent investigative style.

4. Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell)

Don’t judge this tiny, adorable blonde teenager by her looks, she is one of television’s smartest and most badass detectives. Attending high school by day and aiding her father’s detective business by night, Veronica doesn’t have much time for a social life. Her hobbies mainly include chasing down killers and exposing the crimes of the rich and famous in her Los Angeles suburban town.

3. Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck)

If you’re looking for a cool detective, you can stop your search. Ex Navy Seal Thomas Magnum will solve your case and look damn good in his fire red Ferrari. Magnum works security for the Hawaiian estate of legendary author Robin Masters while solving crimes for locals and tourists. His cases often find him around plenty of gorgeous women, beautiful locales and dangerous criminals.

2. Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury)

For a nice quiet town Cabot Cove, Maine sure has a lot of homicides. Lucky for them famed mystery writer Jessica Fletcher is around to lend local law enforcement a hand in tracking down killers. While always maintaining her sweet, older lady aesthetic she is a brilliant detective who’s always able to figure out the elaborate set of clues to pinpoint the perpetrator of a dastardly murder.

1. Columbo (Peter Falk)

Columbo is a master of letting his enemies underestimate him. Ever in his rumpled trench coat with a cigar in hand and playing the dummy, Columbo lets the ego of killers hang themselves out to dry. He’s a genius and a diligent detective, but you’d never know that from the bumbling and confused act he puts on for those he’s investigating. How much is an act? How much is really him? Even us, the audience, can’t be sure. But what we do know is he always gets his man by the time the credits roll.

For more countdowns, check out more of John's lists!

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