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20 Binge-Worthy Shows Like Snowfall You Need To See Next

Set in the mid-'80s on the streets of Los Angeles, the crime drama "Snowfall" has proven immensely popular amongst audiences as well as critics. Following a number of people from various backgrounds whose lives become forever connected, the series has been praised for its gritty depiction of the crack epidemic that was raging at the time, as well as its realistically written characters and the hardships they faced on a daily basis.

The ongoing drama surrounding the characters has proven to be as addictive as the illicit substance that frames the story, which has no doubt left many viewers seeking other great shows like "Snowfall" that have been released over the years. Most of the suggestions on our list will include the themes central to "Snowfall," with a few incorporating some of the real-life history of organized crime — but some are just hard-hitting dramas that viewers can easily get lost in. Here's a look at 20 binge-worthy shows like "Snowfall" you need to see next.

The Wire

With its gritty setting and tightly written storylines, "The Wire" is considered by many fans to be one of the best — if not the greatest — crime series to ever air. Set in present day Baltimore at the time of its 2002 release, the show is noteworthy for its unfiltered depiction of the city. While initially only telling the story of the conflict between a group of drug dealers and the law enforcement units pursuing them, "The Wire" builds upon its narrative each season. Shifting its focus from the police force to the working class, politicians to the school system, each aspect of the city is laid out before audiences, providing an honest look at how far-reaching the city's struggles are — and how hard it is to truly bring about lasting change.

The series has also been widely acclaimed for its diverse array of characters. Very similar to "Snowfall," each character's challenges and personal stories all gradually progress over the five seasons of "The Wire," concluding in ways that are as realistic as they are often unforgiving.

Top Boy

Produced by Netflix, the British crime drama "Top Boy" is a balancing act between astute political commentary and thrilling action scenes, with neither aspect doing a disservice to the other. Taking place in a fictionalized London housing estate, the series is focused on the dynamic of the lives of its residents, as well as the external forces that often control their actions. Audiences who enjoyed seeing how the characters' pasts in "Snowfall" simultaneously determined their futures will appreciate Ra'Nell's story in "Top Boy."

Fans of the show are likely aware of the series' unfortunate cancellation in 2014 after just two seasons, leaving many plot threads unresolved. Thankfully, after a long hiatus, the series was revived with a third season released in late 2019 with a fourth subsequently announced for a March 2022 release.


Chronicling his rise to power, downfall, and what came after, "Narcos" dramatizes the true story of the infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar across three seasons. The television series has become a favorite with audiences and critics because of how accurately it portrays the events onscreen. Frequently using real footage from the events it covers, "Narcos" refrains from defining its characters on the spectrum of good vs. evil, instead opting to present its narrative in a neutral way with respect to its source material.

With the fallout from the crack epidemic serving as a major theme in "Snowfall," this crime drama and its depiction of Pablo Escobar's exploits is worth checking out. Both series are steeped in two different sides of real-life history, with "Snowfall" depicting the far-reaching effects that the drug trade can have, and "Narcos" giving audiences a view of where everything comes from.

Breaking Bad

The legendary status afforded "Breaking Bad" earns it a place on our list. The show stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, an unlikely duo who find themselves producing and dealing crystal meth, all while becoming increasingly caught up in a seedy criminal underworld. The partnership between the two serves as a driving force behind the series, which presents a sobering look into their respective reasons for turning to crime.

Fans of "Snowfall" will also appreciate "Breaking Bad” for the diverse array of characters and the complex relationships they share, all with their own conflicting motives. These range from Walt's brother-in-law and DEA agent Hank Schrader to some of the psychotic rival crime bosses Walt and Jesse compete with. Additionally, the fictional on-again off-again partnership between the two meth dealers has developed into a real-life — and thankfully legal — offscreen collaboration.

