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12 Must-See Crime Drama Shows like Law and Order 

shows like law and order

Law and Order is a highly popular TV series that has been on the air for more than 30 years. Many viewers remember it for its intriguing look into the criminal justice system, from the perspective of both law enforcement officers and prosecutors. If you’re a fan of the series, then for your consideration we have curated a list of 12 shows like Law and Order that you are sure to enjoy. Check them out!
Law and Order’s stories are often based on real-life cases and feature a cast of talented actors who bring their characters to life with depth and complexity. The show’s writing is also highly acclaimed, as it blends drama, suspense, and procedural elements in a way that keeps viewers engaged and invested in the outcome of each case. Law and Order has a reputation for being both socially and politically relevant and often addressing current events and controversial topics in a thoughtful and nuanced way.

List of TV Shows Like Law and Order

1. The X-Files (1993)

The X-Files centers around FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, who investigate unexplained and often paranormal cases known as X-Files. Mulder believes in the existence of extraterrestrial life and a government conspiracy to cover it up, while Scully is a skeptic who provides a scientific and logical perspective. 

Together, they explore mysterious phenomena, encounter bizarre creatures, and uncover secrets that challenge their beliefs and endanger their lives. With a focus on the paranormal and unexplained phenomena, The X-Files being a cult classic series like Law and Order.

2. Chicago P.D (2014)

The elite Intelligence Unit of the Chicago Police Department (Chicago P.D) combat the city’s most dangerous criminals. The team is led by Sergeant Hank Voight , the team includes detectives Erin Lindsay, Jay Halstead, and Antonio Dawson. Chicago P.D explores the personal and professional lives of the characters as they tackle cases ranging from drug trafficking to organized crime. 

This series is a part of the Chicago franchise, which includes shows Chicago Fire and Chicago Med. Being praised for its realistic portrayal of police work and its compelling storylines, Chicago P.D’s gritty potrayal of law enforcement cements its place in the pantheon of popular police dramas, which is why I recommend you watch it after shows like Law and Order.

3. Blue Bloods (2010)

Blue Bloods is a popular American police procedural drama series and follows the life of a multi-generational family of law enforcement officers, the Reagans, as they serve and protect the citizens of New York City. Tom Selleck plays Frank Reagan, the Police Commissioner and patriarch of the family. 

Blue Bloods has a character-driven approach in comparison to series like Law and Order. This series looks at the inner workings of law enforcement agencies and the justice system. For engaging police procedurals, and charming characters, this series is a no-brainer.

Also Read: Shows like Better Call Saul

4. NCIS (2003)

In the popular series NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) a team of special agents investigate crimes involving members of the US Navy and Marine Corps. NCIS includes combination of high action, suspense, and character-driven storylines.

Similar to shows like Law and Order, NCIS focuses on the investigative process rather than the courtroom drama. Both shows also rely on a team of investigators, with each member contributing their unique skills and personalities to the cases they work on. If you want to see a series with focus on military crime with a standout ensemble cast, then NCIS is the right pick for you.

5. NYPD Blue (1993)

NYPD Blue is a gritty police procedural drama series that show ran for 12 seasons. The show follows the professional and personal lives of detectives of the fictional 15th Precinct of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), focusing on the unconventional and often controversial tactics used to solve crimes.

The show is known for frenetic storytelling, use of verite handheld camera, its realism and graphic depiction of violence and nudity, which sparked controversy and censorship in its early years. However, it also won critical acclaim and numerous awards, including multiple Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards. So, for a series similar to Law and Order, this should be a good choice. 

6. Homicide: Life On Streets (1993)

Set in Baltimore, the show follows the detectives of the Baltimore Police Department’s homicide unit as they investigate murders in the city. The show is extremely well-made and is known for its dark realism, complex characters, and nuanced portrayal of the criminal justice system.

Homocide: Life On Streets was often overshadowed by other crime dramas at the time, such as shows like Law and Order. However, it was groundbreaking for the way it portrayed complex characters, and compelling storylines. Homocide: Life On Streets’s influence can still be seen in contemporary shows like The Wire and True Detective

7. All Rise (2019)

All Rise is a legal drama series that premiered on CBS and follows the lives of judges, lawyers, and clerks as they navigate the justice system in Los Angeles. The main character, Judge Lola Carmichael, is a newly appointed judge who strives to bring fairness and equality to the courtroom.

Throughout the series, the characters deal with a variety of cases that touch on timely and controversial issues such as racial bias, police brutality, and immigration. The show also delves into the personal lives of the characters, exploring their relationships and struggles outside of work. For shows similar to Law and Order, All Rise is an underrated pick. 

Also Read: Shows like Yellowstone

8. The Closer (2005)

The Closer is about Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, a skilled detective from Atlanta who moves to Los Angeles to lead the Priority Homicide Division of the LAPD. If you want to see an Agatha Christie-esque series like Law and Order, then you should try watching this one.

With her Southern charm, intelligence, and tenacity, Johnson tackles high-profile cases, often using unorthodox methods to extract confessions from suspects. Along the way, she navigates the challenges of working in a male-dominated field and clashes with her colleagues over her tactics. The show’s 7-season run earned critical acclaim and multiple awards, including two Primetime Emmy Awards for lead actress Kyra Sedgwick.

9. Major Crimes (2012)

Fans of Law and Order might like Major Crimes since it has a pretty similar style of storytelling. Major Crimes focuses on the investigation and prosecution of major crimes or high profile cases in Los Angeles. The show is actually a spin-off to the series we mentioned above, The Closer and it even features many of the same characters.

This series is led by Captain Sharon Raydor and the team includes seasoned detectives with unique skill sets. Major Crimes also delves into the personal lives of the detectives while exploring the intricate workings of the justice system. If you are looking for shows similar to Law and Order and have already seen The Closer, then you might want to try out this series. 

10. The Practice (1997)

The Practice is a legal drama series that ran for 8 seasons. The show revolves around the Boston-based law firm, Donnell, Young, Dole, and Frutt, and their clients’ cases. The series follows the lives of the firm’s attorneys as they handle a range of criminal and civil cases, including murder, sexual assault, and insurance fraud. 

The show tackles complex legal issues and explores the moral and ethical dilemmas faced by attorneys. The Practice has a talented cast of actors including Dylan McDermott, Steve Harris, Camryn Manheim, and Michael Badalucco. If you like gripping and realistic stories in a series like Law and Order then this legal series is worth a watch.

11. Damages (2007)

Damages follows the story of a successful lawyer, Patty Hewes, who takes on high-profile cases while balancing personal relationships and her own inner demons. This is for sure an entertaining series, I mean who doesn’t love a talented yet flawed protagonist? 

The premise of the show revolves around the complex and often morally ambiguous world of corporate law and the consequences of the characters’ actions. Similar to a series like Law and Order, Damages features intricate plotlines that are highly entertaining. So, make a cup of coffee and enjoy binge watching this over the weekend. 

12. CSI (2000)

CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) features a forensic investigators in Las Vegas. So, as you may have guessed, this series solves the difficult cases through the use of forensic evidence. In a pool of endless crime series, you might like watching one that uses scientific research to solve crimes.

CSI also has a great ensemble cast similar to shows like Law and Order and focuses on the social issues. However, CSI is more that just crime sovling, it deeply explores the impact of crime on victims and society.

Honorable Mentions 

Here are a few shows like Law and Order that didn’t make our list, but you can check them out as well: 

  1. LA Law
  2. Mindhunter
  3. Criminal Minds
  4. Luther

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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