There have been innumerable adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes stories ever since they were written but none have quite gained the popularity of the 2010 modern-day re-imagining of Sherlock. If you are in search of shows like Sherlock, we have made a list of shows that you should surely check out. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes have been a detective fiction classic for decades. These stories have inspired every genius character in some way or another but BBC’s Sherlock is easily one of the best series ever made.
The BBC Sherlock has had an extremely dedicated fan following and, rightly so. Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes, Martin Freeman as Dr John Watson and Andrew Scott as Professor Moriarty were absolutely PERFECT. In my opinion what makes the show better than many other series out there is how they use innovative and extraordinary ways to express Sherlock Holmes’ keen sense of observation, intellect and undeniable charm. Sherlock is directed as a modern-day re-telling with a perfect mix of nostalgia to classic lines like ‘The Game is on!’ which makes the show go beyond excellence. Sherlock uses his brilliant skills of deduction, observation and logical reasoning with modern technology and forensic science.
List of TV Shows Like Sherlock
- The Mentalist
- Agatha Christie’s Poirot
- House MD
- White Collar
- True Detective
- Peaky Blinders
- The Fall
1. The Mentalist (2008)
The Mentalist follows a ‘psychic’ turned detective Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) who has extraordinary skills of observation and works with the Bureau of Investigation in California to solve crimes. This murder mystery show puts the psychology of human behaviour at the front of the investigation instead of the usual search for evidence. Simon Baker has great chemistry with Robin Tunney, who plays Patrick’s boss and Senior agent Teresa Lisbon.
Bruno Heller wanted to make something different and I think he really proved himself with The Mentalist, he described the idea of the show’s main character Patrick as a part Sherlock, part justice-seeking and part con artist man. The casting of Simon Baker was the right decision for the role, he brought out the honest spiritual and physical struggles of the character. The Mentalist is funny, charming, thought-provoking and absolutely entertaining to watch. If you want to watch TV shows like Sherlock, then you should probably watch this one.
2. Agatha Christie’s Poirot (1989)
If BBC’s Sherlock is the best Sherlock Holmes adaptation then Agatha Christie’s Poirot or just Poirot is the best Hercule Poirot adaptation. Unlike Sherlock, Poirot is not set in the contemporary day, it takes place in the old-world charm of 1930s England. The sets of Poirot are impeccably produced and the characters truly seem like they leap out of Agatha Christie’s pages. For anyone who is a fan of Christie’s novels and has marvelled at how great the novels were, this series is all you will need.
One thing I appreciated about Poirot is that it sways away from swearing and graphic violence which is not only refreshing for murder mystery shows but is exactly why the show is so watchable. Akin to Sherlock, Poirot also has his own gallic charm and his eccentricities but what separates him (and probably makes him better) is his high empathy for people. Sure, the episodes are not always believable, it may seem too good to be true, but who cares? Poirot is a top-notch show that you should give a chance to if you are in search of shows like Sherlock.
Also Read: Shows like Broadchurch
3. House MD (2004)
Also known as House M.D, this American medical drama TV series is probably one of the best shows I have ever watched. Hugh Laurie plays the titular protagonist Gregory House, an antisocial and unconventional medical genius. He leads a team of diagnosticians as the Head of Diagnostic Medicine and believes every question has a logical answer.
House is a narcissistic, Vicodin-addicted, pain in the ass and yet viewers find him to be likeable. If you ask me, it’s because of Hugh’s own talent and charm, the role was made for him! Hugh’s charisma and excellent comedic timing make House irresistible. House’s characteristics and relationship dynamic with Dr Wilson were inspired directly by Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. If you want to watch shows like Sherlock then House is one of the best shows you can watch.
4. White Collar (2009)
White Collar is a Police Procedural Drama that centres on a former con artist and criminal, Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer). Neal works as a criminal consultant with the Law Enforcement agency FBI under Special agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay). At the beginning of the show, Peter Burke catches Neal Caffery for the second time and cuts him a deal to work with them till the end of his sentence and avoid being in prison. Neal in the meantime is finding answers to why the love of his life, Kate leaves him and disappears.
Talented and undeniably gorgeous Matt Bomer’s performance as the sophisticated and highly skilled artist Neal Caffery is too good to miss. Just as well, the performances by the rest of the cast are absolutely on point. I really adore Willie Garson as Mozzie. The show decided to end on a high note with its 6th season. A 100% binge-worthy show has the protagonist you might be looking for. So I say, White Collar is a perfect match for you if you’re looking for shows like Sherlock.
