7 shows like ‘True Detective’ if you’re itching for more intense and slightly supernatural mysteries

With its rich storytelling and strong acting, True Detective has managed to keep audiences captivated for over a decade now, with each of its 4 seasons offering a new storyline and set of characters. Creator Nic Pizzolatto wowed viewers in 2014 with the show’s first Emmy-winning season which chronicled the dramatic lives of two Louisiana State Police homicide detectives, Marty (Woody Harrelson) and Rust (Matthew McConaughey).

The first season of True Detective intersected gritty, brutal crime and supernatural(ish) goings-on with the personal and intense lives of the officers, highlighting themes of infidelity, religion and masculinity.

The next two seasons that Pizzolatto led didn’t quite live up up to the first, either critically or with audiences, but the most recent series (True Detective: Night Country) just concluded last month and set new viewing records for HBO. This six-episode season starred Jodie Foster and Kali Reis as Detectives Liz Danvers and Evangeline Navarro and followed their journey to uncover the disappearance of 8 scientists from a research station in Alaska.

This last season gave viewers the unexpected twists and turns that any good crime show should offer, but has now left fans without any more new episodes of True Detective … for now. (TD Season 5 has been greenlit, but it will be a hot minute before those are ready.) So, if you’re still looking for some drama-filled police investigations and jaw-dropping crimes (possibly with a splash of the supernatural), look no further, but be prepared to be hooked to these 7 must-watch shows for True Detective fans.

The Killing

Similar to True Detective, The Killing follows the lives of two detectives as they unfold the truth behind the shocking murder of a 17-year-old girl in Seattle, Washington. The show is loosely based on the Danish show Forbrydelsen and illustrates the work of detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) as she puts her expertise to work while also mentoring her new partner Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman). Together, the two clash professionally but are able to pull everything together throughout this captivating and addicting show.

Mindhunter

This crime thriller series created by Joe Penhall and executive produced by David Fincher is based on the true-crime book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit and will definitely keep you occupied while you wait for the next season of True Detective. Set in the late 1970s and early 1980s, this exceedingly creepy series follows FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff), Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), and psychologist Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) as they interview and study serial killers to understand their motivations while also attempting to solve these various cases. There’s no supernatural twist in this series, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t give you nightmares.

Yellowjackets

If you loved the last season of True Detective for its northern setting and horror movie vibes, check out this drama series about a team of unlucky soccer players who survived a plane crash in the remote woods of Canada. Yellowjackets first aired 2021 and has two seasons, illustrating the girls’ initial ability to navigate the woods and then their inevitable obstacles which include cannibalistic clans and supernatural forces. The second season is set 25 years later and the characters reveal the truth of everything that happened in the woods.

The Outsider

Photo: HBO
Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, this HBO series blends elements of crime, horror, and supernatural genres all into one, addictive show. Like True Detective, The Outsider received positive feedback for its eerie vibes, strong acting, and interesting storyline. It follows the investigation of a brutal murder of a young boy from Georgia with detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) leading the search. At first, the case appears to be like any other until evidence leads Anderson and his team to believe that the suspect may have been in two places at the same time. The show only has one season but will leave you wanting more.

The Wire

The Wire is a highly acclaimed series by former police reporter David Simon known for its jarring accuracy and exploration of society and politics. Set in Baltimore, Maryland, the series offers a more realistic depiction of crime in America compared to True Detective — and no supernatural shenanigans — but still has the same grittiness and strong storylines that fans may like. The show follows a team of police who try to uncover a local drug bigwig suspected of multiple murders. The Wire is often regarded as one of the best show of all time for its depth, complexity, and commentary on the current social and political state of the country.

Fargo

Based on the 1996 film by the Coen brothers of the same name, Fargo premiered as a show in 2014 and is an anthology series similar to True Detective. Like True Detective, each season of Fargo centers around a new crime/murder but instead features some more dark humor and otherworldly characters, offering a smart and witty vibe to the suspenseful, serious storylines. Throughout its years on air, it has featured a star-studded cast with performances from Kirsten Dunst, Chris Rock, Jon Hamm, and Ewan McGregor.

Top Of The Lake

If you’ve been reinvigorated by the creepy nature of True Detective: Night Country, then maybe the twisted world of Top of the Lake will capture your deviant imagination. The series follows a plucky female police inspector (played by Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss) as she returns to her small New Zealand hometown to investigate the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old. Yeah, it goes there. However, in the hands of Jane Campion, this series tackles issues of sexism and sex slavery with unique insight and empathy.—Meghan O’Keefe

 

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