15 Best Shows Like Mindhunter

What makes Netflix’s Mindhunter so unique from so many other crime shows is that it’s based on real events, dramatized for television. It follows fictional characters who represent real people from the 1970s in the FBI who worked to begin the criminal profiling of serial killers. And like in the show, these FBI agents (some of whom are real and some of whom are fictional) were the ones to coin the phrase “serial killer” as the public knows it today.

There was a perceived uptick in this particular brand of murderers running around the United States in the late 1960s and ’70s as law enforcement began uncovering them. As their history became more available in the media, the public has become extremely interested in just what makes a serial killer. That fascination has extended to an interest in psychology, cold cases, and true crime podcasts today. Mindhunter focuses on the team who begins the Behavioral Science Unit in the FBI, spending time focusing on the characters instead of necessarily untangling mysteries. There is nothing quite like its format, but there are some shows with enough in common to fill the void left by the show’s extended hiatus.

Updated on September 19th, 2021 by Amanda Bruce: After the first two seasons of Mindhunter aired, it was placed on indefinite hold by Netflix. David Fincher moved on to other projects, and Netflix released the cast from their contracts with the statement that Fincher could revisit the project in the future. While fans still wait to see if that might happen, there are a lot of shows to explore. Not every show with a murder mystery or a government agency can be a series like Mindhunter, but some come pretty close.

Killing Eve (2018–)

While Killing Eve doesn’t have as much in common with true crime as some of the other shows like Mindhunter, it does do a lot of work to get into the heads of its main characters. The primary difference is that Killing Eve focuses on spycraft instead of serial killers.

Eve finds her job for MI5 (stuck at a desk) not what she expected until she’s tasked with bringing in Villanelle in a secret MI6 task force. The two women become obsessed with taking each other down initially but are then obsessed with learning more about one another. Just as Mindhunter cautions its agents in case they get too close to the killers they interview, as they warn one another that these killers aren’t their friends, the same is true in Killing Eve. Eve and Villanelle are often on opposite sides as investigator and assassin and though they try to kill one another, they’re drawn to each other repeatedly. The commonalities between the two would have the audience believe there’s a thin line between the killers and those that try to catch them.

Clickbait (2021)

Clickbait Featured #3

A limited series of only eight episodes, Clickbait doesn’t just focus on its audience’s obsession with mysteries but also the perception surrounding them on social media. An online presence today is a large part of the way people consume pop culture. True crime podcasts, websites, and Twitter feeds intrigue people, but some of it is simply clickbait to gain viewers.

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The mystery here sees a seemingly nice family man abducted. His kidnappers promise to kill him when a video broadcast of him reaches a certain number of views, capitalizing on their audience’s need to tune in. Each episode is more twisty than the last, leaving the audience intrigued by the motivations of everyone in the show, just like the agents in Mindhunter who want to understand the people they interview.

Elementary (2012-2019)

sherlock holmes Jonny Lee Miller Lucy Liu in Elementary

A modern version of Sherlock Holmes, Elementary made a lot of changes to the story that fans of the original books loved. Dr. Watson became Joan, for example, played by Lucy Liu as the character apprenticed under Sherlock to become a consulting detective herself, while also still acting as a sober coach.

For the fans of Mindhunter who are fascinated by the twists in the mysteries, or the revealing of previously unknown information, Elementary, with its complicated cases, is a good series to fill the void left behind by Mindhunter‘s absence. It’s a bit faster-paced than Mindhunter as well, which makes it easier to binge than the slower Netflix series.

Only Murders In The Building (2021–)

Mabel, Charles, and Oliver walk back to their building together in Only Murders In The Building

Unlike most shows focused on murder, Only Murders In The Building is a comedy series. Martin Short, Steve Martin, and Selena Gomez star in the series in which their characters are obsessed with true crime stories and then end up caught in the middle of one.

