20 Best TV Shows Like Dexter 

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Serial Killings never have been systematic and ritualistic before Dexter, it is certainly something that attracts you towards the style and charisma of a killer, knowingly their moral reservations are shaken. 

However, it wasn’t true for Dexter, that’s why we loved him, and people have become huge fans of the show. 

He wasn’t just killling people, but bad people, people who you might agree are the lowest of the earth, predators, and serial killers. 

Dexter was based on the plot of a serial  killer hunting serial killers, again not necessarily to be a ‘hero’, it is indeed a byproduct, but to tame his urges to kill which he discovered in childhood. 

The show was too much excitement : his double life as CSI blood spatter analyst for Miama Police, cat and mouse with worst serial killers and his ritualistic murder, the monologues and who can forget -the dark passenger!

Well, even though the climax was controversial and fairly not satifying due to the lame ending to this intricate character, we did get some closing in the sequel/spin-off Dexter: New Blood. 

We did hope for more seasons but it was the end for Dexter. But if this series certainly have increase or awaken your appetite for serial killer or similar murder stories. 

So, without giving it much thinking, we enlist some shows here which are similar to Dexter in one way or another, that you will certainly love.  

Hannibal 

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After the success of the portrayal of the cannibalistic pscho killer Hannibal Lecter in the movie The Silence of Lamb, the producers have been trying to milk this cow ever since.

But it has been mostly a failure until Bryan Fuller’s take on this infamous psychopath serial killer, played by Mads Mikkelson in the show Hannibal.

One of the best adaptations of a character uniquely done, without ruining the original material with a sweet spin. 

So, if you loved being inside the mind of Dexter, Hannibal will be a treat for you, especially if you are totally into deranged, twisted and morally-ambiguous protagonists. 

The show is spine-chilling and riveting to watch where you follow this troubled FBI agent Will Graham ( Hugh Dancy), a criminal profiler who takes the help of a forensic psychologist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who is secretely a cannibal killer. 

They end up having this co-dependent relationship, perhaps one of the most complex and intriguing even on teh television.  

Hannibal is the show that is heavy on its violence and gore, so be ready to see the worst, and better to not binge it while having dinner.

True Detective 

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One of the riveting crime dramas ever premiered on TV, is this anthology series named True Detective features the works of two Louisiana State Police detetives looking back into a murder of prostitude investigated 17 years earlier which opens up a lot of mysteries to unravel. 

Detective Rustin Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Detective Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) both investigate the cases, at different timelines, impacting them differently as the show screenplay is split between two timelines. 

The show resonates  more on the investigative aspect of what you saw in Dexter which honestly wasn’t much. 

Other than that, it also accounts for the serial killers, their pschye and how the crime is conducted over the years, which is surely well-represented in Dexter

Mindhunter

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What Dexter really does is, surrounding the plot of the story driven by the lore of a serial killer, so much so that our questionable morally-gray protagonist is also a serial-killer at the end of the day. 

And over the seasons, we go deep into the psyche of a serial killer, pscyhologically as well as in their day-to-day operation across various types of them,and that too through a perpesctive of a serial killer cum vigilante. 

So, if you liked how the show tells a lot about serial killers, you are going to love Mindhunter, as it goes even much further and more realistically as well. 

The show is about a pscyholgists named Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) trying to crack the code to unravel the minds of serial killers, with the help of FBI. 

They start this research project which digs deep into the psyche of serial killers, how their mind works and all the questions behind their heinous crimes.  

What’s even more interesting is how these bunch of people solve crime at hand by using what they learned from the serials, well, to catch serial killers. 

Luther

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Luther is a different show in terms of that you are not getting a murderer as a protagonist here rather a highly dedicated and obsessive Detective chief inspector when it comes to solving cases. 

But the show defintely deal with gruesome murder cases, psychopaths and serial killers with some highlight characters such as Alice Morgan, a female serial killer, finally! 

The show is also a cat and mouse game between John Luther and the criminal masterminds, something you must have enjoyed in Dexter, only to be on the other side this time. 

Luther does have shades of darkness and greyness which comes from the type of cases he indulges himself in , sometimes getting too close,so his struggle is indeed to prevent himself from getting consumed. 

The Fall 

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The Fall is a show that makes you think about how anyone around you can be a serial killer, and you might not know it. 

It does give you chills about this lurking looming fear of crossing paths with a potential serial killer in the town. 

The story is about Paul Spector, played by Jamie Dornan, a good father and loving husband but living a whole another life, just like Dexter as a serial killer known as Belfast Strangler. 

Now, you can assume why Dexter fans might dig into this series, as it is also based on the same notion of a harmless looking guy to be having another secret life as a serial killer, and people around them are unaware of it. 

The series got more interesting when DSI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) was called upon to hunt this ruthless serial killer down. But as Paul knows about it, the show becomes about hunters becoming the hunted. 

And something of this sort, we did see in Dexter when an FBI agent or his own colleague start tailing him after suspecting him or finding the killer, and thereafter, it becomes a game of cat and mouse. 

