10 Times Television’s Female Detectives Shamelessly Put Men in Their Place


Happy birthday to the late British novelist Raymond Chandler — one of the grandfathers of hard-boiled detective fiction. Chandler’s greatest creation is the iconic fictional private eye Philip Marlowe. Crime fiction, of course, is dominated by male characters. The female detective’s sex appeal is often portrayed above her skill level. Still, women of the law have been finding footing in the small-screen world for some time now, shamelessly sticking it to the man. Here are ten quotes from tough-talking female detectives when they pulled rank while dealing with the men in their world — and occasionally had a little fun doing so.

Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) in The Fall

“Maleness is a kind of birth defect.”

Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren) in Prime Suspect

“You know, there’s a twelve week residential course I could send you on especially designed to help you appreciate cultural sensitivities.” [Extending his arm] “I’d prefer an amputation!” “Yeah, well that’s not where you need cutting off. Go on, piss off!”

Joss Carter (Taraji P. Henson) in Person of Interest

“Can’t stop you from boozing your life away. But you go home and put your hands on your wife again, I’m coming after you.” “You come after me, and I will exercise my second amendment rights. And I promise you, I got a pretty big gun.” “Man as angry and bitter as you are I got a feeling it ain’t that big, Eddie.”

Monica Rawling (Glenn Close) in The Shield

“You were the red-headed step-child when I arrived here. I put my ass on the line to give you a second chance when nobody else would. I gave you power, I gave you respect. So keep your mouth shut before you lose both!”

Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) in Law and Order

“Don’t you just hate to see a grown man cry?”

Lydia Adams (Regina King) in Southland

“I got a baby at home I don’t need another at work.”

Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) in Sleepy Hollow

“Okay. I’ll play along here. I am a black female lieutenant for the Westchester County Police Department. Do you see this gun? I’m authorized to use it. On you.” “If you’re insinuating I endorse slavery, I’m offended.” “Wait, back up. You’re offended?” “I’ll have you know I was a proponent of the Abolitionist Act before the New York Assembly.” “Congratulations. Slavery has been abolished 150 years. It’s a whole new day in America.”

Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) in The Closer

“You’re under arrest for the sexual assault of Michelle Clarke — and if you think that bein’ the son of a sheriff’s commander made you popular at school, just wait until you get to prison.”

Ana-Lucia Cortez (Michelle Rodriguez) in Lost

“When I tell you to do something you do it. I say ‘move,’ you move. I say ‘stop,’ you stop.”

Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) in Dexter