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10 TV Shows Like the Mentalist to Watch if You Enjoy Psychological Thrillers

Shows like the Mentalist

The drama television series The Mentalist had an astounding run of 7 seasons and gained wide popularity and critical acclaim. If you enjoyed watching this smart detective drama, we have put together a list of shows like The Mentalist that you may like.

The Mentalist follows a ‘psychic’ turned detective Patrick Jane with extraordinary skills of observation investigating crimes with the Bureau of Investigation in California. Created by Bruno Heller, the show puts the psychology of human behaviour at the front of the investigation instead of the search for evidence. Simon Baker (playing Patrick Jane) has great chemistry with Robin Tunney, who plays Patrick’s boss- Senior agent Teresa Lisbon.

Heller wanted to make something different and prove himself after making the historical drama show Rome. He described the idea of The Mentalist’s main character as a part Sherlock, part justice-seeking and part con artist man. The casting of Simon Baker was perfect for the role of Patrick Jane since he bought the spiritual and physical enigma of the character masterfully. The show received many prestigious awards and nominations during its run. If you want to watch TV shows like The Mentalist, check out the following list of recommendations.

List of TV Shows Like The Mentalist

  1. Psych
  2. House
  3. The White Collar
  4. Sherlock (BBC)
  5. Monk
  6. Lie to Me
  7. Castle
  8. Criminal Minds
  9. Leverage
  10. Bones

Here’s why these 10 shows are like The Mentalist

1. Psych (2006)

Psych is an American detective comedy-drama series created by Steve Franks in 2006. Shawn Spencer played by James Roday is the central character, he is a young crime consultant for the Santa Barbara Police Department. Shawn has an eidetic memory, he also learns a lot about detailed observation from his father, former detective Henry. Often called a ‘Psych’, Shawn formerly insists that there’s no such thing but after police are suspicious about his involvement in a crime he solves, he tells everyone that he is indeed a Psychic.

The show Psych has been praised for its comedic-juvenile style of script writing, the dialogues are spontaneous and brilliant. The main characters of Shawn and his best friend and work partner Burton Guster form hilariously engaging chemistry. Henry’s performance as a man unamused by Shawn’s quirkiness contributes to greater amusement for the viewers. A highly underrated show, Psych ran for 8 seasons and has 3 movies with a consistent quality of acting performances and humour. Psych was often a point of comparison for The Mentalist because of the ‘psychic’ character premise. So, if you are looking for TV shows like The Mentalist, Psych is the perfect choice for you.

Also Read: Shows like Person of Interest

2. House (2004)

Also known as House M.D., this is an American medical drama TV series created by David Shore and aired in 2004. Talented Hugh Laurie plays the titular protagonist Gregory House, an antisocial and unconventional medical genius. He leads a team of diagnosticians at the Head of Diagnostic Medicine in the fictional Princeton Plainsboro Hospital in New Jersey.

Dr House believes every question has a logical answer, he is a narcissistic, vicodin addicted crippled man walking around with a cane yet viewers find him to be likeable. Hugh Laurie’s charisma and excellent comedic timing make House irresistible. House’s characteristics and relationship dynamic with Dr Wilson will remind you of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.

The show’s writing is one of the best in the medical drama genre. Running for a total of 8 seasons, House ended 10 years ago but continues to receive high critical acclaim. If you want to watch shows like The Mentalist with a man’s deductive and humorously charming intellect, House is one of the best shows you can watch.

3. The White Collar

Created by Jeff Eastin and airing in 2009, The White Collar is a Police Procedural Drama that centres on a formal con artist and criminal, Neal Caffrey played by Matt Bomer. Neal works as a criminal consultant with the Law Enforcement agency FBI under Special agent Peter Burke, played by Tim DeKay. Peter Burke catches Neal Caffery for the second time and cuts him a deal to work with them for his 4 year 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. The show ended on a high note with its 6th season. Binge-worthy, the show has many similarities to Bruno Heller’s creation and which is why The White Collar is a perfect match for you if you’re looking for shows like The Mentalist.

4. Sherlock (BBC)

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes have been a detective fiction classic for decades. There have been innumerable adaptations of the stories since then but none have quite gained popularity like the 2010 modern-day re-imagining of Sherlock. The BBC Sherlock has had an extremely dedicated fan following and, rightly so. The show has an extremely talented cast of actors, Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr John Watson, Andrew Scott as the iconic Professor Moriarty. The show uses innovative ways to express the extraordinary intelligence and ever-green charm of the man Sherlock Holmes.

Directed with a perfect mix of nostalgia to the time-appropriate re-imaging of classic lines like ‘The Game is On!’ makes the show go beyond perfection. Sherlock uses technology and forensic science with his brilliant skills of deduction, observation and logical reasoning. The show has raving reviews and highly dedicated fans. Stories of Sherlock Holmes inspire every genius character in some way or another and The Mentalist is no exception. So, if you are in search for Tv shows like The Mentalist, Sherlock is an unmissable watch.

