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30 Shows Like The Mentalist You Need To See

One of the most consistently popular shows of its era, "The Mentalist" ran on CBS from 2008 to 2015. The series follows Patrick Jane (Simon Baker), a former "psychic" working for the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to help solve murders. Though admittedly not an actual psychic, he possesses keen observational skills and a deep understanding of human psychology, which allows him to successfully profile witnesses and suspects.

As it turns out, the real reason he started working for the CBI was so he could catch a serial killer known as Red John, who killed Jane's wife and daughter after he taunted the man live on television. Joining Jane is his boss Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) and her colleagues Kimball Cho (Tim Kang), Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman), and Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti). Like in any good law enforcement procedural, Jane and Lisbon have a sometimes antagonistic relationship with clear romantic undertones.

If you miss "The Mentalist," don't fret; the notion of a specialist helping solve crimes was around long before Patrick Jane, and the success of his show only enabled more greenlights in its wake. Below is a list of shows you'd likely love if "The Mentalist" is still on your mind.


Like "The Mentalist," "Psych" follows a police consultant who's not actually a psychic, despite what the show's title might suggest. The show focuses on Shawn Spencer (James Roday Rodriguez), who happens to possess some pretty incredible powers of observation thanks to his father, a former detective who taught Shawn to always take note of every detail around him. Shawn also happens to have an impressive eidetic memory. Shawn uses these skills to help the police solve crimes by calling in tips, but they begin to suspect him of a crime he actually helped solve.

So, to assuage their suspicions, he convinces the police force he's actually a psychic, which is how he's been able to solve all these crimes. We know, of course, that this is not true, but the initially skeptical police eventually begin to believe his claims as he helps them with more and more cases. Shawn also ropes his best friend Gus (Dulé Hill) into his lie, even starting his own psychic agency to establish himself as a real psychic. "Psych" (which ran on USA Network between 2006 and 2014) is similar in theme to "The Mentalist," albeit with humor and hijinks thrown in. With eight seasons and three movies out so far, there's plenty to dig your teeth into.


Another USA series, "Monk" follows Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub), a former detective in the San Francisco Police Department. When Monk's wife is murdered and the crime goes unsolved, he develops obsessive-compulsive disorder, which causes him to lose his job. After neglecting to leave his house for several years, Monk eventually begins working as a private detective with the help of his assistant and nurse Sharona Fleming (Bitty Schram). His former colleagues, Captain Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) and Lieutenant Randy Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford) also call on Monk for assistance with their most difficult cases.

Like the lead characters in "The Mentalist" and "Psych," Monk possesses sharp observational skills that allow him to see things others don't. He's a compelling character, and Shalhoub is brilliant in the role. "For those who like to mix their comedy with murder-of-the-week cop dramas, Tony Shalhoub's performance as a detective with obsessive-compulsive disorder in this USA Network comedy is a true classic," said USA Today in a review. A critically and commercially acclaimed series, "Monk" won eight Emmy Awards and broke a basic cable ratings record during its final season.

Poker Face

Writer-director Rian Johnson has already proven that he has what it takes to create an interesting mystery thriller. His films "Knives Out" and "Glass Onion," featuring Daniel Craig as the brilliant detective Benoit Blanc, are both charming and intriguing. As such, when Johnson began work on the Peacock-exclusive series "Poker Face," many people were understandably excited, especially when it was revealed that "Orange is the New Black" and "Russian Doll" star Natasha Lyonne would take the lead role.

Described by The Guardian as a cross between "Columbo" and "The Mentalist," "Poker Face" follows Charlie Cale, a casino cocktail waitress who goes on the run across the U.S. and becomes embroiled in a number of mysterious deaths during her travels. Using her extraordinary ability to tell whenever somebody is lying, she gains an almost unnatural insight into the minds of suspects and unravels seemingly unsolvable crimes.

