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"Perhaps one of the most intense displays of sexual tension in history!" A ranking of the best crime-fighting duos on television.
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“Perhaps one of the most intense displays of sexual tension in history!” A ranking of the best crime-fighting duos on television.


The passing of David Soul, known for his role in the classic TV show Starsky & Hutch, brought back feelings of nostalgia. However, even after almost fifty years since the show’s debut on ABC, the trend of crime-fighting pairs on television has remained popular.

The popular show Grantchester, featuring a charming priest and a detective, has returned to ITV1. Meanwhile, True Detective is back tonight and is said to be just as impressive as its first season. It appears that having two detectives working together is still the winning formula for TV crime-solving. But where do these partnerships rank in the history of crime-solving on television? We count down the top 25 investigative duos…

25. Dempsey and Makepeace (Dempsey and Makepeace)

An American with a bold personality and a high-class woman from England? Prepare for some intense culture clashes. In this late 1980s series on ITV, Lt James Dempsey (played by Michael Brandon) and Sgt Harriet Makepeace (played by Glynis Barber) were paired together when Dempsey was transferred from the NYPD to the Metropolitan Police. The two had such a strong chemistry that they ended up getting married in real life.

Ponch and Jon from the show CHiPs

Ponch and Jon

Who cares if they were often out-acted by their motorbikes? Teatime favourite CHiPs followed the engine-revving bromance between California Highway Patrol officers Frank Poncherello (Erik Estrada) and Jon Baker (Larry Wilcox). In late-70s Britain, it all seemed impossibly sun-kissed and glamorous. Vroom vroom.

Jake and Amy, characters from the TV show “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”.

Our list only includes characters from a sitcom. Over the course of eight seasons, Jake Peralta (played by Andy Samberg) and Amy Santiago (played by Melissa Fumero), who started off as enemies, eventually got married and became parents. In the end, Jake even became a stay-at-home dad. It was heartwarming, funny, and had a happy ending.

22. Bodie and Doyle (The Professionals)

Ford Capris! Fights! Firearms! Ex-Met detective Ray Doyle (a bubble-permed Martin Shaw) and ex-SAS smoothie William Bodie (Lewis Collins) made a dynamic duo in this macho 80s drama – even if the Comic Strip did later spoof them as Bonehead and Foyle, AKA “the Bullshitters”.

Laure and Gilou from the popular television show “Spiral”

The unparalleled Parisian police investigation (titled Engrenages in its original country of France) was a raw and captivating group effort, but the intense connection between Captain Laure Berthaud (played by Caroline Proust) and her lieutenant-turned-lover Gilles Escoffier (played by Thierry Godard) served as its emotional core.

Hardy and Miller are the main characters in the TV show Broadchurch.

The colleagues from the Dorset coast had a difficult beginning, particularly because DS Ellie Miller (played by Olivia Colman) thought she would be promoted, but DI Alec Hardy (played by David Tennant) got the job instead. Over three seasons of arguing and intense cases that hit close to home, they eventually grew to like each other.

19. Crockett and Tubbs (Miami Vice)

It doesn’t get more 80s than the Ferrari-driving duo in Ray-Bans and shoulder-padded pastel jackets with their sleeves rolled up. Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) and Rico Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) were detectives for the neon-lit new wave. The original pitch memo simply said “MTV cops”.

18. Dalziel and Pascoe (Dalziel & Pascoe)

For over ten years, the BBC show featured the unstoppable duo of DSI Andy Dalziel (played by Warren Clarke) and his refined apprentice, DI Peter Pascoe (played by Colin Buchanan), who were known for their unorthodox methods and strong bond. By the way, “Dee-el” is the correct pronunciation.

Fleming and Arnott, the characters from the TV show “Line of Duty”

Warning for corrupt police officers. In six popular series on BBC, the successful duo at the anti-corruption unit AC-12 were undercover expert Kate Fleming and waistcoat-wearing Steve Arnott. Will they continue to have a friendly relationship? Let’s hope so.

16. The characters Saga and Martin from the TV series “The Bridge.”

In the past, Scandinavian crime shows featured protagonists who worked alone, like Kurt Wallander and Sarah Lund. However, The Bridge changed this by pairing the distant Swedish detective, Saga Norén (played by Sofia Helen), with her more affable Danish partner, Kim Brodnia. These two contrasting characters complemented each other perfectly, like pieces of furniture from Ikea.

15. Tyler and Hunt (Life on Mars)

These two individuals not only had contrasting personalities, but they also came from different time periods. When modern-day detective Sam Tyler (played by John Simm) unexpectedly journeyed back in time to 1973, he was forced to work alongside the old-fashioned and heavy-drinking DCI Gene Hunt (played by Philip Glenister). Their relationship was a mix of love and hate. Get ready to rev up the Ford Cortina.

Fourteen. The duo of Scott and Bailey.

