Top Ten Fictional Police Detectives

fictional police detectives

Unlike the Top Ten Fictional Private Eyes, the cop detectives are actually employed by the police department and have to answer to a higher authority. But these renegades rarely do. Instead, they do things their way, dishing out justice in an unorthodox style. Here are the Top Ten Fictional Cop Detectives.

10

Axel Foley
Beverly Hills Cop

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No matter how many movies Eddie Murphy puts out, he will forever be Detective Axel Foley of Beverly Hills Cop.

9

Alex Cross
James Patterson Books

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Alex Cross gets a spot due to the popularity of James Patterson books, which I believe sell only because they’re so easy to read while sitting in an airport terminal. Morgan Freeman played the character in film.

8

Tony Baretta
Baretta

Baretta Title Screen
Get this — he’s an unorthodox police detective, who often wears disguises. With Robert Blake (don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, Robert).

7

Inspector Clouseau
The Pink Panther

clouseau
Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau is a bumbling detective with a bad accent who has an uncanny knack for survival. Peter Sellers – not Steve Martin – made the character famous.

6

Joe Friday
Dragnet

joefriday
“The story you are about to see is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.”

5

Lester Freamon
The Wire

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Leastor Freamon is the most unassuming badass detective, which you wouldn’t know while watching him make model furniture. But once he gets a target, there ain’t no stopping him. He’s so good, Jimmy McNulty was chucked out to make room for him in Season 1. Most importantly, he nails a hooker half his age without having to pay her — sheer charm!

4

Andy Sipowicz
NYPD Blue

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Sipowicz is described as a “drunken, racist goon with a heart of gold.” That right there makes him eligible to be a police detective.

3

Dick Tracy
Comic Strip/Film

Dick Tracy Crying
Dick Tracy has a slew of deformed enemies, including Alphonse “Big Boy” Caprice. He also has women problems, a sidekick kid who tags along and a cool trenchcoat.

2

Harry Callahan
Dirty Harry

300px Harry Callahan

“Go ahead, make my day.”

‘Nuff said.

1

Columbo
Columbo

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Peter Falk’s show popularized the inverted detective story format without the “whodunit” element.

Honorable Mentions
Mariska Hargitay – Law and Order: SVU
Frank Drebin – The Naked Gun
“Popeye” Doyle – The French Connection
Jimmy McNulty – The Wire
William Somerset – Seven