Debuting to critical acclaim (the show holds a near-perfect 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and a handful of Emmy Awards nominations in 2023, "Poker Face" is a brilliant case-of-the-week murder mystery series. Like "The Mentalist," it also has an overall plot arc that ties everything together and it focuses on a main character who is able to quickly read people and pick up on subtle social cues.


In many ways, Patrick Jane is a modern take on Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic detective Sherlock Holmes. Both figures can spot things that even highly skilled investigators are incapable of noticing, and both are loners who can manipulate others into doing what they want. Other points of similarity include inflated egos, an uncanny ability to read people, and the fact that they both work as consultants for the police. This means that any fan of "The Mentalist" is bound to enjoy "Sherlock."

Created by regular collaborators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, "Sherlock" is a 2010 crime drama that was first broadcast on the BBC. Running for four seasons in total, it sees Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman portray modern versions of Holmes and Dr. John Watson in 21st-century London. Each episode in the series follows Sherlock as he solves complicated and mysterious crimes, although there is often an overarching narrative.

Although the critical reception dipped near the end, earlier episodes won widespread acclaim and the show was nominated for numerous awards during its run. And, like all the best British shows, it's short and sweet — with just 12 episodes and a special that aired in 2016, "Sherlock" is a fairly easy series to binge. And, like "The Mentalist," it has its fair share of lighthearted moments to balance out the more serious parts.


Though BBC's "Sherlock" is arguably the most well-known adaptation of Sherlock Holmes in recent history, CBS's "Elementary" is just as worthy of praise. The series, which ran between 2012 and 2019, stars Johnny Lee Miller as Sherlock and Lucy Liu as Watson. Like the hit BBC show, it's set in the present-day — while "Sherlock" unfolds in London, "Elementary" takes place across the pond in New York City. 

This version of Sherlock is very different. A former drug addict, he arrives in Manhattan to find that his father has hired a "sober companion" to live with him while he's in the city. That companion is Joan Watson, a former surgeon who lost her license after the death of a patient. Sherlock begins working as a consultant for the NYPD, and he soon finds that he and Watson make an excellent team.

One of the best things about the series is the relationship between Sherlock and Watson, who have one of the most well-written platonic relationships in recent memory. It's rare to see a procedural handle a team dynamic this way, and Sherlock and Watson's back-and-forth never gets old. Both actors excel in their roles, with Miller coming in for particular praise from critics. "If Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were creating Sherlock Holmes for TV today, chances are very good that he'd be a lot like the Sherlock that CBS has created in their new procedural," said the New York Post.

Lie To Me

Another show that illustrates how psychology can be used to solve crimes, "Lie To Me" is a short-lived (it ran for three seasons on Fox between 2009 and 2011) but brilliant show anchored by an in-form Tim Roth. He plays Dr. Cal Lightman, owner of the Lightman Group, a company that assists various law enforcement agencies using applied psychology. Roth's Dr. Cal is an expert in the field of body language and microexpressions, giving him the unique ability to discover if someone is lying or not. Lightman works with Dr. Gillian Foster (Kelli Williams), a brilliant psychologist, and Ria Torres (Monica Raymund), Lightman's protégé who he deems a "natural" at reading people.

The problem with Lightman's immense skill in this arena, however, is that he is also very good at deceiving others, which means he's not always trustworthy himself. This contradiction makes for good television — so if mind games are your thing, you can trust in this late '00s TV drama. Viewers at the time certainly did — in 2011, "Lie To Me" won the People's Choice Award for favorite TV crime drama, and Roth also scooped a People's Choice Award that year, named as the public's favorite TV crime fighter.


The shows we have listed thus far feature characters who are not actually psychic, but are simply extremely observational. Allison DuBois (Patricia Arquette), the subject of this Glenn Gordon Caron series that lasted for an admirable 130 episodes, is the real deal. A housewife and mother of three who begins working as an intern for the Phoenix DA when she has a dream about a murder, Allison's assistance in solving that crime makes D.A. Manuel Devalos (Miguel Sandoval) and colleagues — as well as her husband, Joe (Jake Weber) — believe that her psychic powers are legit.

