TV is chock full of detectives. They're always going around trying to save their cities or stop some sort of crime wave. However they're spending their time, many of them also happen to look quite good while they're doing it. Yes, there's no point in denying it: TV detectives are hotter than real detectives. (Sorry, real detectives.) The hottest TV detectives have more than just good looks though, even when their shows have bad seasons.
Truly attractive TV detectives have some other quality that defines them. They're smart, or brooding, or surprisingly witty. Sometimes it's impossible to deny that these guys are just aesthetically pleasing. Altogether, there are not many groups of people you'd rather look at. Maybe doctors.
There are a few facts about Sherlock Holmes that, at this point in his career, seem fairly indisputable. He's the world's greatest detective, his best friend and partner is John Watson, and he's probably a fairly attractive dude. That's certainly the case in Sherlock, which features Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role.
As Sherlock, Benedict is a rude, brash, brilliant detective who solves all manner of crimes in the United Kingdom. There are plenty of great detectives, but Sherlock is unique both in his brilliance and his personality. Benedict Cumberbatch has always been one of the best actors in Hollywood, and as Sherlock, he's also one of the hottest.
The Mentalist isn't the most original premise, but it is helped immensely by the sexiness of its central character. Patrick Jane, as played by Simon Baker, is an incredibly attractive crime solver. It's true, of course, that Simon himself is very good looking is only part of the reason that Patrick Jane is so immensely appealing.
You can't beat a winning combination of killer looks and careful observation. As we learn more about Patrick over the course of the show's seven seasons, we also see just how he came to be the man he is on the show. There's nothing better than a man with depth.
Idris Elba could play pretty much anybody and make them attractive. As John Luther, Idris is a man haunted by the crimes that he spends his days solving. He's a classic good man who's been consumed by the darkness that he works with. He's a cop who thinks like a criminal.
Although Idris is good in pretty much everything he touches, his role in Luther fits him like a glove. He's received plenty of praise over the years for his work playing the character, and it's all deserved. Idris Elba is a good-looking man, and as John Luther, he gets a chance to reveal the depth behind that beauty.
Today, it's hard to think of Bruce Willis as anything but a dad. He occasionally reminds us what made him sexy back in the day, but most of the time he's happy to take whatever action roles are offered to him. When he first burst onto the scene, though, his work in Moonlighting made him an enormous star. Here, Bruce played David Addison, a private detective who was known mostly for his incredible wit.
Back with a luscious head of hair, his work on Moonlighting made him one of the most appealing actors in Hollywood. His chemistry with Cybil Shepherd was legendary, as was his ability to spew out massive amounts of dialogue with ease.
Dale Cooper is the prime example of a straight-laced detective who relishes being good at his job. As the main character in Twin Peaks, he's responsible for investigating the many strange, terrible things that happen in that small town.
Dale's appeal stems largely from the fact that he's so buttoned-up and slicked back. He looks like a federal agent, and that strangely only adds to his appeal. The world needs more earnest men who are just trying to do a good job. That's exactly what Dale Cooper is, and it's exactly what makes him one of the hottest federal agents around.
Rust Cohle might not be everyone's cup of tea, but he looks like Matthew McConaughey, and that definitely doesn't hurt. Of course, his looks aren't the only thing that make Rust such an interesting, complicated guy. He's got a uniquely nihilistic worldview, one that can make him a bit of a downer to be around.
Of course, if you're into that kind of thing, then there's no one better than Rust. He's open and honest about the world's many problems, and willing to do what he must to face them head on. There's something admirable about that. Plus, at the end of the day, he's hot. Plain and simple.
Jimmy McNulty isn't exactly a good guy, but he's not a bad guy either. His goal is to put criminals away, and he's pretty good at it. He's also a bit of a loose cannon, though. In his best moments, Jimmy is the kind of guy you hope might actually be able to get his life together.
He's the center of The Wire, and as played by Dominic West, he's charming when he wants to be. He's not hot in the way some of the detectives on this list are, but you may find yourself attracted to him anyway. He's the kind of mess you're drawn to.
In addition to totally redefining what cops could wear to work, Rico Tubbs and Sonny Crockett were also icons for an entire generation. On Miami Vice, the lead characters were the coolest thing about the show. They wore pastels, and looked cooler than anyone had ever looked on TV before. They were hot, and they were surrounded by heat.
Miami Vice broke the mold in plenty of ways, but one of the things it was best at was making the job of the detective seem cool. Rico and Sonny were both hot, and that only made the work they did seem even more captivating.
Mariska Hargitay and her character Olivia Benson get quite a bit of the recognition for Law and Order: SVU, and rightfully so. All of that recognition has led us to overlook Elliott Stabler, Olivia's partner played by Christopher Meloni. You can't talk about the hottest TV detectives without talking about Elliot Stabler. It's a fact! In addition to Chris's natural charms as a screen presence, Elliott is a fascinating character because of how unlike most male TV leads he is.
Elliott is a family man. He's a devout Catholic who's happily married. He's the exception in terms of TV detectives. Sure, he can have a bit of a temper issue, but Elliott Stabler looks stable compared to some of the other hotties on this list.
