The acclaimed television series The Mentalist captivated audiences over its remarkable 7-season run. This engaging drama, known for its unique approach to crime-solving, garnered widespread popularity and critical acclaim. Created by Bruno Heller, the show’s premise centers on Patrick Jane, a former ‘psychic’ who employs his extraordinary powers of observation to investigate crimes for the California Bureau of Investigation. Shows like The Mentalist are distinguished by their departure from traditional crime dramas.
This series focuses on the psychology of human behavior rather than the conventional hunt for evidence. Simon Baker’s portrayal of Patrick Jane is nothing short of brilliant, showcasing his remarkable chemistry with Robin Tunney, who plays Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon, Jane’s boss.”
Heller’s vision for The Mentalist was a departure from his previous work, such as the historical drama Rome. The character of Patrick Jane was conceived as a unique blend of Sherlock Holmes, a seeker of justice, and a cunning con artist. Simon Baker’s casting as Patrick Jane proved serendipitous, as he skillfully embodied the character’s spiritual and physical enigma. Throughout its run, The Mentalist received numerous prestigious awards and nominations, cementing its status as a standout in the world of television. If you’re a fan of this smart detective drama and are looking for similar shows to delve into, we’ve compiled a list of recommendations that are sure to pique your interest.
List of TV Shows Like The Mentalist
- The White Collar
- Sherlock (BBC)
- Lie to Me
- Criminal Minds
- The Fall
- Rizzoli & Isles
1. Psych (2006-2014)
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 much 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 (Dulé Hill) form a 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 had 3 movies with consistent quality acting performances and humor.
The series won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music (2010). Psych is a brilliant comedy-detective drama, often a point of comparison for The Mentalist because of the ‘psychic’ character premise.
Also Read: Shows like Person of Interest
2. House (2004-2012)
Also known as HouseM.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. Through Hugh Laurie’s exceptional performance and some great writing, the series won numerous prestigious awards, including Primetime Emmys and Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actor in Drama Series and Best Drama TV Series.
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 likable. Hugh Laurie’s charisma and excellent comedic timing make House irresistible. The amazing cast of actors includes Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) is the dean of medicine at the hospital, and Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) the head of the Department of Oncology and House’s best friend. 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 a show with a man’s deductive and humorously charming intellect, House is one of the best shows you can watch.
3. The White Collar (2009-2014)
Created by Jeff Eastin and airing in 2009, The White Collar is a Police Procedural Drama that centers 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, which is why The White Collar is a perfect match for shows like The Mentalist.
Also Read: Shows like White Collar
4. Sherlock (2010-2017)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle has been a detective fiction classic for decades. There have been innumerable adaptations of the stories since then, but none have quite gained popularity, like 21st century modern-day re-imagining of Sherlock. Created by Mark Gatiss (who also plays Mycroft Holmes) and Steven Moffat, 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, Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson, and 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 perfectly mixes nostalgia with classic lines like ‘The Game is on!’ in this brilliant detective series to go beyond perfection. In this Crime Drama series, Sherlock uses technology and forensic science with his brilliant skills of deduction, observation, and logical reasoning. This is another highly acclaimed series with various awards, including Baftas and Primetime Emmys, for their Performances, writing, and direction. Stories of Sherlock Holmes inspire every genius character in some way or another, and The Mentalist is no exception, which is why Sherlock is an unmissable watch.
5. Monk (2002-2009)
The series Monk is a 2002 crime drama, a police procedural show created by Andy Breckman. Adrian Monk is a private detective with a brilliant mind 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 developed an extreme case of OCD, which makes it impossible for him to function in society normally and requires constant assistance.
Possessing sharp skills in murder investigation, Monk is often called by his former colleagues to help solve difficult cases. This 8-season show once 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 highly critical acclaim, including 8 Emmys and 1 Golden Globe. Tony won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series 3 times for this role. If you want to watch shows similar to The Mentalist, you are sure to enjoy Monk.
6. Lie to Me (2009-2011)
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, the science of body language, lie detection, and micro-expressions. Tim Roth plays the central character, Cal Lightman, the world’s leading deception expert, running alongside his adolescent daughter, Emily Lightman (Hayley McFarland). 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 behavior as the primary approach to solving cases and preventing heinous criminals from harming innocent people.
At the beginning of the show, Lightman’s team’s new associate, Ria Torres, is labeled ‘natural’ at deception detection. Her innate talent does not sit well with Cal’s academic approach, so Cal often tries to show off while she proves a worthy opponent to his challenges. Even though the show only lasted 3 seasons before getting canceled, it’s quite engaging to watch.
7. Castle (2009-2016)
The American Police drama Castle was created by Andrew W. Marlowe, and it aired in 2009. Nathan Fillion 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 resembles 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, dedicated, and strong detective. All the characters, including the supporting characters, are well-rounded. This Character-driven drama 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.
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 an ‘unknown subject.’ The show manages well to handle a large cast like Mandy Patinkin, Thomas Gibson, Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, A.J. Cook, Kirsten Vangsness, Joe Mantegna, Paget Brewster, and more. 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 air for a total of 16 seasons, the show has gathered a dedicated viewership. Much of the cast changes as the 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.
