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7 Enthralling Shows Like 'Dexter' Everyone Should Watch

Rahul is a TV addict who can't get enough of twisted, gasp-inducing shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Black Mirror."


What TV Series Are Like Dexter?

Dexter had one of the most unique storylines ever presented on the small screen. The audience gets to watch Dexter, a brilliant forensic specialist, solve different cases of murder. However, we know something none of his friends and family members know; he is a serial killer who loves to torture and kill the guilty in his own wicked ways.

Only his adoptive father knows his secret, and he chooses to help this murderer hone his skills, maybe because he truly understands where Dexter’s anger stems from. This depraved individual justifies his killings by telling himself that the more people he terminates, the safer the world will be.

Its debatable story arc usually divides the audiences into two groups—the ones who think he’s doing the right thing, and the others who believe he shouldn’t take the law into his own hands.

Whatever your opinion, you can’t argue that the innocent feel safer with this vigilante on the streets. Where can we draw the line when it comes to justifying murder? There’s no doubt that our hero is a psychopath, but maybe the current world has turned so vicious that it needs such a man—someone who’s not afraid to take the steps necessary to do the right thing.

Sometimes a man who seems to have a perfect life is suffering on the inside and he lets it out in the most unorthodox ways. This brilliant anti-hero will have you on the edge of your seat, wondering if he’ll get caught. Can the viewers really root for a mass murderer?

Not only does the show answer this question, but it also makes us understand his side of the story. It’s ultimately your choice if you want to like him or hate him. However, you can’t help but admire his passion.

The series ended after eight seasons in 2013, so here’s a list of similar shows like Dexter to fill the void it left behind.

Shows Similar to Dexter

  1. The Mentalist
  2. Breaking Bad
  3. Prison Break
  4. Mad Men
  5. Hannibal
  6. Blacklist
  7. Bates Motel

1. The Mentalist

If there was someone who could make you believe in magic, it would definitely be the charming and alluring, Patrick Jane. Jane works as a consultant for the CBI and helps them solve cases using his psychic abilities.

Truth be told, he just pays good attention. After his wife and daughter are murdered by a serial killer named Red John, he sets out on a mission to hunt him down and uses the CBI’s resources to help his quest. No matter how cunningly Jane tries to discover the killer’s true identity, Red John always seems to be one step ahead.

Jane always has a mental picture of eliminating his daughter’s killer by going against the law, but constantly questions if he can really do it. The show has brilliantly written scenes that display the protagonist’s mental abilities, often fooling others into believing that he really has psychic powers.

All the seven seasons of The Mentalist meticulously chronicles the changes the main character goes through with each episode, as he develops deep friendships with his crime-solving peers.

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2. Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad might just be the greatest show to grace the small screen with its presence. The plot revolves around Walter White, an idyllic chemistry teacher who turns into Heisenberg, a renowned meth cook in the area. This unprecedented transformation occurs because teaching doesn’t pay much, and Walter wants to leave enough money so his family can live comfortably even after he’s gone.

What would you do after discovering that you have an incurable disease? Most people would probably want to start the available treatments right away, but our lead character has something else in mind. Sometimes the acceptance of death gives meaning to life. That’s exactly what happens after Walter is diagnosed with cancer.

There has never been a better criminal team than Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. The two start off on opposite sides of the spectrum but eventually grow closer as they start their unofficial venture together.

The cast involves talented actors like Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, and Giancarlo Esposito. Of course, their talent would have gone to waste if it wasn't for a spellbinding script and meticulous direction. Everything comes together so beautifully that it's hard to not churn through its episodes once you start the series. Not a single episode in the entire five seasons seems uneventful. Those looking for shows like Dexter will love what Breaking Bad brings to the table.


3. Prison Break

After Michael Scofield deliberately gets himself caught by the police, nobody knows that he’s planning something big. His brother has been wrongfully accused of murder and put on death row, but Michael wants to break him out before that day comes. His brilliant engineering skills might come in handy to help him break out, but he can’t do it alone. In a place where people are ready to kill just for a pack of cigarettes, who will he trust with his secret?

The brothers have no one else to look up to as they’re the only remaining members of their family. How far can you go to protect your family? Breaking the big brother out, however, won't be as easy. With each passing episode, more prisoners discover his plans and want to get involved.

Michael has to make a choice between helping his brother and letting guilty men escape, and he has to make the decision quickly. The clock is ticking and the day of his brother’s execution is about to arrive. With each episode, the audiences are led to believe that Michael will get caught, but he manages to narrowly escape using his wide range of practical skills.

