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Top 10 Crime Fighting Teams In Television

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Whether they’re FBI, cops, or teenagers in a van, you can always count on them to catch the bad guy. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 crime fighting teams in television.

For this list, we’re taking a look at groups of more than 2 individuals that pursue criminals and solve mysteries on a weekly basis. However, we’ve excluded superhero teams because they’re in an entirely different league.

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Transcript
Whether they’re FBI, cops, or teenagers in a van, you can always count on them to catch the bad guy. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 crime fighting teams in television.

For this list, we’re taking a look at groups of more than 2 individuals that pursue criminals and solve mysteries on a weekly basis. However, we’ve excluded superhero teams because they’re in an entirely different league.

#10: Jump Street Chapel


“21 Jump Street” (1987-91)
Long before Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum tried to pass themselves off as teenagers, 21 Jump Street was Johnny Depp’s territory. In the police procedural, the 23-year-old Depp plays Officer Tom Hanson, whose boyish appearance makes him a perfect candidate for Jump Street chapel’s undercover program. The saxophone-serenading Hanson is accompanied by a number of other baby-faced cops like the college-educated Judy Hoffs and the wisecracking Doug Penhall. These heartthrob law enforcers use their youthful looks and street smarts to infiltrate various teenage venues, stopping up-and-coming criminals before they reach adulthood.

#9: The Mod Squad


“The Mod Squad” (1968-73)
Yet another team of undercover cops, the Mod Squad is comprised of three hippie police officers, one black, one white, and one blonde. Each has a criminal past as well, with the Afro-rocking Lincoln Hayes having taken part in the Watts riots, the rebellious Pete Cochran having stolen a car, and wandering flower child Julie Barnes having run away from her prostitute mother. Under the watchful eye of Captain Adam Greer, this diverse trio not only fought crime, but also became a landmark in counterculture. Together, they demonstrated that the times were indeed a-changin’.

#8: The A-Team


“The A-Team” (1983-87)
This action adventure series from the 1980s follows members of a wrongly accused ex-US Army Special Forces unit that escapes prison and continues to fight on the side of good. With its action-and-violence packed scenes and memorable catchphrases, “The A-Team” soon became a hit – and remained so until at least its fourth season thanks to the former commando outfit members John ‘Hannibal’ Smith, Templeton Peck or the Faceman, Howling Mad Murdock and B.A. Baracus, aka Bad Attitude. Though the desire to clear their names was always in the back of their minds, this team of mercenaries on the run was always willing to do whatever it took to help the oppressed – and as such, “The A-Team” continues to hold a place in pop culture today.

#7: Hill Street Precinct


“Hill Street Blues” (1981-87)
Despite poor early Nielsen ratings, this serial police drama had critics raving from the start. Following multiple cops at the Hill Street police station, “Hill Street Blues” went down in TV history as one of the first television dramas to bring together intertwined stories that dealt with both its characters’ personal and professional lives – storylines that were not necessarily resolved within a particular episode. But, most importantly, it revolved around a staff of law enforcement officers like Captain Frank Furillo, Detective Mick Belker, Sgt. Henry Golblume and Officer Lucy Bates that each had their own specialties, characteristics and motivations, but could still work together efficiently as a team at the precinct.

#6: The Baltimore Police Department


“The Wire” (2002-08)
Although focus shifts between different characters and perspectives every season, the Baltimore Police Department plays a key role throughout all sixty episodes of “The Wire.” Jimmy McNulty, Bunk Moreland, and Kima Greggs are some of the most authentic depictions of police in all of television. Instead of unstoppable super cops, creator David Simon delivered a show about real people who were emotionally flawed, unglamorous, and occasionally willing to break the rules for the greater good. The fact that they weren’t always victorious or morally justified only made them more identifiable.

#5: Naval Criminal Investigative Service Major Case Response Team


“NCIS” (2003-)
Who would’ve thought enough stories about crime in the US Navy and Marine Corps could be written up to fill over 300 episodes (and counting!) of a police procedural TV series?! Apparently, creators Donald P. Bellisario and Don McGill did, as they’re the men behind the massively popular show known as “NCIS” – which has been spun-off into two other series so far. The Washington, DC-based special agents of the original series are really what make the show as successful as it is though; led by Leroy Jethro Gibbs, the MCRT is always at the forefront of any investigation that touches the Navy or Marines and each member has his or her part to play in cases that range from the mysterious death of a Navy commander who dies while on a plane with the POTUS to NCIS agents being captured by terrorists in Somalia.

#4: Charlie’s Angels


“Charlie’s Angels” (1976-81)
They’re the original team of sexy private investigators with supermodel looks. Fan service aside, “Charlie’s Angels” was a truly liberating breakthrough for women in television, showing that female law enforcers could be more than office workers and meter maids. The initial recruits of Jill, Sabrina, and Kelly remain the most iconic trio of Angels. The show introduced other compelling Angels over the years, though, such as Kris Munroe and Julie Rogers. The one constant presence throughout the franchise is the incognito Charlie, assigning the Angels risky and risqué missions from day one.

#3: Mystery Inc.


“Scooby Doo, Where Are You!” (1969-70; 1978)
Whether you were born in the ‘60s or the noughties, Mystery Inc. was likely the first gang of crime fighting sleuths you were introduced to. Scooby-Doo has starred in a dozen animated series since his original debut, but he and his friends have essentially remained the same. Fred’s the self-appointed leader, Daphne’s the damsel in distress, Shaggy’s the slacker with a constant case of munchies, Velma’s the nerd who does all the work, and Scooby’s the cowardly, yet loyal, dog. It’s a recipe for Saturday morning fun that never gets old – and never fails to solve the case!

#2: Crime Scene Investigators


“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2000-15)
“CSI” might not have ever been the most realistic interpretation of police procedure or forensic science. Regardless, the show cemented itself as one of television’s most influential and enduring crime dramas thanks to its style, visuals, and laundry list of memorable characters. In fifteen years of television, many members of the CSI family came and went with Nick Stokes being the only continuous regular. Whether these forensic investigators are being lead by Gil Grissom or D.B. Russell at the Las Vegas Crime Lab, though, you can always count on their cases being gritty, inventive, and highly entertaining.

Before we uncover the identity of our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- 99th Precinct
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (2013-)

- Black Dynamite and His Crew
“Black Dynamite” (2012-15)

- 15th Precinct
“NYPD Blue” (1993-2005)

#1: Behavioral Analysis Unit


“Criminal Minds” (2005-)
Although many wrote it off as just another cop drama at first, “Criminal Minds” has evolved into a captivating psychological thriller carried by unforgettable characters. Originally centered on Mandy Patinkin’s Jason Gideon, the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Virginia was later anchored by the stoic Aaron Hotchner. However, everyone was given a chance to shine, from socially awkward genius Dr. Spencer Reid, to the eccentric technical analyst Penelope Garcia, to veteran profiler David Rossi, to resident hottie Derek Morgan. Diving into the complex psyches of dangerous criminals is an absolute blast with characters like these to hold your hand.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite TV crime fighting team? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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