Bleeding Cool Picks Their Favorite Television Detectives

We here at Bleeding Cool love bringing you the latest news about comics, toys, movies, and of course, television. What you don't know is that behind the scenes battles rage and arguments galore are settled on a daily basis. What are these about? The important things, like which Doctor is THE Doctor. Which Michael Scott quote rules them all. Is Twin Peaks ruined forever after the Shotime season. You know, the BIG questions. So, we decided to bring you our answers. This week, we pick our favorite television detectives of all-time. Some of our writers made their choices, let's see if you agree with them.

Bleeding Cool Picks Their Favorite Television Detectives

Adi Tantimedh: My favourite TV detective is Columbo. He usually already knew who the killer was and played a long game. He would just keep asking them questions and slowly drove them crazy. He acted dumb and shambolic to make them think he was a bumbling cop who knew nothing. That often caused them to let their guard down for him to trip them up. Inspector Columbo was the guy who original turned "one more thing" into a mantra before Steve Jobs took it over and made it a brand. Columbo's suspects were often rich, so there was a subtext of class warfare in his battles of wits with them. He was the working class guy who brought down the rich one-percenters who thought they were clever and got away with murder. Viva Columbo!

Bleeding Cool Picks Their Favorite Television Detectives

Adriel Porter: Best TV detective is by far Adam West's Batman, from the 1966 series Batman!
"Why is he the best?", you may ask? This blundering idiot was oblivious and only saved by his sidekick, but oh dear reader, one word: chutzpah. Batman may not always have the foresight to observe all the details of his situation, but he always finds what he needs and defeats the bad guys to solve the crime and figure out the riddler's well…riddles. And at the end of the day, that's all that really matters. 100% success rate, happy ending, every time. Ka-pow! Can't beat Batman.

Bleeding Cool Picks Their Favorite Television Detectives

Andy Wilson: Damian Lewis as Det. Charlie Crews — Life"

Life was what they took from him. Life is what he got back." Falsely convicted, Det. Charlie Crews (Damian Lewis) emerges from prison after 12 years and the recipient of a $50 million cash settlement and returns to his former job as an LAPD detective with a new zen attitude, an affinity for fresh fruit, and a secret side investigation to find out who set him up. Among those on his suspects list is the hero cop father of his new partner, who herself is kind of a mess, dealing with drug addiction and daddy issues. Life was an amazing show, cancelled too soon after only a season and a half– a victim of the 2007-08 Writers Strike. Crews was an amazing detective because of the quirks and new outlook he got while in prison. He was also single-mindedly focused in a way that was almost scary as he searched for… revenge? justice? We'll never exactly know. But he's the only cop who could ever get away with driving a Maserati Quattroporte riddled with bullet holes, or a custom Bentley Continental GT listening to a Buddhist tract on attachment to material possessions and say, "I am not attached to this car." He was so chill, so zen, so focused. The writing on this show was fantastic, and it's why Charlie Crews is the greatest tv detective.

Erin Wilhelm: Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick), from TNT's The Closer, is my all-time favorite television detective. Head of the LAPD's Priority Homicide Division, Chief Johnson stands out because she doesn't look or sound like a detective. Not the typical "tough" female cop, Johnson had long blonde hair, a southern accent, high heels, pastel dresses, and a tote bag that would make Mary Poppins jealous. She didn't win respect by being the loudest, meanest, or scariest person in the room. Despite her occasional efforts to hide it, Johnson was always the smartest person in any room. Using her skills as a CIA trained interrogator, Johnson got confessions when other cops would have given up. As a cop and as a human, Brenda Leigh Johnson was flawed, complicated, and occasionally completely exhausting. But she was the best at what she did, and everyone knew it.

Bleeding Cool Picks Their Favorite Television Detectives

Kaitlyn Booth: One of the best TV detectives of all time must go to Sherlock Holmes played by Jonny Lee Miller and Joan Watson played by Lucy Lui in Elementary. Elementary was a show mocked when it first appeared on CBS because everyone thought there could only be one modern-day adaptation of the mythos at once but seven seasons later Elementary has solidified itself as one of the best Sherlock Holmes adaptations. The longer seasons told more frequently has allowed the show to really dig into Sherlock as a character and explore the complexities of addiction even getting into the monotony that comes with remaining sober. Elementary also lets their version of Watson be a detective in her own right with the complementing each other instead of building up Sherlock by bringing down Watson. The show has had its ups and downs over seven seasons, and takes a while to get going in the first, but as it comes to a close this Thursday it should join the ranks as one of the best adaptations of this classic source material.

Bleeding Cool Picks Their Favorite Television Detectives

Tiffany Tchobanian: Shawn Spencer (James Roday) is one of the best TV detectives of all time. It doesn't matter that he is a fake psychic and not a "real" detective. Shawn's keen skills of deduction and haphazardly hilarious methods always get the job done on Psych. His showmanship and endless pop-culture references make solving murders fun, which sounds like an oxymoron (a word that Shawn would have a field day with).Of all the brilliantly witty episodes this series has to offer "Lock, Stock, Some Smoking Barrels and Burton Guster's Goblet of Fire" remains one of my ultimate favorites. Shawn continuously meets his match in the equally charismatic and enigmatic Pierre Despereaux (Cary Elwes). In the final season opener, Despereaux's alter ego is revealed and it blows our minds. He's the one person who always keeps Shawn and the audience guessing…and we still are.

Bleeding Cool Picks Their Favorite Television Detectives

Ray Flook: This was a tough name to come up with since it pretty much came down to three, so here's how I made the cut.

I took David Addison (Bruce Willis) from Moonlighting off the list first: even though he was a huge influence on my appreciation of strong "word fu," he was actually a private detective so I'm using that to disqualify him.Which left me with two… and with that, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) came oh so close to the top spot – but not quite. Although he was the "geek detective," he wasn't viewed as "lesser" by those he went up against – and in the case of Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean), was deeply admired and respected. Other reason he doesn't make the cut? Showtime's Twin Peaks: The Return… but we'll save that for another day.

So my top TV police detective? Peter Falk's Columbo, the quintessential "geek detective." Falk's homicide detective was a trench-coated outsider nearly constantly taken for granted by his adversaries – always to their own legal peril. He wasn't a "man of action" in the sense that there were car chases and shoot-outs – because there weren't. Yet, viewers were on Columbo's side because on one level we could relate to him – while on another, we were in awe of a man who looks like he should be stumbling his way through checkers, giving us a lesson in the highest form of chess. Rare Example of Columbo Losing His Cool: Season 4, Episode 1 "An Exercise in Fatality". Example of Columbo Sympathetic to Killer: Season 5, Episode 1 "Forgotten Lady"

Margo Staten: The Sniffer (Kirill Karo) is a wealthy, loner Russian/Ukranian consultant who assists his friends on the force in solving the most brutal crimes using his extraordinary sense of smell.  As absurd as that may sound, his snark, antisocial personality, and catatonic-like tone makes him one hell of an entertaining detective; also doesn't hurt that he's easy on the eyes.  The Sniffer is able to recreate a crime scene very much like Will Graham from Hannibal and although the concept is pretty "extraordinary," still manages to work.  The first episode had me hooked with the use of this line "You ate pickles the night before and drank moonshine"

Ale Bodden: L, Death Note: I was originally going to pick N (Near) because he actually solved the case with enough proof to convict Light: he found Kira, played into his game, got a confession, and even got every single detail exposed. However, L was so wonderfully, humanly relatable that he to become my favorite character. He was filled with trust issues (understandably so), yet outspoken and warm in his own way.  No moment was more heart-tugging for me than when he confesses to Light he lacks motivation and admits to being depressed. I loved the way he never let feelings creep into his casework, and his little quirks were quite amusing. The chessmatch between L and Light/Kira is simply fantastic in every way – their little "death dance" never ceasing to draw me in.

Bleeding Cool Picks Their Favorite Television Detectives

Jeremy Konrad: Angel Batista- Dexter

Angel is one of the most loyal characters I can remember in any television show, let alone a cop show. One of the best detective looks of all-time, one only wishes they could pull off the fedora like he did. While you could argue that all of the detectives on Dexter were idiots since Dex operated right under their noses, I chose Angel because he was always honest, truthful, and the one cop who actually really does anything on the show. Good-natured and a scene-stealer, Angel was the character that kept Dexter from going off the rails, until that last season. But we don't talk about that.

Looks like since two people picked Columbo he would be our official pick. Did we forget anyone? Who is your pick? Let us know below.


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Jeremy KonradAbout Jeremy Konrad

Jeremy Konrad has written about collectibles and film for almost ten years. He has a deep and vast knowledge of both. He resides in Ohio with his family.
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