The Greatest TV Shows About Serial Killers
There's something about a serial killer that deeply fascinates and terrorizes all of us... except maybe serial killers. Watching a truly deranged person commit acts that would otherwise be unthinkable is just one of those things people want to see, and Hollywood has answered the call in both film and television. On the small screen, TV shows about serial killers have found a way to depict these monsters as either demons who must be stopped or even as anti-heroes the viewer can't help but cheer on in their endeavors - or become fascinated by, like with Joe Goldberg in You. Whatever your preference in watching serial killers, there are plenty of amazing series to watch on television.
Shows like Showtime's Dexter offered a deep and personal look into the mind of the titular character. Dexter was presented as an anti-hero who hunted down others like him while shows like The Following feature a look into both the minds of the killer(s) and the people hunting them down. The list goes on from here, featuring some great and thrilling series—and that's excluding the bounty of serial killer movies out there.
For more recommendations, browse this list and vote up the shows about serial killers you think are the best and see where your favorite serial killer shows rank.
- Premiered: October 1, 2006
Delving into the sinister mind of a blood spatter analyst by day and a serial killer by night, Dexter offers a cat-and-mouse chase between the eponymous character's two personas. Balancing his desire for justice, a "code" imparted by his foster father, and a twisted need for blood, it explores the inner workings of a sociopath who only kills other killers. Michael C. Hall's compelling portrayal backed by razor-sharp writing promises an intense, thrilling journey through Miami's dark underbelly.
- Premiered: October 13, 2017
Set in the late '70s, this engrossing series delves into the nascent field of criminal profiling, as FBI agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench, played by Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany, interview imprisoned serial killers to comprehend their motives. Featuring an authentic, cerebral approach to both the murderers and the investigators, this David Fincher-directed masterpiece presents a fascinating dissection of the minds that changed law enforcement forever.
- Premiered: March 31, 2023
In this chilling Japanese crime drama, decorated detective Takeshi Kuroiwa (Ryunosuke Kamiki) pursues a mysterious copycat murderer whose crimes emulate those of Japan's most infamous serial killers. As Kuroiwa unravels the enigma behind the killer's motives, he finds himself grappling with both the ethics of his profession and the harrowing darkness within humanity. Infused with nail-biting tension and thought-provoking storytelling, Copycat Killer defies expectations with its fresh spin on the genre.
- Premiered: April 4, 2013
A reimagining of Thomas Harris's seminal work, this psychological thriller takes viewers on a haunting journey into the complex relationship between sociopathic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and gifted but traumatized FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). Exquisite cinematography and a riveting exploration of the darkest recesses of human nature make this show an enthralling experience from start to finish.
- Premiered: January 12, 2014
This anthology series showcases multiple storylines centered around troubled detectives investigating gruesome, confounding serial killings. Each season immerses viewers into meticulously crafted atmospheres while posing thought-provoking questions about morality, religion, and human nature. Brilliant performances by actors like Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, and Mahershala Ali further elevate the already intricate narratives.
- Premiered: May 13, 2013
Starring Gillian Anderson as a dedicated detective superintendent and Jamie Dornan as an eerily charming, brutal serial killer, this series offers a gripping cat-and-mouse chase set amidst the politically turbulent backdrop of Belfast. The psychological battle between the two central figures drives the suspense, with Anderson's Stella Gibson showcasing relentless determination and intelligence against Dornan's calculated sociopath.
- Premiered: September 22, 2005
Boasting an impressive 15-season run, this beloved crime procedural delves into the terrifying world of serial killers from the perspective of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit. Combining cutting-edge methods in psychological profiling, the team uncovers and examines the twisted inner workings of some of the most notorious murderers on television. A charismatic ensemble cast, led by Mandy Patinkin, Thomas Gibson, and Joe Mantegna, ensures viewers remain captivated throughout unflinchingly dark storylines.