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12 Shows like Homeland and Other Exciting Spy-Action Thrillers

shows like homeland

Spy thrillers are a fascinating genre, as most of it is based on reality. These agencies exist in real life, and are as dangerous as portrayed on our screens. It’s an interesting look into the dangerous world of international espionage that fans haven’t been able to get enough of, and that is why we’ve created a list of 12 shows like Homeland.

Homeland is an American espionage thriller TV series developed by showrunners Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa. It follows the story of Claire Danes, played by Carrie Mathison, a CIA officer and Damian Lewis’ Nicholas Brody, a Scout Sniper in the US Marine Corps. Mathison believes Brody was turned by the enemy during his time as a prisoner of war of al-Qaeda.

This is the suspicion that powers the plot of Homeland, and a gripping one at that. So if you’re looking for more shows with the same level of suspense, centered on one of the most dangerous professions that exist in the world today, then here are 12 shows like Homeland.

List of TV Shows like Homeland

1. Alias (2001)

Alias is an American spy thriller similar to series like Homeland, which follows the story of Sydney Bristow, played by Jennifer Garner, a double agent working for the CIA, who is posing as an agent for the SD-6, a criminal espionage agency, with the aim of taking the organization down.

Alias has been named among the best TV shows of the 2000s, and was constantly nominated for Emmys and Golden Globe Awards throughout its time on air. It has been particularly praised for the acting performance of Jennifer Garner, in her role as Sydney Bristow.

2. The Spy (2019)

This made-for-Netflix mini-series is centered on the travails of Eli Cohen, a Mossad spy, who has the task of infiltrating the Syrian Ministry of Defence during the years leading to the Six-Day War that would later rage on between Syria and Israel.

The Spy is based on the book The Spy Who Came from Israel, and tells the true life story of Eli Cohen. Although it has been criticized for not being the most consistent in terms of historical accuracy, it has been praised for its engaging storytelling and Sacha Baron Cohen’s enthralling performance as Eli Cohen.

3. MI5 (2005)

Also known as Spooks, MI-5 is a British spy drama that focuses on a group of MI5 officers working from their Thames House headquarters, housed in a secure site known as The Grid. They spend their days anticipating and countering terrorist threats aimed at the UK and its government.

MI-5 was a highly successful show throughout its runtime garnering multiple nominations and wins at the British Academy Television Awards and the Royal Television Society Awards, among many others. If you’re interested in high stakes spy drama series similar to Homeland, then this is the one for you.

Also Read: Shows like Sopranos

4. Burn Notice (2007)

Burn Notice is centered on Michael Westen, a former spy who was fired from the agency which he worked for. While taking jobs as a private investigator to make ends meet, he also needs to find out who brought about the end to his espionage career.

An espionage thriller similar to TV shows like Homeland, this show has been complimented for its witty dialogue and quick pacing, all held together by some accomplished acting across the board by a talented ensemble cast.

5. Covert Affairs (2010)

Covert Affairs is an action drama which follows the story of a fledgling CIA trainee, named Annie Walker, who is assigned a handler named August “Auggie” Anderson to guide her in her new designation and profession. Soon she is mysteriously granted a promotion borne out of hidden motives.

Piper Perabo was nominated at the 68th Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, testament to her great performances as Annie Walker. Covert Affairs remains one of the better action dramas of the 2010s and is highly recommended for fans of series similar to Homeland.

6. Spies of Warsaw (2013)

Spies of Warsaw is a British espionage show similar to Homeland, which follows the story of an intelligence agent who poses as a military personnel at the French Embassy in Warsaw as the Second World War kicks into gear.

This show has been described as “true to the original” story which it is based upon, and an “enjoyable, straightforward espionage tale without a lot of twists and layers” Spies of Warsaw should make its way onto your watch list if you’re a fan of spy dramas in general.

7. Nikita (2010)

Nikita features Maggie Q in its titular role, as a young woman serving her country via a covert agency known as Division. She dedicates herself to the agency with the aim of repaying them for saving her from death row. Little does she know that she will be turned into an assassin to be used for their sometimes evil machinations.

Nikita is an action packed spy thriller similar to series like Homeland, with tons of character and world building garnered from backstories and flashbacks. It’s also been noted for its serious, grounded tone, and its sleek visual style.

Also Read: Shows like Dexter

8. Allegiance (2015)

Allegiance, adapted from an Israeli series known as The Gordin Cell, follows the story of Alex O’Connor played by Gavin Stenhouse, a talented CIA analyst who is assigned to a joint task force alongside the FBI, to uncover a Russian plot to bring down crucial US infrastructure.

He soon realizes that those who seek to bring harm to his country might be closer than he thinks. It’s a methodical spy drama in the same vein as series similar to Homeland, and will keep you enthralled through every of its scenes, episodes and seasons.

9. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979)

Set in 1970s England, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a BBC spy drama similar to TV shows like Homeland. The show is based on a novel of the same name, authored by John le Carré by. The story is set in the era of the Cold War, where a spy veteran George Smiley is assigned the task of uncovering a Soviet Agent within MI6.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy has been named by Le Carré himself as his favorite film adaptation of his book. It’s a classic spy series which has been noted for its slower pacing, which might be unfamiliar to fans of more modern spy drama series like Homeland.

10. The Recruit (2022)

The Recruit is an American spy-adventure similar to shows like Homeland. The show features Noah Centineo, who plays Owen Hendricks, a CIA lawyer who is all of a sudden thrust into the high stakes world of international espionage after an agent threatens to compromise the agency.

Released on Netflix following a flurry of promo in late 2022, it has since garnered good reviews for its first season, with praise reserved especially for its great use of Noah Centineo in a role which he would not be expected to excel in.  

11. Treason (2022)

Treason is a British mini-series centered on Adam Lawrence, an agent of the MI6, who gets caught up in a complicated situation when a Russian spy who he has a history with, comes back into his life, threatening to turn his beliefs and entire life upside down.

Full of double-crossings and fun action setpieces, it garnered generally positive reviews from critics and fans alike, with praise especially reserved for its thrilling premise, and gripping storylines. If you’re looking for something with all of these qualities, then try checking this out on Netflix.

12. The Blacklist (2013)

The Blacklist is one of the more celebrated modern spy action thriller series like Homeland. It closely follows James Spader’s Raymond Reddington, a internationally known criminal who turns himself in to help the FBI catch some of their most wanted fugitives who are still at large.

A strong ensemble cast, a superb soundtrack and a thrilling plot, The Blacklist has remained of a consistently good quality over its time on air, despite slight dips in certain seasons as expected for a show that has stayed on air since 2013. If you loved Homeland, you’ll love The Blacklist.

Honorable Mentions

Here are more shows like Homeland that didn’t make the list which you can watch regardless:

  1. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (2018)
  2. In From The Cold (2022)
  3. The Americans (2013)

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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