"Medium" takes Allison's powers at face value. We quickly learn that not only does she have prophetic visions and dreams, but that she can also speak to dead people. The series (which ran for seven seasons between 2005 and 2011, moving to CBS for its final two years after starting out on NBC) is based on the real-life "Medium" of the same name, who has attempted to use her abilities to help law enforcement solve crimes. If you're able to accept the show's slightly outlandish premise, it might just become your newest television obsession.


Your parents and grade school teachers always told you math would come in handy one day, but could it be used to solve crime? Nerds reign supreme in the addictive procedural "Numbers," which follows FBI agent Don Eppes (Rob Morrow), who hires his younger brother Charlie (David Krumholtz) to help solve his most difficult cases. Charlie is a math genius and a college professor, and while Don's colleagues at the FBI are skeptical of his involvement, Charlie's skills are essential in helping solve these crimes.

The charm of "Numbers" (which ran for six seasons on CBS between 2005 and 2010) is that it combines two worlds: The fast-paced, regimented world of the FBI and the quirky, bookish world of the fictional California Institute of Science (CalSci), where Charlie works. Also along for the ride is Don and Charlie's eccentric father, Alan Eppes (Judd Hirsch), a former city planner. There's something uniquely satisfying about watching geniuses solve mysteries with only the power of their minds, and this show is a testament to that. Even if math isn't your thing, "Numbers" might just give you the mental jolt you need.

Rizzoli & Isles

"Rizzoli & Isles," a TNT show that ran for seven seasons between 2010 and 2016, is something that fans of "The Mentalist" will no doubt enjoy for a variety of reasons. For one thing, the series features an amusing push-and-pull dynamic between its two leads, and for another, it also depicts a compelling discussion about the relative merits of science versus gut feelings. Set in Boston, the show follows Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon), a tough homicide detective, and Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander), a brilliant but at times socially inept medical examiner.

Though their different temperaments leads to conflict at times, the duo become fast friends, using their respective talents and their unique bond to solve crimes across Boston. A classic odd-couple pairing in the vein of "The X-Files" or "Bones," "Rizzoli & Isles" is sure to please fans of the genre. The show, which is based on the novel series by Tess Gerritsen, got off to a slightly rocky start in terms of critical response, but it soon found its feet. "'Rizzoli & Isles' has become one of the best cop shows on TV," the New York Daily News said in a review of the show's third season.


TNT's "Leverage," which ran between 2008 and 2012, has a lot in common with classic investigative procedurals — the big difference here is that the main characters are the ones perpetrating the crimes, rather than solving them. Like "The Mentalist," "Leverage" depicts a formerly successful man who switches careers following the tragic loss of his family. The series follows Nate Ford (Timothy Hutton), a former insurance investigator who now leads a team of thieves that carry out Robin Hood-like heists to steal from greedy, corrupt institutions.

Nate became a thief following the death of his son, who became terminally ill and died after the insurance company he worked for refused to cover his life-saving treatment. Now Nate works as the leader of a gang of thieves, which includes The Grifter (Gina Bellman), The Hacker (Aldis Hodge), The Hitter (Christian Kane), and The Thief (Beth Riesgraf). Nate and his team follow a set of rules, which is that they only steal from the rich and powerful in the service of working people who have no other choice. The show was rebooted as  "Leverage: Redemption" in 2021 with most of the main cast (minus Hutton) returning.

Ghost Whisperer

If "Medium" was "Armageddon," then "Ghost Whisperer" was "Deep Impact." Airing on CBS between 2005 and 2010, it stars Jennifer Love Hewitt as Melinda Gordon, a woman who lives in a quaint New York town and has an unusual talent: she can see and communicate with ghosts. She attempts to live a normal life — she runs an antique store and is married to a firefighter (David Conrad) — but in her spare time she helps ghosts communicate with the living and resolve their problems so they can finally move into the afterlife.

