Our Favorite 10 Dads of TV Crime

In honor of Father's Day this weekend, we wanted to celebrate 10 of our favorite dads of TV crime. Half are crime-fighters, half are criminals, but each dad leaves an indelible mark (and dirty socks).

Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, a deadly dad1) Jack Bauer of 24

Being a member of his family is like having a giant, flashing neon bullseye painted on you, but once you're being tormented by villains, to save you, he will do Whatever. It. Takes. (Until the next day…)



Get Raymond J. Barry as Justified's Arlo a tie that goes with orange.2) Arlo Givens of Justified

He's a vicious, abusive father who'd rather see his lawman son dead than his co-conspirators. But when Raylan goes all steely and ruthless with no hint of give, it's easy to see what the marshal's nature owes to Arlo's testicular fortitude.



Nathan Fillion as Rick Castle is a dad who'll take you camping...in an MMORPG, of course.3) Rick Castle of Castle

He's an adoring dad who respects his daughter's independence, however, there is no doubt he lurks her social media, and his frequent selfies (while ruggedly handsome) are embarrassing.



John Doman as Irish mob boss Paddy Doyle will bury the competition and his daughter.4) Patrick Doyle of Rizzoli & Isles

Luckily, Dr. Maura Isles was adopted at birth by a wealthy couple who encouraged academics, because her biological father is an Irish crime boss. Could it be sentimental that Paddy had a baby gravestone carved for her? Hmm, think we're going with creepy.


John O'Neill as Charlie is a font of wisdom, but you'll wait through a LOT of stories to hear it.5) Charles Cagney of Cagney & Lacey

While he loved Christine's mother, eventually they drifted apart. She took the kids and the affluent suburbs, he got the mean streets. He's a stalwart cop of the NYPD, but also an alcoholic. Christine proves a chip off the old block in every way.


James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano is a dad to smack you sideways if you call the gravy marinara6) Tony Soprano of The Sopranos

Selfish and volatile, both proud and resentful of his family's lavish tastes, no one expects more from his kids (and at higher volume) than this crime boss. But you'd better have your insurance paid up before daring to say a word against them in his earshot.


Jason Isaacs as Jackson Brodie is a good dad, if often pensively squinty.7) Jackson Brodie of Case Histories

Single dad to young Marlee, who's occasionally the subject of contention with the ex-wife, Brodie's a tough former cop turned private investigator. His sister's death may be why he has such a soft spot for country music's most mournful songbirds and women in general.


Ryan O'Neal as dad Max Keenen, aka Matthew Brennan, aka Smooth McTalker Lyingpants8) Max Keenan of Bones

Dr. Temperance Brennan's dad changed names and identities to make a life for his kids, and risked jail for a fresh start with them. But that was only necessary, because he's a long-time criminal, whose  supposedly disavowed talents for deception never seem that rusty.


Robert Taylor as Cady's dad Walt Longmire needs a new truck more than a tie.9) Walt Longmire of Longmire

The still-grieving widower has trouble treating his daughter as the strong woman she is and more trouble saying why—his emotional waters have dark deeps and undertow. Still, no one with a lick of sense needs to be told that love for Cady is the sheriff's lifeblood.


Bryan Cranston as Walter White is a dad who can finally make a H.S. class SHUT UP, forever.10) Walter White of Breaking Bad

To help his family weather his impending death from cancer, there's nothing lucrative Walt won't try. But no one who loves him, not even himself, could have imagined the person he'd become in the process. If dad becomes a monster just for love of you, are you allowed to be scared?


There are so many more crime dads, so tell us your favorites, and clean the garage while you're at it!


  1. hugh.c.mcbride

    No list of great crime-show dads is complete without Joseph “Rocky” Rockford.

  2. Wendy the Super Librarian

    I’m not so sure about Jack Bauer. I mean, how great of a father could he be when everytime his daughter came on screen I kept wishing for her to suffer a horrible, fiery death? Seriously. Just. Die. Already. Cupcake.

  3. Clare 2e

    You’re right, @hugh.c.mcbride, Rocky’s a classic!

    @WendyCrutcher HA! ROFL,cupcake!

  4. Slinky

    Great picks! I especially like Rick Castle. I was also a big fan of Keith Mars from Veronica Mars. I loved his relationship with his daughter.

  5. Lisa Davidson

    Love Wendy Crutcher’s comment. Seriously, how could someone like Jack have made someone so obliviously destructive?

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