Police procedurals are among the most popular TV show genres and have seen a number of variations over the years. However, the basic plotline of such shows remains the same. They usually center around a group of police officials who take on challenging cases one after the other and try their level best to get to the bottom of the crime and nail the criminal in the process. Among the many police procedural shows we’ve seen over the years, ‘NCIS‘ remains one of the most popular. The show’s influence has been far and wide, with many spin-offs coming up over the years. However, in terms of popularity, the original still remains untouched.
‘NCIS’ focuses on the exploits of Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs as he leads a group of able investigators to solve some of the most challenging cases which come to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Being a special intelligence agency of the United States Navy, all the cases which the NCIS deal with are about officers who work for the department. Throughout the series, we see how this team of investigators solve their cases, use information gathered from international sources, and deal with Navy officials gone rogue. It is difficult to gauge how true to real-life this series is, but it does give us an idea of how justice is meted out in the military. If you have enjoyed watching ‘NCIS’, then we’ve got some more titles here that you must check out. Here’s the list of best shows similar to ‘NCIS’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these series like ‘NCIS’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
7. JAG (1995-2005)
Based on the lives of “judge advocates”, ‘JAG’ is a series created by Donald P. Bellisario, who himself served in the Marine Corps for four years. These judges usually take on criminal cases involving military personnel and try these cases in court under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. ‘JAG’ extensively bases its stories on real-life crimes and adds enough twists in them for the required dramatic effect. The series goes a long way in exposing how the Navy functions when it comes to light that one of their own has committed a crime. The series has also run into trouble with the US Navy at certain points as the latter thought the former was bringing a disrepute to its ethos and policies.
6. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000-2015)
Crime scene-investigators are forensic experts who find the minutest details of a crime scene in order to find out clues which might lead the detectives towards the perpetrators. The CBS series ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’ is a show which helps us understand how such CSIs function and aid in police work. The series is a fine blend of character-driven stories and the process of deduction. The members of the team of investigators are so dynamic on their own that the viewers start getting involved with these characters and their journeys in life. This is a show which enjoys tremendous popularity not only in the USA, but all over the world. The best thing about ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’ is definitely its writing and direction which kept the show as fresh as ever throughout its run.
5. Hawaii Five-0 (2010-)
Based on the original series of the same name which ran from 1968 to 1980, ‘Hawaii Five-0‘ follows the exploits of a select group of investigators who are directly answerable to the Governor of the state of Hawaii. This task-force has full immunity to carry out their actions without facing the brunt of prosecution themselves. Led by Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett, this group of investigators take on cases ranging from murders to kidnapping to terrorism. Their group dynamics, the personal lives of the investigators, and the difficult cases that they tackle together become the main focus of the show.
4. Criminal Minds (2005-)
If you have watched the Netflix series ‘Mindhunter‘, you probably know what the Behavioral Analysis Wing of the FBI does and how they came into being. ‘Criminal Minds‘ also tells the story of this unit within the FBI, and focuses on how the investigators use behavioral mapping and patterns to solve certain mind-boggling cases that come their way. The show, however, does not only focus on how the investigators in question solve crimes, but also delves deep into their personal lives to show us how their work sometimes tends to have a negative effect on their relationships with others. The show maintains a decent pace in each episode and has maintained its high quality of writing throughout the seasons.
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3. Blue Bloods (2010-)
This CBS original series focuses on the personal and professional lives of the members of a single family, the Reagans, all of whom are involved with either the police or the law in one way or the other. Each member of the family represents one area of work — the father, Francis Xavier “Frank” Reagan, is the Police Commissioner; one son is a detective; the other is a police officer; and the daughter is an assistant district attorney. The Reagans have gone through numerous losses over the years because of their family’s dedication and commitment to maintaining law and order in New York City. The story, though, is not limited to their professional lives alone, and also focuses on their interpersonal relationships. ‘Blue Bloods‘ tries to shed light on several political and social issues within its narrative, and never shies away from depicting stories involving controversial elements.
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2. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999-)
One of the most popular police procedural shows of all time, ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit‘ tells the story of the officers working for the aforementioned special unit where they get to solve some of the most dangerous cases in New York City. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is the leading character of the series and is also the leader of the SVU. The most interesting aspect of the stories we get to see in this show is that most of them are inspired by real-life events, but they are dramatized to a certain degree. Hargitay’s performance is, without a doubt, the guiding light of the series. She was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the Emmys eight times in succession, bagging the award on one occasion. The popularity of this show is unparalleled, and it even outperformed its parent series, ‘Law And Order’, in the TRP charts at one point.
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1. Bones (2005-2017)
A crime-procedural show which also packs a dramatic punch, ‘Bones’ centers around Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan, a forensic anthropologist, and FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth. Bones and her team provide the FBI with the scientific evidence to nab a criminal. Most of the cases they work on are possible murders. And each case is wrapped up within a single episode. Moreover, we also explore the two leading characters’ philosophies regarding things like science and religion. ‘Bones’ is a character-driven show and it is, without a doubt, one of the best in its genre.
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