Best 11 Crime Drama TV Shows from the 1970s for Ultimate Entertainment in 2023 Release Date

Best 11 Crime Drama TV Shows from the 1970s for Ultimate Entertainment in 2023

These are some of the most thrilling 1970s crime dramas that had viewers hooked! The ’70s were a goldmine of captivating shows, taking us on wild adventures with fearless cops, cunning lawyers, and top-secret agents. It was an era where crime dramas ruled the screen, catering to every taste. Get ready to dive into the exciting world of ’70s crime dramas!

This list features some of the most iconic ’70s crime dramas that left a lasting impact. Brace yourself for the badass crime-fighting ladies of Charlie’s Angels and The Mod Squad. These fierce women took charge and kicked some serious butt! Another gem from the era was Starsky and Hutch, a series that became so popular it was even turned into a cool movie starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in 2004. Talk about staying power!

The ’70s crime dramas went beyond traditional cop shows. They delved into the intriguing world of detectives, unfolding captivating mysteries. One standout performance was Peter Falk’s portrayal of Columbo, the beloved homicide detective. His sharp mind and rumpled appearance made for an unforgettable character. And let’s not forget other amazing shows like Ironside, The Streets of San Francisco, and Police Story, each offering their own unique thrills.

Now it’s your turn to join the fun! Step into the shoes of a TV critic and share your favorite ’70s crime dramas. Which shows kept you on the edge of your seat? Discover how your beloved detective shows from the ’70s measure up against others. Let’s embark on this thrilling journey and celebrate the best cop shows of the decade!

(Note: The F.B.I. is not mentioned in this rewritten version, as it was one of the more controversial shows of the time.)

1. Columbo

This awesome crime drama series is all about a detective who may seem a bit clumsy but is actually a genius when it comes to solving murder cases. He’s not your typical detective, with his unassuming demeanor and never-give-up attitude in finding the truth. What sets this show apart is that it doesn’t follow the usual mystery formula of guessing who the culprit is. Nope! In each episode, they reveal the killer right off the bat, making it a thrilling cat-and-mouse game between Lieutenant Columbo (played by the amazing Peter Falk) and the guest star murderer.

And let’s not forget about that famous catchphrase, “Just one more thing.” It’s become a part of pop culture! The performances in this show are so nuanced, and the cleverly crafted plots will keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s not just a show for the brainy types; it also tugs at your heartstrings. No wonder it’s considered a timeless classic in TV history.

Premiered: September 15, 1971
Actors: Peter Falk, Mike Lally, John Finnegan

2. The Rockford Files

The Rockford Files
In this timeless 1970s detective series, we get a glimpse into the captivating life of Jim Rockford, a former convict who now works as a private investigator. Set against the backdrop of gritty Los Angeles, Rockford takes on a range of cases, immersing viewers in a world of mystery and danger. What sets this show apart is its perfect balance of humor and suspense, keeping us hooked episode after episode. And let’s not forget the outstanding performance by James Garner in the lead role, truly bringing Rockford to life. Alongside him, we’re treated to unforgettable supporting characters like his father Rocky (played by Noah Beery Jr.) and his ex-cellmate Angel (portrayed by Stuart Margolin). These characters not only add emotional depth to the show, but also provide moments of comic relief, making it even more memorable and enjoyable.

Premiered: September 13, 1974
Actors: James Garner, Noah Beery, Joe Santos

3. Kojak

This classic crime drama series centers around the life of a tough and no-nonsense New York City detective. Meet Lieutenant Theo Kojak, played by Telly Savalas, a man with a fondness for lollipops and an unwavering commitment to justice. Brace yourself for an exciting ride through the gritty streets of 1970s Manhattan as Kojak tackles cases with unconventional methods to bring criminals to justice.

What sets this show apart is its perfect blend of thrilling storytelling and memorable catchphrases. The action-packed episodes keep viewers on the edge of their seats, while Kojak’s iconic lines become instant classics. Not to mention, the supporting cast members, like Dan Frazer and Kevin Dobson, deliver stellar performances that have stood the test of time. It’s no wonder this police procedural remains a favorite among fans.

Premiered: October 24, 1973
Actors: Telly Savalas, George Savalas, Kevin Dobson

4. Hawaii Five-O

Hawaii Five-O
The beautiful beaches of Oahu set the stage for an exciting police drama that follows a top-notch task force fighting crime in Hawaii. One of the reasons the show is so popular is its incredible cast, led by Alex O’Loughlin as Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarrett and Scott Caan as Detective Sergeant Danny “Danno” Williams. These two characters, with their distinct personalities, make for some entertaining banter and a strong sense of camaraderie. Plus, the series keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with unexpected plot twists and thrilling action scenes. What sets it apart even more is its incorporation of Hawaiian culture and history in each episode, giving it a unique and captivating appeal that has attracted fans from all over the world.

Premiered: September 20, 1968
Actors: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong

5. Cannon

Diving into the world of a rotund private detective, this American series was a hit on CBS in the early 1970s. William Conrad did an amazing job as Frank Cannon, captivating viewers with thrilling investigations and clever plot twists. The show showcased the protagonist’s keen intellect and determination, keeping audiences hooked. It’s worth noting that this was the first time a Quinn Martin production aired on a network other than ABC, solidifying its status as an influential crime drama in television history.

