Who are the best detectives ever to be on TV?

With the success of ITV’s Broadchurch still ringing in the ears of TV critics and the news that D.I.

With the success of ITV’s Broadchurch still ringing in the ears of TV critics and the news that D.I. Alec Hardy will return in 2014 for a second outing, it feels the right time to take a look back at some of British TV’s greatest coppers.

DCI Gene Hunt
Played by Philip Glenister, who became an unlikely sex symbol and idol for many in the UK as he literally kicked arse in the BBC’s Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. He was heavy handed, foul mouthed, sexiest and above all thoroughly entertaining as he personified the 70s and 80s with ease. Famous for his quotes—‘I don’t give a tarts furry cup…’ is just one of many and his particularly nice tastes in cars (an Audi Quattro his choice in the 80s), he soon became a national treasure as the series which portrayed a modern day copper having a near death experience and being sent back in time to a different era gripped the nation.

DCI John Luther
Idris Elba has claimed global recognition for his role of this troubled, towering giant of a man who seems incapable of leaving his job at home. Awarded a Golden Globe for his portrayal of this London detective, Elba has created a character that is brilliant at his job but so much so that it risks his career or even more so his life. Strong, brutal but vulnerable, Luther returns later this year to the BBC.

D.I. Jack Frost
David Jason always feared that the success of Only Fools and Horses would see him typecast, so when he took on the role as the detective from R.D. Wingfield’s novels not many expected the series to last 18 years. How wrong they were. A Touch of Frost instantly became a national favourite as Jason’s talents were shown in a completely new light, D.I. Jack Frost is as unorganised as they come but gets results. He’s frustrated by the increasing bureaucracy that is quickly becoming part and parcel of his job, hopeless at the paper work and an enigma to his superiors but he’s a fine damn copper.

D.I. Tommy Murphy
Tommy Murphy isn’t a national favourite but he should be, played by James Nesbitt, Murphy took on some dangerous and exciting undercover roles over 5 series. At first playing a humorous cop with an abundance of charm, Nesbitt changed the character after series 3 to a gritty, tough talking and a more physical detective than before. The operations took to a new level too from Murphy infiltrating an Irish loyalist gang to him delving into the horrors of sex trafficking, the series is a hidden gem.

D.S. Nicky Cole
Played by Don Gilet, D.S. Nicky Cole had the pleasure of moving from London to Newcastle after shopping at senior colleague at the MET for beating up a suspect. 55 Degrees North didn’t get brilliant reviews from the critics, and maybe it’s because I’m a Geordie boy that the series remains in my list but for me it’s another hidden gem. Cole, is a family man committed to his job but is struggling with what he believes is racial prejudice from other members of the team, the series is humorous while touching on important social issues such as drugs, prostitution and race.

What do you think? Are there more you would add to this list? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.