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.

The list also includes information on where you can watch/stream the show online or whether you can purchase it on DVD. The final column also includes any additional notes and comments about the show, or links to any blog posts I have made about it.

(Please note that, if all seasons of a show have been released, then I link directly to the complete DVD boxed set. However, if you’re looking to purchase the show, it may be more economical to buy the individual seasons separately.)

#-A

Show TitleAir DatesAvailable to stream?Available on DVD?Other notes
21 Jump Street1987-1991[stream here][complete series DVD set]
The A-Team1983-1987[stream here][complete DVD collection]
Ace Crawford… Private Eye1983[stream here](comedy/parody)
Airwolf1984-1987[complete series DVD set]

B

Show TitleAir DatesAvailable to stream?Available on DVD?Other notes
B. J. and the Bear1979-1981(comedy)
B. L. Stryker1989-1990[Season 1 DVD] [Season 2 DVD]
Barnaby Jones1973-1980[complete DVD collection][read my thoughts about it here]
Beauty and the Beast1987-1990[stream here][complete DVD set]
Beverly Hills Buntz1987-1988(comedy-drama)
Booker 1989-1990[stream here][complete DVD set]

C

Show TitleAir DatesAvailable to stream?Available on DVD?Other notes
Cagney & Lacey1981-1988[stream here][complete DVD collection]Click here to read my posts about the show.
Cassie & Co.1982Read more about the show here.
Charlie’s Angels1976-1981[stream here][complete DVD set][read my thoughts about it here]
CHiPs1977-1983[stream here][complete DVD collection][read my thoughts about it here]
Christine Cromwell1989-1990
Columbo1968, 1971-1978, 1989-1995, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003[stream here][Complete DVD Set][view my posts about it here]
Crazy Like a Fox1984-1986
Crime Story1986-1988[stream here][complete series DVD]

D-F

Show TitleAir DatesAvailable to stream?Available on DVD?Other notes
Dragnet, a.k.a. The New Dragnet1989-1990
The Edge of Night1956-1984(a mystery soap opera, originally meant to be an adaptation of the Perry Mason radio series)
Eischied1979-1980
The Fall Guy1981-1986[stream here][Season 1 DVD] [Season 2 DVD]
Father Dowling Mysteries1989-1991[complete DVD set]Read my thoughts about it here.

H

Show TitleAir DatesAvailable to stream?Available on DVD?Other notes
Hardcastle and McCormick1983-1986[complete series DVD set][Read my thoughts about it here.]
Hart to Hart1979-1984, 1993+[stream here][Complete DVD set]Click here to read my posts about it.
Hawaii Five-O1968-1980[stream here][Complete DVD set][Read my thoughts about it here.]
Hawaiian Heat1984[Read my thoughts about it here.]
Hill Street Blues1981-1987[stream here][complete DVD box set]
Hunter1984-1991[stream here] [complete series DVD set]

I-L

Show TitleAir DatesAvailable to stream?Available on DVD?Other notes
In the Heat of the Night1988-1995[stream here]All seasons have been released individually, starting with [Season 1] and ending with [Season 8].Based on the 1967 film of the same name starring Sidney Poitier.
J. J. Starbuck1987-1988
Jake and the Fatman1987-1992[Complete DVD set][Read my thoughts about it here.]
Knight Rider1982-1986[stream here or here][Complete series DVD] [Complete series Blu-ray]
Kojak1973-1978, 1985, 1987, 1989-1990[stream here]All seasons have been released individually, starting with [Season 1] and ending with the [TV Movies]Click here to read my posts about it.
Lady Blue1985-1986
The Law and Harry McGraw1987-1988stream on my YouTube channelSpin-off of Murder, She Wrote. Read my post about it here.
Leg Work1987