This show basically expands more on that plot and makes it even more intresting, as things start to become more personal. 

Barry

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If Dexter brings humor in the darkest scenarios of the show and makes you even more love with the character and show, you will binge-watch Barry for sure. 

This show has an insane premise where a Marine-turned professional hitman, Barry (Bill Hader) wants to leave his killing days behind to persue acting. 

He was supposed to come to Los Angeles to kill an actor for a Chechen mob boss because his wife slept with him, but while researching and following him up, he experiences the acting class taught by Gene Cousineau (Henry Wrinkler).

In fact, he had to inact a scene with the person he was supposed to kill but aparently he finds his passion in acting. 

But apparently, his handler Monroe Fuches (Stephen Root) warns him that if he doesn’t fulfill his job, they both will be dead. And things becom interesting from there. 

The show overall is about the internal conflict with this character who wants to stay off from the law enforcement and also away from the mob, and persue his life. 

You can draw some parallels to Dexter, however, certainly things are different here but living double life, managing it and drawing to the darkness, all these themes make it too similar to watch. 

Harrow 

Image Source: Amazon

Harrow is an Australian television drama series following the life and work of a forensic pathologist named Dr. Daniel Harrow who is known to discard the authority. 

Him having empathy towards the dead makes him good at solving weird cases. He is also someone who doesn’t hesitate to bend the rules. 

A dark secret from his past comes to haunt him and threatens him to expose him, now he must use all his forensic skills to protect himself and his secret. 

The show is not exactly that you can say something like Dexter but living a double secretive life, breaking the law and other internal conflicts makes this somewhat as good as Dexter. 

The Mentalist 

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This one is less dark and more fun, something you do see in Dexter but not entirely explored. 

In this series, Patrick Jane is the central character who is a well-known psychic using his skills to consult for the California Bureau of Investigation to solve crimes. 

If Dexter gets too serious about solving crimes using his extensive knowldege about blood splatter and also about serial killers, it can become somewhat like this show. 

Basically, it is about an abled-individual who helps a law-enforcement organization to solve crimes. 

You can also draw some parallels to the show Lucifer, where he uses his manipuative and ‘devil’ powers to solve and fight crime, both. 

Patrict Jane, played by Simon Baker, is blessed with the ability to have extraordinary observation skills, so he works as an independent consultant. 

And as we said, this one is more on the fun side where his character is usually charming, cheerful and more easy-going.( you can’t say that about Dexter!) 

But still there is more to him than what it seems. It came to know soon that his collaboration with the CBI is more about his chance to get revenge against a man who killed his wife and daughter. 

Arrow 

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Arrow is the series about this rich brat billionare who was stranded in a mysterious island after his boat was sabotaged, and after surviving there for five years, he comes back to his town to fight crime as this hooded vigilante. 

It is not like if you think about the Dexter series, you can just think of Arrow after it. They do not connect much but there are certain elements in this show that makes it similar to the show Dexter.

Arrow, just like Dexter, is a show of an internal battle within the character living a double life, and even more than that, fighting the darkness within, keeping it at bay even if they have to cross the line sometime to protect people they love. 

Both characters in the show have more similarity than both shows. Arrow is pretty much like Batman who is rich by day and vigilante by night. 

Arrow, and Dexter both have different motivations, but both suffer from the similar fate, and also have similar endings to their character arc. 

The Following

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This one is more on the darker side comparing the other shows on the list. 

The Following sets in this  quite diabolic, dark and twisted reality where serial killers were able to have this kind of a hive mind under the infamous Joe Carroll. 

It is not exactly like Dexter but the serial killer aspect of the story makes it a good watch for people who liked Dexter. 

The story goes about this Former FBI Agent Ryan Hardy played by Kevin Bacon starting this hunt to take Joe Caroll ( James Purefoy) down after he escapes from his death row. 

The Following further goes into this series of gruesome and bizzare events that shakes you within. So, make sure you have a stomach for dealing with psychological thrillers with darker elements. 

CSI: Miami 

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CSI: Miami has to be included in this list when we are talking about shows similar to Dexter. 

The top similarity between these two shows can be just explained by the title of this show. Just like Dexter, this show is also based in Miami and involves solving crimes in the city. 

If you ever were interested in the CSI investigation aspect of Dexter, you are going to enjoy this show. 

So, even though there are no long stretched out narratives across the seasons or a central theme to guide the story throughout, like what we loved about Dexter, there are still some notable parallels to draw. 

However, be modest on what you should expect from the show as it is end of a the day a episodic episode of crime-solving with a interesting murder cases. 

You

Image Source: IMDb

What goes in the mind of a sociopath? Well, just like how we are able to hear how Dexter thinks, how he approach his target, how he hunts for his kills, almost simiar we get with You’s character Joe. 

Just like how Dexter is compelled with his natural tendencies to give in to his dark side, to his dark passenger, Joe is your hopeless romantic on the outside but a full-blown sociopath from inside. 

He couldn’t obey his moral obligations when it comes to giving in to his obsessions towards love. 

