10 Hot Female Detectives Throughout TV History from 'The Mod Squad' to 'Rizzoli and Isles'
Lucy Bates on Hill Street Blues
Long before Betty Thomas was one of the most successful female directors in Hollywood (winning awards for directing or producing films and TV shows including The Brady Bunch Movie and John Tucker Must Die), she played Sergeant Lucille “Lucy” Bates on Steven Bochco’s critically acclaimed Hill Street Blues. The police procedural has consistently ranked among the top TV shows of all time (TV Guide’s 50 Greatest Shows of All Time puts it at number 14) and it garnered a boatload of Emmy nominations (98) during its six-year run. I like to think a good share of that is because of Bates, who begins the series as a rather unsure rookie cop and by the end is practically running the place (OK, she’s a sergeant but you get the point). Unlike Cagney, nobody tried to sex up Bates, and even in press photos from that time show Thomas as lumpy and sullen as every male TV cop before her. There’s something magnetic about her. She’s supposedly straight but when her partner, Kate McBride — played by Lindsay Crouse in a five-episode arc — actually comes out as a lesbian after some false accusations, Thomas takes a matter-of-fact perspective to the outing. Pretty revolutionary for 1986.
Judy Hoffs on 21 Jump Street
Based on the way he’s been canonized you’d think Johnny Depp was the only star of 21 Jump Street, the hottest teen TV show in the late ‘80s. Not so. There were three other guys, but the main attraction for many budding queer girls was Holly Robinson Peet (then she was still just Holly Robinson) as Jody Hoffs, one of a group of undercover cops who work in high schools cracking cases on everything from hate crimes to drug trafficking and abuse. Hoffs was sexy, smart, street savvy, and had bitchin’ ‘80s hair. Depp became a teen idol but Peet should have been the real breakout star (she’s the only cast mate to appear in the full series, she sang the theme song, and she did public service announcements with the other actors which ran after the show aired). The series, only the third primetime show to appear on the Fox Network (after Married…With Children and The Tracy Ullman Show), was one of the few to tackle heavy social issues like homophobia, AIDS, and hate crimes.
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