"Columbo" isn't the typical detective whodunit TV show. On most detective shows, viewers don't know who committed the crime until the detective pieces the clues together and figures it out. On this show, however, viewers see the crime unfold at the beginning of most episodes, including who the perpetrator is. The mystery and fun for viewers is trying to spot the clues that will lead Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk) to discover the culprit and watching the tricks he uses to get a confession. Episodes of "Columbo" were movie-length and ran sporadically on multiple networks during its run.
It's Captain Kirk! Uh, actually, it's William Shatner as Sgt. T.J. Hooker. This time he's a former detective who demotes himself to street patrol, where he feels he is needed. Assigned to the Academy Precinct of the police department, Hooker teaches rookies. With rookies like Stacy Sheridan and Vince Romano, Capt. Kirk, er, Sgt. Hooker has a pretty good team on his hands.
Dr. Mark Sloan is chief of Internal Medicine at Community General Hospital -- and sometime consultant to the local police department. When he's drawn into a case, he combines sleuthing and medicine to solve the crime. That crime is usually one his detective son, Steve, is working on as a member of the local police department. Dr. Sloan's medical colleagues, including doctors Amanda Bentley, Jack Stewart and Jesse Travis, are also frequently drawn into his investigations.
Brenda Johnson, an Atlanta police detective, moves to Los Angeles and heads up a squad that handles sensitive, high-profile homicides. Although she clashes with some colleagues, her skills as a CIA-trained interrogator prove invaluable in obtaining confessions.
Crime in school is bad, so to combat it, LAPD higher-ups decide to send four young-looking officers to high school to pose as students. Cops Tom Hanson, Doug Penhall, Judy Hoffs and Harry Truman Ioki are the "lucky" ones chosen to experience the part of their lives they hoped they'd left behind forever.
The life of a top cop in suburban Eastbridge.
Joe Mannix is a Los Angeles-based detective who ends up taking a lot of punishment. When the show starts, he works for a large L.A. detective agency, Intertect. But beginning in season two, he sets out on his own and becomes a private investigator, assisted by loyal secretary Peggy Fair, the widow of a police officer. In the course of solving crimes, he can be expected to be shot, beaten, knocked unconscious, driven off the road or similarly injured. But despite all the bodily trauma, Mannix always gets his man.
A gritty, realistic look at the life of cops in a large (and unnamed) metropolitan city. Led by Capt. Frank Furillo, the cops of the Hill Street Station kept the peace - though there were plenty of casualties along the way. Focusing more on those within the precinct than on the cases they were trying to solve, "Hill Street Blues" cast of characters featured public defender Joyce Davenport (who later married Furillo), gruff Sgt. Phil Esterhaus (who always cautioned his charges to "be careful out there"), eccentric Lt. Howard Hunter, Officer Lucy Bates and Sgt. Mick Belker (who sometimes resorted to injuring the felons he apprehended).