The case was adjourned to February 11.
The accused, who occupied the entire dock and two other rows, face 116 charges, ranging from 28 murders to racketeering and defeating the ends of justice.
The group allegedly carried out paid hits in the KwaZulu-Natal taxi wars. The charges cover the period 2008 to 2011.
They were arrested more than two years ago. Two of the accused detectives have since died.
Another two accused had resigned from the police for jobs in the private sector at the time of the arrests.
The accused were suspended and had been out on bail and “at home and in limbo ever since”, one detective told Sapa before going into court.
Their boss, Major General Johan Booysen, was in court to support his former colleagues. He sat next to them while they stood throughout the proceedings.
Booysen, the former head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal, was suspended pending the outcome of an internal disciplinary hearing next month.
He was cleared of racketeering charges in a high court hearing earlier this year.
Carl van der Merwe, for the detectives, applied for more information as well as further particulars on the indictment.
Prosecutor Sello Maema, one of six advocates flown in from Pretoria for the brief hearing, told Judge Kate Pillay that the particulars the defence wanted involved between 7000 and 8000 pages.
If the State “pressurise ourselves and work very hard”, it could have them ready in six months, Maema said.
When asked by Pillay how many firearms were involved, Maema said “numerous”.
The detectives had gathered at a nearby restaurant before the hearing, where the mood was upbeat.
“We are quite confident. We have been through every single allegation and, to me, there is no case,” said one detective.
Members of the Durban Organised Crime Unit Facebook page, which has 14,212 followers, were in court to support the detectives.