While it's certainly not the most realistic, hard-hitting show out there, "Ghost Whisperer" works mostly because of Hewitt's committed performance and the charming world that the show creates. Melinda splits her time between working with her best friend Delia (Camryn Manheim) in her antique shop and traipsing around town talking to spirits, trying to convince their loved ones that she's not crazy and is actually trying to help. Almost every episode ends with Melinda successfully resolving these ghosts' problems and allowing them to finally step into the light, so you needn't worry about any loose ends with this one.


You really are spoiled for choice when it comes to shows that follow a brilliant but tormented investigator trying to reckon with the dark side of human behavior, yet "Luther" is a cut above the rest. This BBC series follows John Luther (Idris Elba), an emotionally troubled but brilliant detective working in London. Luther is obsessive, impulsive, and frequently self-destructive, having paid a heavy toll for his dedication to the job.

The first season follows his pursuit of Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson), an ingenious psychopath and murderer who it seems he is unable to catch. Alice becomes increasingly infatuated with Luther, and he, in turn, is fascinated by her. Their relationship is incredibly compelling, as both characters are brilliant yet inscrutable people. Like many investigate procedurals, psychology is important to "Luther," especially as it concerns the beguiling psyche of Alice. Is she a psychopath through and through? Does she have the capacity for feelings? That's for the viewer to decide. There are five seasons in total, as well as the film "Luther: The Fallen Sun," which dropped on Netflix in 2023.


"Mindhunter" is arguably the most prematurely canceled Netflix show ever. This David Fincher-produced crime series feels so real that you can practically smell the prisons and interrogation rooms where much of it takes place. Much of the modern obsession with psychology and law enforcement comes via stories about the real-life people who investigate these killers, and that's what makes "Mindhunter" so great — it's based on the book "Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit," which tells the real story of FBI agents John Douglas and Robert Ressler.

"Mindhunter" looks at the origins of the Behavioral Analysis Unit, which was founded within the FBI in the 1970s and coined the term "serial killer." The series follows FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), along with psychologist and professor Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), who operate what they call the Behavioral Sciences Unit at Quantico. Through their work there, they begin to develop a pioneering method of profiling serial killers, a method which many of us are familiar with today. In classic Fincher style, the show is beautifully executed with a killer eye for detail, and its interrogation scenes are some of the most riveting of the medium.

Criminal Minds

"Criminal Minds" took viewers into the heart of the Behavioral Analysis Unit long before "Mindhunter" came to Netflix. Each episode focuses on a new killer or criminal that the team must profile and catch. The unit flies around the country on their private jet, quickly getting the lay of the land in every town they visit so they can accurately assess the situation. While the cast of the show has changed numerous times over its fifteen seasons, the core cast is what many fans show up to see. There's Hotch (Thomas Gibson), the team's stoic leader, Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), a brilliant wunderkind, JJ (A.J. Cook), an empathetic badass, and Penelope (Kirsten Vangsness), a former hacker and the team's tech specialist — to name only a few.

The show originally ran for fifteen seasons on CBS and was a regular big-hitter for the network, often drawing huge numbers of viewers. Fans remained invested primarily because of the aforementioned characters, who are more like a family than they are co-workers. As such, they were devastated when the show came to an end in February 2020, though it didn't stay gone for long. The hit series was renewed by Paramount+ and Season 16 came to the streamer under the title "Criminal Minds: Evolution" in 2022. It scored rave reviews and there's no doubt that fans of "The Mentalist" will love this updated take on the classic series, as well as the original.


"The Mentalist" often focuses on emotional and grim storylines, with criminals committing terrible deeds before being tracked down by law enforcement and Patrick Jane. If you enjoy these darker aspects of the series, "Broadchurch" will be right up your street. First airing in 2013, this British crime drama stars David Tennant, Olivia Colman, and Jodie Whittaker, among many others. Created by future "Doctor Who" showrunner Chris Chibnall, it follows Detective Inspector Alec Hardy and Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller as they pursue the killer of 11-year-old Danny Latimer in a fictional coastal town.

