We already wrote about The Mentalist, a crime detective drama that centers around Patrick Jane, a “psychic” who uses his talents of photographic memory, manipulation, and deception to solve crimes. During the show, we see multiple different themes that stem from catching a serial killer to the psychological aspect of the show that greatly affects its characters. In this article, we decided to list our picks of 32 shows like The Mentalist you need to see.
This list will include every show we think has similarities with The Mentalist and also analyze other themes of the shows that maybe do not overlap with The Mentalist premise. If you are interested, stick with us until the end of the article.
Medium is a chilling drama inspired by the real-life story of Allison Dubois, a strong-willed young mother of three, a devoted wife, and a law student who begins to suspect that she can talk to the dead people. Besides talking to dead people, Allison also can read people’s thoughts and see the future in her dreams. Allison is also a consultant to the Phoenix district attorney’s office and helps law enforcement and helps with investigations with her psychic gift.
This 2005 American supernatural drama was pretty popular in the 2000s and Patricia Arquette’s portrayal of Allison got her an Emmy Award for an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama series. If you loved The Mentalist, this show will be a great option for another interesting detective drama.
How can we make this list without the show that started it all? Psych is a comedy-detective drama that first started airing in 2006, and since then, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown, became a TV show with a cult following. The story follows Shawn Spencer, a supposed “psychic”, who with his best friend Gus, is helping the Santa Barbara Police Department with various crimes. Shawn actually does not have any “psychic” powers, but his photographic memory and tendency to notice even the smallest details encourage SBPD detectives to believe him.
Comedic timing and pure fun with cool storylines make Psych a great alternative to The Mentalist. Of course, the fact that the premise of The Mentalist show was actually “borrowed” from Psych and adapted to its own story, this show is perfection alternative on your watch list if you want to relax from the Red John storylines. Psych also has a running gag in The Mentalist throughout its run – it is really fun.
Another procedural drama and detective TV show, Elementary is a great alternative to The Mentalist. Firstly criticized for “borrowing” the premise of the show from the BBC’s Sherlock, Elementary proved its originality with great characters, writing, and novel approach to the source material. The show follows the story of Holmes, a recovering drug addict and a former consultant of the Scotland Yard, who moves to the United States to assist the NYPD in solving crimes.
Holmes, of course, has a sidekick, Dr. Joan Watson who at first acts as his sober companion, and was hired by Holmes’s father to supervise him during his rehabilitation. Watson actually becomes Holmes’s sidekick (of course) and helps in investigations and crimes that occur in the New York area. Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller make a great and fun duo that does remind us of Jane and Lisbon. Moreover, Elementary has ended properly so you won’t regret starting to watch a new TV show.
29. Lie To Me
Unfortunately, Lie to me did not have the same luck of ending properly as Elementary, and we are still sad about it. This cool show follows the story of the world’s leading deception researcher, Dr. Cal Lightman, whose character was inspired by Paul Ekman, a scientific consultant who consulted various police departments and anti-terrorist groups in his career.
Cal studies facial expression, body language, and tone of voice to determine if a person is lying and why, which greatly helps law enforcement and government agencies. However, he is not a perfect man and uses his skills to deceive other people as well. The show has three seasons and was canceled due to low ratings. Being a FOX channel’s show, it does not surprise us at all – FOX canceled a lot of TV shows due to allegedly bad ratings even though they were critically acclaimed. Despite that, Tim Roth’s portrayal of Dr. Lightman and just the cool show’s premise should be enough for you to check out this show.
28. Rizzoli & Isles
TNT’s detective drama Rizzoli & Isles follows the Boston Homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Maura Isles, who are investigating and solving murders all over Massachusetts. The show was based on the series of Rizzoli & Isles novels by Tess Gerritsen, and the duo’s strikingly different personalities are the main point of the show.
It also deals with the aftermath of Rizzoli’s kidnapping by the serial killer Charles Hoyt, who marked her for the rest of her life, which is similar to what happened to Patrick Jane in The Mentalist. Besides serious stuff, Rizzoli family dynamics, Boston PD shenanigans, and Dr. Isles being incredibly smart but bad at social cues of normal people are really funny and entertaining and should be on anyone’s watch list of people who like a good detective drama with comedic timing. It was also really gay, even though some people related to the show deny this (it really was).
