Since the first US TV crime show — “Man Against Crime” — was broadcast in 1949, viewers can’t seem to get enough of watching shows about crime, criminals and law enforcement.
Popular culture site Vulture posited that Americans love crime because it “blows up our regular lives” and allows us to secretly wonder “What if?” There’s an element of escapism in a good crime show.
Some of the most popular, award-winning TV series in recent years have revolved around crime or criminals, such as “The Sopranos,” “Breaking Bad” or “Dexter,” and each show has its own legion of loyal fans. Much-watched TV crime series range from fantasy and sci-fi themes, such as “Fringe”, “Death Note,” “Marvel’s Daredevil” or “Lucifer,” to gritty police and law procedurals, such as “The Shield,” “The Wire” or “Law & Order.”
There are also true crime shows, including “American Crime Story”. On occasion, American TV reaches overseas to borrow popular crime shows from other countries, most notably England’s “Sherlock” or “Luther.”
Here's our list of 50 of the top popular TV crime shows. We based the list on popularity ratings from IMDB, the most popular online database of film and television.