Entertainment The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows  

Ranker TV
183 votes 81 voters 6.6k views 30 items

It's every parent's greatest fear and every adult's biggest nightmare: kidnapping. TV shows about kidnapping tear at our hearts and make us want to see what happens next. Will the kidnapped ever get free and will their captors get what's coming to them? Whether or not a kidnapping is central to the plot of a TV series or it becomes a major issue within a season, TV shows about kidnapping make for some compelling television. While some of the best shows about kidnapping are typically popular crime dramas, such shows span other genres.

Of the many shows about kidnapping, most of the truly harrowing ones are about adult kidnappings instead of kids. Shows like NBC's Kidnapped tracks a new kidnapping each season with the people behind law enforcement working tirelessly to solve the crime. Then you have top crime shows like Sherlock that aren't principally about kidnapping, but do feature them heavily in the plot. Whatever your interest in the genre, there's definitely a recommendation or two on this list you will enjoy watching. 

For more recommendations on good kidnapping TV shows, browse this list and feel free to add any similar shows you think are missing!

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Thirteen is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Thirteen
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Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs
Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it ...more
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Kidnapped is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Dana Delany, Timothy Hutton, Jeremy Sisto
Kidnapped is an American television drama series from Sony Pictures Television which aired on NBC from September 20, 2006, to August 11, 2007. The series returned on Universal HD in 2008.
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Kidnapped Abroad is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Kidnapped Abroad
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The Family is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Joan Allen, Rupert Graves, Alison Pill
The Family (ABC, 2016) is an American thriller television series created by and executive produced by Jenna Bans, former ShondaLand regular writer. The series follows a family in Red Pines, ...more
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Dark is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Louis Hofmann, Oliver Masucci, Jördis Triebel
Dark (Netflix, 2017) is a German science fiction thriller web series created by Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese. The disappearance of two young children in the German town of Winden brings light ...more
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Happy Valley is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Happy Valley
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Safe is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Michael C. Hall, Amanda Abbington, Audrey Fleurot
Safe (Netflix, 2018) is a television drama series created by Harlan Coben. After his teenage daughter goes missing, widowed surgeon Tom Delaney (Michael C. Hall) begins unearthing dark secrets ...more
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Lost is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia
Lost is an American television drama series that originally aired on the American Broadcasting Company from September 22, 2004, to May 23, 2010, over six seasons, comprising a total of 121 ...more
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The Mentalist is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Simon Baker, Robin Tunney, Tim Kang
The Mentalist is an American police procedural television series that ran from September 23, 2008 until February 18, 2015, broadcasting 151 episodes over seven seasons, on CBS. The show was ...more
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Ransom is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Luke Roberts, Nazneen Contractor, Brandon Jay McLaren
Ransom (CBS, 2017) is an internationally co-produced drama television series created by David Vainola. Eric Beaumont (Luke Roberts) is an experienced crisis and hostage negotiator who, with his ...more
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Trust is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Donald Sutherland, Hilary Swank, Harris Dickinson
Trust (FX, 2018) is an American television anthology series directed by Danny Boyle. In 1973, heir John Paul Getty III is kidnapped by the Italian mafia, but the family seems disinterested in ...more
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Without a Trace is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Anthony LaPaglia, Poppy Montgomery, Marianne Jean-Baptiste
Without a Trace is an American police procedural television drama series that originally aired on CBS from September 26, 2002, to May 19, 2009. The series follows the cases of a Missing Persons ...more
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Finding Carter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Alexis Denisof, Vanessa Morgan, Cynthia Watros
Finding Carter is an American teen drama television series that premiered on MTV on July 8, 2014. The series was created by Emily Silver, and stars Kathryn Prescott as Carter, a young teenage ...more
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Ten Days in the Valley is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Kyra Sedgwick, Felix Solis, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Ten Days in the Valley (ABC, 2017) is an American drama series created by Tassie Cameron. Television producer life gets complicated after her young daughter disappears in the middle of the
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The Missing is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
James Nesbitt, Frances O'Connor, Ken Stott
The Missing is a British drama television series. It premiered on 28 October 2014 on BBC One in the UK, and in the US on Starz on 15 November 2014. The eight-part series was written by Harry and ...more
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Hunter is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Fred Dryer, Stepfanie Kramer, Charles Hallahan
Hunter is an American police drama television show that was created by Frank Lupo, and starring Fred Dryer as Sgt. Rick Hunter and Stepfanie Kramer as Sgt. Dee Dee McCall, which ran on NBC from ...more
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The Following is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Shawn Ashmore
The Following is an American television drama series created by Kevin Williamson and jointly produced by Outerbanks Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television. The first season follows former FBI ...more
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B: the Beginning is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Hiroaki Hirata, Yūki Kaji, Asai Seto
B: the Beginning (Netflix, 2018) is an anime series directed by Kazuto Nakazawa and Yoshiki Yamakawa. In a world powered by advanced technology, crime and action unfold in the archipelagic ...more
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Fargo is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks
Fargo (FX, 2014) is an American black comedy drama anthology television series created by Noah Hawley, and inspired by the 1996 film. Various chronicles of deception, intrigue and wrong doings ...more
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The Radical Story Of Patty Hea... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
The Radical Story Of Patty Hearst Bill Harris, Mckenna Marmolejo, Carol Pogash
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Human Trafficking is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Mira Sorvino, Robert Carlyle, Donald Sutherland
Human Trafficking is a television miniseries about an American Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent going undercover to stop an organization from trafficking people, and shows the struggles ...more
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Crisis is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Gillian Anderson, Rachael Taylor, Halston Sage
Crisis is an American drama series that was broadcast as part of the 2013–14 United States network television schedule on NBC as a mid-season entry. The series was created by Rand Ravich for ...more
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Shamanic Princess is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
Crispin Freeman, Rokurō Naya, Tomo Sakurai
Shamanic Princess is a Japanese anime consisting of 6 OVA episodes. It chronicles the exploits of Tiara, an agent from the Guardian World, who has been sent to Earth to recover the Throne of ...more
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Kidnap and Ransom is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Kidnapping TV Shows
John Hannah, Helen Baxendale, Trevor Eve
Kidnap and Ransom is a British television three-part miniseries, originally shown on ITV in January 2011 with a second series following in February 2012. The series follows the work of a British ...more