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12 Shows Like Dexter For Fans of Serial Murder Thrillers

shows like dexter

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.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few shows like Dexter that didn’t make the list that you can also check out: 

1.      Riverdale

2.     The Disappearance Of Madeleine McCann

3.     Making a Murderer

4.     The Valhalla Murders

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.


The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island.

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake

The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66.

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created.

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan

The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world.

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward
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