Power Ranking The Best, Most Badass Lady Cops In Film & Television
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Power Ranking The Best, Most Badass Lady Cops In Film & Television

By Joanna Robinson | Seriously Random Lists | June 28, 2013 | Comments ()

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 9.20.05 AM.png

Heather Locklear -- "TJ Hooker"

The Ladies Of -- "Reno 911"

The Ladies Of -- Police Academy



Marisa Coughlan -- Super Troopers

Nancy Allen -- Robocop

Keeley Hawes -- "Ashes To Ashes"

Lucy Liu -- "Southland"

Jennifer Carpenter -- "Dexter"

Angelina Jolie -- Bone Collector

Mariska Hargitay -- "Law & Order"

Michelle Rodriguez -- S.W.A.T.

Regina King -- "Southland"

Frances McDormand -- Fargo
Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 8.21.28 AM.png

Helen Mirren -- "Prime Suspect"
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Michelle Yeoh -- Supercop

Jamie Lee Curtis -- Blue Steel

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • lowercase_ryan

    And you forgot Linden.

  • Nicholas

    This list is nothing without Angie Dickinson and Peggy Lipton!

  • e jerry powell


    And Teresa Graves as a bargain-basement Pam Grier.

  • apsutter

    I miss Reno 911. Is that Kim Cattrall in Police Academy?! She was so beautiful!

  • Ash

    No Kima Greggs? This list is incomplete.

    And Gilllian Anderson's character from The Fall is badass too.

  • ..

  • A. Smith

    So I take it there's no love for Kate Becket.

  • e jerry powell

    Anita Van Buren is pretty bad-ass when she needs to be.

  • Taraji P. Henson - "Person of Interest"

    Honestly. Best on TV.

  • flickfan

    How could you leave out Erica Cerra as Jo Lupo on "Eureka"?!

  • Morgan_LaFai

    Technically she was a deputy, not a cop, and then she was head of security.

    Edit: But they have the Fargo deputy, so my argument is invalid. My apologies.

  • Idle Primate

    I would add the blond from the shield

  • Gabs

    I know there's no love for NCIS around here, but a list of badass female cops is just wrong without Ziva David.

  • toblerone

    WTF WHERE IS Melissa Leo / Kay Howard???

    Also Homicide had:

    Callie Thorne

    Isabella Hofmann

    Toni Lewis

  • Three_nineteen

    Kay Howard for the win. A realistic portrayal of a well-rounded, complex character, and one hell of a murder police. She held her own with Frank Pembleton, for heaven's sake.

  • katenonymous

    Kay Howard is one of my favorite characters on TV ever. Melissa Leo did a phenomenal job.

  • I dunno, if this is a power ranking, I think Det. Benson should be a lot closer to #1 than she is.

  • katenonymous

    Where are Kay Howard from Homicide and Kima Greggs from The Wire?

  • Morgan_LaFai

    Thank you. I was scrolling down wondering when someone from Baltimore would make an appearance. Alas, it was not to be.

  • Seany D

    No Glenn Close from The Shield, no care.

  • e jerry powell

    Well, if you wanna go there, CCH POUNDER, MUTHAFUCKAS.

  • Green_Eggs_and_Hamster

    That was totally my response. I mean come on, bad ass cop, and dealing with Lupus.

  • e jerry powell

    Right up there with Anita van Buren, dammit.

  • Sirilicious

    Is that Zoe on reno 911?! I'm not sure what Wash would think of this get up.

  • Niecy Nash.

  • e jerry powell

    She carved herself some drag queen hips for that Reno costume.

  • apsutter

    They had her wear a huge fake ass and I guess it was a running joke because it just kept getting bigger

  • e jerry powell

    Oh, I'd say...

    Raineesha got back.

    But remarkably (and this is the tell), no stretch marks.

  • foolsage

    The lovely and talented Gina Torres was not in the cast of Reno 911, according to IMDB. I'm unsure who that is in the picture. Meaning no offense to the woman pictured; Gina is considerably more physically fit.

  • emmalita

    As Meander points out so ably, it was Niecy Nash, who is awesome. Niecy may have been a funny cop on Reno 911, but where she really kicked ass was Clean House. Niecy Nash and Gina Torres should be in a movie together. I don't care what the movie might be, I'll pay to watch them discuss the phone book.

  • She was awesome on Clean House, and yes, they must do a movie together.

  • Sirilicious

    It does look like her a bit, plus she was in Cleopatra 2525 which had worse promotional pics than this. So that is why i went there.

    I think i should shower. My brains.

  • foolsage

    There's definitely a resemblance; I had to look it up to be sure.

    Edit: Dear downvoter,

    I don't know for certain what Gina Torres would have looked like several years ago, in very different physical shape, with heavy makeup on, from that angle and in that lighting. Sorry if that makes me a bad person.

    Love, foolsage

  • pfeiffer87


  • dizzylucy

    Regina King, she was always fantastic, and kick ass, on Southland.

    Brenda on The Closer? Not physically a badass, but smart and mentally tough.
    I'd want to add Danni from the Shield, but she always bugged me.

  • PaddyDog

    I take it you don't watch Scott and Bailey? Coz, I recommend Janet Scott, Rachel Bailey and their awesome "guv" Gill Murray.

