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TV Cops and Private Eyes

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  • Abe Vigoda (1921 - 2016)
    Charles "Abe" Vigoda (/vᵻˈɡoʊdə/; February 24, 1921 – January 26, 2016) was an American film and television actor. He was known for a number of roles, especially his portrayals of Salvatore Tessio in t...
  • Fred Thompson, U.S. Senator (1942 - 2015)
    Dalton Thompson (born Freddie Dalton Thompson; August 19, 1942), was an American politician, actor, attorney, lobbyist, columnist, and radio host. He served as a Republican U.S. Senator from Tennessee ...
  • Martin Milner (1931 - 2015)
    TV actor Martin Milner, best known for his starring roles in Adam-12 and Route 66, has died. He was 83. After launching his career in such war-themed films Sands Of Iwo Jima (1949), Operation Pacific (...
  • Tyne Daly
    TYNE DALY Ellen Tyne Daly (born 21 February 1946) is an American stage and screen actress having won (as of 2021) six television Emmy Awards and a Tony Award, and is a 2011 American Theatre Hall of F...
  • Georg Stanford Brown
    Bio (1)== Georg Stanford Brown was born on June 24, 1943 in Havana, Cuba. He is an actor and director, known for The Rookies (1972), Bullitt (1968) and Stir Crazy (1980). He was previously married to T...


Televisions shows that depicted Police Officers and Private Eyes that ran approximately 1940-1975.

Dramas involving Police procedural work, and private detectives, secret agents, and the justice system have been a mainstay of broadcast television since the early days of broadcasting. Shows that aren't dramatic programming are indicated (e.g. Reality television, Television comedy or Comedy-drama).

