Joe Friday made television history by focusing on the facts when investigating crimes.
But for most viewers, the facts -- and sometimes even the case of the hour -- are not as entertaining as the relationships between cops.
Whether played for laughs or part of a serious crime drama, cop partnerships are central to almost every crime drama.
Check out our picks for the 17 best partnerships and share your own.
The Andy Griffith Show: Andy Taylor and Barney Fife
Andy Taylor and Barney Fife were one of the funniest, and best known, cop partnerships of the early 1960s. Andy was the straight-laced, serious sheriff trying to raise his son to be an upstanding citizen, while Barney was goofy, silly, and accident-prone. This duo was so popular that ANdy Griffith and Don Knotts teamed up again seeral times during the course of Griffith's later lawyer-turned-detective show, Matlock.
Dragnet 1967: Joe Friday & Bill Gannon
No cop partnership list is complete without Dragnet's Joe Friday and Bill Gannon! Crime dramas owe a ton to Jack Webb, whose no-nonsense, workaholic Joe Friday solved cases by the book and ushered in the idea of cops as detectives rather than superheroes. Harry Morgan's Bill Gannon provided comedic relief and a human touch, as Gannon often tried to involve Friday in his latest hobby or his family life.
Starsky & Hutch: David Starsky and Kenneth Hutchinson
Starsky & Hutch was another one of those shows that threw two polar opposite cops at each other to solve crimes and have each other's backs. While some of the action and dialogue might seem dated or silly today, at the time this partnership was controversial because the two men expressed brotherly affection for one another, which was taboo in the 1970s.
Cagney and Lacey: Christine Cagney and Mary Beth Lacey
Cagney and Lacey was the first cop show to feature two women in the main roles, and their ability to do a tough job, struggle with family issues, and lean on each other won viewers' hearts despite disapproval from 1980s network executives, who were unhappy with them being less stereotypical women.
Days of Our Lives: Abe Carver and Roman Brady
Modern Days of Our Lives viewers are used to incompetent or corrupt cops and know Abe Carver as the mayor of Salem and Roman Brady as the ex-police commissioner who now runs the Brady Pub. But back in the day, Abe and Roman were a sharp, smart crime-fighting duo who became the close friends we see today. As a bonus, James Reynolds' Abe Carver is one of the longest-running African American characters on TV and is often a positive role model who values integrity and honesty in police work.
Homicide: Life on the Streets: Tim Bayliss and Frank Pembleton
1999's Homicide: Life on the Streets was known for its gritty realism and outstanding cast. Among the best cop duos were Kyle Secor's Tim Bayliss and Andre Braugher's Frank Pembleton. Over the course of 7 years, Bayliss grew from the nervous newbie to an out-and-proud bisexual and seasoned cop, and Pembleton softened a little -- but not too much -- after his zeal for justice caused him to suffer a stroke. The two constanly toed the line between friendship and getting on each other's nerves but had each other's backs when it counted, making them one of the most endearing cop duos in history.
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