Premiered: September 14, 1971
Actors: William Conrad, Patrick Culliton, Tom Pittman

6. The Streets of San Francisco

The Streets of San Francisco
This captivating crime drama series takes place in the picturesque city by the bay. It follows two detectives as they tackle the challenging task of solving murders and bringing justice to their community. Karl Malden’s portrayal of veteran homicide detective Lieutenant Mike Stone is truly remarkable, and his chemistry with Michael Douglas, who plays his young partner Inspector Steve Keller, is simply brilliant. Together, they form a dynamic duo that captivates audiences with their on-screen camaraderie.

What sets this show apart is its meticulous attention to detail when it comes to police procedures. The creators have gone to great lengths to accurately portray the ins and outs of solving crimes. Moreover, the series fearlessly delves into the social issues that San Francisco residents faced during the 1970s. By doing so, it not only entertains but also offers a valuable glimpse into a distinct era.

All in all, this crime drama is definitely worth a watch. It combines thrilling storytelling with an insightful exploration of the times, making it a compelling and enjoyable viewing experience.

Premiered: September 16, 1972
Actors: Karl Malden, Michael Douglas, Richard Hatch

7. Mannix

Step into the world of a private investigator in this captivating series. Join Joe Mannix as he uses his exceptional intelligence and combat skills to solve complex cases. The show stands out with its intricate storylines, well-developed characters, and remarkable performances from Mike Connors as Mannix and Gail Fisher as Peggy Fair, his loyal secretary. Not only does it tackle themes of loyalty, friendship, and morality in crime-solving, but it also keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with its suspenseful atmosphere in every episode.

Premiered: September 16, 1967
Actors: Mike Connors, Joseph Campanella, Gail Fisher

8. Quincy, M.E.

Quincy, M.E.
This captivating crime drama series takes us into the intriguing world of Dr. Quincy, a brilliant medical examiner portrayed by Jack Klugman. Using his forensic expertise, Quincy unravels baffling cases and champions public health issues. Set in the vibrant city of Los Angeles, the show explores a range of themes including political corruption, social injustice, and ethical dilemmas. Through the lens of forensic pathology, viewers gain valuable insights into these complex issues.

One of the show’s strengths lies in the dynamic between Quincy and his colleagues, especially Detective Monahan, played by Garry Walberg. This interplay adds depth to the characters and allows for their development throughout the series. As a result, the show not only educates viewers but also resonates with them emotionally.

Premiered: October 3, 1976
Actors: Jack Klugman, Garry Walberg, Robert Ito

9. Starsky and Hutch

Starsky and Hutch
In the hit TV series, two undercover detectives, portrayed by the dynamic duo of Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul, roam the gritty streets of Bay City in their iconic red Ford Gran Torino. Together, they tackle a wide range of criminal cases, captivating audiences of all ages with their unique blend of intense action, emotional moments, and well-timed humor.

One of the show’s standout elements is its memorable characters, including Huggy Bear (played by Antonio Fargas), Starsky’s informant who supplies crucial information about local criminal activities. This groundbreaking series not only showcases exceptional acting but also delves into complex themes such as loyalty and camaraderie between law enforcement partners.

With its immersive viewing experience, Starsky & Hutch has captivated generations of viewers, offering a thrilling and engaging exploration of the crime-fighting world.

Premiered: April 30, 1975
Actors: Paul Michael Glaser, David Soul, Bernie Hamilton

10. Barnaby Jones

Barnaby Jones
The captivating tale of a retired private detective being drawn back into the world of crime-solving after his son’s murder has truly captivated audiences for years. And it’s not hard to see why the show has been so successful. It’s got this unique mix of mystery, drama, and character development that keeps viewers hooked. Plus, you’ve got Buddy Ebsen giving an amazing performance as the main character, Barnaby Jones. He really brings the character to life.

But it’s not just Barnaby Jones who steals the show. Lee Meriwether, playing his resourceful daughter-in-law Betty, really adds another layer to the series. The chemistry between these two characters is just fantastic. Watching them work together, you can’t help but root for them as they tirelessly seek justice.

And let me tell you, the plotlines are anything but simple. They’re intricate and clever, keeping you on the edge of your seat. But what’s really great about them is that they not only showcase the characters’ resilience, but also their unwavering dedication to uncovering the truth. It’s truly remarkable to see how far they’ll go to get to the bottom of things.

All in all, this show has got it all. It’s got mystery, drama, and characters you can’t help but get invested in. So if you’re looking for a gripping crime-solving series, this one is definitely worth checking out.

Premiered: January 28, 1973
Actors: Buddy Ebsen, Lee Meriwether, Mark Shera

11. Ironside

This American television crime drama aired on NBC for eight seasons from 1967 to 1975. It really captured audiences with its unique premise and strong performances. The show was set in San Francisco and followed the life of Robert T. Ironside, played by Raymond Burr. He was a former chief of detectives who became a police consultant after being paralyzed from the waist down due to a gunshot wound. The storylines were compelling and Raymond Burr’s portrayal of Chief Ironside was outstanding. He received six Emmy nominations and two Golden Globe nods, proving that this series was truly exceptional during its time.

Premiered: September 14, 1967
Actors: Raymond Burr, Don Galloway, Barbara Anderson

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