Together ’til the end: Top Ten Best TV Crime Partners of All Time.
Since television has been invented there have been so many iconic duos on television from comedic like Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Laverne and Shirley, Kenan and Kel etc. But we can’t get enough of the iconic cop\crime duos that made us love watching our favorite crime dramas due to their awesome chemistry and their remarkable ability to catch bad guys together as a team. Every television crime drama has ’em but only ten of the very best are what we’re talking about on this article. Here we go!
10. Munch and Fin: “Law and Order: SVU.”
Our first dynamic duo are the odd couple that often steals the show on SVU.
They’re as mismatched as can be but in spite of that they couldn’t be closer as friends or better as partners.
9. Sam and Callen: “NCIS: Los Angeles”.
The Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh of television. Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J just make magic together on CBS’ long running hit NCIS: Los Angeles. The chemistry between these guys off and onscreen has been the glue that holds that show together. Sam and Callen are a bickering old married couple, brothers in arms, rivaling siblings, best friends and law enforcement partners all in one and for all those who watch NCIS LA they’re bond and comedic chemistry is one of the best.
8. Spenser and Hawk: “Spenser For Hire”.
Spenser and Hawk are one badass duo and Robert Urich and Avery Brooks brought those two iconic mystery novel characters to life and owned them so well that no other adaptations of the Spenser novels have ever came close to the portrayals by Urich and Brooks.
Spenser and Hawk come from two different worlds yet these two intelligent, smooth talking and dangerous dudes make one heck of a team and the bad guys are always outnumbered just by these two together:
Spenser and Hawk’s unique friendship and partnership isn’t spoken of nearly enough but the depth, richness and humor of the bond these two share is one for the ages:
7. Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs: “Miami Vice”.
This iconic duo in many ways defined the 1980’s in fashion, style and one of the first great examples of what became a staple in film and television: The white\black cop duo. It all started with that first meeting:
These two are good friends to this day and it’s all because of that special thing called chemistry that impacted an entire decade and beyond.
6. Perry Mason, Della Street and Paul Drake: “Perry Mason”.
This trio is one of the most efficient and tight knit crime solving teams ever seen on television. Perry is probably the greatest lawyer of all time but he wouldn’t be able to do what he does without Paul and Della at his side to get him the info he needs, in Paul’s case strong arm a foe or just providing him some comic relief when a particular case eats at him. The personal friendship and camaraderie these three share is stronger than most other partnerships on this list and in television history, it’s probably because Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale and William Hopper were so tight offscreen as they were on. Perry, Della and Paul working together the bad guys don’t stand a chance.
5. Benson and Stabler “Law and Order: SVU”.
I’ll admit I haven’t watched SVU since Eliot’s departure back in 2011. But the partnership and super close friendship of Eliot Stabler and Olivia Benson was the core of Law and Order: SVU and the strong chemistry between Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay was so perfect and added so much to what could’ve been a typical cop partnership or even a typical man\woman cop sexual tension forced partnership.
Eliot and Olivia were clearly not just partners, though. There was such a deep and powerful bond whether you think it was romantic or just a intensely strong bond between best friends, either way there was nothing they wouldn’t do for each other and that on occasion came before their jobs:
4. Rick Hunter and Dee Dee McCall: “Hunter”.
When it comes to dynamic duos Hunter and McCall are up there with the best of ’em. Hunter and DeeDee aka “The Brass Cupcake” were the Dirty Harry and Dirty Harriet of 1980’s television and the bond between the two blossomed into a strong and long lasting friendship and maybe something a bit deeper:
With Hunter and McCall on the case you can bet that some unlucky bad guy’s getting shot. These two loved each other and had each other’s back at all times making them a perfect crime fighting team.
3. JC Williams and Eddie Torres: “New York Undercover.”
New York Undercover was a new type of cop show back in 1994. JC Williams and Eddie Torres played by Malik Yoba and Michael De Lorenzo were new type of tv cops.
New York Undercover was the first cop show headed up by two minorities and also put Hip Hop out there for the mainstream public to enjoy. The show was all flavor but the best part about it was the partnership of Eddie and JC, these two guys were brothers in blue and brothers period. They kicked butt on the streets and shared a drink at the local night club every night where some hot hip hop or soul group were performing. JC and Eddie were NYU and after the show killed off Eddie’s character in the season 4 finale, the show was never the same again which is why it was canned a year later:
2. Cordell Walker and Jimmy Trivette: “Walker, Texas Ranger.”
It all started with that first fateful meeting:
After a cool start, these two developed a trust in each other which then evolved into them becoming the best of friends and a bad pair of crime fighting partners:
I grew up watching these two and I’ve always loved their chemistry and their brotherly bond. Chuck Norris and Clarence Gilyard Jr. make an incredible duo and I couldn’t imagine what It had been like Clarence hadn’t left Matlock to star alongside Chuck in the iconic Walker, Texas Ranger.
- Frank Pembleton and Tim Bayliss: “Homicide: Life on the street”.
For those of you who don’t know about the classic 1990’s cop drama Homicide: Life on The Street it was NBC’s Friday night delight from 1993–2000. It was a dark and gritty police procedural with a talented and diverse ensemble cast but the two breakouts were for sure Detectives Frank Pembleton(Andre Braugher) and Tim Bayliss (Kyle Secor). I have only gotten into Homicide over the last 5 months but watching multiple episodes and the made for television movie that aired months after the original series ended I have become a huge fan of this series, it’s characters and the amazing partnership between Frank and Tim. These guys are magic onscreen together and managed to make the classic black\white, Lethal Weaponesque mismatched cop partners trope feel fresh and unique just because of the way these two characters relate to each other. They’re not always the best of friends, heck, Frank seems like he can barely tolerate Tim most of the time, but when it came down to it, these two guys were the best and most reliably successful detectives in the squad and that’s because they work really well together as a team whether in The Box interrogating suspects or out on the street. These two had to be my number one crime partners of all time because I don’t think any other crime show in television history has ever created a relationship as complex, deep, interesting, compelling and outright funny as Pembleton and Bayliss. They’re friends but also enemies, brothers but also strangers, yin and yang but also oil and water. The layers and depth of the Pembleton\Bayliss dynamic has seen no match before or since. I’ll leave you to enjoy the fascinating interplay between Pembleton and Bayliss with some of their finest moments:
And then let me break your heart with their most poignant and tragic moment that showed that despite their differences, these guys had serious love and respect for each other:
And alas their very last scene together that turned their 6 year evolving partnership on its head:
Andy Taylor and Barney Fife: “The Andy Griffith Show”.
Nothing I could say about these two best pals and crime solving duo could better illustrate their amazing dynamic better than these:
’Til next time, folks!