The crime show genre, whether it involves police detectives or private eyes and/or the various non-official specialists who help them, is one of the most popular on television. Audiences love the suspense and intrigue of hard-working sleuths doggedly searching for clues to hunt down criminals and bring them to justice.
There have been hundreds of crime shows over the years, some much better than others.
Some of these shows ran for well over a decade, while others became cult classics after just a few seasons on the air – or even less. (These are the best TV shows that were canceled after one season.)
To determine the 25 best shows ever made, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon. Television shows with the “detective” keyword tag or “crime” genre label were ranked based on the average IMDb user rating and number of votes, as of July 2022.
The best crime shows have redefined the genre, putting their own spin on what a detective show can be. Some are funny, some are dark and gritty, and some have psychologists, supernatural healers, and even murderers serving as detectives.
The shows on this list are not just good within the crime genre: Many have gone down as some of the most popular and well-reviewed programs in television history. (You’ll find a number of crime shows on our ranking of the 100 best TV dramas of all time.)
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