As 'Scott And Bailey' Return To Screen Tonight, We Salute The 18 Best Female TV Cops Ever

The popular pair are back for a fifth series.

'Scott and Bailey' make their much-awaited return to screen this evening, taking on a case that takes them into the world of the dark side of the web.

Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) is happy to see the return of her old colleague Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones) following a year away on secondment to the Met, but her return comes with it a promotion that changes their dynamic. And brings her into conflict with the team boss, while the rest of her colleagues remain unimpressed. Plenty to keep her busy, then.

<strong>Scott and Bailey (Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones) are back for a three-parter fifth series</strong>
Scott and Bailey (Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones) are back for a three-parter fifth series

As queens of the TV police beat, these two walk in some pretty hallowed footsteps. We take a look back at some of the most popular female cops to grace the small screen… is your favourite in our list?

Angie Dickinson
One of the first TV coppers to get the pulses racing… Angie Dickinson played Leanne ‘Pepper’ Anderson in the 1970s hit show ‘Police Woman’.
Mariska Hargitay
Still in America… Mariska Hargitay OWNS NBC ‘s ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ as longtime law-keeper Olivia Benson.
Amanda Burton
Meanwhile, back in Britain… Amanda Burton was The Commander in the ITV series of the same name. (She also answered to Clare Blake.)
Jill Gascoine
Friday nights used to mean only one thing… Jill Gascoine as Inspector Maggie Forbes in ‘The Gentle Touch’. And, yes, we’re humming the theme tune too!
Sharon Gless
A flawed but special character – NYPC’s Christine Cagney as played by Sharon Gless in hit show ‘Cagney & Lacey’.
Tyne Daley
Ably abetted by… Mary Beth Lacey, aka the multi Award-winning Tyne Daley.
Keeley Hawes
After she finished being a Spook, before she terrified us in ‘Line of Duty’, Keeley Hawes served as DI Alex Drake in ‘Ashes to Ashes’.
Sofie Grabol
Not forgetting Nordic Noir and the tireless (and often humourless) Sarah Lund, played to global success by Sofie Grabol in the original (and best) ‘The Killing’. She had the jumper…
Sofia Helin
.,,, but she didn’t have the car. That belonged to Saga Noren, aka Sofia Helin in ‘The Bridge’.
Anna Cartaret
Talking of theme tunes… Juliet Bravo, who was never actually a character. The lead was Inspector Jean Darbley played by Stephanie Turner, before Anna Cartaret took over as Inspector Kate Longton, back in the early 1980s.
Glynis Barber
Glynis Barber played the cool-as-cucumber Brit Lady Harriet Makepeace to more laidback American partner James Dempsey in the ITV crime series named after them. And guess what - they clashed on screen, they fell in love off it. Barber and co-star Michael Brandon have been married since 1988.
Helen Mirren
The bar was never set higher. Helen Mirren smoked, swore and very occasionally seduced her way through ‘Prime Suspect’ as the world weary crime-fighting terrier DCI Jane Tennison - which, unlike many vintage crime pieces, still makes for cracking viewing.
Amanda Redman
Not quite as mould-breaking, but still the boss. Amanda Redman kept her old cronies in line as DS Sandra Pullman in ‘New Tricks’.
Betty Thomas
If ‘Hill Street Blues’ changed police drama forever with its multi-layered plots and complex characters, caps must be doffed to the Emmy Award-winning Betty Thomas, who held her own in a strongly-male cast as Officer (later Sergeant) Lucy Bates.
Emily Procter
Though not strictly a cop, CSI:Miami’s firearms specialist Calleigh Duquesne brought a whole new pizzazz to the show, as played by Emily Procter for ten sun-kissed seasons.
Kyra Sedgwick
Another long runner is Kyra Sedgwick’s Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson in hit TNT drama ‘The Closer’. A decade and counting…
Robin Tunney
The criminals aren’t even the toughest part of the gig for Teresa Lisbon, head of California’s Bureau of Investigation, as played by Robin Tunney. The hard bit is keeping her own flock in order, especially Simon Baker’s consultant ‘psychic’ Patrick Jane aka The Mentalist.
Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones
Janet Scott and Rachel Bailey. Like Cagney and Lacey before them, two very different women whose appeal exists in their intuitive understanding of each other, camaraderie in a pickle, and some great, great lines – courtesy of brilliant writer Sally Wainwright, also responsible for ‘Happy Valley’ and ‘Last Tango in Halifax’.

'Scott and Bailey' returns this evening on ITV at 9pm.

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