There really is just something fascinating about peering into the mind of a killer, and for this reason, we have created a list of shows like Dexter, all of which do exactly that. Sometimes, we get to watch a crime unfold from the perspective of the victim, or from the killer, or from those tasked with investigating and apprehending them. However, in the show Dexter, two of these perspectives are intertwined into one.
This is because Dexter Morgan, played by Michael C. Hall, takes the law into his own hands, by tracking down and killing any murderers who may have been let go by the justice system, due to the prevalence of corruption or lack of evidence. Check out our list of recommendations for shows like Dexter.
List Of TV Shows Like Dexter
1. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was a stalwart in the crime drama genre for over a decade. Created by showrunner Anthony E. Zuiker, CSI is a police procedural TV series that follows a team of criminal and forensic investigators, who are assigned to solving crimes in the city of Las Vegas. Similar to series like Dexter, the show focuses on a cerebral gathering of evidence, deduction, and scientific techniques all used in solving crimes and finding the culprit.
Episodes are usually similar in structure, beginning with a crime being committed, and then the investigative work taking the majority of its runtime, culminating in the culprit being caught. The series however explores the characters’ personal lives outside of their work, and departmental politics as well. If this wide scope in a crime thriller is what you’re after then this might be the show for you.
2. Mindhunter (2017)
Mindhunter is an American crime drama TV show based on the book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker. The show follows the story of two FBI agents, Holden Ford and Bill Tench, who go around US penitentiaries, to interview famous serial killers in order to enter into their minds, understand their motives and stop future serial killers.
The show is set in the 1970s and 80s, in the early days of the FBI’s use of criminal psychology and criminal profiling in stopping potential serial killers or murderers. This is a method utilized particularly in a TV series like Dexter. Already seen this brilliant show by David Fincher? Then check out our list of shows like Mindhunter.
3. The Alienist (2018)
The Alienist is an American period drama television series that follows Laszlo Kreizler, a criminal psychologist, also known as an alienist, and his supporting cast made up of a newspaper illustrator and a police secretary. Together, they set out to solve a series of murders, just like in Dexter.
The show takes place in the so-called Gilded Age of New York in the 19th century. It explores themes of crime, discrimination, psychology and societal norms in the city of New York. The show was praised for its historical accuracy, strong performances, and intricate writing. Similar to shows like Dexter , if you would like to be transported to this surreal era of history, then this is a show to watch.
4. Slasher (2016)
Slasher is a horror anthology television series created by Aaron Martin. Each season of the series showcases a different story and new set of characters, where a killer terrorizes the fictional town of Waterbury, Canada. This series similar to Dexter, focuses on the psychological motivations of the killer.
The series is a potent mix of thriller and horror, with plenty of twists and turns that will keep you interested through each of its episodes. If this collection of murder stories interests you, then you can catch up on the show on Netflix.
5. Aquarius (2015)
A lot of crime shows are set in past eras of American or European history, and Aquarius is no exception. Aquarius is an American period crime drama television series that takes place in the late 1960s, and follows Sam Hodiak, an L.A police detective tasked with investigating the case of one of Charles Manson’s recruits.
The show uses a mix of fiction and real life history to explore themes of politics, culture and the society at large, as well as the psychology behind Charles Manson and his followers, similar to the investigative work done on shows like Dexter.
6. The Mentalist (2008)
The Mentalist brings a twist into the crime drama genre in the person of Patrick Jane, a former fake psychic who is employed by the California Bureau of Investigation to solve crimes within the state. Patrick Jane, played by Simon Baker uses his heightened observational skills, similar to the titular character in a series like Dexter, to somewhat ‘read’ peoples’ minds. If you’re already a fan of this show, check out our list of shows like The Mentalist.
Jane is not alone, as he along with a group of agents to solve various cases from episode to episode, while the overarching narrative is centred on Jane finding the killer of his wife and daughter. The Mentalist despite its subject matter can be lighthearted at times, with banter being exchanged between Jane and his other team members. The Mentalist was a long-running show that gained good reviews from viewers and critics alike.
7. Beyond Evil (2021)
Beyond Evil is a South Korean psychological thriller miniseries that follows the story of two detectives, Han Joo-won and Lee Dong-sik, as they work together to solve a series of brutal murders in the Western Gyeonggi Province.
The show explores themes of justice, morality, and the human psyche similar to a show like Dexter, as the two detectives try their best to catch the murderer responsible for these crimes. Beyond Evil’s suspenseful plot, well written characters, and shocking reveals will definitely keep you entertained, if you like shows of this nature.
8. The Sinner (2017)
The Sinner is an anthology crime drama television series that follows Detective Harry Ambrose, played by Bill Pullman, as he investigates crimes especially those committed by the unlikeliest of culprits. Each season focuses on Harry tackling a brand new case, climaxing with the reveal of the culprit, by the time the season finale comes by.
The series is known for its focus on exploring characters and the psychological aspect of crime, similar to TV shows like Dexter. The Sinner is praised for its use of suspense and surprising twists that will keep you as engaged as ever while you watch.
9. Sherlock (2010)
When it comes to detective stories, Sherlock Holmes is a classic character, who can claim to be the greatest fictional detective in pop culture alongside Batman. Sherlock, the show, twists the Sherlock Holmes formula by being a crime thriller drama set in modern-day London. Sherlock, played by The Avengers’ Benedict Cumberbatch, with assistance from his trusty sidekick John Watson, played by Martin Freeman who is famous for his role in The Hobbit.
The show makes use of quick pacing, energetic storytelling and witty characters, who bounce banter and joke off each other. The show is sure to keep you laughing as well as engaged. Sherlock is a bonafide classic of the modern era of TV, which has spawned successful careers for most of its cast and is a must-watch for fans of shows like Dexter.
10. Monster (2004)
Monster is a South Korean psychological thriller and anime that follows the story of Lee Hyeong, a highly skilled neurosurgeon who is wrongly accused of committing a crime, and subsequently becomes a murderer. This leads to him trying to simultaneously evade the law, as well as clear his name.
The series has been praised for its suspenseful plot, similar to a series like Dexter, which will keep you on the edge of your seat, wondering what happens next. It also has some effective writing and well-thought-out character, all these leading to the show gathering great reviews from viewers.
11. Through The Darkness (2022)
There seems to be a theme of sorts, considering the influx of Korean shows of this genre placed on this list. This is mostly due to the quality shows that they keep churning out, and Through the Darkness is no exception. The show is a mystery-thriller that follows the story of a detective Song Ha-Young who tries to use criminal profiling, similar to shows like Dexter and Mindhunter, to solve serial crimes.
Through the Darkness has gained positive reviews for its suspenseful writing and attention to detail. This show is bound to see you gaining insight into the criminal mind while keeping you entertained as you go along for the ride.
12. The Bridge (2011)
The Bridge is a Swedish/Danish crime thriller created and written by Hans Rosenfeldt. The show follows the investigation of a murder which took place on the Oresund Bridge, a bridge which connects Denmark and Sweden. The crime is tackled by the creation of a joint task force, made up of two detectives, each from either country. Together, they work to solve this crime and other crimes in later seasons.
The Bridge is praised for its well-crafted plotlines, as well as its in-depth exploration of social themes affecting both countries. The Bridge is a great show to watch after a series like Dexter.
Here are a few shows like Dexter that didn’t make the list that you can also check out:
2. The Disappearance Of Madeleine McCann
3. Making a Murderer
4. The Valhalla Murders