Writer Sally Wainwright would later create a lone-wolf copper in Happy Valley’s indelible Sgt Catherine Cawood, but first came DC Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) and DC Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones). Like Cagney and Lacey had moved to Manchester and been assigned grisly murder cases.

13. Jonathan and Maddie (Jonathan Creek)

Although they were both non-military personnel, there was no murder too complex for the clever magician Jonathan Creek (played by Alan Davies) and the outspoken journalist Maddie Magellan (played by Caroline Quentin) to solve. However, when Maddie left after three seasons, this BBC show lost its magic.

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David and Maddie from the show Moonlighting.

A new Maddie and a familiar will-they-won’t-they duo. Ex-model Maddie Hayes (played by Cybill Shepherd) and witty detective David Addison (in a breakout role for Bruce Willis) worked together at Blue Moon Investigations. Their sharp and playful banter influenced many comedy-dramas that followed.

11. Cassie and Sunny (Unforgotten)

The understated class of cold case duo DCI Cassandra Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunil Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) became clear when she devastatingly departed after four series, leaving her loyal sidekick bereft with grief – rather like us viewers.

The two main characters in the show “True Detective” are Rust and Marty.

Moody nihilist Rustin Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and family man Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) had a punch-up in the police station parking lot. Yet they were so electric together that subsequent duos in the HBO anthology couldn’t compare – at least until Jodie Foster and Kali Reis in the new series.

9. Starsky and Hutch (Starsky & Hutch)

In Bay City, California, the iconic pair of 70s cops worked covertly. David Starsky (played by Paul Michael Glaser) and Ken Hutchinson (played by David Soul) patrolled the city in a red Ford Gran Torino with white detailing, affectionately known as “the Striped Tomato”. Their close bond broke barriers during a time when it was not commonly seen.

8. Regan and Carter (The Sweeney)

“We’re the Sweeney, son, and we haven’t had any dinner.” The British equivalent of Starsky & Hutch were the Flying Squad’s fist-happy DI Jack Regan (John Thaw) and DS George Carter (Dennis Waterman), who sped down London streets in a bronze Ford Granada, investigating authentically dirty deeds. You’re nicked!

Benson and Stabler are the main characters in the television show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

For 12 seasons, Olivia Benson (played by Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (played by Christopher Meloni) were a determined NYPD duo at the center of a popular crime-solving show. Fans were intrigued by a potential romantic dynamic between them, but this was never explored in the series.

Sipowicz and Simone from the television show NYPD Blue.

Battle-scarred alcoholic cop Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) was originally teamed with combustible detective John Kelly (David Caruso), but it was his chemistry with sensitive widower Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits) that made TV magic. Across five superlative seasons, they built an affecting friendship while busting bad guys.

5. Cagney and Lacey (Cagney & Lacey)

During its six-year duration in the 1980s, the popular show featured Sharon Gless as NYPD detective Christine Cagney and Tyne Daly as her partner Mary Beth Lacey. The two actresses took turns winning the Emmy for best actress, showcasing their strong bond and friendship in a male-dominated profession and setting a precedent for future female-led series.

Mulder and Scully are the main characters in the TV show “The X-Files”.

Mulder and Scully, the protagonists of “The X-Files” television series, are the central characters of the show.

Mulder and Scully

FBI agent Fox Mulder (played by David Duchovny), obsessed with aliens, and his skeptical partner Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) delved into supernatural occurrences and secretive plots in a popular 90s show that gained widespread popularity. The truth was always out there, as was the intense sexual tension between the two characters, considered by many to be the greatest in TV history.

3. Morse and Lewis (Inspector Morse)

John Thaw, who passed away, is featured twice in our Top 10 list. He played the role of DCI Morse, a lover of opera and crosswords, who enjoyed drinking real ale and driving a Jaguar. Despite their differences, he formed a strong connection with his partner DS Robbie Lewis (played by Kevin Whately) as they solved crimes in the idyllic setting of Oxford’s university. Both characters were so well-loved that they received their own spin-off shows.

2. Bunk and McNulty (The Wire)

David Simon’s Baltimore masterpiece was more panoramic than the average police drama but integral to it were detective duo Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) and William “Bunk” Moreland (Wendell Pierce). Every scene between the wise-cracking womaniser and the cigar-puffing grump was a joy. See the early episode where they examine a crime scene while talking entirely in F-bombs.

Sherlock and his colleague, Watson.

Jeremy Brett and Edward Harwicke are the traditionalist’s choice. Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu are underrated. However, it was the BBC’s blockbuster reboot which turned a 120-year-old creation into a 21st-century global phenomenon. This was largely down to Benedict Cumberbatch’s charismatic “high-functioning sociopath” and Martin Freeman’s humanising influence as his faithful friend. At the heart this was a love story. The electricity between the pair inspired an entire sub-genre of frisky fan-fiction. The game is on indeed.

Source: theguardian.com