The interesting premise of the TV shows does not end yet, and Numb3rs showed us how cool maths can be. The series follows the story of FBI Special Agent Don Eppes and his brother Charlie Eppes, a college professor and math prodigy, who helped Don solve crimes for the FBI by using maths. The show ran for six seasons before being canceled by CBS but knowing that the show was produced by the famous Scott brothers, Ridley and Tony, this show should be considered.
The premise of the show is quite interesting since it presents Charlie who uses mathematics formulas and theories to make sense of the crimes and FBI agent Don who helps in the investigation with his experience. Usually their father Alan is also helping them and Charlie’s colleagues Larry and Amita. Cool premise, a good show, and just all-around fun, which can be definitely connected to The Mentalist.
28. Body of Proof
Body of Proof is a medical/crime comedy-drama TV series that aired on ABC from 2011 to 2013 and had three seasons. The show follows Dr. Megan Hunt, a medical examiner, who is trying her best to stay on top of her professional life, stressful career, and strained relationship with her daughter. Being a brilliant medical examiner, Dr. Hunt uses her knowledge of humans’ bodies to find hidden truths about what happened to the person before they died.
During the show, besides dealing with the estranged daughter, Dr. Hunt is trying to find out who killed her father, which is revealed at the ending of the show, despite the fact that it was canceled by the ABC network. A cool character that has quite a few similarities with Jane – both are charismatic and crime solvers.
This action drama series is a bit different from the rest of the shows on this list. It follows the story of a five-person team: a thief, a hacker, a retrieval specialist, and a leader of the group Nathan Ford, who uses their skills to carry out heists to fight corporate injustices inflicted on ordinary citizens. The show has a cult following and for a good reason.
Some critics suggested that Leverage is better than the last two Ocean’s Eleven movies (which were really not that good), and just so entertaining. Even though the show sometimes goes into action movies tangent than real-life situations, Leverage is doing what it does best – bringing fun to the TV program schedule. The show ended a few years ago but was revived in 2021, and we expect more episodes to come. The quirkiness that the show has is similar to The Mentalist and Jane’s shenanigans that brings a lot of fun and trouble to his CBI team.
26. Ghost Whisperer
Another “psychic” who actually has powers, Ghost Whisperer is a show that aired from 2005 to 2010 and ran for five seasons before CBS canceled it. The show follows the story of Melinda Gordon, who has the ability to see and communicate with ghosts. Of course, she uses her powers for good, but mostly on her own – she is not a consultant to the police department or law institutions that we previously had on this list.
She uses her powers to help the earthbound spirits resolve their leftover problems on the Earth and send them into the light. The show was fairly successful and popular amongst the viewers and Jennifer Love Hewitt’s portrayal of Melinda brought the show a lot of loyal fans. The abrupt cancelation of the show angered some fans and even Love Hewitt said that the show deserved the proper ending. All in all, it should be on your list because it correlates with The Mentalist’s Patrick Jane and a few comedic elements of both shows.
25. Criminal Minds
Criminal Minds is a police procedural crime drama created by Jeff Davies and aired for 15 seasons before its ending in 2020, however, a series revival is confirmed in 2021 so we can expect more Criminal Minds content. The show follows a group of FBI criminal profilers, who are flying all over the United States to solve the most difficult murders and catch serial killers. There are trying to investigate the evidence from the crime scenes, compose a profile and try to prevent another murder from happening.
The show is still really popular and its seriousness and catching serial killer reminds us of The Mentalist. Definitely, a crime shows that should be on anyone’s watch list.
24. Person of Interest
This critically acclaimed science fiction crime drama is considered one of the best science-fiction series ever broadcast. Its premise is quite interesting – it follows a mysterious reclusive billionaire computer programmer Harold Finch, who created a computer program for the federal government known as “the Machine”, which is collecting all information to predict terrorist attacks and identify the people who are planning them.
The show has all – a great plot, characters, charm, and just cool story premises that will not allow you to turn your eyes off the screen. We warmly recommend the show, and the similarities with The Mentalist only get Person of Interest bonus points.
