TV and Movies·Posted on Jan 22, 2023I Ranked All The "Law & Order" Universe Detectives, And It Was Unbelievably ChallengingThe detectives of the Law & Order universe are varied. Who ranks #1?by Angela AndaloroBuzzFeed ContributorFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink Law & Order hive, it's our time to shine. This series has given us some truly unforgettable TV detectives tackling crime on our screens. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Wolf Entertainment / Via giphy.com Law & Order was the original to start it all off. From 1990-2010 and again starting last year, it follows the action of a squad that tackles cases big and small. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF NBC / Via tenor.com Then came possibly one of the best spinoff series in history, Law & Order: SVU, focusing on a squad that tackles sex crimes. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF NBC / Via giphy.com Law & Order: Criminal Intent Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF NBC / Via giphy.com Law & Order: Organized Crime Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF NBC / Via giphy.com Spinoffs big and small made their impact and resulted in a ton of detectives that I'm ranking to see who were the good folks and the bad ones after all. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF NBC / Via giphy.com Spoilers ahead, beware! Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF NBC / Via giphy.com 45. G. Lynn Bishop (Samantha Buck) Will Hart / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images G. Lynn Bishop was briefly paired with Robert Goren when Alex Eames was otherwise occupied, but she really hit a nerve with a lot of fans. The two butted heads quite a bit and you could tell it would be a short-lived arrangement. Though she wasn't a great character/detective, she helped bring attention to what a force Eames was by dulling in comparison. 44. Chester Lake (Adam Beach) Will Hart / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank Something about Chester Lake was too desperate and off-pitch, even for SVU. He was a dark, broody loner who could never quite settle into being part of a squad, and while he was procedurally fine as a detective, he always felt like he was on borrowed time. 43. Zack Nichols (Jeff Goldblum) Jeff Lipsky/USA / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Zack Nichols was a savant detective who was the child of two psychologists. He was a brief, heady addition to Criminal Intent that sometimes got in his own way. 42. Nina Cassady (Milena Govich) Virginia Sherwood / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Nina Cassady had a chip on her shoulder from being labeled "Detective Beauty Queen" for her role in a salon shooting, and she's not unjustified, considering she was the ONLY female detective in the entire original L&O. That said, she's racist and unlikable, which really negated any good she could have done as a detective or a character. 41. Freddie Washburn (Ben Chase) Virginia Sherwood / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images Freddie Washburn made a mistake and resigned, without making much of a mark. 40. Nola Falacci (Alicia Witt) Eric Ogden/USA / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Nola Falacci is supposed to be a rough around the edges character, but she pushes the trope into unlikability quickly. As a detective, she's pushy, but she leaves that at work and is a mom of three at home. 39. Tony Profaci (John Fiore) Jessica Burstein / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Tony Profaci seemed fine enough until he was shockingly revealed to be a dirty cop in Exiled: A Law & Order Movie. The huge shift in his character with no development behind it felt a little empty compared to how much we learn about some of the other detectives. 38. Rex Winters (Skeet Ulrich) Byron Cohen / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Rex Winters's story was shaped by real-life crime in Los Angeles in the '80s and '90s, and as such, he took his role as a detective and his interactions with others very seriously. He meets an unfortunate end before his potential is explored. 37. Monique Jeffries (Michelle Hurd) Jessica Burstein / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Monique Jefferies appeared to be a no-nonsense cop but was later found out to have a been more flighty than she initially appeared. During a psych evaluation, she admits to sleeping with a suspect, which gets her pulled from active duty. She's nearly fired until she fights for herself, but transfers out of SVU in the process. 36. Nick Falco (Michael Imperioli) Eric Liebowitz / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Nick Falco was happy to be the good guy when he could be. He had big shoes to fill as a temporary replacement for Green, and in his few episodes, he didn't quite cut it. And then, he gets framed for murder and exonerated in a turnaround that was quick, even for the Law & Order universe. 35. Serena Stevens (Saffron Burrows) Jeff Lipsky/USA / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Serena Stevens was another brief stay in the CI universe, existing opposite Jeff Goldblum's own short-lived character. She tries to keep things light but focuses on the job when the time calls for it. 34. Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) Will Hart / NBCU Photo Bank Kevin Bernard's past in IAB makes it hard for him to fit as a member of the team. As a detective, he's super conservative, which is challenged a lot in his work on the squad. 