Comprising of five seasons, Prison Break can sometimes be a little cheesy, but it's a thrilling ride for the most part. Though the performances and storylines have been praiseworthy throughout its run, the first two seasons clearly stand out.


4. Mad Men

Mad Men turned Jon Hamm from a struggling actor into one of the most popular Hollywood celebrities.

The series follows Don Draper, an advertisement specialist, who can sell anything to the viewers, even the things they didn’t know they wanted. Everyone in the ad business knows who he is. Being able to sell a variety of products over his career has made him treat the people in his life as commodities. This is a curse and a boon. He doesn’t respect anyone but himself. Don knows he’s the best in the ad game and wants everyone to admit that. Things, however, quickly go south when new players enter the game.

The media has the power of affecting the viewer’s perception, and Don knows exactly how to exploit this power. Some people may want to imitate this alpha male figure after watching this American drama, but there can only be one.

The show aired between 2007 and 2015, delivering seven accomplished seasons over that time period. If you're looking for some crackerjack shows like Dexter, Mad Men won't disappoint you.


5. Hannibal

Everybody knows the name Hannibal Lector, thanks to Anthony Hopkin’s portrayal of the character in the movie, Silence of the Lambs. This American thriller tells the story of how Dr. Lector became one of the most feared serial killers of all time.

The series, however, takes a different route. The doctor has an intellectual rival in the form of a criminal profiler, Will Graham, with whom he works together to decipher a number of seemingly unsolvable cases. The only difference between the two are their motivations, Will simply wants to help everyone while Hannibal wants to completely shatter the illusions of legality. The young profiler is simply one bad day away from becoming a criminal himself but has managed to keep his sanity intact for the time being.

The truth about our favorite cannibal hasn’t been discovered by anyone yet but as the episodes go by, Will begins to suspect Hannibal’s true intentions. It’s the classic tale of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object.

Since it has only three seasons, you can binge the show in one go. Get ready to be mentally stimulated as you prepare to root for the bad guy once again. If you're looking for a series like Dexter, you'll love the gory delights of Hannibal.


6. The Blacklist

One of the world’s most wanted criminals, Raymond Reddington, willingly surrenders himself to the police without prior warning. He says he’ll only work with profiler Elizabeth Keen to help the FBI catch other mobsters who are a part of his infamous “Blacklist." The law enforcement agents try finding out if there’s a history between Reddington and Elizabeth but there are no records available. The former profiler’s life turns upside down soon after encountering this infamous criminal, but she is forced to work with him to solve other cases.

James Spader is famous for having a very intimidating voice, which is perfect to portray the character of the brilliant mastermind, Raymond Reddington.

The show has already aired six seasons and there is more on the way. Can Ms. Keen discover the reason Raymond is so interested in her or is the truth simply too bitter to handle? With every episode, she learns ways of looking at the bigger picture, leading to a newfound connection between the pair.


7. Bates Motel

A person’s character is a result of his upbringing, and this show undoubtedly proves it. Inspired by Psycho, the 1960 psychological thriller, Bates Motel is a prequel to that movie. While the film showcased Bates in his most deranged form, the series takes us back to his teenage years. Back then, he was just a normal kid, learning new ways of life. His gradual transformation into a serial killer is riveting and haunting at the same time.

We all know how the story ends but the show details the developing years of the disturbed individual, Norman Bates. The duo of mother and son initially come from very humble beginnings but are forced to turn vile in order to survive. This American drama ended after the fifth season, which was just about enough to learn the atrocious tale of the Bates Family.

Did I miss out on any good shows like Dexter? Let me know in the comments section.


Rebecca H. on April 04, 2020:

There are several shows on cable, premium channels and streaming services now that are excellent and comprable viewing for fans of ‘Dexter’. They include ‘Ozark’ (Netflix), ‘True Detective’ (HBO), Mindhunter (Netflix), ‘The Sinner’ (USA Network Cable), ‘Fargo’ (FX), ‘Wentworth’ (Netflix-Australian prison drama/thriller that also airs on Netflix, this is one of my all time favorite shows-it’s absolutely brilliant. Forget Orange is the New Black, THIS is the prison show that will blow you away and it contains one of the most evil, maniacal, insane and brilliant genius villains and antagonists to ever grace the screen), ‘Bad Blood’ (Netflix) and ‘The Man In The High Tower’ (Amazon Prime Video). Can’t go wrong with any of these taught thrillers and dark dramas. They are all incredible with knockout performances and writing. If you like Dexter, you’ll most likely love any and all of the shows above.

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