Just finished with Power? Before diving into a quest for shows similar to its gripping style, let’s explore why shows like Power have gained such a massive fan following. Its unapologetic portrayal of the drug trade’s harsh realities – encompassing violence, corruption, and betrayal – immediately captured audiences’ attention when it premiered on Starz in 2014. The characters’ multidimensional nature and their relatable struggles added depth, while the masterfully crafted writing, riddled with unexpected twists, kept viewers on the edge of their seats. Omari Hardwick’s dynamic performance as Ghost, fluidly oscillating between a suave nightclub owner and a ruthless drug lord, remains unforgettable. The show’s authentic depiction of both the gritty and glamorous aspects of New York City’s drug underworld, accompanied by a fitting hip-hop and R&B soundtrack, further solidified its appeal.
As your craving for crime dramas, loaded with action and suspense, lingers post-Power, we’ve curated a collection of 12 equally riveting shows. This selection caters to a spectrum of yearnings, whether it’s a desire to fill the Power-sized void, find characters and situations you can connect with, or simply indulge in more content akin to what you loved about the show. These series encapsulate the essence that made Power a sensation, ensuring an enthralling viewing experience filled with intricate plots, captivating characters, and the kind of suspense that leaves you hungry for the next episode. From intense narratives to complex personalities, get ready to immerse yourself in a world of crime, drama, and electrifying action that echoes the spirit of Power.
12 Similar Crime Shows Like Power
- Breaking Bad (2008-2013)
- The Sopranos (1999-2007)
- The Wire (2002-2008)
- Empire (2015-2020)
- Smallville (2001-2011)
- Lucifer (2016-2021)
- Narcos (2015-2017)
- The Deuce (2017-2019)
- Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014)
- Snowfall (2017-2023)
- Godfather of Harlem (2019-)
- Dopesick (2021)
1. Breaking Bad (2008-2013)
Considered the greatest show of all time by viewers, The drama series Breaking Bad by Vince Gilligan is a highly critically acclaimed crime show that follows high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston), who turns to making and selling methamphetamine to secure his family’s financial future after he is diagnosed with cancer. Along with his former student and partner, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), the two navigate the dangerous underworld of the drug trade and face the consequences of their choices.
Needless to say, Breaking Bad garnered numerous accolades, including Golden Globe for The Best Television Series- Drama. Like Power, this is a series about an underdog criminal who does whatever it takes to be at the top of his game, even if they have to sacrifice his morals and values. The show is known for its complex characters and powerful performances. Breaking Bad is more about the inner workings of the world of drug trafficking. As a fan of Power, you are certain to like this compelling drama.
If you’ve already seen it, check out our list of shows like Breaking Bad
2. The Sopranos (1999-2007)
The HBO original TV series, The Sopranos, is a true American classic crime drama series. It looks at the life of a New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster, Tony Soprano, played by James Gandolfini. The show is a fan-favorite and an absolute masterpiece, from the organized crime world to exploring Tony’s personal and professional life, there are multiple deep-rooted layers to the story. The Sopranos ran for 6 seasons and won multiple prestigious awards, including Golden Globes, Primetime Emmys, and Screen Actors Guild.
If you enjoy Power’s gritty realism and exploration of complex yet likable characters, then you will like the strong performances of James Gandolfini and Omari Hardwick, who deliver standout performances in their respective roles. There are few shows that can deliver excellence David Chase’s The Sopranos does.
Already seen it? check out our list of shows like The Sopranos
3. The Wire (2002-2008)
The HBO crime drama series The Wire is one of most highly regarded series in its genre for their realistic portrayal of Baltimore and the city’s drug trade, law enforcement, politics, and media. The Wire presents the truth of harsh life with complex characters, the underbelly of urban life, and its commentary on issues such as race, poverty, and corruption.
Both Power and The Wire are gritty and touch upon the themes of power, loyalty, and family. Baltimore, like New York, has a history of crime, with a large African American community. Amongst the most popular shows of the last decade, this Michael K Williams, Dominic West, and Lance Reddick lead series has a nuanced skill of storytelling that is hard to forget.
4. Empire (2015-2020)
Empire is a 6-season long musical drama television series following the Lyon family, who owns a hip-hop music empire. They face power struggles as they try to maintain control of their business and family relationships. The show has been nominated for numerous Primetime Emmys and has an exceptionally talented ensemble cast, including Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, and Jussie Smollett.
While the world of both the series Power and Empire are entirely different, the dirty politics, the betrayal, and the complex relationships remain closely similar to one another. Empire is filled with jaw-dropping intricate plot twists and compelling musical performances that will surely keep you entertained.
5. Smallville (2001-2011)
Okay, hear me out. At face value, there’s not much in common between Power and the WB superhero series Smallville. But if you want to love the thrill of double life, then Smallville‘s classic comic book story Clark Kent (Superman), is good enough to become your comfort show. Gravitating more towards the teenage flick, we see Clark (played by Tom Welling) grow up in the small town of Smallville and discover his superhuman abilities.
We learn more about Clark through his relationships with his friends and family, his difficulty fitting in, and his eventual journey toward becoming Superman. Clark struggles to balance his personal life and the extraordinary abilities that he uses to fight crimes. Running for 10 seasons, there is enough great storytelling for you to get into.
