1980s American detective show database

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Browse American detective shows by decade or return to the TV Detective Database:

Below is a complete list of American detective/mystery/crime shows from the 1980s, in alphabetical order. This includes shows that started in the 1970s and continued into the 80s, as well as shows that started in the 1980s and continued into the 90s. Many of the shows produced in the 80s would probably be more accurately described as action-adventure series, but they nonetheless include many elements of the detective genre.

Clicking on a title link in the list below will take you to my post about that specific show (if I have created one). Additionally, the list also includes links to places where you can watch/stream the show online.




  • Lady Blue (1985-1986)
  • The Law and Harry McGraw (1987-1988)
  • Leg Work (1987)
  • MacGruder and Loud (1985)
  • MacGyver (1985-1992) [stream here]
  • Magnum, P.I. (1980-1988) [stream here]
  • A Man Called Hawk (1989)
  • Mancuso, FBI (1989-1990)
  • Matlock (1986-1995) [stream here]
  • Matt Houston (1982-1985)
  • Miami Vice (1984-1989) [stream here]
  • Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, a.k.a. The New Mike Hammer (1984-1989)
  • Midnight Caller (1988-1991)
  • The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (1979-1981)
  • Mission: Impossible (1966-1973, 1988-1990)
  • Moonlighting (1985-1989)
  • Mrs. Columbo (renamed to Kate Columbo, then Kate the Detective, then Kate Loves a Mystery) (1979-1980)
  • Murder, She Wrote (1984-1996) [stream here]



If you know of a show that is missing from the list above, or if you have any other additions or corrections, please let me know in the comments!


    1. Thank you for your comment! Some of those shows (like The A Team) I see as more action/adventure than detective, but you’re right that they definitely have some mystery themes. I was planning on updating this page in the next week or so, so I will definitely make sure these shows are included.


  1. I can’t remember the name and it’s driving me crazy! It was a short-lived show about a super intelligent man (almost robot-like in personality; possibly a mathematician) who teamed up to solve crimes. It was on prime-time regular channels and would have followed the theme of Rip Tide, Knight Rider, etc. Please let me know if you figure it out!!!


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