Need a new show like ‘Psych’? Watch these funny detective TV shows
Detective TV shows are nothing new, but the collective cultural obsession with crime series over the past decade is. These days, crime series after crime series pile on with each passing year, but before detective series became trendy, Psych hit audiences when the show premiered on the USA network back in 2006.
While gritty detective TV shows rule the crime series genre, Psych gives audiences a funny detective series more palatable to a wide audience. However, Psych isn’t the first funny detective series to come to audiences, and Psych isn’t the last. We’ve gathered some of our favorite funny detective TV shows that’ll have you saying, “Psych who?”
Psych may have enamoured audiences with star characters Shawn Spencer & Gus Guster, but Peter Falk’s detective Columbo is the original funnyman with a badge. Columbo is not only the O.G. of detective TV shows (having dropped in 1971), the show stars one of the most captivating goofball detectives to ever grace the small screen.
From Columbo’s recurrent chatting about his unseen soulmate (I’ll have to tell my wife about that) to his legendary catchphrase, cigar-wielding Peter Falk charms audiences every time he tells a perp he has to tell them “just one more thing”.
Columbo gave audiences one of the first solid “monster of the week” TV shows, in which each episode follows a classic formula with a different wrongdoer each week (think Buffy & X-Files). Furthermore, the show required nothing from its audience but to kick their feet up and watch another episode with no surprises each week, when our hero would yet again come out on top.
Okay, so HBO’s True Detective (and we’re only talking season 1 here) isn’t the first series coming to mind when we think of funny detective shows, but let’s think about the series for a second.
True Detective is known for its gritty story and philosophical themes bringing one of the greatest acting collabs between two 90s all stars HBO series have seen in some time. However, the only reason the show works as well as it does is because of the dollops of humor peppered throughout its eight episodes.
In fact, some argue the lack of humor is what’s missing from the subsequent (and critically shredded) season of True Detective.
Creator Nic Pizzolatto is quoted in an LA Magazine interview in 2014 saying stars Woody Harrelson & Matthew McConaughey shined, being able to bring the humor which was harder to see on paper to the small screen with ease. Think about it: True Detective gave you bigger laughs than Castle ever did.
Unlike True Detective or even Columbo, Brooklyn 99 is a straight comedy series (although the show has its sentimental moments), and is one of the funniest detective TV shows of the 2010s.
Furthermore, the winning humor Brooklyn 99 dishes out makes total sense – the show has an all-star cast of some of alternative comedy’s funniest comedians, from Chelsea Peretti to Joe Lo Truglio.
Brooklyn 99 brings audiences a ragtag group of bumbling cops working a fictional NYC precinct, spearheaded by star Andy Samberg as detective Jake Peralta, as they do their damndest to take down perps, and ending up getting into their own trouble in the process. Psych may have years on Brooklyn 99, but Brooklyn 99 blows Psych away in the laughter department.
If you love detective TV shows but are looking for some humor, start with our list of detective TV shows guaranteed to give you a few chuckles. Psych may have given you the detective comedy itch, but it’s not the only show you need to scratch it.