Godfather of Harlem

Viewers who enjoyed the distinct period setting of "Snowfall" might find something equally engaging in "Godfather of Harlem." Forest Whitaker plays Bumpy Johnson, a real-life ex-con and former crime boss, as he returns to Harlem in the '60s to reclaim the empire that's long since eroded in his absence.

Criminal enterprises aren't the only theme in "Godfather of Harlem," however, as the series presents a dramatic look into the culture war raging across the country at the time. While some creative liberties are taken in its depiction, it's still a largely accurate retelling of the tumultuous history of New York City in the mid-20th century. The historical figure Malcom X plays a key role in the series, forming an alliance with Johnson to counter the Genovese crime family who have taken control of the city's criminal underworld during Bumpy's time in prison.

Sons of Anarchy

"Sons of Anarchy" stands out for its portrayal of a side of American life not often seen in media. While not as heavily focused on real-life history as some of the other picks on our list, the series still draws inspiration from notable American biker gangs and their associated criminal enterprises. To help keep the show as accurate as possible, former Hells Angels member David Labrava was hired to supervise the technical aspects of the series across its seven-season run. (Labrava also ended up acting on the show.)

Set in the fictional California town of Charming, the series is focused on Jax Teller as he navigates the inner turmoil and complex politics of the biker gang he's a senior member of. Themes of self-doubt, brotherhood, and conflicting loyalties all have a strong presence throughout the series as conflicts arise between law enforcement, rival bikers, and the Sons of Anarchy themselves.


"ZeroZeroZero" is one of the more recent projects from Italian director Stefano Sollima, renowned for his entries into the crime genre and known for directing "Sicario: Day of the Soldado." Although this series doesn't yet have as many seasons as some of the other entries on our list, it's no less entertaining, with each episode expertly expanding on its tightly written story.

Following a shipment traveling from Mexico to Italy, the Italian crime drama is centered around the international cocaine trade and the mob responsible for its distribution. While each character and their actions are reprehensible in their own right, the series effectively shows their duality, punctuating moments of extreme brutality with their familial bonds. Owing to its globetrotting premise, "ZeroZeroZero" makes frequent use of subtitles depending on where the story is set, with English only being spoken in select parts. Despite this, the series still manages to keep viewers engaged throughout its run, and has left audiences clamoring for a continuation of the story.


Idris Elba stars in this British crime thriller as John Luther, a highly skilled yet deeply disturbed detective who often rides the line between right and wrong. He finds himself assigned to some of the most heinous cases that his department faces, with some of the adversaries he encounters mirroring his own questionable personality in many ways. Over time he gains a reputation as a corrupt cop, believing that the ends justify the means and whatever it takes to accomplish his goals is a worthwhile cost.

With five seasons airing since "Luther" made its 2010 debut, followed by a long-awaited film, there's plenty here to keep you invested for hours. Additionally, viewers who liked watching Teddy McDonald skirt the line of what's justified in "Snowfall" will find that the title character of "Luther" will deliver similar thrills as the antihero finds himself in increasingly dire circumstances.


While Jason Bateman is typically cast in comedy roles, his performance as the lead in this crime drama proves his versatility as an actor. In "Ozark," Bateman portrays Marty Byrde — family man, money launderer for a Mexican cartel, and completely in over his head. He's forced to relocate his family to the rural Ozarks to stay alive, and to reestablish his money laundering enterprise after his last operation went horribly awry.

Although the plot may seem straightforward, "Ozark" has enough twists and turns throughout its four seasons to keep audiences guessing at every turn. Not everything is as it seems in the idyllic area Byrde and his family find themselves in, with pressure from the cartel serving as a constant reminder of their insecure future. Fans who watch "Snowfall" for its gritty violence and shocking plot developments should definitely give "Ozark" a try.

Animal Kingdom

A unique crime drama, "Animal Kingdom" is a character-forward series — the entire Cody crime family is fleshed out over its run. The concept of innocence being corrupted on display in "Snowfall" is also at play in this show.

