What it is: A detective with a special skill for getting to the bottom of cases works within the system despite his or her own significant idiosyncrasies. Current example: "The Closer," with master interrogator Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) cracking suspect after suspect in between junk-food binges. Classic: "Columbo," in which rumpled a L.A. homicide detective is constantly underestimated by the wealthy and arrogant perpetrators of murders, much to their own chagrin. Others: "Life," "Monk," "Kojak," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Cold Case," "Prime Suspect"
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