The two subsequent seasons continue the story after Danny's murderer has been discovered. They cover the suspect's criminal trial and showcase the Latimer family's attempts to overcome the grief from their loss, as well as a new crime that takes place in the area. The show received widespread critical acclaim upon release and won numerous awards, with the performances of Colman and Tennant earning particular praise. Like "The Mentalist," things are never exactly what they seem in "Broadchurch," and there are plenty of twists and turns — everyone is a potential suspect. Even without those similarities, "Broadchurch" is worth watching simply because it's so good.

The Blacklist

One of several shows where the police consultant is a former criminal, "The Blacklist" follows a man called Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader), a former Navy officer who became a criminal and then evaded the authorities for decades. For unknown reasons, Red voluntarily gives himself up and agrees to collaborate with the FBI under one condition: That he work with a profiler named Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), a woman with whom he has no apparent connection.

The link between Red and Liz is slowly revealed over the course of several seasons, as each individual episode focuses on the unlikely pair and the rest of the team working to apprehend international criminals that Red has on his lengthy "Blacklist." The series features many twists and turns and only gets more complicated as it moves along, leading audiences on a wild ride. The show came to an end in 2023 after a decade of thrills, and it's the perfect binge for fans of "The Mentalist" looking for something weighty to get their teeth stuck into.

Miss Sherlock

There have been plenty of new and inventive takes on the iconic detective Sherlock Holmes in recent years, and "Miss Sherlock" is one you don't want to miss. It only aired for one season in 2018 (in part due to the tragic death of lead actor Yuko Takeuchi), but it's still very much worth your time. This gender-swapped adaptation starred the magnetic Takeuchi as Sara Shelly Futaba (known as "Sherlock"), a consulting detective in modern-day Tokyo. She's joined in her investigations by her new flatmate Dr. Wato Tachibana (Shihori Kanjiya) — aka "Wato-san." He's a doctor who has just returned from providing medical aid in Syria. 

This hit Japanese show puts a unique spin on a legendary pairing. Like any adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes story, Sherlock and Watson's relationship is complex and at times mildly combative, yet they make a great team. Takeuchi's performance as Sherlock is especially compelling, and her strangeness feels totally unique to this new setting. If you've already seen "Sherlock" and "Elementary," it might be time to take a chance on the critically acclaimed "Miss Sherlock" next.

Person of Interest

One of the most interesting things about "The Mentalist" is how it presents audiences with questions about psychology and the nature of the human mind. While "Person of Interest" (which ran on CBS between 2011 and 2016) isn't necessarily a show about psychology, it does ask some similarly fascinating questions about the way we behave as a species.

The series follows Harold Finch (Michael Emerson), a brilliant billionaire computer genius who has created a program intended to stop acts of terrorism before they happen. Predicting the exploitation of his creation, known as "The Machine," Finch programs it to only provide tiny pieces of information about potential victims or perpetrators, which means The Machine is unable to act on this information on its own. 

Working in secret — the government considers any information not related to terrorism "irrelevant" — Finch and former CIA operative Reese (Jim Caviezel) work to stop crimes before they happen. The team operating The Machine eventually grows (Taraji P. Henson, Sarah Shahi, and Amy Acker are also cast members) as Finch grapples with profound questions about the nature of humanity and the intentions of his beloved creation. It's a thrilling, provocative series that will keep your mind turning even after the screen goes black.


NBC's "Blindspot" follows an unnamed woman (Jaimie Alexander) known only as Jane Doe, who is discovered naked in Times Square with no memory of who she is or how she got there. Jane Doe is also covered in tattoos, and one of the tattoos is the name of an FBI agent, Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton). For obvious reasons, Weller is assigned to the case.

