5 Best TV Shows Like True Detective You Need to Watch Next

True Detective wallpaper art
  • The haunting True Detective is one of the best series ever, but there are more shows like it.
  • If you need more TV shows like True Detective, start with HBO’s own Mare of Easttown.
  • Other HBO hits like The Outsider and The Night Of qualify as viable True Detective alternatives.

Looking for TV shows like True Detective? I’d imagine so, since you’ve found yourself at this page. I totally get why, too, as it’s probably the most engrossing detective series of all-time.

True Detective isn’t like every detective show you’ve seen before, of course. It’s a gritty and dark show, and it’s also an anthology series. But it’s so brilliant that locating anything remotely close to it is pretty crucial for die hard TV fans.

That’s where I come in. I love the series and even ranked every season. But what else can you see that’s close to it? Let’s dive into the 5 best TV shows like True Detective you’ll want to check out next.

Mare of Easttown

If you’re looking for shows like True Detective, one solid option is to continue your search within HBO’s massive library.

There are a lot of shows similar to True Detective out there, but an alarming amount are from the same media company. One is Mare of Easttown, which stars Kate Winslet and really puts a new spin on what it is to make your work your life.

Winslet is phenomenal as a grieving mother whose small town is flipped upside down by a gruesome murder. Some chilling moments and the mother of all I-did-not-see-that-coming twists ensues, making this an unforgettable detective tour de force.

The acting and story-telling is superb, but fans of pure detective work, mystery, and not so cheap thrills will eat this series up. My only issue? I’ve heard nothing about a second season yet.


This one isn’t exactly like True Detective. It’s a bit more off ball, after all. That said, it’s very well done, it’s also an anthology series much like TD, and it has exceptional acting.

Every single season has been a hit, too. As far as I can tell, the most recent installment with Jon Hamm is as good as any of the previous seasons, as well.

And to be clear, they’ve all been awesome.

Fargo is an extension of the hit 1996 movie by the Coen Brothers, but it’s also it’s own entity. The mothership season starring Billy Bob Thornton is the best season and naturally where you should start.

However, each season of Fargo is it’s own thing, and in some ways gives you a very familiar detective series that is worth binging.

The Outsider

Back to HBO we go, as I’ve taken us down a lighter and more affable road, and that simply is not the True Detective way.

That isn’t to say Fargo isn’t chilling in it’s own right, but there is certainly a darker element to True Detective that people are drawn to. You can dip yourself back into that murky universe again with The Outsider, but prepared to be a little scared in the process.

Here we’re witnessing the great Ben Mendelsohn as a detective that has a beef with the unexplainable, and death in general. Scene-stealer Cynthia Erivo is the perfect complement to Mendelsohn’s disbelieving ways, as the audience gets a marriage between the rustic aura of True Detective and the supernatural.

Of course, when it comes to The Outsider, there are some things better left unknown. It’s tough to digest at times, but ultimately, the process is one of healing. The Outsider will take you on a grim ride, but I promise it’s worth the trust fall.

I just wish we could see more of it.

The Killing

I have a soft spot for The Killing, as it undeniably launched Joel Kinnaman into stardom, and started off with a bang. It is not the most complete series from start to finish, but the first 1.5 seasons were so good that it still made the cut.

Thanks to cancellations and a severe drop-off in writing and execution, this show is a bit rough during the stretch run of it’s final campaign. However, Mireille Enos is brilliant as the main detective here, and the first season of this show is filled with twists and turns.

Okay, even the end of the final season is still good. But my goodness, that first run is simply magical.

The grand reveal of the show’s first major storyline is worth the wait, and while this one goes out with a whimper, the early stages of the series demand it makes my list of TV series like True Detective that are worth your time.

The Night Of

There are several TV shows like True Detective in some regard. Or, more specifically, there are a lot of shows with detectives that are trying to solve a brutal crime (or three).

But are they actually able to measure up to True Detective? Probably not.

I’ll cap my list of TV shows like True Detective with The Night Of, which once again peels back the layers to the nuance of diving into crime-solving.

Riz Ahmed stars in his true breakout role, as a murder suspect who doesn’t know if he’s guilty. We aren’t so sure either, and it’s up to Ahmed, his lawyer, and a reluctant to believe detective to convince us, one way or another.

It’s as mysterious as any installment of True Detective, and the darkness broached will give you flashbacks of season one.

While it is more of a character study for the wrongly accused, The Night Of is an eye-opening series that also shows us how impossible it is to ever truly “know” something with impeachable certainty.

More TV Shows Like True Detective

  • Broadchurch
  • Mindhunter
  • The Sinner

I didn’t keep these shows off my list of series similar to True Detective because they aren’t good. They are, in fact, and they also deal with detectives and crime.

However, they’re not quite on the level of True Detective, and the feel isn’t similar enough to check the necessary boxes.

They’re still worth checking out if you’re a fan of detective shows, but if you’re looking for a series like True Detective, start with the five I detailed above.

Of course, there really isn’t a show exactly like True Detective.

It’s a one of a kind series, which is precisely why we all fawn over every new season HBO announces. That’s why I’m super giddy about Jodie Foster taking over the franchise in season 4, too.

That’s almost here, but regardless of which season of TD you hang your hat on, you’re always going to long for an option that comes close to the series that floored you in the first place.

Like finding shows similar to the ones you love? I’ll leave you with these TV shows similar to Jack Ryan, in case you’re a fan of the hit Amazon spy series.

Rex Ferder


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