9. Leverage (2008-2012)
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 (Timothy Hutton), 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’s cool premisedepicts some particularly well-written main characters, including Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux (a skilled grifter and actress), Christian Kane as Eliot Spencer (the team’s retrieval specialist and martial arts expert), and Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison (hacker and technology expert). 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. Packed with intrigue, comedy, and action, the American television drama series Leverage is the show for you.
10. Bones (2005)
Bones is a highly binge-able crime procedural drama created by Hart Hanson with a forensic anthropology and forensic archeology 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 canceled.
Bones follows the pairing of a doctor and an FBI agent, Dr. Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and FBI Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz), 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 humor. Bones has been a comfort watch for many viewers. If you’re looking for that reminds you of The Mentalist and can be watched for a long time, Bones will be a great choice.
11. Alias (2001-2006)
Alias, a thrilling television series created by the renowned J.J. Abrams, made its mark in the early 2000s with a captivating mix of action, drama, and mystery. At its core, the show revolves around the enigmatic double agent, Sydney Bristow, portrayed by the talented Jennifer Garner. Garner’s portrayal of Sydney, a brilliant and resourceful CIA agent who leads a double life as a highly skilled operative for a covert organization known as SD-6, earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama in 2002.
The series, which also stars Ron Rifkin and Michael Vartan, explores the intricate web of espionage, conspiracies, and personal sacrifices that Sydney navigates as she attempts to unravel her past and reconcile her loyalty to her country with the secrets of her shadowy employers. With its high-octane action sequences, complex character dynamics, and gripping plot twists, Alias became a standout in the television landscape, offering viewers a rollercoaster ride of suspense and intrigue throughout its run.
12. Broadchurch (2013-2017)
Broadchurch is a gripping British miniseries crime drama that unfolds the haunting narrative of a small coastal town, Broadchurch, grappling with the shocking 11-year-old boy’s murder. The series, created by Chris Chibnall and featuring a stellar ensemble cast, is marked by the brilliant performances of its lead actors, David Tennant as Detective Inspector Alec Hardy and Olivia Colman as Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller. The chemistry between Tennant and Colman, who portrays a compassionate yet determined detective, greatly contributes to the show’s success.
The series, under various directors, navigates the complex web of emotions and secrets that arise in the aftermath of the crime, expertly blending elements of crime, drama, and mystery. It’s a testament to its quality that Broadchurch received critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress, won by Olivia Colman in 2014, and the International Emmy Award for Best Performance by an Actor, received by David Tennant in the same year. Broadchurch is not just a chilling drama; it’s a masterfully crafted exploration of human nature and a community in crisis.
Also Read: Shows like Broadchurch
13. The Fall (2013-2016)
The Fall, a British-Irish crime drama series created by Allan Cubitt, is a gripping exploration of the cat-and-mouse game between Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson, portrayed by Gillian Anderson, and the chilling serial killer Paul Spector, played by Jamie Dornan. Set in Northern Ireland, this critically acclaimed series delves deep into the dark psyche of Spector as he meticulously plans and executes his heinous crimes while Gibson races against time to bring him to justice. With its intense plot and stellar performances, “The Fall” masterfully blends elements of crime, drama, and thriller genres, delivering a spine-tingling viewing experience.
While The Fall didn’t clinch many major awards, it garnered widespread critical acclaim for its compelling storytelling and character development. Gillian Anderson’s portrayal of Detective Gibson earned her several nominations and accolades, highlighting her exceptional talent. The series ran for a total of 3 seasons, maintaining its reputation as a must-watch British-Irish crime drama that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with its suspenseful narrative and complex characters.
14. Dexter (2006-2013)
Dexter, adapted by James Manos Jr. and based on Jeff Lindsay’s novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter, is a critically acclaimed TV series that captivated audiences for 8 thrilling seasons. Set in the crime, drama, mystery, and thriller genres, “Dexter” unravels a unique narrative centered around Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a forensic technician who lives a normal life with a chilling secret. Beneath his facade as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department, Dexter is a meticulous serial killer who targets other murderers, delivering his own gruesome brand of justice.
This gripping series garnered awards, including a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, recognizing Michael C. Hall’s outstanding performance. The series is marked by major twists and turns, making it a constant rollercoaster of suspense, with every season unveiling new layers of Dexter’s complex character and the dark world he inhabits. With its combination of forensic intrigue, gruesome murders, and a morally ambiguous protagonist, Dexter remains a compelling storyline in the realm of crime television.
15. Rizzoli & Isles (2010-2016)
Rizzoli & Isles is a compelling crime drama tv series that ran for a total of 7 seasons. The show primarily focused on the dynamic partnership of Detective Jane Rizzoli, played by Angie Harmon, and Dr. Maura Isles, portrayed by Sasha Alexander. Angie Harmon brought to life the tenacious and determined Detective Jane Rizzoli, while Sasha Alexander brilliantly portrayed the intelligent and meticulous Dr. Maura Isles, a Medical Examiner. Their characters’ contrasting personalities and complementary skills formed the heart of the series, making it a must-watch for fans of crime, drama, and mystery genres.
Rizzoli & Isles’s loyal fan base and the chemistry between the lead characters contributed to its enduring popularity. Produced by Warner Horizon Television and Ostar Productions, this series showcased the challenges and triumphs of solving complex crimes while navigating the complexities of personal and professional relationships, making it a standout in the crime drama genre.
Here are a few shows that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless:
- The Blacklist