Top 10 TV Female Detectives Of All Time

TV Crime series have captivated audiences around the world for many decades. Their success relies on how good the storylines are, and the detective who leads the cases. These two factors determine whether fans will tune in week after week or they will give up shortly after the premiere.

From detectives who became captains to crime scene investigators and FBI agents, they have captured some of the most terrifying suspects in TV history. Here are the one’s our readers voted most memorable.

Dana Scully

There definitely wouldn’t be as many FBI investigation shows if it weren’t for The X-Files, and those who love the show know it wouldn’t have been the same without Gillian Anderson’s portrayal of Dana Scully. Although she is an FBI agent and M.D. with a background in hard science, she is considered one of the best detectives in TV history.

Anderson’s talent and Scully’s chemistry with Mulder (David Duchovny) are what made her a character everyone talks about decades after the show’s premiere. She became such an iconic character that she of course had to be included in the 10 more episodes they released for Season 11.

Catherine Willows

Those who are familiar with the CSI universe know it all began on CSI in 2000 with Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger) as one of the leads. For 12 seasons, the fans fell in love with Willows’s mannerisms, talent, knowledge, and caring nature. They watched her become night-shift supervisor, always working with strong male personalities, but never letting that bring her light down.

After Season 12, Willows appeared in Season 14, leaving fans wanting more. Lucky for those who haven’t stopped loving her character, Helgenberger will return as Willows for Season 2 of CSI: Vegas.

Sara Sidle

Jorja Fox joined Helgenberger as one of the members of the CSI team. Her character, Sara Sidle, was Assistant Supervisor until she left in Season 8 to be with her husband Gil Grissom (William Petersen). She later returned during Season 10 as she maintained a long-distance relationship with her husband.

Her character development always went hand-in-hand with her relationship with Grissom, making them one of the greatest love stories in the CSI universe. However, Sidle was a fan-favorite as an individual character as well for her strength and resourcefulness.

Olivia Benson

Since 1999, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) has been the people’s detective on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. As a sex crimes detective, Benson was able to thrive and build a career that led her to lead the unit as Captain.

Throughout the years, viewers got to see Benson not only grow as a professional, but as a person. Becoming Captain Benson and a mom, accomplishing some of her biggest dreams. Overcoming the loss of her partner, showing newbies the rope, and welcoming back her partner after a decade, whatever it is, Benson can do it.

Amanda Rollins

Kelli Giddish did the impossible and joined a well-established TV show during its 12th season, Law & Order: SVU. Although the task may have been hard, Detective Amanda Rollins stole everyone’s heart and became a fan-favorite Georgia peach.

Giddish will exit the show after twelve seasons when Season 24 premieres. It will be hard to see her go, but there are plenty of memories to remember her by. Rollins grew as a woman, overcoming a gambling addiction, becoming a better detective, having children, and finding the love of her life.

Jo Danville

Jo Danville (Sela Ward) made her grand entrance – dead body and all – during the seventh season of CSI: NY. Although the team was already established, Danville’s southern charm won everyone over, including tough boss Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise). It didn’t take long for the audience to join the rest of the crime lab, falling in love with the former FBI agent.

For three seasons, Jo Danville was the best in the game, putting her expertise to practice on every case. She was charming and loving, but extremely talented and full of knowledge. Her personal life (her children and her past) made her more relatable to the audience.

Lindsay Messer

Some detectives are great at their job because of personal experiences they have had to overcome, and that was the case for Lindsay Messer (Anna Belknap). Her successful career was in part because she survived a massacre, encouraging her to make sure justice could be served for the victims of every case she was a part of.

As a crime scene investigator, Lindsay Messer spent half of her time on the field and the other half in the lab analyzing the evidence. The combination of both activities is what made her a great team member. Her path as a mother and a wife, showed the audience her caring side, making them fall in love with her.

Kate Beckett

Although the show was named Castle and many may think it was mostly about Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), it would have never been what it was without Kate Beckett (Stana Katic). The chemistry between the pairing definitely had fans tuning back in every week and celebrating when the two got married.

Beckett went from a homicide detective to captain of the NYPD 12th Precinct. Fans of the show got to watch her grow in her professional life and get a happy ending in her personal life.

Natalia Boa Vista

Horatio Caine (David Caruso) is probably one of the most beloved characters in the CSI universe, but he wouldn’t have been able to solve as many cases as he did without the help of his team. An integral member of CSI: Miami was Natalia Boa Vista (Eva LaRue), who joined the show in Season 4.

At the beginning, it was believed she was an informant who was trying to bring down the lab. However, as Season 4 advanced, they realized Natalia was only sharing positive information, trying to make the team look good. After this hiccup, she became a valuable member of the team and loved by the audience.

Amy Santiago

Not many crime shows rely on comedy, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine proved it was possible. Alongside an array of detectives with different talents, they introduced Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) to the world, making the fans fall in love with a smart, courageous, and funny character.

Although Santiago ended the show as Chief, she spent the majority of the seasons looking for a mentor. Her admiration for Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) created one of the best dynamics on the show. Her competitive streak led to her incredible marriage to Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg), a fan-favorite ship.

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Credited also in Daily Mail and The Mirror.


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