The best part of the series, is also what you may have loved in Dexter in the very beginning, is how we judge the ‘hero’ of the show, how we doubt them, even hate or disgust them, but still somehow they eventually become someone who we are invested in. 

However, with Joe’s character in You, atleast in earlier few episodes of the show, or let’s just say in the first season, is way more brutal than Dexter. 

In the end, he is what Dexter can be summed up as, a likeable Anti-hero. 

Mr. Robot 

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Think Dexter but instead of serial killers, replace Hackers ruling the world and bending realities through their influence and technology, as well put in series, ‘1% of 1% of the world’.

The show Mr. Robot is about this cybersecurity engineer by day but a hacktivist, quite a vigilante at night, living a double life. 

He is trying to save the world but apparently struggles with mental health issues, and there is indeed a lot wrong with him, mysteries within him which soon reveal in the show gradually.

Mr. Robot does have some common themes with Dexter whether it is living this double life, vigilantism, conflict within and other simiarlies as well. 

Overall, if you have enjoyed Dexter, chances are you will like Mr. Robot. It certainly doesn’t have violence per say, but there is too much psychological tension and mystery that will make you cling to it. 

The show also very well represents mental health issues without making it funny, over-the-top or too dramatic. 

Writing, of the show especially is great, perhaps on a consistent level, better than Dexter (C,mon’ between us, Dexter fans, you do agree the decline in later seasons and the climax!)

The Punisher

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The Punisher is a series set in the Marvel cinematic universe about an FBI agent, Frank Castle who was pushed too far and exploited by the system after which he had to lose his family in a brutal killing. 

Now Frank, haunted by his wife and son’s killing, is motivated to take revenge against the culprits. 

He is the true embodiement of ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ who becomes a judge and jury executioner himself to punish those who were wrong by him and others. 

Well, even though this show is not similar to Dexter in some ways, it is still a lot similar in other ways. 

Dexter, who becomes a vigilante of some sorts but with original motivation to control his impulse to imbrace his ‘dark passenger’, Frank here is also not necessarily out there to protect people, but rather comes from a personal tragedy, making him a ‘punisher’ to bad people. 

They both push the boundaries of morality when it comes to playing morally-fluid protagonists. They both kill bad people for good reason. 

So, if you were more impressed by a hint of the vigilantism aspect of Dexter’s character in the show, this one, you will like it.  

Breaking Bad

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Breaking Bad, one of the finest written TV shows ever, is also a lot like Dexter because both of these characters are living double lives and trying to separate their criminal side from their other self. 

Also, sort of both of the central characters, that is, Dexter and Walter White  are trying to survive in this world but playing by their rules. 

Both of them have this calm demenour but have capability to become scary monsters. Not to miss, that they take pride in what they do, and have a certain conviction and clarity about their approach. 

If you loved these qualities in Dexter, with his struggle to maintain this double life, hiding from the world and being more than what a common eye sees, you will love Breaking Bad as well. 

This series is about this chemistry teacher who starts throwing morals out of the window when he comes to know that he has lung cancer with not much time to live. 

With all his life being a good man just minding his own business, he got this, so in the moment of the clarity and for the sake of securing his family’s future, he start utlizing his chemistry knowledge and start a crystal meth business with his former student Jesse Pinkman. 

Thereafter, it is all about their journey becoming the biggest names in the criminal world. But there is more to this character as soon it becomes more than just about securing his family. 

Again, something great we see with Dexter is how morally grey he is, he kills people but then not good ones, something similar is about Walter White. 

Prodigal Son

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What is similar here with Dexter, is the capablity of the investigator to understand the mind of a serial killer or a murderer.

The story is about this brilliant criminal profiler named Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne) who is the son of an infamous depraved serial killer Martin Whitly aka The Surgeon (Michael Sheen).

Interestingly, Malcolm is the person who helped put his serial killer father behind the bars as he dedicated his life catching pscyopaths and serial killers but he himself inherited some of the psychpathic traits of his father. 

Now, things become interesting when a copycat killer starts hunting in New York, killing people. Malcolm chose his father to get help from catching this killer. 

So, what all this tells you about the show, that this is indeed about nature vs nurture, or whether psychopathic and murderous traits can be inherited and if so, whether it can be used to do comparably good, like Dexter. 

Bates Motel 

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The series Bates Motel is a pscholgical thriller, a re-imagination of characters right from the classic movie ‘Pyscho’ by veteran filmmaker Hitchock. 

You can consdier this as a prequel to the film Psycho, and even if you haven’t watched the movie, Bates Motel still is a great series to enjoy. It doesn’t hinder your experience of the show.

It is teh show about how Norman Bate’s teenage years unfold where he grows up to be a pscyho killer, also her developing relationship with her mother Norma. 

Again, just like we have a sociopath killer as a protagonist, here we get Norman Bates, and his struggles through his own impulses and tendencies. 

The show is a suspenseful psychological horror which manipulates you from time to time, in order to surprise or shock you in brillaint ways. 

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