This Is the Best Detective Show of All Time

There has been a crime. Someone must be punished. The detective is part of the hide-and-seek plots in books, on television and in movies. At the end of these, the question is answered, does the detective, man or woman, bring the villain to justice? The formula is simple and has been used across the decades, since televisions began to appear in U.S. households.

To determine the best detective show in TV history, 24/7 Tempo considered audience reviews from the Internet Movie Database. The best detective 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 in the detective role.

To determine the best detective shows in TV history, shows with the detective keyword tag or crime genre label on IMDb were ranked based on the average IMDb user rating. Only shows with at least 5,000 user ratings that have a rating from the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board were considered. We excluded shows that have detective characters but are not explicitly centered around detective or investigative work. Data were collected in November 2021.

The best detective show in TV history is “The Wire.” Here are the details:

  • IMDb user rating: 9.3/10
  • IMDb user votes: 308,603
  • Series run: 2002 to 2008
  • Starring: Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn, Wendell Pierce

With an IMDb user rating of 9.3, “The Wire” ranks as the best detective show in TV history. The HBO drama follows Baltimore detectives, as well as the drug dealers they pursue.

Click here to see all the best detective shows of all time.

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