23. Scott & Bailey
Scott & Bailey is a British procedural police drama that aired from 2011 to 2016 on ITV. The show follows the personal and professional lives of Detectives Janet Scott and Rachel Bailey, who are working for the Syndicate Nine Major Incident Team (MIT), which is located in the Manchester area. The polar opposite struggles and lives of the two main characters make this duo a truly interesting dynamic in the show – both Janet and Rachel found themselves in deep trouble with their superiors and work colleagues.
Great show and great performances by the cast of Scott & Bailey with investigating serial killers, make this show a great alternative to The Mentalist if you want a piece of British sarcasm and at the same time, the tension that makes every viewer bite their nails.
One of the most similar shows to The Mentalist on this list, Castle truly epitomizes the crime dramas of the 2000s. This charming, serious, and at the same time, fun show follows Richard Castle, a millionaire playboy who recently killed off his main character in his successful book series. Murders start to occur all around New York with the same process as in his books and joins forces with New York police detective Kate Beckett to solve the case.
He actually finds Beckett inspirational and starts to shadow her for his new book. The show is one of the most popular criminal dramas of that era and its 8-season run proved its success with multiple awards it got. However, the ending of the show angered and confused a lot of fans, and the departure of Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) from the series at the end of the seventh season only added up to the disappointment. However, the show is worth watching – character dynamics, comedy, and seriousness of trying to find who killed Beckett’s mother, are also good reasons for you to start watching the show.
Bones is a crime procedural comedy-drama that ran for 12 seasons, and in that time became one of the most popular TV shows on TV. The story follows Dr. Temperance Brennan, a brilliant, but lonely anthropologist who is approached by FBI Special Agent Seely Booth, to help the Bureau solve a series of unresolved crimes by identifying victims based on a bone structure.
Bones and Booth are an ultimate team who at the beginning were impartial to each other but eventually developed feelings for one another. This dynamic is quite similar to Lisbon and Jane, and everything combined with the supporting crew both shows have, Bones is a must-watch show for fans of The Mentalist.
Mindhunter is a series set in the 1970s when two agents are tasked with interviewing serial killers to solve open cases. This show is a nail-baiter and one of the best crime dramas that were aired in the last decade or so. Its unique premise, characters, plot twists, and just terrifying portrayal of serial killers makes this show a must-watch TV show for anyone.
Like Red John, the portrayal of serial killers is quite realistic – Mindhunter actually used real-life serial killers in the show like David Berkowitz, Charles Manson, and more. All in all, this crime drama is really good and you should definitely watch it if you like watching serial killer storylines.
Another science fiction crime series on this list is Fringe, a TV show created by J.J. Abrams. The story follows Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop, and Walter Bishop, all members of the fictional Fringe Division of the FBI, based in Boston and supervised by Homeland Security. The team uses fringe science techniques related to the mysterious events related to the parallel universe.
Even though at first sight it looks like Fringe is anything but similar to The Mentalist, the show does have procedural drama and serials aspects of it and is usually compared to the X-Files and others. At first a bit flat, but the more you watch, the more you get “sucked into” the mythology behind the parallel universe and alternate timelines. Fringe developed a cult following since its release and the characters and their dynamics in the show can easily compare to The Mentalist. Watch it, it is absolutely amazing.
Lucifer is the urban fantasy television series based on the DC comic book character Lucifer Morningstar. Lucifer is the main protagonist of the show and viewers follow his story of how he departed Hell and ended up in Los Angeles, where he runs his nightclub called Lux. Lucifer even becomes a consultant to LAPD.
The supporting cast is similar to The Mentalist and Lucifer’s origins from the DC comics can be definitely seen in the show. After three seasons, Lucifer was canceled on the Fox channel but picked up by Netflix for three more seasons, which were very popular amongst the fans. The charismatic lead and cool show premise will rule in any viewer to watch this fun show.
17. White Collar
White Collar is a police procedural drama that aired from 2009 to 2014 and run for full completed six seasons on the USA network. The show follows the story of charming con artist Neal Caffrey and Special Agent of FBI, Peter Burke, who join forces to apprehend dangerous white-collar criminals and bring them to justice.
The cool premise of the show and the cast’s performance brought White Collar positive critical acclaim that even spurred some rumors of the possible revival. Matt Bomer’s Neal Caffrey is the center of the show and his dynamics with the other show’s characters really remind us of Patrick Jane and his CBI team.
