15 Shows Like "Criminal Minds" to Hold You Over Until the Reboot's Premiere
If you love crime thrillers and procedurals, there are dozens and dozens of shows to choose from — plus spinoffs for many of them! One undisputable icon of the genre, though, is "Criminal Minds." Originally running for 15 seasons from 2005 to 2020, the CBS drama follows the investigations of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit, dedicated to profiling and analyzing the most dangerous "criminal minds" in hopes of stopping the next tragedy before it happens.
Over the years, the show touched on many hot-button and contemporary issues, with some episodes even inspired by real-life events. The focus on behavioral science and criminal motivation has inspired a number of other shows, like "The Mentalist," "Psych," and more of your favorite crime dramas and thrillers.
With such a big pop culture footprint, it's no surprise that "Criminal Minds" is getting the reboot treatment! Just two years after it aired its last episode on CBS, the show is set for a revival on Paramount+. This time, the BAU team will focus on one case per season rather than smaller cases each episode, and many (though not all) of the cast members will be returning.
While we wait for our BAU faves to return, there's still plenty of TV-watching time to fill! Make the wait go by faster with one of these shows sure to be a new favorite for "Criminal Minds" fans.
Shows Like "Criminal Minds": "Bones"
"Bones" has all the grit, grime, and crime of "Criminal Minds," but with a slightly more playful twist. An awkward forensic anthropologist and an overconfident FBI agent team up to solve particularly difficult (and occasionally gruesome) murders using clues hidden in the victim's bones. Along the way, they and their quirky team uncover everything from hilariously weird motives to some seriously dark stuff. And, of course, the beating heart of it all is the unavoidable will-they-won't-they tension between Booth and Bones.
Shows Like "Criminal Minds": "Castle"
Like the crime-investigation part of "Criminal Minds," but prefer a slightly lighter take on the genre? "Castle" is a great choice for balancing the criminal with the silly. Rick Castle, a bestselling mystery author, convinces the NYPD to let him tag along on some cases as inspiration for his next novel. Detective Kate Beckett is less than impressed with Castle's juvenile antics, but the two come to find some common ground (and romantic tension) and an unorthodox approach that cracks even the toughest cases.
Shows Like "Criminal Minds": "The Closer"
For a crime procedural that puts a strong, complicated woman front and center, "The Closer" is your pick. Brenda Johnson is a star in the LAPD, known as a "closer" who can crack the toughest cases no one else can solve. It's a slightly different angle than "Criminal Minds," which focuses more on a team approach, but if you're looking for a messy antihero procedural, this show definitely fits the bill!
Shows Like "Criminal Minds": "Hannibal"
What if one of the killers profiled by "Criminal Minds" was actually one of the central characters of the entire show? That's what you get with "Hannibal," a new take on the suave, violent serial killer and yet another twist on the story of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. In it, FBI agent Will Graham and the ever-charming cannibal, Lecter, form a twisted bond — even as they're meant to be mortal enemies. It still has some of the "crime procedural" format you love, but with some overarching storytelling and creepy-cool vibes thrown in.
Shows Like "Criminal Minds": "Killing Eve"
Inevitably, some of the baddies on "Criminal Minds" lead our heroes on long and arduous chases before finally being caught. If you love the thrill of the chase and the cat-and-mouse game, you can't miss "Killing Eve." MI5 agent Eve and skilled assassin Villanelle chase each other back and forth through conspiracies and betrayals, all while developing an incredibly complicated and intense connection.
Shows Like "Criminal Minds": "Leverage"
How about flipping the script from "Criminal Minds"? Instead of focusing on government and law enforcement good guys, "Leverage" makes its criminals the heroes. A misfit team of petty and skilled criminals, each with their own specialty, team up to bring justice where the official channels can't (or won't). Think of it as a Robin Hood story for the modern age!