33. Katriona Tamin (Jamie Gray Hyder) Virginia Sherwood / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank Katriona Tamin is eager to be a good sex crimes detective, though her way of going about it leads her to butt heads with Carisi. She has a lot of sympathy for victims and prides herself on professionalism. 32. Joe Fontana (Dennis Farina) Will Hart / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Joe Fontana may have the vibe of a serious detective, but he's more than willing to walk the line when it comes to serving justice as he sees fit. After taking part in some chaotic cases, he ultimately retires. 31. Carolyn Barek (Annabella Sciorra) Heidi Gutman / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images Carolyn Barek was a pretty low-key detective, minus working with Olivia Benson on a case. She wasn't great or terrible; she wasn't around long enough but gets a redemption arc (where she's no longer a detective). 30. Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan) Eric Liebowitz / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images Frank Cosgrove is a product of a law enforcement family, and his feelings and viewpoints are totally shaped by it, leading to a lot of reckoning with bias. He questions if and how justice is being served with a baseline of disgust. 29. Dani Vertiz (Shayvawn Webster) Zach Dilgard / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images Dani Vertiz proved her prowess as a detective in her one short season, but didn't give us enough to grow on. 28. Megan Wheeler (Julianne Nicholson) Eric Ogden/USA / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Megan Wheeler was a cop who was driven by a heavy backstory, growing up with a father who walked out one day, and later, finding him while investigating a case. Wheeler is great at her job and a solid part of her team, but her character is missing a little something. 27. Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) Michael Parmelee / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Amanda Rollins was really flawed, as a figure and as a detective. Riding high on her Atlanta success, she floundered as part of the SVU as she tackled different struggles in her life. As a detective, she was a stickler who wasn't afraid to go up against authority and was kind of a rigid point in a very family-like squad for quite a few seasons before showing her softer side. 26. Bobby Reyes (Rick Gonzalez) Will Hart / NBC via Getty Images Bobby Reyes is a detective who doesn't hesitate and never operates from a place of fear and wants to do what's right in the most efficient way. He's a good detective who seems to have more depth than one might initially think. 25. Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) Eric Liebowitz / NBC Nick Amaro is deeply troubled, as a cop and as a husband. His personal drama very often leaked into his police work, making him emotionally volatile and unreliable for the rest of the squad. Yet he tries hard enough and comes through enough times that you want him to win, even though he falls short quite a few times. 24. Gina Cappelletti (Charlotte Sullivan) Virginia Sherwood / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images Gina Cappelletti was the first squad casualty of OC during an undercover mission gone wrong. 23. Diego Morales (Michael Rivera) Virginia Sherwood / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images Diego Morales is an antagonistic detective that comes to a really unfortunate end. 22. Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) Virginia Sherwood / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Cyrus Lupo had a tough background after responding to a Christmas call that left him with PTSD after witnessing a gruesome murder scene. The death of his partner, who was getting Lupo a cup of coffee when he was shot, led him to struggle with drinking. On his good days, he had a lot of enthusiasm, but darkness clouded his professional life. 21. Joe Velasco (Octavio Pisano) Heidi Gutman / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images Joe Velasco is an open book and a helping hand after joining the SVU squad. He's determined to use his position as a detective to do good and takes the job seriously. 20. Grace Muncy (Molly Burnett) Zach Dilgard / NBC via Getty Images Grace Muncy brings millennial energy to the SVU squad. She's proven to take her job seriously but also be a little hotheaded. Her sympathetic side has shown through with victims and colleagues alike. 19. Jet Slootmaekers (Ainsley Seiger) Will Hart / NBC A young technical genius, Sloot proves herself worthy of the squad's trust and that she's capable of jumping in. Her talents aren't restricted to tech, giving her a solid start and lots of promise. 18. Jamie Whelan (Brent Antonello) Eric Liebowitz / NBC via Getty Images Jamie Whelan is a newer name, but he's already impressing Stabler on OC which means he could go far as they establish that mentor-mentee rapport that suggests the two might have more in common than we yet know. 17. Victoria Cho (Rachel Lin) Eric Liebowitz / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images Victoria Cho came to Organized Crime at a precarious time and jumped straight into the work. She already seems like a strong character with some good promise. 16. Jalen Shaw (Mehcad Brooks) Zach Dilgard / NBC via Getty Images A military kid who practiced law but found it wasn't for him, Jalen Shaw decided to get his hands dirty as a member of the NYPD instead. He's into the adrenaline and chaos of his career path, which makes him a detective who works on a combination of insight and instinct. 