Chuck is an action-comedy/spy-drama TV series that ran for five seasons on the NBC network, and since it first aired, gained a cult following. The story follows Chuck Bartowski an average computer-whiz-next-door, who after getting kicked out of Stanford and stuck in the dead-end job as a Buy More cashier, accidentally receives an email full of governments secrets sent to him by an old college buddy, who forced Chuck into the world of spies, secrets, and danger.
This witty, fun, and cool show was almost on the brink of cancelation after season two but fans intervened and the show stayed on the air for five full, completed seasons that made a lot of fans happy. If that is not a motivation to start watching this series, we don’t know what will.
Another TV show created by J.J. Abrams, Alias is an American action thriller and science fiction TV series, that aired from 2001 to 2006, and is still considered one of the best TV series of the last two decades. The story follows Sydney Bristow, a double agent for the CIA posing as an operative for SD-6, a world dangerous, criminal, and espionage organization
Sidney’s living through three lives is really interesting and her trying to hide her identity from her friends and family for the first two seasons is a nail-biter. The show later focuses on different plot-driven storylines and deals with the new threat created by the show’s antagonist. Definitely a must-watch show after The Mentalist.
Dexter is a crime drama that aired from 2006 to 2013 on the Showtime TV network. The story follows Dexter Morgan, a forensic technician specializing in bloodstain pattern analysis that he uses to deceive other people. More specifically, while investigating the murders with the homicide police division, Dexter hunts and kills murderers who have escaped the justice system.
Dexter’s vigilante serial killer persona, brought the show critical acclaim and positive feedback from the fans – the show won two Golden Globes. However, most fans will agree that the plot decisions and bad writing in the last seasons of the show, ruined Dexter, however, the show is still one of the best serial killer-centered shows on TV. After The Mentalist, we recommend this show.
BBC’s Sherlock is a crime drama that was released in form of the four three-part series from 2010 to 2017. The series is set in the present day and follows the story of John Watson, an army doctor who is wounded in Afghanistan, for which he comes back to London. He stumbles upon Sherlock Holmes, a brilliant but eccentric private detective. They join forces and solve mysterious, bizarre, and often baffling murder mysteries.
The show received a cult following and Benedict Cumberbatch’s career kickstarted after this role. Sherlock was a critically acclaimed show throughout its run and received various awards.
12. CSI: Las Vegas
We all know what CSI is – a procedural forensics crime drama television series that ran on CBS for fifteen years and provided us with successful spin-offs as well. The story follows a team of crime-scene investigators employed by the Las Vegas Police Department as they use physical evidence to solve murders.
Even though the mannerism in the way they solve the murders, CSI is nothing like The Mentalist in that department, but its characters are. Sarah, Grissom, Nick, Warrick, Catherine, and others have similarities with The Mentalist characters and because of that need to be featured on this list.
Monk is an American mystery comedy-drama TV series that aired from 2002 to 2009. It has full, completed, eight seasons of the show which is good news for interests. The story follows Adrian Monk, a San Francisco Police Department Detective, who has a nervous breakdown after his wife is murdered. He loses his job and refuses to leave his home for several years until his assistant Sharona persuades him to go out.
He is now a private detective and a consultant to the PD, and his battle with the obsessive-compulsive disorder while investigating murders is a really interesting premise of the show. Monk is mostly comedic with exploring serious issues like Monk’s already mentioned disorder. Charismatic lead with a great supporting cast – sign us up! The show also received critical acclaim and multiple Emmy awards.
Another cool premise comes from the show Perception which has only three seasons but is a really good show if you like charismatic characters who lend their talents to other people with a twist. The show follows the story of Dr. Daniel Pierce, a talented but eccentric neuropsychiatrist who is enlisted by the FBI to assist them in solving some complex cases in Chicago.
Pierce gets his team and a hallucination that manifested as a consequence of his schizophrenia condition. The show does not have that many episodes so definitely check it out.
9. Burn Notice
Burn Notice is a show that aired from 2007 to 2013 on the USA Network, and has run for seven seasons. The story of the show follows Michael Westen, a seasoned U.S. spy who is disavowed by the government. He survives by doing impossible jobs for desperate people in Miami and takes over a job of a private investigator.
Burn Notice has a really cool premise – it uses a second-person narrative with frequent voice-overs, that tell the story from two points of view. One PoV focuses on the reason why Westen was “burned” and disavowed, and the second one focuses on the cases he is currently working on. Critically acclaimed show with very good reception? Sign me up!