The trio lives in the same building, all fans of the same murder mystery podcast, which is the perfect touch considering society’s obsession with cold cases. When a resident is actually murdered in their building, the three team up to uncover the truth, initially with the idea of podcasting the story themselves. While very different from Mindhunter, it speaks to what draws the audience to Mindhunter in the first place – wanting to understand the motivations and the mystery behind the murders. In this case, the would-be audience is involved in the crime.

Broadchurch (2013–2017)

Ellie and Alec stand with cups of coffee at a crime scene in Broadchurch

Unlike many of the other shows like Mindhunter, Broadchurch is very much a police procedural. It primarily focuses on one case, however, instead of each episode introducing the audience to a different crime. It’s that long-term focus that makes it similar to Mindhunter.

A detective in a small British town is passed over for a promotion in favor of someone from the outside and then the two are forced to work together on a high-profile case – the death of a young boy. As the episodes of Broadchurch unfold, the two understand one another better, but they also discover that the small town holds a lot of secrets.

Hannibal (2013–2015)

Hannibal sits at a table of bones and flowers in a promotional image for the show

Hannibal follows the story of Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter in a riveting retelling of the original novel series by Thomas Harris. Hannibal is a psychiatrist and Graham is a brilliant profiler who occasionally takes his cases too personally.

This story is all about serial killers and figuring out their profiles based on Will and Hannibal’s abilities to see through the eyes of the killer, discovering their sick motive, and tracking them down. The show is beautifully gruesome and has a very similar tone to that of Mindhunter. Like the Netflix series, it also allows the audience to get into the heads of killers and learn about the psychology of their actions.

Making A Murderer (2015–2018)

Making A Murderer Promotional Image

Making A Murderer is a documentary series from Netflix about Steven Avery, a man wrongfully accused and locked in jail for nearly two full decades. Avery filed lawsuits against the county and many others who were involved in his arrest. Shortly after this, Avery found himself behind bars yet again for the accused murder of a young photographer, Teresa Halbach. What is interesting about this show is that the documentary series actually raised some questions about Avery’s second arrest and has made the public cry out for the police to reopen the case.

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The series is of particular interest as it provides the flip side of a series like Mindhunter. While the audience knows that the people interviewed in Mindhunter are based on real-life serial killers, Making A Murderer is something that allows the audience to see what happens when that research and the ensuing investigation is biased.

True Detective (2014–2019)

Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff in character during an investigation in True Detective

True Detective is an HBO television drama that is a crime anthology series. Each season follows different sets of detectives and different crimes. Like in Mindhunter, each season focuses not only on the specific cases but on the lives of the detectives as well.

This aspect is reminiscent of how Bill and Holden’s lives are subplots within Mindhunter, and that the greater plot pushing their lives along is the crimes they are currently investigating, delving into how those crimes are affecting their personal lives and mental states.

Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (2019)

A close up of Ted Bundy in the poster for Conversations With A Killer

Another Netflix docuseries, this series focuses on Ted Bundy, one of the most notorious serial killers in the United States. Bundy was interviewed by the Behavioral Science Unit in 1985, which is predominantly why viewers haven’t seen this particular serial killer in Mindhunter just yet. Although, it is also mysterious as to why no one has even mentioned him in the series, considering his murders and court case were going on during the show’s timeline.

The docuseries pieces together archival footage of when Bundy was being interviewed while on death row. For the Mindhunter fans who wish the series would have included this well-known figure, Conversations With A Killer will provide an interesting (and dark) accompaniment.

Criminal Minds (2005–2020)

Morgan, Prentiss, Gideo, Garcia, Rossi, Reid, JJ, and Hotch in a promotional poster for Criminal Minds

This show is 15 seasons long, so there is a ton to enjoy. Criminal Minds, like Mindhunter, not only focuses on the crimes and investigations of the Behavioral Analysis Unit in the FBI but also on each of the characters’ lives and relationships.

