Til Death Do Us Part: TV’s Top Crime Fighting Couples

Crime  TV is full of crime fighting super-couples, but no two duos are exactly alike. Here are my all-time faves.

10. Brenda Leigh Johnson and Fritz Howard, The Closer
The only reason Brenda (Kyra Sedgwick) and Fritz (Jon Tenney) are at number ten on this list is because Brenda did most of the crime solving while Special Agent Fritz got her whatever she needed from the FBI—evidence, jurisdiction, the occasionally SWAT team. Now that Fritz is on Major Crimes and Brenda isn’t, we know he is still spending more time helping her do her job than doing his own, and that’s why we love him.

9. Chuck Bartowski and Sarah Walker, Chuck
Chuck (Zachary Levi) meets CIA agent Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) after a super computer is accidentally downloaded into his brain and she helps recruit him to join the CIA. His spy skills are lacking, but the super computer and Sarah’s superior abilities get them through many missions. Their complimentary work life buds into romance, which gets really complicated.

8. Lieutenant Colonel Sarah “Mac” MacKenzie and Lieutenant Harmon “Harm” Rabb, JAG

Both Mac (Catherine Bell) and Harm (David James Elliott) are lawyers in the Judge Advocate General’s office, and they investigate and litigate crimes committed by military personnel. It took ten seasons (between 1995 and 2005) and one broken engagement to get these two together. In the very last episode they agree to get married, but in order to do this, one of them must leave the military life. They decide the issue with a coin toss, and the show ends with the coin frozen in the air leaving us in limbo forever.

7. David Addison and Maddie Hayes, Moonlighting
After fashion model Maddie Hayes (Cybill Shepherd) loses all her money to her embezzler accountant, she focuses on the one business she has left—a detective agency run by David Addison (Bruce Willis). Of course David and the staff spend more time doing the limbo in the office than solving cases. Maddie attempts to change all of that and she and David wind up falling love. This late 1980s show lost audience after the pair actually got together and the romantic tension was gone, initiating what was known as the Moonlighting curse. This is widely credited for the long-term stalling of any romantic involvement of main shows characters in TV today. Curse or no curse, the first four seasons of Moonlighting are worth watching (or re-watching) for the banter alone.

6. Remington Steele and Laura Holt, Remington Steele
It’s the late 1980s and hard-working Laura Holt (Stephanie Zimbalist) wants to start her own detective agency. She hangs out her shingle, but doesn’t get any clients, which she chalks up to her gender. So she invents a mysterious, male boss, Remington Steele (Pierce Brosnan) and all of a sudden clients start calling. But then a con man literally steps into the shoes of her imaginary boss. Over the seasons, they get to know one another and fall in love. The premise is archaic now, and I wonder if Laura had just done a bit more marketing on her own if she could have succeeded anyway, but as a couple they really clicked.

5. Sydney Bristow and Michael Vaughn, Alias
When Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) becomes a double agent for the CIA, Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan) is her handler. They can’t be seen together much less go out on a date. Mission after mission serves as their courtship, but the path to true spy love is never smooth. They survive a few kidnappings, Vaughn’s marriage to another double agent and the Rambaldi prophecy and so does their relationship.

4. Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, Hart to Hart
In this late 1970s/early 1980s TV show created by best-selling author Sidney Sheldon, Jonathan and Jennifer Hart have everything—a fabulous marriage, a fortune, a butler who does everything, and a dog-named Freeway. With all of that who wouldn’t spend their time hunting down murderers?

3. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, The X-Files
Both FBI agents, Mulder (David Duchovny) believes in the paranormal, while his partner Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) is skeptical and down to earth. As they investigate unsolved cases with potential paranormal explanations, and they start to see the other’s point of view, their platonic relationship morphs into a more romantic one. This relationship continues to feed fan fiction.

2. Temperance “Bones” Brennan and Seeley Booth, Bones
Forensic anthropologist, Temperance Brennan and FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth, like many super crime fighting couples, don’t get along at first. But after six seasons of dating other people but spending most of the waking hours with one another, they are together. But it took a casual sexual encounter, resulting in a daughter, to make the commitment happen.

1.Richard Castle and Kate Beckett, Castle
Best-selling mystery writer Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) needs a muse for her new book based on a female New York City detective. Enter Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic). The sparks fly and they both resist for five seasons because dealing with death threats, bombs, and serial killers is easier than admitting their feelings for  each other…until this season. I was a little worried that once they got together, the show would be less interesting. That hasn’t proven the case. I still look forward to each and every episode. If you want to get caught up on previous Castle seasons, tune the dial to TNT. They are rerunning them regularly.

Who are your favorite crime fighting super-couples to watch?

Deborah Lacy likes speakeasies, yellow heirloom tomatoes, and crime fiction. She blogs over at Mystery Playground. You can meet her on Twitter @quippy.

Read all Deborah Lacy’s posts for Criminal Element.


  1. Saundra Peck

    Oh the memories!!! I am sure I am aging myself, but Hart to Hart was sooo romantic to my young self!!! And I love every couple on your list. Thanks for a great post.

  2. Deborah Lacy

    @sk1336 – It was a such a fun show and the locations were fabulous. You are welcome. It was a really fun post to write.

  3. Carmen Pinzon

    I’ve watched and enjoyed most of the shows on your list, but I still hanker for Perry Mason and Della Street. I just know that they were having a torrid affair and we never heard of it because of the sensorship in place at the time!

  4. Deborah Lacy

    @gungluna — I never watched Perry Mason, which I know is a huge hole in my mystery watching background. Maybe I can pick up some episodes.

  5. Laura K. Curtis

    @bungluna –

    I KNOW they were! I just KNOW it!

  6. Terrie Farley Moran

    @Deb–You can usually DVR Perry Mason on the Hallmark Movie Channel. Of course you’ll have to wait until all the holiday movies go away and the regular shows come back.

    @Bungluna and Laura–oh yes they did. And I was all the more sure of it because they were so discrete. But there was always that occasional glance between them. Like Laura, I just KNOW it.

  7. Deborah Lacy

    Thanks all of you. The Perry Mason/Della Street heat sounds smoldering.

  8. Carmen Pinzon

    They used to run all the black and white original episodes on TBS or some such, but I haven’t seen them in a while. The tv movies of the 80’s are ok, but never as good as the original, imo.

  9. bitsy08

    See – I don’t think PM and Della were – on the sly. I think in those days it just wasn’t “seemly” for a woman to have an affair with her boss. I think she respected him and secretly loved him from afar while he never approached her (or – gallows humor – rolled towards her) because of his condition. He also respected and loved “from afar.”

  10. Deborah Lacy

    With all of this Della Perry controversy I really will have to check it out.

  11. Carmen Pinzon

    @bitsy08- I’ve read every Perry Mason novel I could get my hands on and in quite a few there are hints that more’s going on between Perry and Della. Or so my hopefull imagination reads them!

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