Weller and his team soon find out that every tattoo on Jane Doe's body is a clue to a crime they must solve, each leading them closer to the truth about her identity and the vast conspiracy that she's a part of. As Jane and Weller become closer, the mysteries only become more complex and the answers harder to come by.

It's clear that Jane is part of something much bigger than anyone on the team can comprehend, and Weller must decide if he can trust her or not (and vice versa). We can't say much more than that without spoiling it, so you'll just have to watch the show and discover the truth for yourself. All you need to know is that, if you're a fan of "The Mentalist," you're bound to enjoy it.

Saving Grace

One of the central themes of "The Mentalist" is redemption. Feeling responsible for the death of his wife and daughter, Patrick Jane begins working with law enforcement primarily as a means to catch the man responsible for their death. Another show that set the idea of redemption in a law enforcement environment was "Saving Grace," which aired from 2007 to 2010 on TNT.

The series follows Grace Hanadarko (Holly Hunter), an Oklahoma City police detective who is a heavy drinker and has terrible taste in men. Driving home one evening after a night of drinking, Grace hits a pedestrian with her car. Grace desperately calls out for help, and her call is answered by Earl (Leon Rippy), a tobacco-chewing man who calls himself her "last chance angel."

When Earl disappears, the man she hit with her car is gone with him, and Grace has to figure out what has just happened to her. Earl continues to visit Grace throughout the series, urging her to put an end to her self-destructive behaviors and give herself over to God. It's a great role for the always-brilliant Hunter, and her character feels like a true original. Just don't let her drive you home in her Porsche.


If we're going to keep referencing odd couples and police consultants, there's another show we're basically obligated to bring up. Clearly modeled on the testy relationship between Mulder and Scully on "The X-Files," "Bones" is a classic in the pantheon of procedural pairings. The show follows Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel), also known as Bones, a forensic anthropologist who works at the Jeffersonian Institute (modeled after the Smithsonian). The FBI frequently calls upon her to assist with their most inscrutable cases, and this is how she teams up with Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz), an FBI agent and former army sniper.

Though Booth is skeptical of science and Brennan doesn't believe in any form of investigation except science, they eventually come to respect one another and are able to develop a good working relationship. And, because it wouldn't be a police procedural without it, they also begin to develop romantic feelings for another as the seasons go on (don't worry, it's a slow burn). The show also features a rotating cast of supporting characters — called "squints" or "squinterns" by Booth — which add a lot of amusement and humor to the series. With 12 seasons of the beloved show to get through, you better start watching now.


Technically, NBC's "Hannibal" (which ran between 2013 and 2015) is a police consultant show like many others we've discussed, but it's a slightly different take on the formula. Based on the novel series by Thomas Harris, the show follows FBI criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), who has the gift (or curse) of being able to empathize with anyone, even psychopaths. When Will's boss Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) becomes worried about Will's state of mind, he sends him to Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), a forensic psychologist.

Unbeknownst to Jack and Will, Hannibal is actually a prolific serial killer and a cannibal who enjoys feeding his victims to his houseguests in elaborately prepared dishes (if you have a weak stomach, don't watch this show). Hannibal begins to manipulate Will, trying to get him to give in to his darker instincts. All the while, Will and his team at the FBI are trying to solve grisly murders, some of which are the handiwork of Hannibal himself. Certainly one of the darkest and most gruesome shows on this list, "Hannibal" combines elements of horror with a focus on psychology, a lethal combination.

Prodigal Son

Family relationships are almost always complicated on police procedurals, and that's definitely the case in the Fox show "Prodigal Son," which ran between 2019 and 2021. The series follows Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne), a brilliant criminal psychologist who works for the NYPD. Malcolm's life is rather tricky because, while trying to stop killers in his day job, he must also deal with his father (Michael Sheen), who happens to be a serial killer himself.