Also Read: Shows like The Expanse
6. Lucifer (2016-2021)
Lucifer is a popular American urban fantasy series about the fictional-modern day story Lucifer Morningstar (played by Tom Ellis), the Devil himself. Living a double life like Power’s James, Lucifer leaves Hell and moves to Los Angeles, where he starts running a nightclub and teams up with LAPD detective Chloe Decker (played by Lauren German) to solve crimes.
While Lucifer appears to be a charming playboy on the surface, he is also a deeply conflicted character struggling with his own identity and sense of morality. As the 6-season series progresses, viewers are drawn into a complex web of supernatural and human drama that explores themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the nature of good and evil. The series was created by Fox (1-3 seasons) and later picked up by Netflix for seasons 4-6. While it may not be as gritty in nature as Power, Lucifer is an entertaining, mysterious, and dark comedy-driven series worth trying for viewers who love the conflicted nature of a character living a cynical double life.
7. Narcos (2015-2017)
Talking about drug lords, it’s impossible not to mention a series about the most infamous drug lord called Narcos. This Netflix Original crime series follows the rise and fall of the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar and his drug cartel ‘Medellín Cartel’ in Colombia during the late 1970s and 1980s. The show’s 3 seasons combine historical facts with a bit of fictional storytelling and a ton of excellent performances!
With Wagner Moura as Pablo and Pedro Pascal as Javier Peña (a DEA Agent), the series delves into the political, social, and economic climate of Colombia during the time period, and explores the corruption and violence that surrounded the drug trade. Just as we see in Power, Narcos also portrays the flawed characters, harsh realities of the drug trade, and the dangerous alliances (and betrayals) that come with it.
8. The Deuce (2017-2019)
Created by George Pelecanos and David Simon, who also collaborated on HBO’s The Wire, comes a drama series called The Deuce. It’s a gritty New York series set in the 1970s and early 1980s. The show gives the viewers a look at the emergence of the porn industry and its impact on society, politics, and the people involved. The Deuce features a well-known ensemble cast, including James Franco, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Gbenga Akinnagbe.
Both shows, Power and The Deuce have their own unique take on the criminal world, but their multi-dimensional characters and addictive storylines bring them together. The Deuce explores the underworld of illegal activities in the urban world, questioning the human cost and moral complexities of these criminal enterprises. The Deuce is a compelling series to watch over the weekend.
9. Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014)
Created by Terence Patrick Winter, the American period crime drama series Boardwalk Empire is set in the 1920s, following the life of Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi), a corrupt politician and bootlegger in Atlantic City during Prohibition. With involvement from highly celebrated directors like Martin Scorsese, the show depicts the rise of organized crime and the corrupt political system in the United States during this era, as well as the personal and professional relationships of its characters.
Boardwalk Empire was widely praised for its detailed historical setting, compelling characters, intricate storylines, production values, and ability to capture the mood of the era. The series has been nominated for numerous prestigious awards, including a Golden Globe win for Best Television Series- Drama. Boardwalk Empire and Power both focus on the world of criminal kingpins and their glamorized world of organized crime, which is why it’s a must-watch.
10. Snowfall (2017-2023)
The crime drama series Snowfall by FX explores the rise of the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles during the 1980s. Created by John Singleton, Eric Amadio, and Dave Andron, the show will remind you of Power‘s tone with the darkest, most unsettling aspects of the American Psyche. The show narrates interconnected stories of a young street entrepreneur Franklin (Damson Idris), a Mexican wrestler turned gangster Gustavo ‘El Oso’ Zapata (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), a CIA operative Teddy McDonald (Carter Hudson), and an ambitious reporter Irene Abe (Suzy Nakamura).
The 6-season Snowfall focuses on the drug trade and features a cast of morally ambiguous characters. Centered around the origins of the crack cocaine epidemic and its impact on the communities, Snowfall’s characters navigate the dangerous and complex world of drug trafficking, while they are forced to confront the harsh realities of violence, corruption, and addiction.
11. Godfather of Harlem (2019-)
Based on a true story, The crime drama Godfather of Harlem is about the life of Bumpy Johnson, a notorious gangster near the end of his life who returns to Harlem after 10 years in prison. Set in the 60s, this show is an eye-opening reminder of the relationship between organized crime, politics, and race during that era.
Many tv shows explore the world of organized crime, but few can hit you hard in the soul the way Godfather of Harlem does. From Bumpy’s perspective, we see how Harlem has changed, young kids he once knew have risen in ranks. The Italians are making a play for Bumpy’s turf, as everyone wants something from him. The show has received unanimous critical acclaim from fans and critics for its gritty portrayal of Johnson’s life, and it’s truly worth watching if you like organized crime shows.
12. Dopesick (2021)
Dopesick is a drama series based on the bestselling book of the same name by Beth Macy. The series portrays the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic on American society, with various factors that contributed to its rise and the lives of those affected by it. Being a limited series, Dopesick was nominated for a Golden Globe and 14 Primetime Emmys, where they won 2 Emmys. With the lead cast featuring Micheal Keaton, Kaitlyn Dever, and Michael Stuhlbarg, amongst a few, this series packs a ton of talent.
Dopesick is a more somber exploration of the opioid epidemic compared to the drug business world of Power. The addiction, power, and corruption in Dopesick present devastating consequences of drug use and the toll it takes on individuals and society as a whole. This is a harrowing journey of how one company triggered one of the worst epidemics in American history.
Here are a few that didn’t make this list, but you can check them out nonetheless:
- Miami Vice
- Crime Story
- The Shield
- Peaky Blinders
- Bad Blood