by TylerV

James Brown said this is a man’s world, but the world of television would be nothing without its strong and sexy female leads. This list spotlights the classic tough chick role on TV: female detective. They are smart, capable, and aren’t afraid to bust out the handcuffs to teach you a lesson.

Mariska Hartigay

Cop Role: Detective Olivia Benson on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

Rap Sheet: Her strong and passionate portrayal of Detective Benson (a victim of rape herself) garners award nominations nearly every year, as well as an actual Emmy win.

In Real Life: Hartigay is the daughter of legendary Hollywood bombshell Jayne Mansfield, and she is also fluent in Hungarian, French, and Italian.

Emily Procter

Cop Role: Calleigh Duqesne on CSI: Miami.

Rap Sheet: Her ballistics expertise earns CSI Supervisor Duqesne the nickname "Bullet Girl," and she is typically jaded and tough towards men in the classic sense of the powerful woman role. Also, she gets extra points for having to put up with David Caruso’s acting every episode.

In Real Life: Procter fronts an 80s cover band called White Lighten and plays poker, so she is like one of the boys in her personal life as well.

Alana De La Garza

Cop Role: Connie Rubirosa on Law and Order (the original version)

Rap Sheet: She doesn’t technically play a cop, but Garza still plays Rubirosa as the tough-yet-fair District Attorney who is a big proponent of women‘s rights and immigration reform. Is it sexist to say to that she looks gorgeous in a business suit?

In Real Life: Garza recently married Michael Roberts in Orlando, Florida…not that you had a chance with her, anyway.

Yvonne Strahovski

Cop Role: CIA agent Sarah Walker

Rap Sheet: The shining light of NBC’s Chuck, Walker’s character is a beautiful, talented, and way too hot to ever be a realistic love interest for the series’ titular nerd.

In Real Life: You might not be able to tell from her name, but Strahovski is an Australian beauty who loves Down Under activities like hiking and mountain climbing.

Gretchen Mol

Cop Role: Annie Norris, Police Women’s Bureau, on the upcoming Life on Mars

Rap Sheet: In the very different time of 1973, Norris yearns to be a real cop despite the fact women were still relegated to inferior jobs no matter what their talents. She still manages to be one of the smartest, most capable people in the room and will help lead detective Sam Tyler out of many tight spots.

In Real Life: Ms. Mol is a renowned theater actress who played Roxie Hart in the original broadway production of Chicago but you probably remember her best as Matt Damon’s girlfriend in Rounders or as infamous pinup and title character of The Infamous Betty Page.

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