Malcolm's dad attempts to bond with him after they reunite during a case. Malcolm's mother (Bellamy Young) is a manipulative, high-class businesswoman, while his sister Ainsley (Halston Sage) is a TV news reporter who wishes Malcolm would find a different job. Malcolm's only real ally is his mentor Detective Gil Arroyo (Lou Diamond Phillips). Others at the NYPD question whether or not Malcolm is a psychopath himself, and Malcolm — as well as the audience — begins to wonder that, too. If there wasn't enough family drama (and trauma) on "The Mentalist" for you, "Prodigal Son" might be a good fit.


Yes, we know we've referenced Mulder and Scully from "The X-Files" on this list already, but they really were the blueprint for so many procedural pairings, from the main duo of "The Mentalist" to the protagonists of the Fox series "Fringe," which aired from 2008 to 2013. "Fringe" follows FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), who is assigned to the Fringe Division. She investigates unusual and inexplicable events. Olivia is joined by Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), a scatterbrained scientist, his son, Peter (Joshua Jackson), a former con man, and dedicated Junior Agent Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole).

What begins as a simple mystery morphs into something much bigger, as the team discovers secrets such as time travel and parallel universes, unlocking the secrets of their own pasts (and futures). It's a mind-bending show, but it never loses sight of what's important: the characters. Olivia and Peter's complicated and at times heart-wrenching relationship is central to the story, and it's one of the most epic, time-bending relationships to ever grace our television screens. Peter and Walter's relationship is also of paramount importance, and, like in any good sci-fi show, the heart comes before the science. The talented cast of "Fringe" do a tremendous job of breathing life into their characters.

The Dead Zone

Based on Stephen King's 1979 novel of the same name, the USA Network series "The Dead Zone" gave new life to the concept of a man who can know everything just from a touch. John Hughes mainstay Anthony Michael Hall stars as teacher Johnny Smith, who wakes up from a coma after six years and discovers that he's now clairvoyant and able to see visions from the past and future.

Upon waking up, Johnny learns that his fiancée Sarah (Nicole de Boer), has given birth to his son and married another man, Sheriff Walt Bannerman (Chris Bruno). The doctors theorize that his newfound abilities come from the "dead zone" of his brain, which is now functioning in an attempt to make up for the parts of the brain that were impaired during the accident. Despite the shock of his new life, Johnny, with the help of his friend and physical therapist Bruce (John L. Adams), decides to use his abilities to help solve crimes, finding an unlikely ally in the town sheriff.

While not quite as beloved as David Cronenberg's feature film adaptation, this TV version of "The Dead Zone" still went down well with the critics. "It is absolutely riveting," said the New York Post when the first of the show's six seasons aired back in 2002. "And Anthony Michael Hall has grown up to be not only a terrific actor, but a hunk and a half. There is all kinds of innovative photography, good writing, and a heck of a premise."


If you like the witty banter of "The Mentalist" but you're looking for something a bit more fantastical, we suggest checking out the genre-bending series "Lucifer," which began life as a Fox show before getting picked up by Netflix post-cancelation. Based on the character created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg that was originally introduced in a DC Comics series, the show follows Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), also known as The Devil. Bored of Hell, Lucifer ventures to Los Angeles and opens a nightclub called Lux, where he lives a hedonistic lifestyle filled with women, alcohol, and music.

Lucifer has the power to manipulate humans by seeing their deepest desires. One day, he meets LAPD detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German), who changes everything. Chloe seems to be a thoroughly good person, and Lucifer is unable to manipulate her like he is everyone else. Together, they begin an unlikely partnership as Lucifer uses his abilities to help solve crimes, all while Chloe remains unaware of who Lucifer really is — the actual Devil. A star-crossed romance for the ages, "Lucifer" is sure to appeal to fans of "The Mentalist." There are six seasons in total, with the sixth and final one airing in 2021.


