Shows about the police force or law enforcement in general have become commonplace on television. Over the years shows like Hill Street Blues, Dragnet, and NYPD Blue made an impact on TV audiences. More recently, series like 24, The Shield, CSI and The Wire have focused on the gritty aspects of crime fighting.

What are the top five crime fighters on television in the last 10 years? After conducting a great deal of research and some painful debate, we have compiled the list below, in alphabetical order.

Jack Bauer - 24

The man is a living legend and has saved the United States from grave peril six times in six days. Who else can make that claim? The skill set he has on his resume is around 50 pages long. He has worked for the department of defense, counter terrorist unit, and has military training as well as special-ops training. He can kill someone in 50 different ways and will sacrifice himself if it means accomplishing his mission. He doesn't believe in 'taking things on the side' and has reported his colleagues for doing so.

Although he is known to break protocol, he never does this to benefit himself. He is an expert at all forms of torture and once pretended to kill a terrorist's family to get a suspect to talk. Effective. Once, while hostage and under severe torture, his heart flatlined, and his captors struggled to bring him back from the dead. Big mistake. He killed everyone in the entire room. Naked. If you have kids, you may want to show them footage of Jack Bauer and explain that this is the baddest man on the planet. This is why you should never break the law.

Vic Mackey - The Shield

Vic is like the alter ego of Jack Bauer. He is a beer guzzling blue collared cop who will plant evidence if need be. He owns the streets like a drug dealer would and will 'take things on the side' if it will make his pockets heavier. He is a family man, but he also loves women. You know how that story goes.

Leader of a Los Angeles strike team, he knocks down the doors no one else wants to. His knowledge of gang life is second to none. He has been called Al Capone with a badge. He has taken coke from drug busts, melted a criminal's face on a stove, beaten suspects without mercy, and done the unthinkable (in the very first episode!). He is morally corrupt, but we love him and root for him. Even though he has robbed the Armenian mob, dug up dead bodies, and robbed an armored police evidence truck, he is as effective a police officer that you will ever see. He doesn't take shit from anyone, will never let anyone hurt his family or his friends, and lives by the oath that you do not rat on your friends. People that cross him usually are in some serious shit.

Jimmy McNulty - The Wire

He is the bad ass of the Baltimore Police Department and has a penchant for making his superiors get pissed off at him. Jimmy will do whatever it takes to make a case, even if that means going around what the department wants. He takes pride in closing cases, and this adamant determination causes some concern for those around him. Jimmy will take it personally if he cannot connect the dots or if some red tape stands in his way of opening the next door. He sees it almost like playing a game.

His life is his job. He really has no family, and he is Irish so he drinks far to much. He sucks at relationships (like Bauer) and sometimes isn't all that great with words. But he is a great cop. Jimmy can be immature and does exhibit self-destructive behavior. Sometimes he cannot control his impulses, which can lead to some really bad situations. If he isn't going behind the captains back to talk to a judge (like he did with Avon Barksdale), he does what is necessary to get shit done. His sarcasm is golden as he says things like, "I wonder what it feels like to work at a real police department." When he is not banging babes, drinking, or messing up his personal life, he is putting people behind bars - the only thing he really likes to do. Gotta love that.

Dexter Morgan - Dexter

Now Dexter fighting crime is something of a paradox, but thats okay because all he is really doing is killing people who deserve it. Dexter is a genius. He analyzes blood splatters by day and tracks criminals by night, and then, well, he kills them. Sort of puts the whole 'serial killer' thing to the only positive light it could be in. As Dexter says, "My intention was never to save lives, but save lives I did." Yeah, so he is definitely the darker one of this bunch, but he excels at what he does.

He approaches the criminals from behind and injects them with a tranquilizer, leaving them temporarily paralyzed. Then he usually slices and dices them with fun instruments like sharp knives or even a saw! He is the only crimefighter that uses another persona to do his really, really dirty work. That name is Patrick Bateman. Ring a bell? (The killer? in American Psycho). He satisfies his blood lust by his day job and by killing those who have escaped the justice system (like the nurse who poisons people). He is sort of like Superman in the sense that he hides who he really is from the rest of the world, but when when he puts his cape on (not literally), shit goes down. This is one crimefighter you never, ever, want after you.

Andy Sipwicz - NYPD Blue

Few crime fighters have the presence of Andy Sipowciz. He is the type of cop, when mad and yelling and screaming, you look at the ground. Why? Because you are too damn scared to look him in the eye. This type of fierce-ocity (yeah, we made that up) makes this homophobic alcoholic Vietnam vet, who is slightly racist, a person you can't help but love.

Yeah, he knows he has things to work on to make him a better person, and it is this type of flawed hero that makes him so bad ass. When he learns a lesson, you do not have to tell him twice (Like when he was shot by a mobster after banging a hooker). Little bits of common sense started to spring up in his booze soaked brain. Even tragedy after tragedy that he suffered, it never effected his work. He is one of those you can call an all-time great.

Did we miss anyone on this list? Make a comment!

Story By Anthony Liccardello
Starpulse contributing writer