5. True Detective (2014)
The show True Detective is a seasonal fantasy series following a pair of detectives, namely Rustin Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson). The detectives are in pursuit of a serial killer in Louisiana with links to occult crimes from over 17 years. True Detective is a fantastic TV series, the performances by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson left me speechless.
The story unfolds in a way you won’t expect, True Detective is not just about a typical fashionable pair of detectives solving crimes through the streets of London but about two broken degenerating people struggling to resist the corrupting world around them. The show makes clever and witty use of vocabulary in the narrative to describe the feelings of the characters. Well, the second season of the show is quite weak but True Detective does manage to pick up where it started by its third season. If you want to see shows like Sherlock, I recommend that you check out True Detective.
6. Peaky Blinders (2013)
The British drama show Peaky Blinders may be a fictional story of the Birmingham underworld but it is based on a real story of the gangs known by the very same name ‘Peaky Blinders’ from the late 19th century. The story follows a dangerous cut-throat man called Thomas Shelby ( Cillian Murphy). He leads a gang consisting of his brothers with the support of his Aunt Polly Grey. Together these criminals try everything in their power to move up in the world and (mild spoilers!) soon enough Thomas becomes a powerful crime lord.
At face value, Thomas is not the kind of character someone would like, but Cillian provides such a charm to the character, that his incredible Brummie accent will make its way into your own vernacular. Everything about the show is SO SO good, you will not regret a minute of it (maybe except the 5th season). If you are looking for shows similar to Sherlock then Peaky Blinders could be a great pick for you.
Also Read: Shows like Person of Interest
7. Elementary (2012)
Elementary is another contemporary update on the classic tale of Sherlock Holmes.
In this show, Sherlock (John Lee Miller) ruins his reputation in London after his drug addiction. He decides to relocate after rehabilitation to New York City where he meets Dr Joan Watson (Lucy Liu), the female version of John Watson.
Getting into a show about Sherlock Holmes is a challenge after watching the iconic BBC Sherlock but Elementary does a really good job of turning the story into a well-spread arc. Elementary ran for 7 seasons and I reckon it was quite an intelligent show. Elementary is a nice option if you are a fan and want to see shows like Sherlock.
8. Luther (2010)
Luther is a very well-received British crime thriller drama series. The talented and good-looking Idris Elba plays the intelligent DCI John Luther. Luther works in the Serious Crime Unit and he is often obsessed with the investigations. All the questions possess his mind to an end that often brings out the violence in his character.
Unlike Sherlock, Luther cares about bringing justice to the victims of brutal crimes even if it challenges his morals. Luther is set in gloomy and harsh London to translate the nature of the twisted legal system. The show does not shy away from focusing on the dark side of reality to bring out a more honest representation. If you want to watch British detective shows similar to Sherlock then Luther is worth considering.
9. Monk (2002)
The popular series Monk is a police procedural show created by Andy Breckman. A former San Francisco police detective, Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) has a nervous breakdown when he loses his wife in a murder that goes unsolved. He develops an extreme case of OCD which makes it impossible for him to function in society normally and requires constant assistance.
Regardless of his problems, Monk possesses sharp skills of investigation and is often called by his former colleagues to help solve difficult cases. I’m sure his characteristics shall remind you of Sherlock. Monk had a record-high viewership from 2009 to 2012. It’s truly a phenomenal show. If you want to watchTV shows like Sherlock then you are sure to enjoy Monk.
10. The Fall (2013)
The Fall is probably the least like Sherlock in this list but what the show lacks in similarity, it makes up for with Gillian Anderson’s brilliant performance as Detective Stella Gibson. The story follows Stella fighting her own demons as she tries to catch a serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan).
The show’s storytelling is very gripping and the characters are so perplexing that you might find yourself developing complicated feelings for the serial killer and maybe even half-rooting him. This is exactly what I felt when I saw Andrew Scott’s take on Moriarty. If you are bored and are looking for TV shows similar to Sherlock then give The Fall a try.
Here’s a bonus list of TV series like Sherlock that didn’t make the original list but you can check them out as well:
- Breaking Bad
- Midsomer Murders
- Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries