Our preferred notion of police work is a messy business. Never mind the reality of scrutinising paperwork as the months tick by. We want to see action and rebellion, a visceral right hook to life-wrecking hours and hollow victories. We want to see badge-wearers that, although outwardly villainous, are ultimately on the side of right.
Crusaders who understand, above all, that to catch a scumbag you need to fight dirty.
With Luther back for one final series, this is our tribute to the fictional enforcers who defy their bureaucratic bosses and stop at nothing to get their perp.
Take off your holster and pour yourself a measure of desk-drawer whisky; it’s our ranked roll call of the best and baddest on-screen police.
(Images: All Star, Rex Features)