Entertainment

The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made 

Ranker TV
Updated November 13, 2019 561 votes 51 voters 1.7k views 93 items

List Rules Vote up the best action thriller shows that have aired on television.

The best action thriller shows are a rush, perfectly pairing the excitement of an action series with the jumps and tension of thrillers. The best action thriller series ever shown on television pulls the audience to the edge of the seat and keeps them there. If you’ve been looking for the best action thrillers to add some excitement to your TV nights, this list of the best action thriller series of all time will help you figure out what needs to go into your queue.

The really good action thrillers basically never let you rest. Not only do you have the edgy anticipation of a great television thriller, but what’s next is probably an intense fight or chase scene. If you’re streaming your shows, their non-stop pace may make you miss commercial breaks. Although more modern action thrillers include comic book shows like Punisher and Legion, or horror series such as The Purge, older shows such as Prison Break and Alias also provide both action and thrills and some are the most exciting thriller series of all time.

Which shows balance being thrillers and action series the best? Vote up the best action thriller shows, vote down the shows that don't deliver thrills with their adrenaline rush, and add any thrilling action series that are missing.

list ordered by
1
24 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard

Premiered: 2001

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 24

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Espionage, Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Drama, Thriller, + more

24 is an American television series produced for the Fox network created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, and starring Kiefer Sutherland as Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer. Each ...more
2
Person of Interest is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Chapman

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 31

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Thriller, + more

Person of Interest is an American science fiction drama television series created by Jonathan Nolan that premiered on September 22, 2011, on CBS. The series revolves around John Reese, a former ...more
3
Treadstone is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Treadstone Omar Metwally, Tracy Ifeachor, Hyo Joo Han

Premiered: 2019

Network: USA

Genres (Tv): Action, Drama

Treadstone (USA, 2019) is an American action drama television series, based on the Bourne Film series, created by Tim Kring. The show explores the origin story and present-day actions of CIA ...more
4
Altered Carbon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Joel Kinnaman, Renée Elise Goldsberry, James Purefoy

Premiered: 2018

Network: Netflix

Genres (Tv): Sci-fi, Mystery, Action

Altered Carbon is an American science fiction television series created by Laeta Kalogridis, based on the novel by Richard K. Morgan. In a future where human minds are digitized and downloaded ...more
5
Taken is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Clive Standen, Gaius Charles, Brooklyn Sudano

Premiered: 2017

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Action, Thriller

Taken (NBC, 2017) is a Franco-American drama series developed by Alexander Cary, based on the film trilogy. Former Green Beret Bryan Mills (Clive Standen) must overcome a personal tragedy, in ...more
6
The Punisher is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Jon Bernthal, Ben Barnes, Ebon Moss-Bachrach

Premiered: 2017

Number of Seasons: 2

Genres (Tv): Action, Superhero, Crime drama, Conspiracy thriller

Marvel's The Punisher (Netflix, 2017) is an American web television series created for Netflix by Steve Lightfoot. Former Force Recon officer Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal), known throughout New ...more
7
Prison Break is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller, Amaury Nolasco

Premiered: 2005

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 81

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Prison Break is an American television serial drama created by Paul Scheuring, that was broadcast on Fox for four seasons, from 2005 until 2009. The series revolves around two brothers; one has ...more
8
Nikita is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 67

Network: The CW Television Network

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama, Thriller, Adventure film, Action, + more

Nikita is an American television series that aired on The CW from September 9, 2010 to December 27, 2013 in the United States. The series is a reboot of the popular 1997 TV series La Femme ...more
9
Blindspot is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Sullivan Stapleton, Jaimie Alexander, Rob Brown

Premiered: 2015

Genres (Tv): Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Blindspot (NBC, 2015) is an American drama television series created by Martin Gero. When a mysterious tattooed woman (Jaimie Alexander) is found naked inside a travel bag with no recollection ...more
10
9-1-1 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
9-1-1 Angela Bassett, Connie Britton, Peter Krause

Genres (Tv): Drama

9-1-1 (Fox, 2018) is an American procedural drama television series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. The show explores the high-pressure experiences of police, paramedics and ...more
11
Designated Survivor is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Kiefer Sutherland, Natascha McElhone, Adan Canto

Network: Netflix

Genres (Tv): Political Thriller

Designated Survivor (ABC, 2016; Netflix, 2019) is an American political conspiracy drama television series. On the night of the State of the Union address, an incident claims the lives of the ...more
12
The Last Ship is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Eric Dane, Rhona Mitra, Adam Baldwin

