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12 Best Shows like Monk If You Enjoy Genius Eccentric Detectives

Shows like Monk

Monk aired from 2002 to 2009 featuring Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, the brilliant but neurotic former police detective who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you miss the show, for your consideration we have curated a list of 12 shows like Monk that we think you may enjoy, have a look! The show gained popularity due to its unique concept and Tony Shalhoub’s exceptional performance, which earned him numerous awards, including four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.

The ability to balance humour and drama made it accessible to a wide range of audiences which gave the show its popularity. The show’s focus on Monk’s struggles with his OCD and anxiety resonated with viewers, adding a relatable and empathetic aspect to the show’s appeal. It is mainly the witty and clever writing, coupled with Tony’s impeccable comedic timing that made for an entertaining viewing experience which continues to captivate audiences to this day.

List of TV Shows Like Monk

1. The Mentalist (2008)

The Mentalist like Monk is a crime drama tv series that follows Patrick Jane (played by Simon Baker), a former psychic who uses his exceptional observational skills and psychological insight to solve crimes as a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Jane’s family was brutally murdered by a serial killer named Red John, and he uses his work with the CBI to find and bring Red John to justice. Similar to a series like Monk, The Mentalist uses his remarkable attention to detail and intuition to solve crimes.

Also Read: Shows like The Mentalist

2. House MD  (2004)

Crowned as one the most watched shows in 2009 worldwide is House MD, a medical drama TV series that follows the story of Dr. Gregory House. House is a brilliant but unconventional diagnostician who leads a team of doctors at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Each episode follows the team as they try to solve puzzling medical cases that have stumped other doctors.

House is known for his acerbic wit, unorthodox methods, and is addicted to painkillers. House MD is highly acclaimed for its engaging plotlines, dynamic characters, and exceptional performance of Hugh Laurie in the lead role. House like Monk, is flawed and fights his inner demons making House MD one of the best shows similar to Monk that you can watch.

3. Psych  (2006)

The comedy-drama Psych follows the adventures of Shawn Spencer, a man with exceptional observational skills and eidetic memory, who poses as a psychic detective to solve crimes for the Santa Barbara Police Department. Along with his best friend, Burton “Gus” Guster, Shawn uses his unique abilities to crack cases and bring criminals to justice.

Here’s a clip frpm Psych season 1

Throughout the show’s run, viewers were entertained by the duo’s witty banter, pop culture references, and hilarious antics. Psych has become a cult classic, and features the protagonist with an unconventional methods of investigation that you enjoy. Along with 8 seasons and multiple films, Psych is a great choice for series like Monk.

4. Castle (2009)

Castle is a light-hearted crime series centering Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), a successful mystery novelist who becomes involved with the NYPD when a serial killer starts copying the murders from his books. Castle teams up with Detective Kate Beckett to solve the case and becomes fascinated with her work as a homicide detective. If you’ve already see this show, also read: Shows like Castle

As a result, Castle begins to use his connections to the NYPD to shadow Beckett and gather inspiration for his next novel, which leads to them becoming unlikely partners in solving crimes. If you miss the detective mysteries in shows like Monk, Castle might be the right pick for you.

5. Sherlock  (2010)

BBC’s Sherlock is a modern retelling of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic detective stories. The show follows the adventures of the brilliant but eccentric consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), and his trusted friend and partner, Dr John Watson (played by Martin Freeman), as they solve complex crimes and puzzles in contemporary London.

Throughout the series, viewers are introduced to iconic characters from Doyle’s original stories, such as Irene Adler, Jim Moriarty, and Mycroft Holmes, while also exploring the intricacies of Sherlock’s personal life, including his relationships with his brother and his arch-nemesis. So, if you are familiar with the stories of Sherlock and want to watch a series like Monk, this brilliant and well-created series is not to be missed!

Already seen this? Read Shows like Sherlock

6. Only Murders In The Building (2021)

A slighty unconventional choice with an uncoventional trio, Only Murders In The Building is a murder mystery-comedy series that follows 2 old men- Charles and Oliver, and a young women- Mabel, played by Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez respectively. They live in the same New York City apartment building and are all obsessed with true crime.

