The Best Mystery TV Shows 

Ranker TV
Originally by
Updated August 3, 2020 74.9k votes 8.8k voters 238k views 157 items

List Rules TV shows that involve solving mysteries.

The best Mystery TV shows make trying to solve a great mystery exciting for both the fans and characters. Nothing beats the feeling of a great reveal after experiencing several plot twists and forks in the road. Popular mystery TV shows and movies have been a staple of entertainment for years. This list ranks very best mystery shows in television history.

What constitutes a mystery TV show? Well, in could mean shows with new mysteries to solve each episode or series with longer story arcs centered around a mystery. This list also includes murder mystery TV shows, comedy drama mystery series, and crime TV shows. Don't let your favorite mystery television programs in history get to the bottom of the list--be sure to vote them up so they have the chance to reach the top spot.

Want to know more about the top mystery shows on the list below? You can click on the show names for details such as top billed actors and a quick overview of the show. So if you've never heard of the shows Sherlock or Monk, then you can read up on them before diving into a week-long marathon session. Wonder no more about what are the best mystery shows of all time, as fans definitively answer that question below.

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House of Anubis is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
Alex Sawyer, Eugene Simon, Brad Kavanagh

Premiered: 2011

House of Anubis is a jointly Nickelodeon British, American, and Belgian mystery television series based on the Dutch-Belgian television series Het Huis Anubis aired in the Netherlands and ...more
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
TheresaFeng 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
Monk is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
Tony Shalhoub, Bitty Schram, Ted Levine

Premiered: 2002

Monk (USA, 2002) is an American comedy-drama detective mystery television series created by Andy Breckman. A brilliant detective with an extreme case of OCD (Tony Shalhoub) helps the San ...more
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi

Premiered: 1993

The X-Files is an American science fiction horror drama television series created by Chris Carter. The program originally aired from September 10, 1993 to May 19, 2002 on Fox, spanning nine ...more
The Mentalist is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Mystery 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
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Katie Cassidy

Premiered: 2005

Supernatural (The CW, 2005) is an American fantasy horror television series created by Eric Kripke. Two brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), follow their father's ...more
Criminal Minds is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Mystery 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
Psych is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
James Roday, Dulé Hill, Timothy Omundson

Premiered: 2006

Psych is an American detective comedy-drama television series created by Steve Franks and broadcast on USA Network with syndication reruns on ION Television. It is produced by Franks and Tagline ...more
Agatha Christie's Poirot... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
Hothir added David Suchet, Hugh Fraser, Philip Jackson

Premiered: 1989

Agatha Christie's Poirot is a British television drama that aired on ITV from 8 January 1989 to 13 November 2013. David Suchet stars as the eponymous detective, Agatha Christie's fictional ...more
Murder, She Wrote is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
Angela Lansbury, William Windom, Ron Masak

Premiered: 1984

This show is a television mystery series starring Angela Lansbury as mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher. The series aired for 12 seasons with 264 episodes from 1984 to 1996 on ...more
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
Peter Falk, Mike Lally, John Finnegan

Premiered: 1968

Columbo is an American television series starring Peter Falk as a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. The character and show, created by William Link and Richard Levinson, ...more
Lost is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Mystery 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
Bones is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, Michaela Conlin

Premiered: 2005

Bones (Fox, 2005) is an American procedural comedy-drama television series created by Hart Hanson. Forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and cocky ...more
Elementary is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
ashadjareh added Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Jon Michael Hill

Premiered: 2012

Elementary (CBS, 2012) is an American procedural drama series created by Robert Doherty, based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes. Following his fall from grace in London and ...more
Person of Interest is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
ck123 added 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
Castle is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
xBegy added Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Susan Sullivan

Premiered: 2009

Castle (ABC, 2009) is an American crime-comedy-drama television series created by Andrew W. Marlowe. A homicide detective (Stana Katic) reluctantly works with a best-selling mystery novelist ...more
NCIS is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
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
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
ashadjareh added Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith

Premiered: 1963

Doctor Who (BBC, 2005) is a British science-fiction television show created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, and Donald Wilson. The further adventures in time and space of the alien adventurer ...more
Midsomer Murders is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
michael-devenny added Suzi Quatro, John Nettles, Neil Dudgeon

Premiered: 1997

This is a British television detective drama that has aired on ITV since 1997. The show is based on Caroline Graham's Chief Inspector Barnaby book series, as originally adapted by Anthony ...more
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Mystery 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
Pretty Little Liars is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale

Premiered: 2010

Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family, 2010) is an American teen drama mystery–thriller television series developed by I. Marlene King, loosely based on the novel series by Sara Shepard. When their ...more
Stranger Things is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
Luke Albright added Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard

Premiered: 2016

Stranger Things (Netflix, 2016) is an American science fiction-horror web television series created by The Duffer Brothers. When a young boy (Noah Schnapp) disappears, his mother (Winona Ryder), ...more
Miss Fisher's Murder Mys... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Essie Davis, Nathan Page, Hugo Johnstone-Burt

Premiered: 2012

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is an Australian television drama series. It was first broadcast on ABC on 24 February 2012. The series is based on author Kerry Greenwood's novels and was created ...more
Buffy the Vampire Slayer... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
ashadjareh added Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, James Marsters

Premiered: 1997

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The WB, 1997) is an American supernatural drama television series created by Joss Whedon, based on the 1992 film. Destined to slay vampires, a young woman (Sarah ...more
Lucifer is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Mystery TV Shows
Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Kevin Alejandro

Premiered: 2015

Lucifer (Fox, 2016) is an American fantasy police procedural comedy-drama television series developed by Tom Kapinos. The series revolves around Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), the Devil, who ...more