Premiered: 2014

Network: TNT

Genres (Tv): Action, Drama, Sci-fi

The Last Ship is an American action-drama television series created by Hank Steinberg and Steven L Kane, based on the 1988 novel by William Brinkley. After a global viral pandemic wipes out over ...more
13
Whiskey Cavalier is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Scott Foley, Lauren Cohan, Ana Ortiz

Genres (Tv): Drama

Whiskey Cavalier (ABC, 2019) is an American drama television series created by Dave Hemingson. Following an emotional break-up, FBI agent Will Chase (Scott Foley) is assigned to work with CIA ...more
14
Chicago P.D. is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Jason Beghe, Jon Seda, Sophia Bush

Premiered: 2014

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 2

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Crime, Drama

Chicago P.D. (NBC, 2014) is an American police procedural drama television series created by Dick Wolf and Matt Olmstead. The show follows the Chicago Police Department uniformed cops who patrol ...more
15
Jack Ryan is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
John Krasinski, Abbie Cornish, Mena Massoud

Genres (Tv): Action, Thriller, Drama

Jack Ryan (Amazon Video, 2018) is an American television series created by Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland, based on the character created by Tom Clancy. When CIA analyst Jack Ryan (John ...more
16
NCIS is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette

Premiered: 2003

Number of Seasons: 10

Number of Episodes: 218

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Drama, Thriller, + more

NCIS is an American police procedural drama television series, revolving around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which conducts investigations ...more
17
Banshee is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Antony Starr, Ivana Milicevic, Ulrich Thomsen
Banshee is an American action-drama television series created by Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler originally appearing on the Cinemax network beginning on January 11, 2013. Set in the small ...more
18
Daredevil is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson

Premiered: 2015

Network: Netflix

Genres (Tv): Science Fiction, Action

Daredevil (Netflix, 2015) is an American web television series created for Netflix by Drew Goddard, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Blind lawyer Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) ...more
19
Luke Cage is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Mike Colter, Mahershala Ali, Simone Missick

Genres (Tv): Action, Sci-Fi

Luke Cage (Netflix, 2016) is an American web television series created by Cheo Hodari Coker, based on the Marvel Comics character. When a sabotaged experiment gives him super strength and ...more
20
Nash Bridges is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Don Johnson, Cheech Marin, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe

Premiered: 1996

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 122

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Drama, Adventure film, + more

Nash Bridges is an American television police drama created by Carlton Cuse. The show starred Don Johnson and Cheech Marin as two Inspectors with the San Francisco Police Department's Special ...more
21
The Brave is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Mike Vogel, Anne Heche, Demetrius Grosse

Genres (Tv): Drama

The Brave (NBC, 2017) is an American drama series with showrunners Matt Corman and Chris Ord. Patricia Campbell (Anne Heche) is Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency working with ...more
22
La Femme Nikita is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Peta Wilson, Don Francks, Eugene Robert Glazer

Premiered: 1997

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 96

Network: USA Network

Genres (Tv): Espionage, Action/Adventure, Spy film, Drama, Adventure film, + more

La Femme Nikita is a Canadian action/drama television series based on the French film Nikita by Luc Besson. The series was co-produced by Jay Firestone of Fireworks Entertainment and Warner ...more
23
Flashpoint is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Hugh Dillon, David Paetkau, Amy Jo Johnson

Premiered: 2008

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 13

Network: ION Television, CTV Television Network, CBS

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Drama, Adventure film, + more

Flashpoint is a Canadian police drama television series that debuted on 11 July 2008 on CTV in Toronto. In the United States, the series currently airs reruns on Ion Television and in the United ...more
24
V is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Elizabeth Mitchell, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch

Premiered: 2009

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 22

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Drama, Thriller, Science Fiction, Fantasy

V is an American science fiction television series that ran for two seasons on ABC, from November 3, 2009 to March 15, 2011. A remake of the 1983 miniseries created by Kenneth Johnson, the new ...more
25
Tyrant is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Adam Rayner, Jennifer Finnigan, Ashraf Barhom

Premiered: 2014

Network: FX

Genres (Tv): Drama

Tyrant is an American drama television series created by director and writer Gideon Raff and developed by Howard Gordon and Craig Wright. The first season of Tyrant consisting of 10 episodes ...more