When a resident in their building dies in what the police deem a suicide, the trio believes it was actually a murder and decide to launch their own investigation by starting a true crime podcast. As they delve deeper into the case, they begin to uncover secrets about their neighbours and themselves, all while trying to stay one step ahead of the real killer. The show offers a refreshing take on the whodunit genre is worth watching for fans of shows like Monk.

7. White Collar (2009)

White Collar revolves around a con artist named Neal Caffrey (played by Matt Bomer) who strikes a deal with the FBI to work as a criminal informant. In exchange for his freedom, Neal agrees to help the FBI solve white-collar crimes while also trying to track down his elusive ex-girlfriend. 

Here’s a clip from White Collar Season 1 Episode 1

Alongside his FBI handler, Peter Burke (played by Tim DeKay) Neal uses his charm and wit to outsmart some of the most cunning criminals in New York City. The duo between Neal and Peter works incredibly well and all the other supporting characters like Mozzie and Elizabeth are a delight to watch. White Collar is a superb series similar to Monk for you to try out.

Also Read: Shows like The White Collar

8. Bones (2005)

A forensic anthropologist, Dr. Temperance Brennan works with the FBI to solve murders. Known by her nickname “Bones,”. Alongside her FBI partner, Agent Seeley Booth, she uses her expertise in analysing bones and skeletal remains to help solve cases that seem impossible to solve.

The show explores the complex relationship between Bones and Booth, as well as the personal lives of the team members. Over the course of its 12 seasons, Bones became a beloved and successful series. After a series like Monk, you might like Bones.

9. Perception (2012)

Speaking of brilliant characters, Perception follows Dr. Daniel Pierce, a brilliant neuroscientist with schizophrenia. In his case, he helps FBI solve complex cases using his unique perspective into the minds of the criminals. Throughout the series, Dr. Pierce’s condition provides both a challenge and an advantage to him as he navigates the intricacies of criminal behavior and the human mind.

The show is not only entertaining but also offers a fascinating look into the world of neuroscience and mental health, highlighting the importance of understanding and supporting those living with mental illness. Perception is a terrific show for if a series like Monk intrigues you.

10. Elementary (2012)

The series Elementary is anotgher modern adaptation of the classic detective story of Sherlock Holmes. The show follows the eccentric and brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes (played by Jonny Lee Miller) moving to New York after his reputation in London is tarnished after his drug addiction. As a sober companion the female Dr. Joan Watson (played by Lucy Liu) helps him solve complex and intriguing cases in New York City.

Similar to a series like Monk, this is another quirky and unconventional detective show to watch. However, Elementary is a more modern take with a focus on technology and a deeper exploration of character development.

11. Lie to Me (2009)

Lie to Me follows an expert in deception detection, Dr. Cal Lightman, who uses his exceptional skills to solve complex criminal cases. The show is centered around Lightman’s ability to read the subtle cues and micro-expressions that reveal when someone is lying, allowing him to expose the truth and bring criminals to justice.

Fans of shows like Monk may become jut as obsessed with Lie to Me since both shows share a similar detailed focus on complex mysteries and crimes. However, Lie to Me is less about the extraordinary human intellect and more about an advance technology. 

12. Perry Mason (2020)

Perry Mason is a legal-crime drama series about brilliant defense attorney, Perry Mason, in the 1930s Los Angeles. The show takes you on a journey of gripping and intense courtroom battles, as Mason defends his clients while trying to uncover the truth behind their cases.

Fans of a series like Monk will notice Perry Mason familiarity with crimes, the attention to detail in investigations, and the portrayal of complex characters. Additionally, Perry Mason’s production design and costume are superb, immersing you in the time period and creating a sense of nostalgia.

Also Read: Shows like True Detective

Honorable Mentions 

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

  1. Suits
  2. The Indian Detective 
  3. Veronica Mars

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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