15. Brian Cassidy (Dean Winters) Jessica Burstein / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images Brian Cassidy was another cop with a complicated past. His lack of experience led to him making jerky comments that would get him straight-up canceled in 2023 more times than not. That said, when it comes to the job, he really cares, to the point that it makes it hard to engage in the work because of the emotional impact. 14. Carlos Maldonado (Mike Cannon) Virginia Sherwood / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images Another latecomer in the Organized Crime universe, Maldonado is proving he'll do what it takes in tough moments, but there's a lot more to find out about his character. 13. Carmen "Nova" Riley (Nona Parker Johnson) Virginia Sherwood / NBC Nova quickly proves she's a detective who isn't afraid to go all-in and dedicate herself to the job. Her confidence helps her navigate sticky situations, like keeping the different areas of her life separate. Nova gives the feeling her story is only just getting started, and it could be a really good one. 12. Dominick Carisi (Peter Scanavino) Myles Aronowitz / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Dominick Carisi starts out as the lovable idiot in the squad room and quickly shows he has a lot more to him than meets the eye. His ability to dig deep and empathize quickly warms him up to victims and viewers alike. 11. Tomas "TJ" Jaruszalski (Corey Stoll) Dean Hendler / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Though Law & Order: Los Angeles was short-lived, Detective Jaruszalski's West Coast way of pursuing the law was intriguing. He had a little bit of a flashy side and major attitude, and he fits the cynical cop trope well, but didn't have enough time for it to totally develop. 10. Alexandra Eames (Kathryn Erbe) Eric Ogden/USA / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Another second-generation cop but also an NYPD widow, she looks out for her own and is all about doing things by the book. Her relationship with female cops across the franchise has been a bit of light in some otherwise dark subject matter. 9. Mike Logan (Chris Noth) Jessica Burstein / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Mike Logan was one of a handful of cops who bounced around between series, first on the original and later on Criminal Intent. His sad backstory as a victim of physical and sexual abuse made him a steady career cop, which is why it was so surprising to see him walk away after having to confront his painful past. 8. Odafin "Fin" Tutuola (Ice-T) Eric Liebowitz / NBC Going from undercover cop to detective, Fin came full of street smarts and a no-nonsense attitude. His strong feelings about right and wrong put him at odds with members of his squad, with him considering leaving more than a few times, but never out of lack of dedication to the job, which makes him sticking around all the better. 7. Robert Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio) Eric Liebowitz / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images As a detective, Robert Goren proved himself to be one of the great minds of the NYPD, but also one of the most complex. His background is dark and full of mental illness, which gives him a unique but intensely cerebral way of taking on cases. He sometimes goes too far, but he's a good detective for all intents and purposes. 6. Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) Eric Liebowitz / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Elliot Stabler was and is possibly one of the most bizarre detectives to ever grace our screens. Aside from being a hunk with heart, he was a really emotionally volatile member of the force. A loving father, sometimes he'd bring his home life's problems to work with him, and more often, he'd bring his work home, making for a tough relationship with his wife, Kathy. The Elliot Stabler of today is trying to make up for his past self's sins in many regards. 5. Ed Green (Jesse L. Martin) essica Burstein / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Detective Ed Green may not have always done things by the book, but he always operated from a good place. His rule-breaking ways got him in trouble, both in the real-life sense and with his higher-ups, but that didn't stop Green from being a detective who made an impact. 4. Rey Curtis (Benjamin Bratt) Eric Liebowitz / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Rey Curtis enters as a good guy, and the trials of the job and life lead him to struggle to keep in that lane. On the job trauma leads him to veer, cheating on his wife and jeopardize his relationships with his family, only to later learn his wife is ill, and thus, be set on a redemption arc. 3. John Munch (Richard Belzer) Kevin Foley / NBCU Photo Bank A lovable cynic, Munch always took being a cop seriously, but wasn't afraid to broaden his view — even if sometimes it was a beat too late. He advocated for the mentally ill and held down his crew, even after he eventually moved up in the ranks. 2. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) Craig Blankenhorn / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images Olivia Benson isn't just a kick-ass detective, but a woman strong in her convictions who has as much heart as she does logic and strength. Benson is a character who has grown in some great ways and held true to herself in others, and though she goes through her fair share of turmoil, she rarely loses sight of the greater good. 1. Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach) Jessica Burstein / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images There's no denying who the GOAT is. Even though he wasn't an original cast member, Briscoe was everything you want from a procedural detective — with a slick attitude and always quick with a quip. Where'd I get it right? Where do you disagree? Sound off in the comments!