  • foolsage

    Officer Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) from Continuum is sadly missing from that list. I realize that almost nobody has seen the show, but dammitall, she's awesome as a Vancouver cop sent back in time from 2077.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    She's definitely kick-ass.

  • Idle Primate

    Yes, good add

  • Repo

    NYPD Detective Kate Beckett. Tracks her mother's killer and makes Capt. Mal Reynolds love her. Now THAT'S badass.

  • Rocabarra

    Any list that includes Michelle Yeoh is a list worth its weight in... Michelle Yeohs. Which is a lot of awesomeness.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I know we are supposed to find ourselves beautiful, and I happen to have a hard time with that sometimes, so I would like to acknowledge Niecy Nash for working that swimsuit!

  • Homestar

    Actually, it was a fake ass. But she absolutely did work it.

  • I liked Amber Tamblyn's character on The Unusuals. OH, and I second the Sarah Shahi on Life.

  • e jerry powell

    That Amber Tamblyn sure has one hot daddy.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Sarah Shahi is on Person of Interest and she's even MORE kick-ass if you can believe it.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Mr. Julien still bitches about that cancellation.

  • Which? Life or The Unusuals? I was unhappy about both.

  • foolsage

    I'm still unhappy about the cancellation of "Joan of Arcadia". Sigh. That was such a great show.

  • Mrs. Julien

    The Unusuals.

  • kirbyjay

    Every 6 months I rewatch the entire series on Hulu or Crackle. Absolutely loved that show. I will join Mr. J in the bitching department.

  • Cybill

    Faith Yokas from Third Watch

  • heatseeker

    Times a thousand! One of many glaring omissions.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Every time I see Michelle Rodriguez I think... I've missed my calling... I guess I could drink protein shakes and start working out 10 times a day... but that would interfere with my alcohol and nicotine consumption.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    what exactly is the calling you suspect you've missed?

  • emmalita

    I'm not sure it interferes with her alcohol and nicotine consumption. Ok, I don't know that she smokes.

  • Maguita NYC

    She has actually the rep for being quite the party animal. Don't know about smoking though. My favorite story about Michelle was from Page Six quite sometime ago:

    She was partying at a club in NYC one night, and none other than Mr. wet-your-panties Lennie Kravitz tried catching her eye. He tried dancing with her, flirting with her, doing whatever so he could leave with her, to no avail.

    She was much more interested in a -hot looking female model. They left together that night.

    Michelle Rodriguez is my ultimate girl crush. No matter how often she shoots herself in the foot and ruins her chances at a career, I keep on rooting for her.

  • forza_rossi

    Seriously? You're forgetting Kima Greggs? Probably the strongest/realistic of them all !!

  • Hazel Dean

    I was waiting for Kima to show up as I scrolled down, but nope. Glaring omission, that.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Do you ever wonder if they leave one person off intentionally just to stir the pot? Like Coco Chanel telling you to get completely dressed and then remove one thing before you leave the house.

  • kirbyjay

    I always removed my top.....I never did get Coco Chanel

  • forza_rossi

    From the wire*

  • BAM

    I thought this list was "Best, Most Badass" not the results of a google search for "female celebrity police officers".

  • John G.

    Hey, it beats working

  • Any list that includes Keeley Hawes in Ashes to Ashes is a good list.

  • BWeaves

    Cagney and Lacey?

  • Captain_Tuttle

    I loved Cagney and Lacey. They still give me hope that when I'm dumpy and middle aged, I might still be able to kick somebody's ass. Of course, I'm already middle aged, and doing my best to stave off dumpy (although I'm loving the Niecy Nash fake tush).

  • L.O.V.E.

    Yes! plus NYPD Blue and Hill Street Blues.

    Kim Delaney and Charlotte Ross were fierce and sexy.

    Hill Street Blues had Betty Thomas (7 Emmy nominations), among others.

    For crying out loud, I'm a dude and still in my thirties. Am I the only one around here who remembers these cool female kickass cops?

  • John G.

    Debra Morgan is not a bad ass. She has one response to every situation, start to tear up and do a mouth quiver

  • e jerry powell

    And then scream fuck 15 times.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I'm doing all of that RIGHT NOW!

  • PaddyDog

    No you're not. You never use the F word. It wouldn't sound right coming out of your mouth.

  • Mrs. Julien

    It's the fact that I say the asterisk that makes it sound funny.

  • Green Lantern


  • The Kilted Yaksman

    Where's Dana Scully?

  • toblerone

    Or Olivia Dunham???

  • Bea Pants

    Technically FBI and not Police? But you could include her character from The Fall.

  • Boo_Radley

    Where's Sarah Shahi from Life?

  • Jolie S. Evans

    as Jose said I didn't even
    know that a single mom able to get paid $7567 in four weeks on the
    internet. did you see this web page w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

  • Ruthie O

    I thought about her instantly. I loved watching her plotline throughout the (way too short) series. Her character prided herself on independence and strength, but in order to be in recovery for her addiction, she also had to acknowledge her vulnerability. She was brilliant.

  • The scene at the table with the vodka was one of the most tense, horrifying things I have ever seen, especially since help was right there and she couldn't allow herself to be "rescued". Actual horror movies don't come close.

  • Ruthie O

    God, yes. I was hooked on her right at the first episode; when she savagely jumps into a shower to wash cocaine off her body. She had played it so tough that episode, and then she revealed her desperate, vulnerable side to her new partner.

    And why the hell was Life canceled?!

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