M

Show TitleAir DatesAvailable to stream?Available on DVD?Other notes
MacGruder and Loud1985
MacGyver1985-1992[stream here][Complete series DVD set]
Magnum, P.I.1980-1988[stream here][Complete DVD set]Read my posts about it here.
A Man Called Hawk1989
Mancuso, FBI1989-1990
Matlock1986-1995[stream here][Complete series DVD set]
Matt Houston1982-1985[Complete DVD collection]
Miami Vice1984-1989[stream here][Complete DVD set] [Complete Blu-ray set]Read my posts about it here.
Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, a.k.a. The New Mike Hammer1984-1989[Complete series DVD]Based on the novels by Mickey Spillane.
Midnight Caller1988-1991
The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo1979-1981
Mission: Impossible1966-1973, 1988-1990[stream here] OR [stream here][Original series DVD set]
[Original series Blu-ray set]
[80s revival DVD set]
Moonlighting1985-1989Each season has been released individually, starting with [Seasons 1 & 2] and ending with [Season 5 – the final season]Read my posts about it here.
Mrs. Columbo (renamed to Kate Columbo, then Kate the Detective, then Kate Loves a Mystery)1979-1980[Watch all episodes on YouTube][Read my thoughts about it here.]
Murder, She Wrote1984-1996Visit my “Where to watch Murder, She Wrote” page.[Complete series DVD set] [DVD set of the movie sequels]Visit my Murder, She Wrote homepage.

N-O

Show TitleAir DatesAvailable to stream?Available on DVD?Other notes
Nero Wolfe1981[Complete series DVD set]
Night Court1984-1992[stream here][Complete series DVD set](comedy)
Ohara1987-1988Stream on YouTube[Read my post about it here.]

P

Show TitleAir DatesAvailable to stream?Available on DVD?Other notes
Paris1979-1980
Partners in Crime1984Starring Lynda Carter and Loni Anderson.
Philip Marlowe, Private Eye1983-1986[stream here][DVD collection]
Police Squad!1982[Complete series DVD] [Complete series Blu-ray](comedy) Formed the basis of the Naked Gun series of movies.
Police Story1973-1978, 1979, 1980, 1987[Season 1 DVDSeason 2 DVDSeason 3 DVD]
Probe1988Starring Parker Stevenson.

Q-R

Show TitleAir DatesAvailable to stream?Available on DVD?Other notes
Quincy, M.E.1976-1983Individual seasons are available starting with Season 1 and ending with The Final Season[Read my thoughts about it here.]
Remington Steele1982-1987[stream here][Seasons 1-5 DVD collection][Read my thoughts about it here.]
Riptide1984-1986[Season 1] [Season 2]
The Rockford Files1974-1980[stream here][Complete DVD set][Read my thoughts about it here.]

S

Show TitleAir DatesAvailable to stream?Available on DVD?Other notes
Scarecrow and Mrs. King1983-1987[stream here][complete series DVD set][Read my posts about it here.]
Simon & Simon1981-1989[complete series DVD set][Read my posts about it here.]
Sledge Hammer!1986-1988[complete series DVD](comedy)
Sonny Spoon1988
Small & Frye1983
Snoops1989-1990(comedy)
Spenser: For Hire1985-1988[stream here][complete DVD set]
Stingray1985-1989[stream here][complete series DVD]
Street Hawk1985[stream here or here][complete series DVD]

T

Show TitleAir DatesAvailable to stream?Available on DVD?Other notes
Tenspeed and Brown Shoe1980[stream here][Series DVD set] (may be missing the pilot movie)Read my post about it here.
T.J. Hooker1982-1986[stream here][Complete series DVD set]
Today’s FBI1981-1982
True Blue1989-1990
Tucker’s Witch1982-1983[stream here]

U-W

Show TitleAir DatesAvailable to stream?Available on DVD?Other notes
Unsub1989
Vega$1978-1981[Complete DVD set]
Wiseguy1987-1990[stream here][Seasons 1-4 DVD set]
Wolf1989-1990

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!

8 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.

      Like

  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!!!

    Like

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