5. Monk (2002)

The series Monk is a 2002 police procedural show created by Andy Breckman. Adrian Monk is the title character and is played by Tony Shalhoub. A former San Francisco police detective, Monk 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.

Possessing sharp skills of investigation, Monk is often called by his former colleagues to help solve difficult cases. The show held the record of being the most-watched episode of a scripted drama show in cable television history from 2009 to 2012. Monk also received many awards and high critical acclaim including the 8 Emmys and 1 Golden Globe. If you want to watch shows similar to The Mentalist, you are sure to enjoy Monk.

6. Lie to Me (2011)

Created by Sam Baum, Lie to Me is a crime drama television series loosely based on Dr Paul Ekman and his research on human emotions, lie detection and micro-expressions. Tim Rothe plays the central character Cal Lightman, the world’s leading deception expert. To solve crimes and expose the truth, he uses his studies of facial expressions and involuntary body language. Like The Mentalist, Lie to Me uses the psychology of human behaviour as the primary approach to solving cases.

At the beginning of the show, Lightman’s team’s new associate, Ria Torres is labelled ‘natural’ at deception detection. Her innate talent does not sit well with Cal’s academic approach and so Cal often tries to show off while she proves a worthy opponent to his challenges. Even though the show only lasts 3 seasons before getting cancelled, it’s quite engaging to watch. If you want to see TV shows like The Mentalist, Lie to Me is a perfect option for you.

7. Castle (2009)

Castle was created by Andrew W. Marlowe and it aired in 2009. Nathan Filion plays the famous mystery novelist Richard Castle and Stana Katic plays the homicide detective Kate Beckett. In the beginning, Castle is bored and going through writer’s block, out of boredom he decides to kill off his main character. When a person kills someone in real life using Castle’s novel, Castle is called into the New York police department. He meets detective Kate Beckett and is inspired by her to write another story and ends up shadowing her at work.

Castle and Kate’s relationship is of the typical odd couple being forced to work together. Castle is a goofy man-child who truly loves his family while Kate is a serious and dedicated and strong detective. All the characters, including the supporting characters, are well-rounded. The show has been widely liked by viewers of all generations. If you just watch shows like The Mentalist and want to see a playful show that is similar, Castle is the right pick for you.

Also Read: Shows like Broadchurch

8. Criminal Minds (2005)

The police procedural drama, Criminal Minds premiered in 2005 and was created by Jeff Davis. The show follows a group called the Behaviour Analyst Unit (BAU) of criminal profilers who work for the FBI to help solve crimes and find a suspect known as ‘unknown-subject’. The show manages to handle a large cast really well, every character gets the opportunity to shine. The dark and somewhat grim story of Criminal minds is very compelling.

Criminal Minds is action-packed and full of suspense. Having been on the air for a total of 15 seasons, the show has gathered a dedicated viewership. Much of the cast changes as seasons progress but the presence of the well-liked core cast keeps the viewers hooked. For a show running as long as Criminal Minds, writers managed to write new episodes with engaging plots almost every time. If you want to watch shows similar to The Mentalist then Criminal Minds will surely be worthy of a watch.

9. Leverage (2008)

Leverage is another action crime drama show on this list and it was created by John Rogers and Chris Downey, but this time with criminals as the protagonists in the show. The story follows Nate Ford who was a former insurance investigator known for catching the most dangerous and exclusive thieves in the world. The insurance company refuses to help Nate with financial aid when his son is dying. Losing faith in the system, Nate accepts to work with a set of individually skilled thieves.

The show, Leverage depicts well-written main characters. Nate and the rest of the team carry out heists to steal from the wealthy and corrupt institutions by taking the law into their hands. If you want to watch shows like The Mentalist packed with intrigue, comedy, and action, Leverage is the show for you.

10. Bones (2005)

Bones is a crime procedural drama created by Hart Hanson with forensic anthropology and forensic archaeology investigation. Bones is loosely based on the life and writings of Kathy Reichs, who also produced the show. The show ran a long course of 12 seasons before it was eventually cancelled.

Bones follows the pairing of a doctor and an FBI agent, Dr Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan, and FBI Agent Seeley Booth in an unusual approach to examining the remains of the victims for investigating the murder. The main characters have great chemistry and the show has a good balance of gravitas and humour. Bones has been a comfort watch for many viewers. If you are searching for TV shows similar to The Mentalist that you can watch for a long time, Bones will be a great choice.

Honourable Mentions

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

  1. Lucifer
  2. The Blacklist
  3. Numb3rs
  4. Mindhunter
  5. Dexter

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.

Lost

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. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTu8iDynwNc

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLT3YUALJno&t=8s

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1hNAIzkQWY

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. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfWrECLnFYU

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. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwn9ou_nf-I

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JrNr85fPms

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnYsf2Yv8i8

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLeG0w3kL8k

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29bSzbqZ3xE

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V514ACIGp_k

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. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Y5YeYrqUk

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrwycJ08PSA

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