Before he became the chief suspect in a real life murder case, actor Robert Blake starred as Baretta in the mid-70's. Created by Stephan J. Cannell, the show's hero was a street-wise undercover cop who never played by the rules. When he wasn't bashing heads or strong-arming suspects, Baretta walked the streets with his cockatoo, Fred, perched upon his shoulder.
Money isn't everything, is it? Amos Burke, played by a slick Gene Barry, was a millionaire who could have lived the life of luxury. However, in Burke's Law, this Mr. Moneybags was also the Chief of Detectives in Los Angeles. He may have been a cop, but Burke rode to work in a Rolls Royce.
Sharon Gless and Tyne Daley starred as female cops in this series which debuted in 1982. Remarkable for its portrayal not just of two women in uniform, the show broke down barriers by showcasing the character flaws that both of these detectives struggled with in their personal lives.
Comic-book cops, ‘Ponch' Poncherello (a Cheshire-grinning Erik Estrada) and his partner, Jon Baker (Larry Wilcox) spent six seasons on TV zooming around Los Angeles on their motorcycles. This lighthearted look at cops was especially appealing to the small fry.
When it comes to uncovering the forensic facts surrounding real-life murders, there's no TV show that does it with more drama and suspense than Cold Case Files. Hosted by Bill Kurtis, each documentary episode is as fascinating as it is thrilling to watch.
A murder is committed. Viewers know ‘whodunit'. Can Columbo catch the villain? The plot twist in this popular TV series kept viewers tuning in from 1971 to 1978 to see if the sloppy sleuth, played to perfection by Peter Falk, could put the murderer behind bars.
An innovative story line that juxtaposed a gangster against Chicago cops hot on his trail. Crime Story was produced by Michael Mann (Miami Vice) and starred Dennis Farina as Lt. Torello with Anthony Denison as mobster Ray Luca. While the first season of the show was set in the Windy City, the second season found the characters battling each other in Las Vegas.
For six years, mystery fans enjoyed taut drama as they tuned in to view Angie Harmon as Jordan Cavanaugh, of Boston's Medical Examiner office. While Dr. Cavanaugh's personal life was twisted with tortuous guilt and pent-up anger, her ability to solve crimes was as razor sharp as a scalpel.
CSI (aka CSI: Las Vegas) started the successful CSI franchise of crime dramas that all focus on forensics. While the lab work borders on science fiction and the special effects are often gimmicky, CSI has grabbed impressive fan loyalty and the result is an avante garde mystery show that is one of TV's biggest hits.
Another spin-off from the original CSI, this New York edition stars Gary Sinise as Det. Mac Taylor and Melina Kanakaredes as Det. Stella Bonasera. Shot in both New York and Los Angeles, the show focuses on forensics and police procedures with stronger character development than found in its sister shows.
David Caruso as Horatio Caine heads up a team of forensic specialists who solve grisly murders on the dark side of Florida's Gold Coast. This Miami-based show differs from it's Las Vegas cousin in that the investigators spend nearly as much time on the streets investigating as they do in the crime lab.
Dragnet made history as the first popular cop drama on television. Produced, written and starring the solemn actor Jack Webb as Sgt. Joe Friday, this b&w classic made the LAPD famous before they became notorious. Webb's deadpan acting was the perfect foil to an ever changing roll call of Dragnet guest stars who were as entertainingly quirky as Sgt. Friday was dedicated and dull.
From 1968 to 1980, gruff Lt. Steve McGarrett would end each episode of Hawaii Five-O with, ‘Book ‘em, Danno!' However, it was the tropical beauty of Hawaii that kept viewers tuning in each week to see if the Five-O squad could solve mysteries of international intrigue and murderous intent.
Capt. Frank Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) heads up a rag-tag crew of streetwise cops in this inventive series which revolutionized television in the 1980's. Fast-paced action and multiple story-lines collided with a gritty realism and a touch of cinema verite courtesy of creator, Steven Bochco.
An award-winning drama running from 1993-1999, this show chronicled the gritty and tough life of a squad of Baltimore homicide detectives. Sharp writing and a top notch cast that included Richard Belzer, Andre Braugher, Yaphet Kotto and Daniel Baldwin.
Stoic Lee Ironside (Raymond Burr) was the Chief of Detectives in San Francisco until a crazed woman shot him and left him in a wheelchair. Now, Ironside serves as a ‘Special Consultant' to the force. He live in an apartment at police headquarters and is ably assisted by two young officers, Eve Whitfield and Ed Brown, as well as a former street thug turned good guy, Mark Sanger.
Lollypop devotee, Lt. Theo Kojak (Telly Savalas) doggedly worked the mean streets of New York catching criminals and bringing them to justice. In this popular 70's era cop show, the catch phrase was , “Who loves ya, baby?”
The longest running crime/drama show in the history of television, Dick Wolf's Law & Order weaves together the personal and professional lives of cops who catch killers and the prosecutors who put them behind bars. Filmed on location in NYC, the show has created a loyal audience and spun off successful franchise shows and has gone through numerous cast changes since its debut in 1990.
Criminal Intent follows Dick Wolf's proven recipe for a smash murder/crime series. Stark realism, tough cases and a real-life approach to solving cases assigned to the ‘Major Case Squad'. Show regulars are Vincent D'Onofrio (Robert Goren), Kathryn Erbe (Alexandra Eames) Chris Noth (Mike Logan), Eric Bogosian (Capt. Ross) and Alicia Witt (Nola Folacci).
A spinoff from Dick Wolf's L&O brand, SVU features an ensemble cast that includes Mariska Hargitay (Olvia), Christopher Meloni (Elliot), Richard Belzer (John), Tamara Tunie (Melinda), Dann Florek (Capt. Cragen), Diane Neal (Casey), B.D. Wong (George) and rapper Ice-T (Fin Tutola).
You can take a man out of the country but you can't take the country out of the man. At least not when the guy in question is Sam McCloud (Dennis Weaver). McCloud was a cowboy cop on temporary assignment in the Big Apple. When he wasn't riding his horse through the streets of New York City, McCloud was solving crimes that stymied his big city counterparts.
As hot as the Florida sun and as cool and spicy as salsa, Miami Vice gave TV viewers a pair of pop culture cops, Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs, who worked undercover on the Gold Coast. Solving murders and busting drug smugglers, the two cops cruised Dade County driving a Ferrari Daytona Spyder. Hip and hot!
A psychedelic '60s era series where three hippies go underground and work with the police to solve murders in Los Angeles. Created by Aaron Spelling, the show starred Tige Andrews as Captain Adam Greer, Michael Cole as Pete, Clarence Williams, ll as Linc, and Peggy Lipton as Julie.
What do you get when you cross murder with an obsessive-compulsive detective? You end up with Monk, an imaginative and engagingly funny mystery series. Talented actor, Tony Shaloub, portrays Adrian Monk with a comic genius that rivals his character's photographic memory of the smallest clues.
Running from 1957 to 1960 on NBC, M Squad starred the talented Lee Marvin. In over 100 episodes, Marvin played Lt. Frank Ballinger as a tough-as-they-come cop in a show that's been described as ‘Dragnet on steroids'. This show still holds up well today thanks to Marvin's performances, despite being parodied in recent years.
A groundbreaking crime series from the late ‘50's, Naked City was an anthology shot on location in New York City, making it a forerunner of Law & Order. Taut acting by then-young New York actors including Robert Duval, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Burgess Meredith, and George C. Scott added to the talents of the lead actors, Paul Burke and Horace McMahon.
As hard-hitting as they come, NYPD Blue brought the nasty realism of crime fighting directly into the living rooms of America. Produced by Steven Bochco (of Hill Street Blues fame) the cast included David Caruso, Jimmy Smits, Rick Schroder, and Kim Delaney but the show's standout was Dennis Franz, as Det. Andy Sipowicz.
Cruising San Francisco from the seedy Mission District to the top of ritzy Nob Hill, veteran detective Mike Stone (Karl Malden) and his brash young partner Steve Keller (Michael Douglas) solved murders for five seasons in the ‘70's. Notable for excellent location shooting and the mentoring of a young cop by his experienced partner.