Many of us love the crime and forensics shows all over TV. There are definitely plenty to choose from: Law & Order, Criminal Minds, NCIS, etc.
Many of these shows involve some very pretty and very badass women in the group. They rock their uniforms. They shoot their weapons. They help solve crimes. They chase bad guys. They perform in forensics labs. Why are we so fascinated with crime shows? I think there are many reasons: the action sequences are exciting, we love stories of justice, we also love stories of revenge. We also like to see the forensics team work to help put criminals away.
There is also a never ending stream of stories that a particular show could do, everything from serial killers to rapists to robbers to drug dealers. There is an infinite number of stories in the news and in writers’ heads. We enjoy seeing the procedures behind criminals being caught. Episodes often start and wrap up a case within a 45-minute arc. It makes you cheer for the good guy cops that put a criminal to justice.
Today, I’m bringing you a list of the hottest and BEST female law enforcement characters. I am not including the lawyers featured on crime shows- that list is for another day. I am including police officers, detectives, FBI agents, DEA agents, and jobs of that nature.
14. Brenda Leigh Johnson – The Closer
Kyra Sedgwick is the Deputy Police Chief of the Priority Homicide Division of the LAPD. Her ability to read people and obtain confessions helps her solve the worst of the city’s crimes. She is brought to L.A. by Assistant Chief Will Pope, who was her boss at the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan police department. She gets very focused on her pursuit of criminals; so focused that she sometimes thinks that the law doesn’t apply to her! She has a soft spot for her protege Sgt. David Gabriel. She also has a love interest in FBI Agent Fritz Howard; she often turns to him for help on her cases.
13. Agent Jennifer Jareau – Criminal Minds
Special Agent Jennifer Jareau is part of the FBI BAU (Federal Bureau of Investigation Behavorial Analysis Unit). She serves as the communications liason for her BAU peeps. The criminal profilers travel the country helping in serial killer and kidnapping cases. A.J. Cook shines as one of the best characters in the ensemble. She does the press releases and helps pick out which cases the team ends up taking.
12. Grace Hanadarko – Saving Grace
Holly Hunter has become well known for playing the lead role in Saving Grace. It is a different crime show in that it has some religious overtones. The series opened with Grace being “saved” by an angel. She is the classic jaded, cynical police detective. She had been drinking, smoking, and generally not loving herself at the time. Before the angel, she had been an atheist because her sister was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. She becomes a better detective as the show goes on.
11. Stacy Sheridan – T.J. Hooker
Heather Locklear got started on the early ’80s crime show, T.J. Hooker. She started during the beginning of the second season of the show. She was the young rookie cop working with the main characters. She progressed to riding patrol with the other guys on the force and became just another one of the guys. There were very few women in law enforcement on TV at the time. ABC cancelled the series in 1985; CBS picked it up for a year, but the show was finally stopped in 1986.
10. Detective Debra Morgan – Dexter
Jennifer Carpenter is best known for her role as officer, later Detective, Debra Morgan. She played the sister to Michael C. Hall’s protagonist, Dexter. She was the foster sister to Dexter, who was adopted by her father. She started out playing a Vice Cop and worked her way up to be a homicide detective. She is said to have dropped over 800 f-bombs over the course of eight seasons. She could drink beer and be “one of the guys,” but she was still a sexy badass cop.
9. Agent Emily Prentiss – Criminal Minds
Here we have the lovely Special Agent Emily Prentiss from Criminal Minds played by Paget Brewster. She came in for the second season after another agent had been killed off. She is the daughter of an ambassador and speaks multiple languages. She uses her profiling skills on the BAU team with the other agents. She had been on and off the series until her character got killed off a few years ago. She had been in the front of many operations and she used her language skills to help in many cases by translating Spanish when needed. She can definitely rock both the bullet proof vest and the business suit.
8. Nicole Scott – Missing
Vivica A. Fox played FBI Special Agent Nicole Scott on the 2003 series, Missing. It involved a two-person team of agents. One was guided by reason, the other “intuition.” X-Files references much? This one did not involve aliens, though. This was a team working missing persons’ cases. The show only made it to the third season, though. Some fans say that the show started going downhill after the second season. The show even changed titles once while it was still running. It went from being called 1-800-MISSING to just Missing. One of the writers of the show was the author of the Princess Diaries series.
7. Julie Barnes – The Mod Squad
Peggy Lipton was a spunky, young female detective in the 60s show Mod Squad. The series followed a group of three young people working as undercover cops trying to keep other young people from being hurt. They avoid going to jail themselves by infiltrating the counter-culture and exposing bad guys. The show was on for five seasons from 1968-1973. Show creator Buddy Ruskin said that he came up for the idea for the show after serving on the LAPD Youth Unit. Every episode classically ended with the mod squad walking off in one direction.
6. Detective Jocelyn Carter – Person of Interest
Taraji P. Henson played the spunky detective Jocelyn Carter on Person of Interest. This is a very different brand of crime show. A billionaire made a surveillance system that covers the entirety of New York. It reveals the social security numbers of people who are in danger. Carter helps the billionaire and the muscle guy get information about victims/perpetrators. When they get the Social Security numbers, which they were previously searching for, they are never told if the person they have targeted is the victim or not. But, they always keep helping people throughout the series.
5. Lily Rush – Cold Case
Here we have a classic crime drama, Cold Case. As the title implies, this show follows older cases that could not be solved before. This usually involved crimes that occurred before the invention of many of the forensics tools that we have now. DNA can both exonerate many people that were wrongfully convicted of various crimes and bring a criminal to justice. Kathryn Morris plays one of the leads, Lily Rush. She is the lone female detective in the Philadelphia homicide department. She finds her calling when she is assigned to work on the Cold Cases.
4. Olivia Benson – Law & Order
Mariska Hargitay plays Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. This is a spin-off of Law & Order which follows sexually-related crimes. The show has been on air since 1999. Benson is a survivor of rape, and she joins the NYPD as a detective in the Special Victims Unit. She never knew her father, and she was raised by an alcoholic mother. She later discovers that she has a half-brother with the same father. Then, there is a whole story arc about whether or not her mother was raped and it turns out that she really was.
3. Sarah Linden – The Killing
The Killing is a very different crime show; we have AMC to thank for it. Mireille Enos plays officer Sarah Linden. This show is unique because it does not wrap up the crimes in a nice little 45-minute-long box. It took them two seasons to discover who committed the first murder that they worked on. This show is a great procedural crime drama in that it shows how long it can take to solve a crime. DNA tests and other forensics takes days or months to finish. They do not have all of their DNA on the same day.
2. Agent Dana Scully – The X-Files
This is also a different kind of show. The X-Files is a science fiction crime show. Believer Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and skeptic Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are partners. They don’t JUST deal with aliens although, that is a big part of the show. They are both FBI agents who deal with murders and other crimes of a paranormal nature. Mulder believes in aliens because he saw his sister abducted as a child. Scully is a medical doctor turned FBI agent who is very much a skeptic at first. She is brought in to report about the things that Mulder is doing, but she starts to believe more as the show goes on.
1. Det. Diane Russell – NYPD Blue
Here we have Detective Diane Russell from NYPD Blue. She is played by Kim Delaney. The show ran from 1993 -2005. It was your conventional police procedural drama that took place at the NYPD. It paved the way for many police dramas that are on the air now. People complained about the novel use of profanities and nudity. They protested the premiere and onward. Many network affiliates would not air the show at the time.