8. House, M.D.
House is an American medical drama that aired for eight seasons between 2004 and 2012. The story follows the life of anti-social, addict to pain-killers, witty and arrogant medical doctor Gregory House, who carries an injury that sidelined him from serious work as a doctor. However, House and his team of medical doctors, try to cure the most complex and mysterious diseases that occur all over the United States.
House is a critically acclaimed show that received many accolades including Emmy. House is not a crime drama like a mentalist, but a charismatic, troubled lead is something both House and The Mentalist are sharing.
One of the most successful criminal drama franchises, NCIS is a spin-off of the other show that aired on CBS, Jag. NCIS has nineteen seasons with the twentieth on the way and is one of the longest today’s TV shows. NCIS has both military and procedural drama aspects in its genre, and throughout the years was one of the most watched crime dramas in the world.
The story follows a fictional team of special agents of the Major Case Response Team based in the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, led by Leroy Jethro Gibbs. The team usually investigates murders of the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps and their families. Gibbs, with his team, especially the first and the second versions – including DiNozzo, Ziva, McGee, Abby, and Ducky, really reminds us of The Mentalist team dynamics but with lighter themes until it becomes really serious.
Broadchurch is a British crime drama series that aired on ITV for three seasons between 2013 to 2017. When an eleven-year-old boy Daniel Lamiter is found dead on the beach of a small town, Broadchurch detectives Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller must find out what happened and who brutally murdered a child. Plot twists, heavy themes, and an amazing cast of the show make this crime drama a must-watch show on any list available.
Some shocking revelations that occur on the show are really similar to The Mentalist, but that should not be the only reason to watch Broadchurch – it is just so good.
Luther is a psychological crime thriller that aired for five seasons between 2010 and 2019. The story follows DCI John Luther, a near-genius murder detective whose brilliant mind can’t always save him from the dangerous violence of his passions. From its first episode, Luther is a fast-paced mystery presented with many plot twists and insights into the human psyche.
A show lead that has problems with superiors and uses their genius mind to solve mysteries? Sign us up. Luther is a critically acclaimed show that received various accolades including Golden Globe Award for Idris Elba, who is masterful as John Luther.
4. The Fall
The Fall is a crime drama that had three seasons with in between 2013 and 2016. The show is set in Northern Ireland where Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson, a seemingly cold but in fact a very passionate woman, is trying to put a stop to the attacks of the young women in the area and capture Paul Spector, the attacker.
The show is completed, which is good news for those interested, and absolutely amazing. Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan bring the viewers masterful performances in The Fall, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, please do. The cat and mouse chase that occurs in the show is reminiscent of Jane’s hunt for Red John.
3. Cold Case
Cold Case is a police procedural drama that aired for seven seasons between 2003 and 2010 and follows Lilly Rush, a Philadelphia police detective working for the department’s homicide squad and assigned for the cold cases, that were committed in the past and never resolved. Rush, with her team, goes back to the people and crime scenes that were part of the cold cases and finally brings justice to the deceased, forgotten victims.
Cold Case was a really popular crime TV show in the world, and its premise of solving cold cases was really well received. We put it on this list because of the strong lead characters and a good supporting cast that “steers back the ship” if something goes wrong.
2. The Closer
The Closer is a police procedural TV drama that aired in 2005 and 2012 for seven seasons. The story follows Brenda Leigh Johnson, a Los Angeles Police Department deputy chief, who was a former CIA-trained interrogator. Her reputation for finding out everything about the cases, solving it, and even obtaining the conviction of the criminals, gave her a name the closer.
The show received various critical acclaim including Kyra Sedgwick getting Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for her role. Great show with a great premise and amazing supporting cast. Moreover, a great female-led-driven show that made a cultural impact on the future of television.
1. Mary Kills People
Mary Kills People is a Canadian drama that aired for three seasons from 2017 to 2019. The story follows ER doctor, Mary Harris who is a normal doctor who saves lives during the day, but when the night falls, Mary turns her attention to a different practice – she kills people. More specifically, Mary with her partner kills terminally ill people who wished to do so and die on their own turns.
The premise kind of reminds us of Dexter but also The Mentalist since the main character Mary does everything in her power to help those in need. Definitely check out this series.