1. Frances McDormand
Police Chief Marge Gunderson may be the police chief of a small town in Fargo, dontcha know, but we believe that she has what it takes to be the police superintendent of any force in the nation. She has an eye for detail and a knack for police work, even if she has to pause every now and then and wait for a wave of morning sickness to pass.
2. Jodie Foster
Clarice Starling may have been new to the job as an FBI Special Agent in Silence of the Lambs, but she was able to handle Hannibal Lecter and find the serial killer Buffalo Bill. Jodie Foster's Special Agent wasn't completely on her game, considering the fact that she should have had some back-up when she visited the moth-filled house of Jack Gordon/ Jame Gumb, but we're hoping she learned her lesson.
3. Mariska Hargitay
Hargitay was born into Hollywood royalty as the daughter of Jayne Mansfield, but instead of becoming an on-screen princess, Hargitay became a hard-nosed detective with a soft spot in her heart for Special Victims in NBC's popular Law & Order spinoff. Possibly the most remarkable thing about Hartigay's tenure on the show, is that even though she's been on for fifteen seasons, she has only appeared to age about fifteen minutes. That alone is a feat that deserves recognition.
4. Marg Helgenberger
Marg Helgenberger's character, Catherine Willows, had a major change in her career path when she went from being a Vegas stripper to becoming a CSI shift supervisor. Similarly Helgenberger herself went through a career change during her time playing the no-nonsense lady law enforcer, transforming from a critically acclaimed working actress who showed up regularly in TV guest spots to becoming one of the highest paid actresses on television. She must have been doing some mighty fine police work to be making that kind of money.
5. Sandra Bullock
Of course Sandra Bullock starred in the hit comedy The Heat, but this wasn't her first time playing an FBI agent who is badly in need of a makeover. Bullock carried a badge and a gun in Miss Congeniality as well as in the sequel, making Bullock an expert at playing a tough lady law enforcer.
6. Heather Locklear
Heather Locklear handily holds the title for having the best feathered hair of any on-screen cop — after all, Charlie and his Angels worked outside the law. The young actress could also take home the prize for best co-star, since she appeared in TJ Hooker alongside the incomparable William Shatner. That is one heck of a way to kick-start a television career.
7. Holly Hunter
Bullock isn't the only lady on the list to take multiple police woman roles. Holly Hunter is another actress to protect and serve more than once, and most recently she starred as OKC Police Detective Grace Hanadarko in Saving Grace. But our favorite Holly Hunter cop role is when she was booking Nic Cage's HI McDunnogh in Raising Arizona. Sure, Ed might have also been involved in a kidnapping plot after she retired from the force, but that doesn't take away from her overall lady-cop excellence.
8. Angelina Jolie
A-list actress Angelina Jolie has had more than her fair share of action roles, such as a spy, a billionaire archaeologist, professional assassin, and another spy. It's no surprise that in her action-packed career she has also worked in law enforcement on the big screen. She was a patrol cop working with forensic expert Denzel Washington in The Bone Collector and an FBI profiler in Taking Lives. Those performances make her a shoo-in on our best lady cops list.
9. Melissa McCarthy
We pretty much love Melissa McCarthy whether she’s playing an innkeeper, a teacher, or a bridesmaid, and in The Heat, she plays a tough, take-charge cop. So she’s on the list, because we'll take McCarthy however we can get her.
10. Amy Price-Francis
This list proves that the "tough lady cop" is a TV and movie trope that we've all long been familiar with. There are all kinds of expectations and types built in to the role, but somehow the title character in King manages to simultaneously play into the type and turns the trope on its head. The wit and heart of the character take her in directions that aren't always expected, and this puts Amy Price-Francis on our top ten lady cops list. Be sure to catch King when it makes its US premiere on Reelz Friday, July 5th at 10p ET/ 9p PT.