15 Smartest, Sexiest Crime-fighters of '09: the Women
MARISKA HARGITAY Olivia Benson, Law & Order: SVU
We're not entirely sure if your average New York City police detective can afford the stylish designer suits that Hargitay's flinty character regularly rocks on NBC's long-running procedural, but she looks so darn scorching in 'em that we're more than willing to suspend our disbelief.
EMILY PROCTER Calleigh Duquesne, CSI: Miami
Is it the silky blonde hair? Or the killer Southern accent? Or maybe it's Calleigh's encyclopedic knowledge of firearms? Whatever the reason, Procter's undeniable sex appeal manages to shine through — even when the writing on CBS' sun-soaked CSI franchise veers toward the ridiculous.
MARG HELGENBERGER Catherine Willows, CSI
From her sly smile all the way to her never-ending gams, it's not hard to see how Helgenberger's veteran crime-solver (and certified hot mama) once made a living as a Vegas showgirl.
EVA LA RUE Natalia Boa Vista, CSI: Miami
Since joining Team Horatio on CBS' high-rated procedural, La Rue has done more for lab coats than the Food Network has done for gourmet home cooking. (Okay, so that metaphor was wonky as heck, but we got distracted by LaRue's picture. Sue us!)
REGINA KING Lydia Adams, Southland
King's big-hearted, workaholic detective is the emotional center of NBC's gritty, L.A.-set cop drama. And the fact that her gorgeous face can convey a wide range of nuanced emotions only makes it that much harder to take our eyes off her.
ROBIN TUNNEY Teresa Lisbon, The Mentalist
Those moments when Tunney's hard-nosed boss lady cracks a slight, bemused grin over the antics of her crime-solving team's resident genius (Simon Baker's Patrick Jane) just makes her that much more of a stone-cold babe, no matter how frills-free and utilitarian her wardrobe may be.
ANNA TORV Olivia Dunham, Fringe
Even when her super-serious FBI special agent is investigating the most gruesome and gory of cases, newcomer Torv remains paranormally hot. Or, well, somethin' like that.
STANA KATIC Kate Beckett, Castle
Oh, it's tough to be her... opposite steamy Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace, opposite charmer Nathan Fillion on ABC's Castle, which, we're happy to say, returns this fall for a second season. As an NYPD homicide detective, Katic keeps the mystery alive: She's too smart to swoon for playboy Richard Castle, and yet, she's one of the crime author's biggest fans. We want to see how this story ends.
AMANDA RIGHETTI Grace Van Pelt, The Mentalist
Her wide-eyed newbie may try to project an all-business front to her co-workers, but Righetti's smoldering chemistry with Owain Yeoman's Rigsby is one of the many non-procedural-ish pleasures of CBS' hit freshman mystery series.
ALANA DE LA GARZA Connie Rubirosa, Law & Order
Sure, her whip-smart A.D.A. Rubirosa puts perps away with the frequency of Ryan Seacrest updating his Twitter page, but think of it this way: If you had to choose one woman to gaze upon before getting sent to the clink, wouldn't De La Garza rank near the top of the list?
MONICA RAYMUND Ria Torres, Lie to Me
To be honest, we never stuck around after Idol to catch Fox's solving-crime-through-facial-tics drama, but if the rest of the cast is as fetching as Raymund, we might have to rethink that strategy when new episodes start airing this fall.
ROSELYN SANCHEZ Elena Delgado, Without a Trace
Yes, Without a Trace is disappearing from CBS' primetime lineup, but don't lose hope: Sanchez's curvaceous agent (and her steamy dalliances with Enrique Murciano's Danny) will live on in cable reruns.
JENNIFER CARPENTER Debra Morgan, Dexter
Okay, so her brother is a serial killer. And so was her ex-boyfriend. And she's a little bit emotionally unstable. Does that make Carpenter's Miami police detective any less of a smokin' hottie?
MARY MCCORMACK Mary Shannon, In Plain Sight
McCormack's U.S. Marshall is as tough as she is intelligent. And how can you not love a woman who can use her brains or her fists to knock you out cold?
COTE DE PABLO Mossad Liaison Ziva David, NCIS
There's nothing sexier than a woman who could kick your ass, and Ziva David is always up for it. That's also what makes her vulnerable moments, which de Pablo played so well in season six's final episodes, so beautiful.