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6 Kick Ass Female Crime Fighters

I'm moving into a new realm with my writing where I focus on fantasy crime fighters. So, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the best kick ass female crime fighters on TV. Because who doesn't love a badass chick kicking ass in the name of justice? Be it law and order or vigilante justice, the stakes are always high and the action is octane. But these ladies are ready for whatever is thrown at them.

There's a slew of kick ass chicks on TV these days but I'm keeping this list to the ones I've actually watched and admired in their pursuit for justice. Also, as much as I love Jessica Jones, I'm keeping the superpowered on the sidelines this time and focusing my criteria on crime dramas where the fights come down to fists or firearms.

Here now are the 5 kick ass female TV crime fighters and the actresses that played them:

1) Detective Kate Beckett, CASTLE - Played by Stana Katic

There's something about a character with an edge that really appeals to me. Most of the women on this list have that edge but none embrace it quite like Kate Beckett. The decorated detective on Castle starts the series as your typical sexy female cop type but as the layers on her character are peeled back to explore her tragic past, Beckett becomes so much more than striking cheekbones and stilettos.

There is an underlying aggression that drives this character to dark places sometimes and Stana Katic delivers it with a believable fierceness. Hell, she has the ability to just twist her face a certain way in a scene and you can tell Beckett means business. Couple that with a guttural, almost feral, growl during interrogation scenes and an attack mode that shows Katic trained for the role, and you get badass Becks.

But the flipside is that she also explores her vulnerability and even her humor with the same fervor, making the character well-rounded. And it doesn't hurt to have an actress who is multilingual. Hearing her speak fluent Russian during a scene was cool and sexy at the same time. Seriously, Stana Katic needs another series STAT! She's the total package.

I put Kate Beckett at number one because I haven't scene this type of character in a long time and she became one of my favorites really fast. Everything she did kept me on the edge of my seat, especially when the episodes delved into her search for her mother's killer. And an episode where she dealt with PTSD after a shooting was exquisite on so many levels. As the character Rick Castle once said about Beckett, she is truly "remarkable."

2) Jenny Hoyt, BIG SKY - Played by Katheryn Winnick

In at number two is a new character played by one of my favorite actresses Kathryn Winnick. Big Sky is based on a series of books but the character of Jenny Hoyt was created just for the series. I imagine this is why viewers don't see a lot of Jenny while the stories from the books are playing out. But when Winnick does appear on screen, I stop what I'm doing and take notice.

Playing a character from Montana infers a toughness. With Winnick holding a black belt in taekwondo, she holds her own. The thing I like about Jenny Hoyt is that she's not a straight-laced cop by any means. There's something about the vanilla, by-the-books characters that grates on my nerves. It's the rogues who push the envelope and follow their gut that are far more interesting.

Jenny carries alot of confidence, sass, and a big ass gun. She even took a bullet at the end of season 1, making her tougher than deer jerky. I'm interested to see where this character goes as the series progresses.

3) Sarah Walker, CHUCK - Played by Yvonne Strahovski

When I first saw Yvonne, it was as a villain in DEXTER. That character I didn't like but the next time I saw her it was as Agent Sarah Walker in CHUCK. That is when I saw another kickass female crime fighter. Sure, some of the things Sarah Walker does in the show are unrealistic and over the top but that's the fun of CHUCK.

Sarah comes in singularly mission minded but, just like the rest of the characters on the show, she starts to become a fully rounded character with many layers. I really like Sarah's unflinching resolve to get the job done. And similar to Stana Katic in Castle,Yvonne has a fierceness to her that makes me believe her as this super-spy. I also have to admit that they put her in skimpy outfits a little too much for my liking but I imagine when CHUCK came out it was focused on attracting a male audience.

Fortunately, the writers also gave Sarah some cool storylines of her own. For instance, when she goes in search of a missing Chuck on her own she becomes a total badass. A brutal muay-tai fight later and Sarah solidified herself as one of the coolest characters on TV.

4) Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke, REVENGE - Played by Emily van Camp

Emily Thorne is a different type of crime fighter on the list as she holds a grudge rather than a badge. This modern day Count of Monte Cristo is hell bent on getting vengeance against the family responsible for framing her father. What makes Emily great is she has a bit of Batman to her. She has enough wealth to make things happen, which includes training with Japanese assassins and hiring her own tech nerd.

Like Stana Katic in Castle, Emily van Camp brings a dark edge to Emily Thorne. As the series carries out and horrible events transpire, that brooding grows into a rage sometimes. The Canadian beauty, van Camp leaned into her background as a dancer to make her character looked heavily skilled in the arts. She also has a way of going from cool facade right into heavy emotion that draws you into a scene.

But what makes Emily Thorne so badass is that she's unapologetic in her actions. The horrible people she's going after deserve their comeuppance and she serves it to them with a sly grin. Only when the innocent get hurt in the process do we see Emily's regret and true heart. She's just a soul whose intentions are good.

5) Sydney Bristow, ALIAS - Played by Jennifer Garner

The original kick ass chick on TV spy series Alias, Sydney Bristow had all the elements to make her an instant favorite. How could you not be captivated by seeing her in the first scene with shock red hair speaking Chinese while captors rip out her teeth.

Garner is another long limbed actress who drew from her dance experience to make her seem like a skilled assassin. It worked because her conviction to the character coupled with her emotional performances took the scenes to another level. Sydney had to fool practically everyone around her through crazy costumes, different dialects, or even a simple backstory that made it seem like she worked at a bank rather than the CIA.

Alias is one of the only shows I caught from episode 1 and watched all the way through (this was before streaming). Its because of Sydney that I stayed invested even when the plot went to shit. As I've always said in writing, if there is an emotional investment with the character it will keep an audience coming back. Syd kicked serious ass.

A lot of the kudos has to go out to Garner's stunt double Shauna Duggins, who made some of the more complicated scenes go off flawlessly. Spy missions, crazy costumes, a lot of sexual tension, yeah...that's a kick ass crime story.

6) Sarah Linden, THE KILLING - Played by Mireille Enos

Why do I love Sarah so much in The Killing? Because she's a damn mess but still gets the job done! I don't just mean her appearance is messy, though in a list of tall, gorgeous model types in glamorous clothes it's nice to see a bit of realism. Sarah is a detective who gets so wrapped up in trying to solve the murder of a young girl that she barely remembers to eat let alone worry about makeup and pretty hair.

Mireille Enos captures the angst of this character who is trying her best to track a killer even while her personal life is falling apart. Linden is badass because she doesn't flinch. She knows how to go for what she wants regardless of personal consequences. This is the perfect depiction of someone so wrapped up in her job that she has blinders on to everything else, including her hot partner's apparent attraction to her.

While I'm at it, let me take a minute to shout out the counterparts to these kick ass ladies. If not for amazing chemistry with their scene partners maybe this list would be completely different. You're only as good as your dance partner and these ladies had some good ones. So shout out to Nathan Fillion (Castle), Nick Weschler (Revenge), Michael Vartan (Alias), and Joel Kinnamen (The Killing) for being the ladies consistent counterparts.

Honorable Mentions: In the interest of brevity I kept the list short. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention these crime fighting ladies as well.

  • Dr. Temperance Brennan, BONES - Played by Emily Deschanel

  • Debrah Morgan, DEXTER - Played by Jennifer Carpenter

  • Det. Jane Rizzoli, RIZZOLI & ISLES - Played by Angie Harmon

  • Agent Elizabeth Keene, THE BLACKLIST - Played by Megan Boone

  • Det. Mare Sheehan, MARE OF EASTTOWN - Played by Kate Winslet

  • Rita Lance, SILK STALKINGS - Played by Mitzi Kapture

I'm sure there are more, but these are the characters and the badass ladies behind the scenes who stuck out to me most.

Who is your favorite female crime fighter?


Cynthia writes fantasy fiction about outcast and anti-heroes overcoming the odds. Her fantasy crime fighters come in the form of superheroes, vigilantes, and bounty hunters with an edge. Cyn is also a freelance wellness writer and former fitness competitor.




"Original Cyn" Cynthia Vespia writes fantasy novels with edge. This blog is dedicated to all things fantasy and my author journey.


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