Television crime dramas are compelling to audiences because they deal not just with crimes themselves but also with issues of justice and equality and with fascinating characters. Traditionally, these shows follow those who try to solve the crimes, though in recent years, fans have also liked shows that center on the perpetrators. (These are the most evil TV villains of all time.)
To determine the best crime shows of all time, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on audience reception from IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon. Television shows were ranked based on IMDb user rating as of March 2023. In the case of a tie, the show with the greater number of user votes was ranked higher. Only shows with at least 5,000 user votes were considered. Documentaries and “true crime” shows were not included. Cast information is also from IMDb.
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 of any kind in television history. It’s no wonder that crime dramas – including sub-genres such as comedy, animation, and noir – have often been among the longest running shows on TV, even spawning spinoffs and prequels. (These are the best TV spinoffs of all time.)
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