My new book, TV (THE BOOK), comes out on 9/6, and has a list of the 100 greatest shows ever chosen by me and Matt Zoller Seitz, plus other shorter lists. Somehow, we didn't pick the best TV cops, so here's a crack at that, sticking with ones I'd most trust to solve my own murder. For more on the book, go to http://TVTheBook.com
  1. 1.
    Lt. Columbo, Columbo
    Doesn't matter the method of crime or the brilliance of the killer; Columbo not only always gets his man, but seems to know whodunit from the moment he's assigned to the case. A genius
  2. 2.
    Frank Pembleton, Homicide
    I'd trust Columbo over Pembleton if both were starting from scratch, but if I just needed a confession, there's nobody is rather have doing the interrogating than Frank.
  3. 3.
    Lester Freamon, The Wire
    He might take months or years to close the case, and cost taxpayers a small fortune in electronic surveillance, but Cool Lester Smooth would not only find my killer, but unravel the whole criminal conspiracy that got me killed.
  4. 4.
    Andy Sipowicz, NYPD Blue
    Sentimental choice, as there are better pure investigators still on the board. But I started this ride with Sipowicz, and I'd trust him to beat a confession out of my killer if necessary.
  5. 5.
    Robert Goren, Law & Order: Criminal Intent
    Basically Columbo and Pembleton combined, give or take a sense of personal boundaries.
  6. 6.
    Gil Grissom, CSI
    He'd bring all the necessary science and technology to bear to see justice done. Technically worked for the crime lab, but had a badge and gun, which qualifies him more than Monk or either official modern version of Sherlock Holmes.
  7. 7.
    Molly Solverson, Fargo
    Like Columbo, she's an investigative genius in a package that seems designed to be underestimated until it's too late for the killer. Also, cool as a cucumber in a gunfight.
  8. 8.
    Brenda Leigh Johnson, The Closer
    Sure, she has a small army of detectives doing legwork for her on every case, but like Pembleton and Goren, once she has you in the box, you're done for.