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The Greatest Suspense TV Shows 

Ranker TV
Updated June 14, 2019 742 votes 139 voters 6.1k views 34 items

Of all the many genres represented on television, suspense is easily the most fun to watch. Suspense offers the audience a way to get involved in what's happening on their screens and such shows have a way of pulling you in. Whether you're worried the main character will get away with murder like on Dexter or if the folks from Alexandria will be able to survive whatever horrors are being thrown at them on The Walking Dead, there are plenty of options for fans of suspense TV shows to watch!

Finding the right and most suspenseful TV shows to watch isn't always easy, which is why this list has been put together compiling the very best of the best. Whether your preferences are towards action-thriller series of a suspenseful nature or you prefer more captivating mystery shows, there are some excellent recommendations on this list for you to watch. From top dramas like True Detective to the fun fantasy series Goosebumps, you'll find plenty to try out next.

For more recommendations, browse this list of the best suspense shows and feel free to add any similar series you think are missing!

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list ordered by
1
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn

Premiered: 2008

Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008) is an American neo-Western crime drama television series created by Vince Gilligan. After being diagnosed with cancer, a depressed high school chemistry teacher (Bryan ...more

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2
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

Premiered: 2006

Dexter (Showtime, 2006) is an American crime drama mystery series developed by James Manos Jr., based on the 2004 novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. When he's not doing forensic work ...more

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Dexter Morgan’s Infamous ‘Work’ Rooms, Ranked By Practicality #13 of 642 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #11 of 13 TV Shows That Would Have Been Better As Movies

3
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Vigtam added Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

Premiered: 2010

Sherlock (BBC One, 2010) is a British crime television series created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, based on stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The brilliant yet insensitive detective ...more

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Ranking the Best Seasons of 'Sherlock' #4 of 642 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #6 of 333 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

4
Criminal Minds is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, Thomas Gibson

Premiered: 2005

Criminal Minds (CBS, 2005) is an American police-procedural television program. The series follows a team of profilers from the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit based in Quantico, Virginia. The ...more

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5
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Mahershala Ali, Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson

Premiered: 2013

True Detective (HBO, 2014) is an American anthology drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto. Each season focuses on detectives investigating violent offences.

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The Best Seasons of True Detective #30 of 642 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #4 of 13 TV Shows That Would Have Been Better As Movies

6
American Horror Story is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, Evan Peters

Premiered: 2011

American Horror Story (FX, 2011) is an American anthology horror television series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. An anthology series centering on different characters and locations, ...more

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7
Bates Motel is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot

Premiered: 2013

Bates Motel (A&E, 2013) is an American psychological horror drama television series based on characters from the 1959 novel Psycho by Robert Bloch. After his father's sudden death, teenager ...more

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8
The Mentalist is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Simon Baker, Robin Tunney, Tim Kang

Premiered: 2008

The Mentalist (CBS, 2008) is an American police procedural television series created by Bruno Heller. After his family is murdered, a con man posing as a psychic medium (Simon Baker) uses his ...more

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9
Oz is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Ernie Hudson, J.K. Simmons, Lee Tergesen

Premiered: 1997

Oz is an American television drama series created by Tom Fontana, who also wrote or co-wrote all of the series' 56 episodes. It was the first one-hour dramatic television series to be produced ...more

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The Best Seasons of Oz #184 of 642 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #159 of 333 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

10
La Femme Nikita is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Peta Wilson, Don Francks, Eugene Robert Glazer

Premiered: 1997

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

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11
Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Twin Peaks Kyle MacLachlan, Russ Tamblyn, Sherilyn Fenn

Premiered: 1990

Twin Peaks (ABC, 1990) is an American mystery horror drama television series created by Mark Frost and David Lynch and, despite being canceled after two seasons, sparked a cult following that ...more

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12
The Killing is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman, Billy Campbell