Comparing "Dexter" to "The Mentalist" might seem a little strange at first. After all, the Showtime crime drama is a dark series that focuses on the exploits of a serial killer. Working as a bloodstain pattern analyst for Miami Metro, Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) moonlights as a vigilante who satisfies his need to kill by punishing those who have escaped justice for their own evil crimes. That's not quite in the same league as the more jovial nature of the action that makes up most of "The Mentalist." Yet, when you dig a little deeper, the two shows are more alike than you might think.

The most obvious way that they are analogous is the personalities of the protagonists. Patrick Jane might seem like a happy-go-lucky guy, but he actually hides a deep secret and a darker side, with his ultimate aim being to hunt down the man responsible for murdering his wife and child. At their cores, both "Dexter" and "The Mentalist" are about figures seeking justice through unusual means.

While the series faced some criticism as it entered its later years, the first four seasons of "Dexter" are undeniably gripping. The show has a huge amount of quality and the performances of Hall and James Remar (who plays Dexter's adoptive father Harry Morgan) remain as entertaining today as they were at the time. Those who want to get into the series, which dates back to 2006, have a lot to binge on, including the successful follow-up miniseries "Dexter: New Blood."

True Detective

Nic Pizzolatto's HBO crime drama "True Detective" might have struggled to hit the heights of its inaugural season in recent years, but that doesn't take away from the fact that Season 1 is a genuine masterpiece. In the show, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson star as two detectives tasked with tracking down the person responsible for a collection of gruesome ritualistic murders in Louisiana. Exploring a wide range of mature themes, the first season of "True Detective" is unlike any other crime drama on television and a must-watch for fans of the genre.

Where the show really stands out — and what makes it a good fit for fans of "The Mentalist," despite its harrowing narrative — is McConaughey's character Rust Cohle. Like Patrick Jane, he is a man who is somewhat ostracized by his co-workers and often shares a combative relationship with even his closest friends and partners. Rust is also a tortured soul, deeply affected by the death of his young daughter (something that also afflicts Jane in "The Mentalist") and he employs methods that are irregular but highly effective. If you watch "The Mentalist" for its memorable main character, you'll love watching McConaughey do his thing here.


The CBS series "Unforgettable," which ran between 2011 and 2016, follows Carrie Wells (Poppy Montgomery), an ex-detective with a rare condition called hyperthymesia. This gives her the ability to remember everything she has ever seen or heard. When her ex-boyfriend (Dylan Walsh), a homicide detective with the NYPD, calls her in to consult on a case, she finds herself reluctantly drawn back into law enforcement, eventually joining the homicide unit.

Wells hopes that by working with the NYPD, she will be able to solve the case of her sister's murder, which is the only thing her perfect memory won't allow her to access. In many ways, "Unforgettable" is similar to "The Mentalist" in that it follows someone who has uncanny powers of perception. Also like "The Mentalist," it tracks a character driven by a loss in their past, something that adds depth and propulsion to an otherwise familiar concept.

Murder, She Wrote

A progenitor of the crime genre, "Murder, She Wrote" dominated ratings and ran for an impressive 12 seasons from 1984 to 1996, in the process becoming one of the most beloved shows in the history of American television. Starring the great Angela Lansbury — who, incidentally was also nominated for 12 Emmys for the series — "Murder, She Wrote" follows Jessica Fletcher, a retired schoolteacher who becomes a successful mystery novelist following the death of her husband. A long-time resident of the idyllic Cabot Cove, Maine, Jessica seems to attract murder wherever she goes, whether it be in her not-so-sleepy hometown or out on the road doing press for her books.

Along with being a talented writer, Jessica also proves herself to be an excellent detective, often solving the case before the police have any idea what's going on. Along with a charming cast of supporting characters — her best friend and the town doctor, Seth (William Windom), the bumbling Sheriff Amos Tupper (Tom Bosley), and her nephew, Grady (Michael Horton) — Jessica somehow finds the time to solve murders while also banging out mystery novels on her typewriter. If you like the cozy side of "The Mentalist," this show will tick a lot of boxes for you.