List and the seasons the show ran

  • Dragnet A radio and television crime drama about the cases of a dedicated Los Angeles police detective, Sergeant Joe Friday, and his partners
  • The Andy Griffith Show - Andy Griffith and Don Knotts. Comedy. An American sitcom first televised by CBS between October 3, 1960, and April 1, 1968.
  • The Mod Squad - Clarence Williams III, Peggy Lipton, Michael Cole and Tige Andrews. A television series that ran on ABC from September 24, 1968, until August 23, 1973. In 1997, the episode "Mother of Sorrow" was ranked #95 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.
  • Police Woman - Angie Dickinson and Earl Holliman. An American television police drama that ran on NBC for four seasons, from September 13, 1974, to March 29, 1978.
  • Adam-12 - Martin Milner and Kent McCord. The show ran from 1968 through 1975.
  • 77 Sunset Strip - Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and Edd Byrnes. The show ran from 1958 to 1964.
  • The F.B.I. - Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Philip Abbott, William Reynolds, Stephen Brooks, and Lynn Loring. An American television series that was broadcast on ABC from 1965 to 1974. It was sponsored by the Ford Motor Company, and the characters almost always drove Ford vehicles in the series - indeed, this was a key point of Mad magazine's July 1971 satire of the series ("The F.I.B." - which stood for Ford Idea Better).
  • Cannon - a CBS detective television series produced by Quinn Martin which aired from March 26, 1971 to March 3, 1976. The primary protagonist was the title character, Frank Cannon, played by William Conrad.
  • Barnaby Jones a detective series starring Buddy Ebsen and Lee Meriwether as father- and daughter-in-law who run a private detective firm in Los Angeles. A spin-off from Cannon, the show ran on CBS from January 28, 1973 to April 3, 1980.
  • NYPD Blue - Dennis Franz. An American television police drama set in New York City, exploring the internal and external struggles of the fictional 15th precinct of Manhattan. Each episode typically intertwined several plots involving an ensemble cast. In 1997, "True Confessions" was ranked #36 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.
  • S.W.A.T. - Steve Forrest, Rod Perry, Robert Urich, Mark Shera, James Coleman, and Ellen Weston. A 1970s American television series about the adventures of the WCPD's Olympic Division Special Weapons And Tactics (S.W.A.T.) team operating in an unidentified California city.
  • The Blue Knight - a CBS Crime TV series, running in 1975 and 1976, starring George Kennedy as Officer Bumper Morgan.
  • Ellery Queen An American television detective mystery series that ran for one season from 1975 to 1976 on NBC. It starred Jim Hutton as Ellery Queen, and David Wayne as his father, Inspector Richard Queen.
  • Moonlighting - Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis. An American television series that aired on ABC from March 3, 1985, to May 14, 1989. The network aired a total of 66 episodes (67 in syndication as the pilot is split into two episodes). Starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd as private detectives, the show was a mixture of drama, comedy and romance, and was considered to be one of the first successful and influential examples of comedy-drama, or "dramedy", emerging as a distinct television genre. In 1997, "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice" was ranked #34 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.[4] In 2007, it was listed as one of Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME."
  • Miami Vice - Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas. An American television series produced by Michael Mann for NBC. The series starred Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas as two Metro-Dade Police Department detectives working undercover in Miami. It ran for five seasons on NBC from 1984–1989.
  • Cagney & Lacey - Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless. Meg Foster (Season 1). An American television series that originally aired on the CBS television network for seven seasons from October 8, 1981 to May 16, 1988.
  • T.J. Hooker - James Darren and Heather Locklear. The supporting cast includes Adrian Zmed as rookie Officer Vince Romano, Heather Locklear as rookie Officer Stacy Sheridan (season 2 onwards), and Richard Herd as Captain Dennis Sheridan as personnel in the fictional "LCPD" Police Department [1] Academy Precinct. Towards the end of the show's second season, James Darren became a regular cast member as Officer Jim Corrigan. An American police drama television program starring William Shatner in the title role as a 15-year veteran police sergeant. The series premiered as a mid-season replacement on March 13, 1982 on ABC and ran on the network until May 4, 1985. The show was then picked up for a further single season by CBS.
  • Hill Street Blues - Daniel J. Travanti and Betty Thomas. An American serial police drama that was first aired on NBC in 1981 and ran for 146 episodes on primetime into 1987. Chronicling the lives of the staff of a single police precinct in an unnamed American city, the show received critical acclaim and its production innovations influenced many subsequent dramatic television series produced in North America. Its debut season was rewarded with eight Emmy awards, a debut season record surpassed only by The West Wing, and the show received a total of 98 Emmy Award nominations during its run. In 1997, the episode "Grace Under Pressure" was ranked number 49 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. In 2002, Hill Street Blues was ranked number 14 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
  • Starsky & Hutch - Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul. A 1970s American cop thriller television series that consisted of a 90-minute pilot movie (originally aired as a Movie of the Week entry) and 92 episodes of 60 minutes each; created by William Blinn, produced by Spelling-Goldberg Productions, and broadcast between April 30, 1975 and May 15, 1979 on the ABC network; distributed by Columbia Pictures Television in the United States and, originally, Metromedia Producers Corporation in Canada and some other parts of the world.
  • MacGyver - Richard Dean Anderson. An American action-adventure television series created by Lee David Zlotoff. Henry Winkler and John Rich were the executive producers. The show ran for seven seasons on ABC in the United States and various other networks abroad from 1985 to 1992. The series was filmed in Los Angeles during seasons 1, 2 and 7, and in Vancouver, British Columbia, during seasons 3–6. The show's final episode aired on April 25, 1992 on ABC (the network aired a previously unseen episode for the first time on May 21, 1992, but it was originally intended to air before the series finale).
  • Hunter - Stepfanie Cramer. A police drama television series starring Fred Dryer as Sgt. Rick Hunter and Stepfanie Kramer as Sgt. Dee Dee McCall, which ran on NBC from 1984 to 1991. However, Kramer left after the sixth season (1990) to pursue other acting and musical opportunities. The seventh season saw Hunter partnered with two different women officers. The titular character, Sgt. Rick Hunter, was a wily, physically imposing, and often rule-breaking homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard - James Best. An American television series that aired on the CBS television network from 1979 to 1985. The series was inspired by the 1975 film Moonrunners, which was also created by Gy Waldron and had many identical or similar character names and concepts.
  • Charlie's Angels A television series about three women who work for a private investigation agency, and is one of the first shows to showcase women in roles traditionally reserved for men. The series starred Kate Jackson (seasons 1–3); Farrah Fawcett-Majors (season 1; 3–4); Jaclyn Smith (seasons 1–5); Cheryl Ladd (seasons 2–5); Shelley Hack (season 4); Tanya Roberts (season 5); David Doyle (seasons 1–5); and, John Forsythe (voice; seasons 1–5). The series was broadcast in the USA on the ABC Television Network from 1976 to 1981.
  • CHiPs - Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada. an American television drama series produced by MGM Studios (now owned by Turner Entertainment) that originally aired on NBC from September 15, 1977, to July 17, 1983. CHiPs followed the lives of two motorcycle police officers of the California Highway Patrol. The series ran for 139 episodes over six seasons.
  • Cross Jordan - Jill Hennessy. An American television crime/drama series that aired on NBC from September 24, 2001 to May 16, 2007. It stars Jill Hennessy as Jordan Cavanaugh, M.D., a crime-solving forensic pathologist employed in the Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Medical Examiner's Office.
  • The X-Files - David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. An American science fiction television series and a part of The X-Files franchise, created by screenwriter Chris Carter. The program originally aired from September 10, 1993 to May 19, 2002.
  • Burn Notice (USA, 2007 to present). An American television series created by Matt Nix. The show stars Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell, Sharon Gless, and, beginning in the fourth season, Coby Bell.[1] The series premiered on June 28, 2007, on USA Network. On April 15, 2010, the show was renewed for its fifth and sixth seasons. The fifth season of Burn Notice began on June 23, 2011. The show returned November 3, 2011. New episodes are aired at 10pm EST on USA network.


The five longest-running American television Cop and Private Eyes shows.

  • Law & Order: SVU

Guest stars


Historical errors

The Great American Police Films (Movies)

  • A big-screen adaption of the series starring Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson was released in 2003. A direct-to-DVD sequel titled S.W.A.T.: Firefight, which has very little connection to both the series or the 2003 film, was released in 2011.
  • 25 TV Cops and Private Eyes: Where Are They Now? Special Report. Globe, December 5, 2011, pp. 1, 27-37.