Premiered: 2011

The Killing (AMC, 2011) is an American drama television series created by Veena Sud, based on the Danish series Forbrydelsen. Seattle homicide detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen ...more

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The Best Seasons of The Killing #120 of 642 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #261 of 333 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

13
Homeland is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend

Premiered: 2011

Homeland (Showtime, 2011) is an American political drama thriller series developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa based on the Israeli series Hatufim, which was created by Gideon Raff. A CIA ...more

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The Best Characters On 'Homeland' #40 of 642 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #144 of 333 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

14
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

Premiered: 2010

The Walking Dead (A&E, 2010) is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series developed by Frank Darabont, based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie ...more

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15
The Originals is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies, Claire Holt

Premiered: 2013

The Originals (The CW, 2013) is an American television series created by Julie Plec, and is a spinoff of The Vampire Diaries. Vampire-werewolf hybrid Klaus Mikaelson (Joseph Morgan) and his ...more

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16
Lost is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Naveen Andrews, Emilie de Ravin, Matthew Fox Jorge Garcia

Premiered: 2004

Lost (ABC, 2004) is an American drama television series created by Jeffrey Lieber, J. J. Abrams, and Damon Lindelof. After a horrific plane crash, a group of strangers are forced to work ...more

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17
Too Old to Die Young is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Miles Telle, Billy Baldwin, Jena Malone

Premiered: 2019

Too Old to Die Young (Amazon Video, 2019) is an American thriller crime drama television series created by Nicolas Winding Refn and Ed Brubaker. The show follows Martin (Miles Teller), a ...more
18
Witches of East End is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Julia Ormond, Jenna Dewan Tatum, Rachel Boston

Premiered: 2013

Witches of East End (Lifetime, 2013) is an American supernatural drama series developed by Maggie Friedman, and based on the book of the same name by Melissa de la Cruz. A mother and her two ...more

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19
Kojak is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Telly Savalas, Dan Frazer, Kevin Dobson

Premiered: 1973

Kojak is an American television series starring Telly Savalas as the title character, New York City Police Department Detective Lieutenant Theo Kojak. Taking the time slot of the popular Cannon ...more

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20
Miracles is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Skeet Ulrich, Angus Macfadyen, Marisa Ramirez

Premiered: 2003

Miracles is an American drama television program starring Skeet Ulrich and Angus Macfadyen. Created by Richard Hatem and Michael Petroni, the series has sometimes been dubbed a "spiritual ...more
21
Twisted is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Avan Jogia, Maddie Hasson, Ashton Moio

Premiered: 2013

Twisted is an American teen drama mystery-thriller television series. The pilot episode aired on March 19, 2013, and the show's next 10 episodes resumed airing on June 18, 2013. On July 30, ...more

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22
Hotel is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
James Brolin, Anne Baxter, Michelle Phillips

Premiered: 1983

Hotel is an American prime time drama series which aired on ABC from September 21, 1983, to May 5, 1988, in the timeslot following Dynasty. Based on Arthur Hailey's 1965 novel of the same name, ...more

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23
Midnight DJ is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Kristine Hermosa, Maui Taylor, Ehra Madrigal

Premiered: 2008

Midnight DJ is a Filipino drama-horror television series starring Oyo Boy Sotto, who works as DJ at night and at the same time he works to find solutions to the paranormal problems of his ...more
24
Golden Boy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Chi McBride, Bonnie Somerville, Kevin Alejandro

Premiered: 2013

As he’s interviewed for a story about his career, Walter William Clark, Jr. flashes back on his hard-fought journey from street kid to the most powerful man in law enforcement. After only three ...more
25
Mystery Woman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Suspense TV Shows
Mystery Woman Kellie Martin, Clarence Williams III, Nina Siemaszko

Premiered: 2003

Mystery Woman is the name of a series of 11 TV movies released by the Hallmark Channel between 2003 and 2007, and now appearing regularly on the Hallmark Movie Channel. While on the Hallmark ...more