Magnum, P.I. turned Tom Selleck into a sex icon, and when you see his beautiful mustache, it's easy to see why. The show itself was nothing all that remarkable, but it made a star out of Tom Selleck, and served as definitive proof that he was one of the most attractive men alive.
Not everyone can pull off a mustache, but Thomas Magnum pulls his off splendidly. He looks better with a mustache than he would look with a beard, and that's not true for many men. For Tom Selleck, though, the mustache is the peak of his attractiveness. Thankfully, he seems to know that.
Pierce Brosnan is most famous today for taking on the role of James Bond, but before that, he was Remington Steele on a show of the same name. Pierce stars as a former thief who teams up with a woman to solve crimes as a private investigator.
For the most part, the role was just proof that the actor could handle playing Bond. Still, Remington Steele had its moments, especially whenever Pierce was forced to turn on the charm in order to solve the crime. He's always been a deeply appealing presence, and this show was no exception during its five-year run.
In many ways, Alec Hardy is a pretty classic TV detective. He's a broken mess whose life has totally fallen apart when he's called in to a small town to investigate the murder of a young boy. As we learn more about Alec, and about the case he's investigating, it becomes clear that in addition to being a total shell of a man, he's also quite charming.
It's that balance of characteristics that makes him so compelling. David Tennant was undoubtedly one of Broadchurch's breakout stars, and that's in part because his character was just the right level of hot.
As depicted on Hannibal, Will Graham is a completely unconventional protagonist. He's a detective working with the Baltimore police department who understands the minds of serial killers in a deep way. He's also more fascinated by murder than he's ever willing to admit.
Played by Hugh Dancy on the show, Will is a charming, insecure man who is often quite difficult to read. He's a thoroughly fascinating character, and one well worth thorough exploration. When he flashes his smile, you feel comforted by him, even if his behavior might set you on edge. That's why he works as a character. He's charming and unsettling in equal measure.
Bones is obviously named after Seeley Booth's partner, but that doesn't make David Boreanaz's character any less essential to the show. David has been reliably working on TV for decades, and his work as Booth proved that he could be a hugely charming onscreen presence.
It's true, of course, that Seeley is a detective, and he can get serious when he needs to. For the most part, though, David succeeds on the show because he's so normal and winsome. He's a versatile actor, and on Bones, he proved he could be the attractive male lead even if his character wasn't deathly serious.
NCIS has long been one of the most popular shows on TV, and that's in large part because it has a winning formula that works. For years, a big part of that formula was Tony DiNozzo, a special agent who worked on the NCIS team and was equal parts charm and charisma.
As played by Michael Wetherly, Tony was an essential piece of what made the show great. He's strong, handsome, and steady, but that doesn't mean he takes things too seriously. He's everything you might want in a crime-solving, bad-guy chasing hero, and that's exactly why he fit in perfectly on NCIS.
Timothy Olyphant has spent a large part of his career playing lawmen, but his work as Raylan Givens on Justified is probably his sexiest. As a U.S. Marshal living in the 21st century who plays by different rules than most marshals, Timothy created an indelible character at the center of one of TV's great unsung dramas of recent years.
It's hard to deny a man in a cowboy hat, and that's precisely what makes Raylan so appealing. He's got his own ideas about what justice should be, and his own notions about what steps he should take to make it a reality.
The Hawaii Five-0 reboot could have been so much worse than it ultimately was. In fact, the version of the show that we ended up with wasn't even all that bad. One of its definitive highlights is Steve McGarrett, a former Naval intelligence officer who runs a special police task force in Hawaii.
As played by Alex O'Loughlin, Steve is smokin' hot and unafraid to show it. Look, some of the detectives on this list are hot for a variety of reasons. Steve McGarrett is hot because he's hot, and because almost everything about him is delectable. He's just a beautiful specimen.
The central dynamic on The X-Files, between the believer and the non-believer, is what powers the show's engine. Fox Mulder, played by David Duchovny, is the perfect true believer.
In the original series, part of Fox's appeal was in his fanaticism and charm. He truly believed all the insane theories that he spouted, and that belief eventually started to rub off. Of course, David isn't exactly hurting in the looks department either, but those looks are stepped up by a charming character. As Mulder and Scully hunt the supernatural, he makes sure to show everyone exactly how hot he is.
Richard Castle from Castle is another example of a character who's not strictly speaking a detective, but who works with a detective to solve crimes. It's a show that runs largely off of the charm of Nathan Fillion, its lead actor, and it works because the show knew how to use him perfectly.
Not only is Nathan incredibly charming on Castle, but he also proves to be a magnetic presence on screen. It's hard to look away from him, and his genius is in his ability to totally hold your attention. Few actors have that kind of raw magnetism, the kind that only draws you in closer.
Burton Guster might seem like a slightly unconventional pick for this list. After all, he's a pharmaceutical rep, and it's his friend Shaun who makes his money by pretending to be a psychic. Shaun might have the powers of perception, but Gus has the looks, thanks to the wonderful smile of Dule Hill.
Past his looks, though, the Psych actor also knows how to make Gus as charming as possible. Gus isn't smooth exactly, but he knows who he is. He's a dork, but he doesn't try to hide that fact. Instead, he uses it to his advantage as he solves crimes, and that only makes him more attractive.