The Following is mainly about Kevin Bacon as Ryan Hardy, a brilliant FBI agent with a troubled personal life and his arch nemesis, if we may so call him, Joe Carroll. Carroll is a charismatic English teacher who quotes Poe by day and is a ruthless serial killer by night. However, that’s not all, Carroll assembles his own cult of like-minded psychopaths who are enchanted by Joe’s personality and look to him as a leader. A gripping and fast-paced show, they garnered a massive fan following in their first season, which I feel was the best this show had to offer. The other two seasons while still continuing down the same road and playing with the same elements did not quite capture the thrill that the first season permeated.
If you are looking for more TV series like The Following, you are at the right place. Here’s the list of TV shows similar to The Following that are our recommendations. You can stream some of these TV shows like The Following on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime.
12. The Killing
Based on the Dutch television show, this story is centered around the murder of Rosie Larsen. The investigation uncovers various secrets and interferes with the Seattle police department, an ongoing political campaign and Larsen’s own family. Spanning for four seasons, this show is remarkably similar to The Following insofar as the main investigator Sarah Linden is heavily affected by this case. Just like Ryan’s life, this case begins to take a toll on Linden’s life and no matter how much she tries to put it behind her, the case returns to haunt her, much like Joe Carroll would always remain a looming presence in Ryan’s life.
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11. Bates Motel
Do you know what we would have loved as part of The Following? The original case where Ryan tracks Joe down. We never got that, never got the complete backstory into Joe’s life – only fragmented bits and pieces that sought to increase the mystery rather than clear the air. Here’s another favorite serial killer Norman Bates from Hitchcock’s famous Psycho. However, here we have the satisfaction of going over in detail Bates’ childhood and his dysfunctional relationship with his mother. A piercing psychological horror drama, this show is thoroughly riveting and satisfying to watch.
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10. American Crime Story
If crime gets your blood pumping and gets you all excited, then you need to look no further. This is one of the best crime shows out there at the moment. A true crime anthology with standalone seasons, the first season dealt with OJ Simpson’s case and the second is about Gianni Versace’s assassination. A third and fourth season is already in the pipelines with the third likely to be based during the aftermath of Katrina and the fourth will be the delicious Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. What’s more exciting than charismatic fictional criminals? Real life crimes and their fictionalized narrations. So don’t wait, really, tune into this show and Joe Carroll will soon exit your mind.
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This Canadian procedural series is rather underrated but take a surprisingly fresh approach to crimes. They reveal the crime and the criminal right at the beginning of the episode and then backtrack into the investigation and try to uncover a motive. The methodology is much like Ryan and Carroll’s scenario where Carroll’s motives serve as an integral part of his apprehension. This Canadian police procedural enjoyed a huge fanbase in the years of its running and definitely deserves more viewers worldwide.
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The story follows a journalist blogger and a production assistant as they investigate the fans of a crime series called Cult and they appear to be recreating the crimes shown on the show. I, personally love meta references and this is a beautifully made meta show where the cult of killers kill based on a television show called the Cult. Well, fans killing people under the influence of some larger than life thing sounds like Joe Carroll’s posse and if that group made your skin squirm, then this group will help you with the same feeling if you choose to tune in.
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7. Criminal Minds
Ryan Hardy was a brilliant FBI agent who profiled Carroll and effectively caught him. The BAU team of profilers would be someplace where Hardy would feel right at home. Watch this talented team as they profile dangerous killers each day and assist local law enforcement nationwide to prevent crimes. The focus on methodology and profiling will definitely appeal to those who enjoyed the detection aspect of The Following.
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6. True Detective
A series of gruesome crimes, remote locations, an enigmatic detective. These are all similarities that True Detective shares with The Following. That aside Nic Pizzolatto’s show is one of the finest detective-shows on television. Both seasons explore standalone criminal cases, while the first is even closer home to The Following as it trails a serial killer and the second is delectable in the quagmire conspiracy which is akin to the chaotic situation brought on by Carroll’s cult.
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5. Person of Interest
One of the biggest selling points of The Following was the sense of urgency. We knew that if not stopped on time Carroll and his murderous cult would keep on killing. This thoroughly engrossing show by Jonathan Nolan is much like that in terms of urgency. The plot follows a reclusive billionaire who builds a machine that can detect if a person is dangerous or in danger. Feeling helpless at not being able to do anything, he enlists the help of a talented ex CIA operative Mr. Reese. Together they prevent bad things from happening under a crunched time frame. This urgency will surely be a familiar territory for lovers of The Following.
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4. The Fall
A detective is sent to Northern Ireland to look into an investigation that has remained open for more than twenty-eight days. Soon after her arrival, she realizes that a serial killer is on the loose. While the narrative explores the investigative angle, a parallel narrative shows Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector, the serial killer. Ultimately the narratives and the worlds collide. This parallel storytelling is a refreshing way of approaching the case and reminds us how The Following contrasted the investigation led by Hardy and Carroll’s cult formation and actions.
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Now we come to the most intriguing aspect of The Following – the serial killer. Joe Carroll’s persona and his warped mind led was the main basis for the story and always helped propel the narrative. Here is another serial killer whose mind we are given a peek into. Dexter works for the Miami Police as a blood splatter analyst. However, he is a vigilante serial killer by night, that is, he only kills people who escape the long arm of the law. We wonder how Joe Carroll and his cult would fare if Dexter ever came across their case.
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Joe Carroll was a sophisticated serial killer. He liked to pose the bodies, he was into the aesthetics of killing. These facts are sordid, but they go towards making an exciting killer’s profile. The only other killer that could possibly come to mind who is always obsessing over aesthetics is Doctor Hannibal Lecter, otherwise known as Hannibal the Cannibal. Doctor Lecter is just as charming a man and just as smart as Carroll – a trained psychologist, Dr. Lecter is one of the most dangerous killers. What’s even better about the show is that an equally brilliant FBI profiler with a shaky personal life begins tracking Lecter and ultimately brings him to justice. If we ever had a show where Hardy was shown to be on the scent of Carroll for the first time, I suppose that show would very closely resemble the plotline and direction of this NBC thriller.
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This is the finest show on criminal methodology and detection on television right now. Created by David Fincher this show follows FBI agent Holden Ford and Bill Tench as they interview various serial killers across the country trying to profile them. All profilers trained by the FBI learned from the case files of these two and Ryan Hardy is no exception. His profiling of Joe is a leaf out of these two dedicated agents’ playbook. If you haven’t watched Mindhunters yet, please do, and remember you heard it here first that season two just might introduce the BTK killer. You’ll definitely want to watch season one before that bombshell drops.
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