There has been a reemerging interest in “true crime” documentaries and dramatizations in the last few years. That comes as no surprise when shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Criminal Minds have been dominating American television since the early 2000s.
The beginning of this year marked the end of Criminal Minds, a procedural crime drama that followed a group of tight-knit criminal profilers who work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Since 2005, the show enticed audiences as the profilers sought out dangerous and disturbed criminals, many of whom were based on true stories. Beyond that, the show dived into the fictional character’s personal lives. It was impossible to not fall in love with them, whether it was the fan-favorite flirting between the buff and beautiful profiler Derek Morgan and the nerdy-but-edgy technical analyst Penelope Garia, or the quirky philosophicalness of agent Spencer Reid, a child genius turned young profiler.
Before Criminal Minds was Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU), a show held in high regard since 1999. This crime show stars Mariska Hargitay as the lead character Olivia Benson, a New York Police Department Captain. It also introduced hip-hop artist Ice-T as a leading detective named Odafin Tutuola in season two, a role he has been occupying since 2000. While both shows follow dark crimes and criminals, Criminal Minds tends to focus more on the criminal’s behaviors and psychology while Law & Order: SVU is more about prosecution and other law processes.
These shows are both well acclaimed for their writing, acting, and thrilling pace. Both are notorious and have made sweeps at award shows. Unlike Criminal Minds, Law & Order: SVU isn’t planning on going anywhere anytime soon, as it has already been renewed for two more seasons.
There are many shows like these, many of which have hopeful futures. Here are six crime shows to watch that are equally as interesting and entertaining as the aforementioned two.
Beware, although highly successful and praised, Mindhunter has ceased production after its second season. Available for streaming on Netflix, this show follows two hyper-masculine federal agents and a closeted lesbian psychologist (played by Fringe’s Anna Torv) working in the newfound field of criminal profiling. The show is similar to Criminal Minds, in the sense that the show focuses on behavioral science, however, Mindhunter takes place in the late-70s and early-80s, rather than contemporary times. The show also hones in on one killer, rather than sporadically mixing it up throughout the season.
This crime drama tackles misogyny and toxic masculinity, as well as period-typical homophobia and racism.
Mindhunter is available for streaming on Netflix.
Although the show got off to a rough start, having been canceled on its original network after three seasons and then picked up by Netflix, Lucifer has developed a large fan following. The show is more fictional than the previously mentioned ones, it is more of a fantasy drama. However, it still falls in the crime genre as it casts the recently-retired Devil as a consultant to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Lucifer captures a fascinating love story amongst its many crime scenes and it features a constant battle between the fantasy characters. Interestingly enough, the title character has been tied into the D.C. extended universe, making a cameo in the crossover television event Crisis in the Infinite Universe.
Lucifer is available for streaming on Netflix.
Fargo is an ongoing black comedy crime drama based on a movie by the same name with the original creators being named as executive producers. It is an anthology series, each season takes place at a different time and location. So far, each of the four seasons have featured highly-populated casts with actors such as; Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Kirsten Dunst, and Chris Rock, among many other notable names.
Each episode grasps the audience’s attention from the opening scenes. The episodes start with the dramatized statement, “This is a true story. The events depicted took place in [season’s location’ in [season’s year]. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.” Fargo is everything dark, quirky, and invigorating as it showcases the actions and lives of both the criminals and the investigators.
Fargo is available for streaming on Hulu.
Veronica Mars started as a teen crime drama as it followed the titular character (played by Kristen Bell) who, at the time, was a high school student and the daughter of a respected private investigator. Although each episode follows crimes of varying degrees, from cult-like child abuse to the unconsented spread of salacious images, there is an overarching mystery that overarches each season. The first season was occupied with the investigation of the murder of Mars’ best friend.
This show has a rocky past as it found itself canceled after three seasons, with little warning. Seven years after its cancellation, show creator Rob Thomas and lead actor Kristen Bell launched a fundraiser which led to a movie being crowdfunded by the show’s supportive fans. After the success of the fan-service filled movie, Hulu revived the series, releasing eight episodes featuring a majority of the original cast.
All episodes of Veronica Mars are available for streaming on Hulu. The movie is available for rent on Amazon Prime and YouTube, or with an HBOMax subscription.
Back to procedural crime dramas, White Collar follows the character Neal Caffery who is played by Matt Bomer. Caffery is a famed con artist who offers his brilliance to a lead FBI agent, Peter Burke, in exchange for early-release on his prison sentence. Burke and Caffery are polar opposites, often butting heads. Surprisingly enough, they make a fool-proof team in catching white-collar criminals, meaning ones that are involved with nonviolent, financially motivated crimes.
White Collar is witty and fast-paced throughout its six seasons. Excitingly enough, it was announced this summer by the show’s creator that a revival with original cast members is in the works.
White Collar is available for streaming on Hulu.
As given by the title, S.W.A.T follows the leader of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics unit (S.W.A.T) team, Sergeant Daniel Hondo who is played by Criminal Minds favorite Shemar Moore who seamlessly amplifies his charm as Sergeant Hondo. Hondo is deeply invested in his community, as he grew up in the Los Angeles area that his team serves. He uses that to his advantage as members of the community offer him help and he actively works to alleviate the tensions between them and the police department.
The show is packed with crime-fighting action and is currently premiering season four. The newest season began airing earlier this week and judging by the trailer, it begins to tackle the current political climate surrounding police-induced violence.
S.W.A.T is available for streaming on Hulu.
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