Watchworthy

The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made 

Ranker TV
Updated August 3, 2020 745 votes 71 voters 2.7k views 95 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.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
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

24 (Fox, 2001) is an American drama television series created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran. Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), Director of Field Ops for the Counter-Terrorist Unit of Los ...more
2
Prison Break is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller, Amaury Nolasco

Premiered: 2005

Prison Break (Fox, 2005) is an American television serial drama created by Paul Scheuring.The series revolves around two brothers; one has been sentenced for a something he did not commit, and ...more
3
Person of Interest is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Chapman

Premiered: 2011

Person of Interest (CBS, 2011) is an American science fiction drama television series created by Jonathan Nolan. An ex-CIA agent (Jim Caviezel) and a wealthy programmer (Michael Emerson) save ...more
4
The Punisher is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Jon Bernthal, Ben Barnes, Ebon Moss-Bachrach

Premiered: 2017

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
5
The Last Ship is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Eric Dane, Rhona Mitra, Adam Baldwin

Premiered: 2014

The Last Ship (TNT, 2014) is an American action drama television series created by Hank Steinberg and Steven L. Kane, and loosely based on the William Brinkley novel of the same name. After a ...more
6
Designated Survivor is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Kiefer Sutherland, Natascha McElhone, Adan Canto
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
7
Nikita is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca

Premiered: 2010

Nikita (The CW, 2010) is an American crime drama television series and reboot of the Canadian series La Femme Nikita. The series focuses on Nikita, a woman who escaped from a secret ...more
8
Blindspot is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Sullivan Stapleton, Jaimie Alexander, Rob Brown

Premiered: 2015

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
9
Taken is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Clive Standen, Gaius Charles, Brooklyn Sudano

Premiered: 2017

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
10
Jack Ryan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
John Krasinski, Abbie Cornish, Mena Massoud

Premiered: 2018

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
11
Banshee is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Antony Starr, Ivana Milicevic, Ulrich Thomsen
Banshee (Cinemax, 2013) is an American action television series created by Jonathan Tropper and David Schickler. After serving 15 years in prison, an ex-convict (Antony Starr) assumes the ...more
12
Daredevil is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson

Premiered: 2015

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
13
Altered Carbon is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Joel Kinnaman, Renée Elise Goldsberry, James Purefoy

Premiered: 2018

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
14
9-1-1 is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
9-1-1 Angela Bassett, Connie Britton, Peter Krause
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
15
NCIS is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette

Premiered: 2003

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
16
Chicago P.D. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Jason Beghe, Jon Seda, Sophia Bush

Premiered: 2014

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
17
Whiskey Cavalier is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Scott Foley, Lauren Cohan, Ana Ortiz
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
18
Lethal Weapon is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Lethal Weapon Damon Wayans, Clayne Crawford, Jordana Brewster

Premiered: 2016

Lethal Weapon (Fox, 2016) is an American buddy cop action comedy-drama television series developed by Matt Miller and based on the film series. A slightly unhinged cop (Clayne Crawford) is ...more
19
24: Live Another Day is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Yvonne Strahovski, Kiefer Sutherland, Michelle Fairley
24: Live Another Day, also known as Day 9, is a 24 limited event television series consisting of twelve episodes that premiered on May 5, 2014, and concluded on July 14, 2014, airing on Fox. Sky ...more
20
Queen of the South is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Alice Braga, Justina Machado, Hemky Madera
Queen of the South (USA, 2016) is an American television drama series adapted from the successful telenovela La Reina del Sur on sister network Telemundo and the book of the same name by Spanish ...more
21
Scorpion is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Elyes Gabel, Katharine McPhee, Eddie Kaye Thomas

Premiered: 2014

Scorpion is an American drama television series loosely based on the life of self-proclaimed genius and computer expert Walter O'Brien. In the series, O'Brien and his genius friends help each ...more
22
Primeval is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Primeval Andrew Lee Potts, Hannah Spearritt, Ben Miller

Premiered: 2007

Primeval is a British science fiction drama television programme produced for ITV by Impossible Pictures. Created by Adrian Hodges and Tim Haines, who previously created the Walking with... ...more
23
Angel is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter, Alexis Denisof

Premiered: 1999

Angel (The WB, 1999) is an American supernatural television series created by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt, and a spin-off from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Angel (David ...more
24
Jessica Jones is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Rachael Taylor

Premiered: 2015

Jessica Jones (Netflix, 2015) is an American web television series created by Melissa Rosenberg, based on the Marvel Comics character. Following the tragic end of her brief superhero career, ...more
25
Luke Cage is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Action Thriller Series Ever Made
Mike Colter, Mahershala Ali, Simone Missick
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