This show is probably the most closely related to Mindhunter due to the fact that it is directly focused on criminal profiling and goes into the psychology of the killers that the BAU track, focusing more on the psychological reasoning and habits than the murders themselves. They are even called the “mind hunter” team. Criminal Minds could have easily been a sequel series of sorts as it’s clear the modern team is influenced by the actions taken to understand serial killers, like the events of Mindhunter. The show doesn’t only focus on serial killers though, also taking on kidnappings and robberies that occur across state lines, allowing the series to explore other avenues of investigation too.

Manhunt (2019)

The Chief Inspector sternly overlooks the logo in the poster for Manhunt

This British show is only 3 episodes long and focuses on the manhunt Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton undertakes to find the serial killer, Levi Bellfield.

This show was based on a very real case and focused on Sutton’s side of the story. The short series is similar to Mindhunter in that it is a true-crime retelling and is the story of an actual serial killer. The bulk of the action, however, is in tracking the killer, not researching them after the fact, giving it a different feel that Mindhunter fans should enjoy.

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The Act (2019)

DeeDee hugs her daughter Gypsy in The Act

Hulu’s The Act is a series like Mindhunter in that it is another story based on actual events. This true-crime series follows the story and murder of Dee Dee Blanchard and her daughter (and killer) Gypsy. This story shows the true toxicity of an over-protective parent as Dee Dee suffers a serious case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy and insists beyond belief that her daughter is sick with a number of ailments.

She forces Gypsy to use a wheelchair and insists that she cannot walk. She fools everyone, including Gypsy and medical professionals, that she has cancer and a number of illnesses. Things begin to turn sour between Gypsy and her mother when Gypsy starts to uncover the truth of her mother’s lies. While Mindhunter allows the audience to see the investigators react to what the serial killers have done (and recount in their interviews), The Act gives the audience another perspective – that of the killer. It explores some of the same ideas of Mindhunter but in a refreshingly different way.

Unbelievable (2019)

The detectives of Unbelievable stand in front of a stylized image of Marie with a line through her face

Unbelievable is a Netflix original true-crime drama based on a true story, though it does take some liberties. This story follows the case of Marie Adler who had been raped by a masked intruder in her home and was then re-victimized by the media and detectives who accused her of fabricating her story. Due to their insisting, Marie recanted her story. Because of this oddity, two female detectives take on the case, following evidence to reveal the truth that leads to a serial rapist.

While the person being investigated is a serial criminal, that and the fictionalized true-crime approach are where the similarities to Mindhunter end. The series does something that not a lot of crime shows do: allow the story to be told from the point of view of women. Both the survivor and investigative team are women, bringing a new point of view that all true-crime fans should check out.

Dexter (2006–2013)

Dexter comes close to Debra in a promotional photo for Dexter

Dexter is a crime series that follows Dexter Morgan, a bloodstain pattern expert lending his knowledge to the Miami Metro Police Department. The only thing is, Dexter doesn’t only help solve the crimes, he commits them too.

The series dives into Dexter’s state of mind and how he sees himself as he descends more and more into his own web of lies and murder. This pattern resembles Holden’s mentality throughout seasons 1 and 2 of Mindhunter, and what fans probably would see if he chooses to stay in the series once (if) it eventually continues. It also allows the audience to get into the mind of an actual serial killer instead of simply focusing on the investigator’s perceptions of the killer. The series even returns with a new chapter in 2021 with Dexter: New Blood.

American Crime Story (2016–)

OJ Simpson holds his gloved hands up in a courtroom as everyone looks on in American Crime Story

American Crime Story is a dramatization of true crime events, with each season focusing on a different case. This series was developed by the same team behind American Horror Story and has a similar premise to the horror anthology series in that the cast seems to repeat with every season.

The series has covered the cases of The People v. O.J. Simpson and the Assassination of Gianni Versace, and more recently, the impeachment trial of President Clinton. Like in Mindhunter, the team tries to cast and style the actors as close as possible based on how their real-life counterparts looked.

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