After spending his life estranged from the majority of his family, 17-year-old Joshua Cody is reintroduced to them — as well as their criminal enterprise — by tragic circumstance. While navigating his entry into adulthood he becomes increasingly involved in their bad business. Along the way, both Joshua and the audience are introduced to the borderline psychopathic members of his family, whose actions become increasingly deplorable as time goes on. Along the thin line that Joshua walks between a future life of crime or something bigger, the series is unique in the way it showcases the desperate lives of its characters as they struggle to make ends meet between scores.

The Shield

The majority of the picks on our list focus on outright criminals or those caught up in crime. "The Shield" goes against the grain by taking a look at the other side of the law — and presenting it in a less than flattering light.

Set in turn-of-the-century Los Angeles, the series follows a group of police officers assigned to an experimental undercover division. Their mission leads them to take increasingly questionable steps alongside the criminals they're embedded with in the line of duty, leaving audiences with protagonists whose actions become just as contentious as the criminals they're supposed to be bringing to justice. Fans who enjoy "Snowfall" for its ability to make audiences question the morals of its characters will feel right at home here, and with 88 episodes across seven seasons, there's enough to keep you hooked for a while.


Another entry from Italian director Stefano Sollima and one of the earlier works in his filmography, "Gomorrah" is an impactful series that never takes a dip in quality across its five seasons. Much like many of Sollima's other projects, this one makes use of subtitles to convey its story. Although the events of the series are fictional, it's easy to believe that it's heavily inspired by real-life organized crime in Italy.

The series is centered around Ciro Di Marzio, a rising member of his crime family who senses an opportunity to move to the top after a sudden rift is opened. The show has been widely hailed by critics and audiences, with its realistic depiction of organized crime and brutal action just two of its strengths. Additionally, director Sollima offers non-Italian audiences a viewing experience that is distinct from most other entries on our list while remaining universally relatable.


Starring 50 cent as one of its main antagonists, "Power" has earned itself a loyal fanbase during its lengthy run. The show has even proved popular enough to warrant a number of spinoff series, each one expanding upon the many backstories and questions left unanswered by the flagship show.

Echoing the "Snowfall" theme of wanting to escape a seemingly all-consuming destructive cycle, Starz's "Power" focuses on a main character who's trapped in his lifestyle. The series is entered around a successful drug dealer known as Ghost, who finds himself determined to make it out of the drug trade for good before it's too late. He has trouble letting sleeping dogs lie, however, as old rivals and law enforcement seek to take him down. As the story progresses and the divide between Ghost and his family grows, it's soon clear why "Power" became so beloved during its time on the air.

Peaky Blinders

Taking place over a century ago in Birmingham, England, "Peaky Blinders" tackles some heavy themes, fitting for the tumultuous time period it's set in. Picking up just months after the conclusion of the First World War, the show depicts a broken down and war-weary population against the backdrop of a discontented Birmingham. Social change is on the horizon, as the Communist party and a growing number of criminal gangs find themselves flourishing in the city.

The series follows a group of working-class men who unite under a street gang known as the Peaky Blinders. Their exploits range from fixing horse races to selling illegal weapons, earning them a healthy wage as well as the unwanted attention of the law. Over the series' six seasons, the gang's loyalties are tested time and time again as the tension ramps up, both within their own ranks and in society at large.

The Sopranos

One of the most acclaimed television series in recent history, "The Sopranos" is an example of crime drama at its best, managing to incorporate a level of heart and even some humor while staying grounded enough to keep things balanced. Despite its controversial ending, the story of the Soprano crime family was a huge hit with critics and fans alike, and remains popular long after its 2007 finale.

While mob bosses are often depicted in pop culture in nice suits or toting suspicious violin cases, "The Sopranos" subverts the stereotypical image long associated with the mafia in favor of something more true to life. Focusing on gangster Tony Soprano and his family, the series follows his attempts to balance the life of crime that has made him successful with the needs of his loved ones. Along the way, Tony and his associates come into numerous conflicts with rival mob families and law enforcement agencies, fueling the addictive drama that makes "The Sopranos" one of the most well-rounded picks on our list.

