With the return of 'Rizzoli & Isles' (Season 2 premieres Mon., July 11, 10PM ET on TNT) -- where stars Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander battle Boston bad guys as a detective and medical examiner team -- we salute those cops and lawyers who help maintain law and order (some of them are even on'Law & Order') on TV.
Of course, all of the current TV cops on our list have some iconic legal ladies to thank, including 'Police Woman''s Pepper Anderson (Angie Dickinson); Claudette Wyms (CCH Pounder) on 'The Shield'; and the dynamic duo of 'Cagney & Lacey' (Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly), just to name a few.
And we can't forget their legal counterparts either, with beloved barristers like Susan Dey's Grace van Owen on 'L.A. Law'; Sarah McKenzie (Catherine Bell) on 'JAG'; the ladies of 'Boston Legal,' 'The Practice' and 'Ally McBeal'; Markie Post's Christine Sullivan on 'Night Court'; and Harmon herself, as 'Law & Order''s ADA Abbie Carmichael.
These pros all helped pave the moral way for what's now one of the most popular professions for women on TV. Here, 11 of our current favorite female TV cops and lawyers.
Det. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), 'Law & Order: SVU'
Olivia's tragically sad background -- she was the product of rape, and her mother was an abusive alcoholic -- makes her one of the most sympathetic detectives on TV. With changes underway at 'SVU,' it's hard to imagine anyone filling her shoes.
Season 13 premieres Wed., Sept. 21, 10PM ET on NBC
Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne), 'Damages'
With a boss like Patty Hewes (Glenn Close), Ellen had to learn to navigate the tough, shark-infested waters of high-profile legal cases pretty fast ... and she's done it with style, grace and an impressive knack for always keeping us guessing.
Season 4 premieres Wed., July 13, 10PM ET on DirecTV's the Audience Network
Det. Lydia Adams(Regina King), 'Southland'
As one of the few female detectives on a very male-dominated LAPD squad, Lydia always gets the bad guy, and looks great doing it. Sure, being a workaholic doesn't give her enough time for a proper personal life, but she's getting better about balancing.
Season 4 premieres January2012 on TNT
Det. Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), 'Castle'
Beckett isn't afraid to put her life on the line in the name of justice, and she often finds herself in peril (see: last season's finale), but this tough chick never turns down a seemingly unsolvable case. No wonder she inspired Castle's hit book series 'Nikki Heat.'
Season 4 premieres Mon., Sept. 19, 10PM ET on ABC
Jane Bingum (Brooke Elliot), 'Drop Dead Diva'
Even with the spirit of an aspiring supermodel stuck inside of her, Jane is an excellent lawyer. Her ability to charm a jury and simultaneously find a key piece of evidence in a big case makes her one of the more delightful courtroom counselors on the small screen.
Season 3 airing Sunday nights at 9PM ET on Lifetime
Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger), 'CSI'
Tough but fair with a heart of gold, this former stripper juggles her demanding job at the Las Vegas Police Department and being a single mom. And not to belittle her beautiful mind, but has anyone ever looked hotter examining blood spatter?
Season 12 premieres Wed., Sept. 21, 10PM ET on CBS
Harriet Kern (Kathy Bates), 'Harry's Law'
This part was originally written with a man in mind, which just makes us love Harry being a Harriet even more. Once a bored patent lawyer, Harry now represents the underserved clients that big shot attorneys wouldn't dare take on.
Season 2 premieres Wed., Sept. 21, 9PM ET on NBC
Det. Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon), 'Rizzoli & Isles'
With Dr. Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander) as her medical examiner BFF and polar opposite, the homicide beat is a lot less daunting for Det. Rizzoli. Her head is always on straight, even when it comes to the most brutal cases.
Season 2 premieres Mon., July 11, 10PM ET on TNT
U.S. Marshal Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack), 'In Plain Sight'
Working for the Witness Protection Program can't be easy, but tough as nails Mary takes the pressures of the job all in stride, always remembering to keep her witnesses at the top of her priority list. She didn't rise to the ranks of U.S. Marshal for nothing ...
Season 4 airing Sundays, 10PM ET on USA
Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), 'The Good Wife'
Alicia (Julianna Margulies) is the star of the show, but scene-stealing boss lady Diane never backs down from a challenge. Always cool, calm and collected under pressure, we love watching this legal lady work.
Season 3 premieres Sun., Sept. 25, 9PM ET on CBS
Lt. Tanya Rice (Alfre Woodard), 'Memphis Beat'
This no-nonsense boss keeps the boys of the Memphis P.D. in line -- and that's no small task. Of course, she's sacrificed her home life to get this far professionally, but her sharp one-liners and a hint of motherly love make her the right woman for the job.
Season 2 airing Tuesdays at 9PM ET on TNT
And, of course, there are plenty more where these came from. Which current female TV cops and lawyers do you love? Chime in here in the comments.
Follow Maggie on Twitter @TheTVShowGirl