The Smartest, Toughest, Most Respected Detectives on TV, and They’re All Women
By Annie Murphy
The first female detective on primetime is arguably still one of the best. Honey West, played by Anne Francis back in 1965, had beauty, brains and a lipstick case that doubled as a hidden walkie-talkie. Every girl could use one of those! Right from the beginning, Honey broke the mold of female stereotypes with her attitude, high-tech gadgets, and black belt in Judo. These attributes were not common for women on the screen at the time. Since then, many female detectives have joined her ranks, perhaps the brightest among them being the youngest.
Koldcast TV’s Ruby Skye, P.I. follows the adventures of teen super-sleuth Ruby on her mission to solve puzzling mysteries in her neighborhood. With a bit of humor and good old-fashioned detective work, Ruby manages to help a lot of people in her community, even an old lady who ultimately decides to stop feeding imaginary pets. There’s more to that case than meets the eye.
You are watching Episode 1 of Ruby Skye, P.I., “Chapter One: Animal Farm”
Ruby is wise beyond her years and grows sharper with every case. Even at such a young age, she manages to look beyond the surface to solve even the toughest mysteries, and firmly believes every good detective must have “sharp senses, intuition, curiosity, determination, understanding of human nature and the ability to put all the clues together to tell a story.”
She’ll need all those qualities and more for Season 2 of Ruby Skye, P.I., which kicks off on October 10th! The mysteries are darker and her challenges even more complex, but we have faith. Other – slightly older – women that merit Ruby’s high standards of excellence are all over TV today.
Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) – Law & Order: SVU
While her friends were partying like its 1999, Olivia has been putting sexual predators behind bars since then. A victim of rape herself, Olivia is personally invested in all her cases and possesses a deep understanding of human nature. Victims confide in her and perhaps most importantly, she is able to empathize with them – speaking her mind and standing up for battered women is what she does best. Olivia is a true TV icon and a great role model for girls, because she’s consistent, always determined to make sure justice is served at all costs. Most female detectives don’t have the longest shelf lives, while Olivia has maintained her role for well over a decade and that’s saying something.
Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) – Dexter
Debra starts off as a rookie who always needs big brother to help her, but rises in the ranks due to her intense determination and curiosity. When others are ready to give up on a case, she always takes the extra step to dig further. Her curious nature often brings her face to face with danger, but she just can’t help herself. Debra’s male co-workers might resent her and give her a hard time for her quick climb to the top but at the end of the day, she is still calling the shots… usually with a sailor’s mouth. It will be interesting to see how Debra deals with her serial killer brother in the coming seasons.
Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) – The Killing
Sarah is so dedicated to solving the murder of a teenage girl that she puts her entire life on hold for the case’s sake. Her fiancé and son are waiting for her to move away from dreary Seattle, but Sarah can’t seem to peel herself away from this mystery. Her intuition is always spot-on, and she’s searching for clues day and night until she’s sure every possible inroad to a crime has been explored. Even when she’s questioning an especially difficult suspect, Sarah remains focused and detail oriented. It’s too bad that this show never renewed for a third season, because Sarah shattered the mold of what was expected from a front and center female. Perhaps The Killing was ahead of its time.
Shakima “Kima” Greggs (Sonja Sohn) – The Wire
Kima stands out among a slew of tough leading men on what’s been repeatedly hailed as the best show on television by critics and fans alike. She is not afraid to be herself and is openly a lesbian. There’s a sharp edge to this girl as well. Kima doesn’t hesitate to bend the law to get the results she needs to crack a case. Her sharp senses come to her aid in virtually every episode and allow her to catch details her co-workers often miss. Despite Kima’s personal battles with alcoholism and relationships, she always shows up to the job ready to work, determined to overcome her darker issues in order to be a potent member of the force.
Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) – Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
This unconventional chick detective is the epitome of badass. The majority of her slender body is pierced and tattooed, accessories for the gnarly motorcycle she rides around Stockholm. Lisbeth extracts information about people from the Internet ocean with her stellar hacking skills, leaving them vulnerable and befuddled. This aptitude for research allows her to put the pieces together faster than anyone else, and her photographic memory doesn’t hurt either. Lisbeth’s dark, gothic exterior is backed up by a lot of action and very little talk. A troubled childhood only fuels the fire to put evil men in their place, whether it’s by tattooing scarlet letters on their chests, via financial ruin, or good old fashioned murder.
Click to watch Ruby gear up for a second season of mysteries!
Annie Murphy has been obsessed with writing since she learned English at age seven. Originally from Burma, her unique background gives her a fresh perspective and voice. She has an addictive personality, mainly towards TV shows, Flaming Hot Lime Cheetos and gangsta rap.