The Chi

"The Chi" tells a character-driven story while dramatizing the real-life struggles of residents of Chicago's South Side. The premise is similar to many of the other picks on our list, yet it depicts the finer points of its story in a decidedly different way. 

Most of the dramas we've talked about are recognized for their bleak, gritty settings and scenes of brutal violence that's dispensed at the hands of hardened criminals. Equally heavy concepts are present here, but are explored in a noticeably more hopeful way. Themes of redemption and self-improvement run strong in "The Chi" and help to enliven the characters despite the many challenges they face in their day-to-day lives. While never shying away from some of the truly tough aspects of existence in the South Side of Chicago, it still manages to be a heartwarming — and often surprisingly relatable — series no matter where you live or what your economic background might be.

Boardwalk Empire

Starring Steve Buscemi as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson and boasting the involvement of director Martin Scorsese behind the series pilot, "Boardwalk Empire" has some serious talent. The series is inspired by the gangster activity and bootlegging operations that rose out of the American prohibition era, capitalizing on its historic setting to portray a number of infamous American criminals over its five-season run, with the notorious gangster Al Capone among them.

Buscemi's character, a prominent no-nonsense New Jersey politician, finds himself in control of Atlantic City after years of rising through the political ranks. Following the ban on alcohol consumption and distribution in the '20s, he discovers a perfect opportunity to further his own influence in the region by becoming a powerful bootlegger. His numerous allies and unwavering motivation to do anything for a dollar cause him to rub elbows with some of America's most contentious figures, and become even deeper entrenched in its criminal underworld.


While urban areas and organized crime often go together onscreen, "Yellowstone" is an exception. Set in present day Montana, the series is treasured by audiences for its unique setting as well the conflicts, both unusual compared to typical crime drama fare.

In the secluded plains of Montana, the state's largest ranch has been in the same family's possession for over a century. Today, it finds itself under constant threat by a number of outside influences, including encroaching land developers and a neighboring Native American reservation staking a claim on the land. At the heart of the ranch, and the conflict, is the Dutton family, whose own internal rivalry threatens to unravel everything.

Audiences who appreciate the connected story elements in "Snowfall" will enjoy the deep world-building in "Yellowstone." The "Yellowstone" story is expanded in the spinoff series "1883," which takes viewers back to the years before the ranch. Additionally, two more spinoff series have joined the saga, covering other ranches in the country and showcasing the time period between the events of "1883" and today.

Queen of the South

Departing from the predominantly male leads in the majority of crime dramas, "Queen of the South" is a refreshing take on the genre. After landing a series of supporting roles, star Alice Braga comes into her own here as drug kingpin Teresa Mendoza.

Born into a poor family in Mexico, Teresa is forced to flee from her home following her boyfriend's brutal murder. Along the way, she becomes embroiled in the highly lucrative yet equally dangerous drug smuggling operations along the United States' border. As she travels between countries, Teresa becomes increasingly involved in the business, all while coming to terms with its brutality. Double crosses, dirty politics, and unexpected secrets all come into play during "Queen of the South," making it a uniquely worthy pick for fans of "Snowfall."

Gangs of London

Known for creating gripping action films such as "The Raid," director Gareth Evans adds another entry to his growing filmography with the crime series "Gangs of London." Reminiscent of Evans' prior work, "Gangs" is a violently gritty look at the inside of organized crime.

Beginning after the assassination of Finn Wallace, the most powerful criminal in modern-day London, a complex plot that is part murder mystery and part crime drama begins to unravel. Finn's son Sean attempts to uncover the truth surrounding his father's sudden death and take his place as head of the now leaderless crime family, all while navigating the complex organization his father left behind. Full of shockingly brutal deaths and suspense-filled episodes, it's not hard to see why fans are so invested in "Gangs of London."