Shows Like "Criminal Minds": "Luther"
For a charismatic crime-fighter going after the grittiest and darkest of cases, look no further than "Luther." Idris Elba's genius detective fights to take down some of the worst criminals out there — even if it means getting down in the muck with them to figure out what makes them tick and what their weaknesses are. There's even a tentative, complicated alliance between him and one such killer, adding another layer of moral complexity to this mystery thriller.
Shows Like "Criminal Minds": "The Mentalist"
While "Criminal Minds" focuses on actual investigators using behavioral sciences and psychology to track killers, "The Mentalist" is all about the science of faking it. Patrick Jane is a fraudulent "psychic" who has been getting by with exceptional powers of observation. He teams up with a group of investigators, lending his talents to help track down a serial killer with whom he has a devastating personal connection.
Shows Like "Criminal Minds": "Mindhunter"
Much like "Criminal Minds," "Mindhunter" focuses on the twisty world of criminal profiling. Holden Ford, a young FBI agent, becomes intrigued by the idea of figuring out what's behind the mind of a serial killer. Through interviews with several convicted killers, he tries to develop a method for profiling these criminals — techniques that lead to the creation of an entire unit dedicated to analyzing criminal behavior and what motivates it.
Shows Like "Criminal Minds": "NCIS"
Crime procedurals are a dime a dozen, with tons of sprawling universes and spinoffs. The original "NCIS" is a great option for "Criminal Minds" fans because of its straightforward formula combined with some quirky characters and the occasional weird twist. Set in a military investigative unit (the Naval Criminal Investigative Service), the long-running show traces both small-time cases and season-long conspiracies. And when we say "long-running," we really mean it — it's been on the air since 2003!
Shows Like "Criminal Minds": "Numb3rs"
A mismatched group of highly skilled investigators? Check. Awkward super-genius with an unorthodox approach? Check. Twisted crimes a-plenty? Check! For "Criminal Minds" fans looking for something pretty similar to their favorite show, "Numb3rs" offers all the procedural-thriller vibes you're looking for, but with a focus on math rather than behavior as the key to cracking the cases.
Shows Like "Criminal Minds": "Psych"
Crime-solving has never been more fun than with the "Psych" team! Take a break from the dark storylines on "Criminal Minds" and head over to this sunny dramedy, where Shawn comes under suspicion for calling in too many tips to the police. In reality, his detective father taught him observational skills from a young age, but Shawn instead claims to have psychic powers when questioned by the police. He's hired as a consultant, along with his reluctant partner and BFF Gus, to work with skeptical detectives Lassiter and O'Hara on a variety of weird and sometimes hilarious mysteries.
Shows Like "Criminal Minds": "Rizzoli & Isles"
If you like your crime procedurals to have a bit of a buddy-show vibe, then "Rizzoli & Isles" should be next on your list. Boston police detective Jane Rizzoli and chief medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles are first brought together to work on the case of a brutal serial killer. Over the years, they collaborate on several investigations, with their very different personalities and priorities causing tension while also opening their eyes to other, much needed points of view.
Shows Like "Criminal Minds": "White Collar"
While "Criminal Minds" digs into particularly dark and brutal criminal behavior, "White Collar" has a breezier feel. Elusive con artist Neal is finally captured by the FBI agent who's long been on his tail, Agent Peter Burke. After a failed prison break, Neal strikes a deal with Peter and the FBI: he gets his sentence commuted in exchange for him helping the the FBI catch more suspects with his exceptional, firsthand knowledge of the white-collar criminal. What emerges out of the charming Neal and straitlaced Peter's partnership is an unlikely dream team as they work together (and bicker) to catch thieves, cons, and more.
Shows Like "Criminal Minds": "Elementary"
If you love crime shows and mysteries, you really can't go wrong with at least one "Sherlock Holmes" adaptation. We'd recommend "Elementary," a modern-day twist on the classic story featuring prickly, recovering-addict Sherlock and his sober companion-turned-investigative-partner Joan Watson. With a fresh spin on classic Holmes mythology, alongside plenty of original storytelling, it runs the gamut from dark and thrilling to genuinely funny depending on the episode.