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.
Law & Order: Lennie Briscoe and Mike Logan
The original Law & Order went through several partners for Chris Noth's Mike Logan before hitting on this successful duo. Briscoe always had a wisecrack to make about the case or the suspects, while Logan was a hothead that needed to be reeled in from time to time. Together, they were so memorable that many viewers consider the late Jerry Orbach to be the face of the show even though he didn't appear until the third season.
Law & Order: SVU: Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler
1999 saw television give birth to a new Law & Order series that dealt with sex crimes instead of murders and allowed the lead cops to have more personal, human stories. For the next 12 years, the chemistry sizzled as Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler tried their best to solve cases without letting the horrors they saw get to them. Their partnership never went beyond friendship, but the heat between them was so high that Stabler's wife was sometimes jealous, and ever since Christopher Meloni's departure in 2012 many fans have been hoping for a reunion.
Monk: Adrian Monk and Sharona Fleming
While technically not a cop partnership (he was a consultant for the local police with crippling OCD and she was his live-in nurse), Adrian Monk and Sharona Fleming were nevertheless an endearing crime-fighting duo. Sharona was gruff and took no nonsense, and she helped balance out Monk's OCD qualities so that he was able to use his attention to detail to solve crimes rather than to get distracted by minutia.
Bones: Seeley Booth and Temprance Brennan
This mystery-solving partnership between an FBI detective with a gambling problem and a forensic anthropologist who most likely had Aspergers' Syndrome was the heart and soul of the long-running procedural Bones. They gelled together so well that they eventually married, which says a lot for the strength of their partnership (and the idea that opposites attract.)
The Mentalist: Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon
The Mentalist's Patrick Jane was a unique type of detective: a con artist who used his knowledge of how to pull the wool over people's eyes to figure out who was lying and to trick suspects into confessions. His unconventional methods were balanced out by partner Teresa Lisbon's more traditional detective training, and the two became one of the most fascinating cop partnerships in history.
Rizolli & Isles: Jane Rizolli and Maura Isles
Wisecracking Jane Rizzoli couldn't have found a better partner than her forensic-knowledge-obsessed, literal minded best friend Maura Isles. For six years, the two made the Boston PD Homicide Division an entertaining, exciting place to work and their banter and friendship will be missed for years to come.
Blue Bloods: Danny Reagan and Maria Baez
Blue Bloods has plenty of great cop partnerships to offer, with its emphasis on finding the balance between working life as a cop and being a member of a close-knit, yet opinionated family. Danny and his partner, Maria Baez, are among the best because Baez does her best to balance Danny's hotheaded nature and he occasionally lets his guard down for her. Plus there isn't that annoying will-they-won't-they vibe that younger brother Jamie and his partner Eddie Janko can't seem to get away from, since Danny was loyal to his wife Linda and their two sons up until, and in some ways after, the day she died.
Major Crimes: Provenza and Flynn
Sharon Raydor might have been the love of Andy Flynn's life, but before Flynn's health problems temporarily took him out of the field, there was Andy Flynn and Louis Provenza. The two drove each other nuts as much as any married couple and Provenza had no shortage of sarcastic comments for his former partner, but the two always had each other's backs and secretly rooted for each other's happiness.
Elementary: Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson
The Holmes/Watson relationship has been explored in many television adaptations, but Elementary stands out by making Watson into a gorgeous, intelligent woman who has the strength to hold her own with Holmes and then some. This modern partnership makes the list because of Watson's strength and equality with Holmes.
Perception: Daniel Pierce and Kate Moretti
Perception was a unique series in many respects, but one of the best aspects was the relationship between Daniel Pierce, a consultant to the FBI who often relied on schizophrenia-related hallucinations and his advanced knowledge of neurobiology to help him crack impossible cases, and FBI agent Kate Moretti. This is another unconventional partner vs. conventional partner relationship, but Pierce's attempts to balance his superior knowledge and the difficulties of his mental illness and Moretti's acceptance of him made this one unique.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Jake Peralta and Raymond Holt
Okay, so technically Peralta and Holt aren't partners, but their relationship is the comic engine that drives Brooklyn Nine-Nine forward. Peralta often irritates by-the-book Holt with his juvenile antics and apparent lack of professionalism, but in the end he's a good cop -- and he tries to get Holt to lighten up a bit. What more can you ask for in a cop partnership?