The five greatest TV police detectives
Ah, the police detective genre. It's one of the staples of a network's TV lineup. We all have our favorites, whether the characters are in blue uniforms or suits. Here are my Top 5 (and just so we're clear, I'm talking about police detectives, not private eyes or amateur investigators. I'll have that list tomorrow!)
1. Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk): No contest, really. Sure, there are some other great cops and detectives, but not many with the sheer Sherlock Holmes-like smarts as Lt. Columbo. He walked around sorta lost and bumbling, with a constantly lit cigar, a rumpled raincoat, and hair that made it look like he just woke up. But he was no fool, which all the murderers found out a little bit too late.
2. Sledge Hammer (David Rasche): Hey, I don't know how smart Sledge Hammer was, and he usually used brawn and a gun over brain power, but that doesn't mean he wasn't awesome.
3. Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord): Here's how McGarrett would solve some major crime on Hawaii Five-O: the crime would happen, he'd bend down to look at a corpse or a clue, he'd stand up (his hair wouldn't move at all), he'd look off into space, then snap his fingers to help his thinking along, then he'd tell Danny or another detective to do something. Then a big wave would crash and then there would be a commercial, and then the show would come back on and McGarrett would be chasing someone or interrogating them.
4. Detective Robert Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio): Like Lt. Columbo, Robert Goren of Law and Order: CI is sorta like Sherlock Holmes, though this show doesn't quite have the cleverness of either Columbo or Sherlock Holmes. But Goren is certainly a different kind of detective, one that can figure out if someone is guilty from a quirky clue and look like he could go nutty at any moment and punch someone in the face.
5. Quincy, M.E. (Jack Klugman): OK, so I'm stretching things a bit here. Quincy wasn't a detective or a cop, he was a coroner, but he did investigate crimes in an offical capacity, even if his frustrated boss (TV cops always have a frustrated boss) tried to say to him "you're not supposed to be investigating crimes, you're the coroner! We'll be sued for this!" Klugman is always great, and this was a murder mystery show that used crime labs and evidence under microscopes long before CSI.