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The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time

Updated January 13, 2021 1.5k votes 289 voters 12.4k views53 items

List RulesVote up the best dramatic procedural series, whether they follow crimes, courts, or high-tech problems.

Procedural dramas can get your adrenaline pumping and keep you hooked from the get go, but which procedural dramas are the best? With stories and cases that are wrapped up by the end of the episode, the greatest procedural dramas have been staples of TV nights for years. From the Law and Order franchise to shows like Bones and Scandal, pick your favorites below! 

The best procedural drama TV shows may focus on episodic cases from medical to criminal, they also have memorable casts of characters that audiences are easily invested in. Shows like Psych, Castle, and even Criminal Minds have tight-knit casts of characters who work to solve cases as a team, even when they are in the midst of a dramatic disagreement. The list of procedural drama television shows below includes information like the program's cast and premiere date when available.

This list answers the questions, "What is the best procedural drama show of all time?" and "What are the greatest procedural drama shows?" Don't let your favorite procedural dramas in history get to the bottom of the list - be sure to vote them up so they have the chance to reach the top.

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  • The Mentalist1
    83
    40

    The Mentalist

    Simon Baker, Robin Tunney

    Premiered2008

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  • Castle2
    69
    30

    Castle

    Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic

    Premiered2009

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  • Bones3
    85
    51

    Bones

    Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz

    Premiered2005

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  • Psych4
    61
    32

    Psych

    James Roday, Dulé Hill

    Premiered2006

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  • White Collar5
    50
    23

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    Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay

    Premiered2009

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  • Monk6
    41
    17

    Monk

    Tony Shalhoub, Bitty Schram

    Premiered2002

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  • The Wire7
    32
    8

    The Wire

    Dominic West, Lance Reddick

    Premiered2002

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  • Lie to Me8
    39
    17

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    Tim Roth, Kelli Williams

    Premiered2009

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  • Criminal Minds9
    46
    27

    Criminal Minds

    Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler

    Premiered2005

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  • Luther10
    29
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    Idris Elba, Warren Brown

    Premiered2010

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  • NCIS11
    38
    24

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    Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly

    Premiered2003

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  • Murder, She Wrote12
    31
    15

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    Angela Lansbury, William Windom

    Premiered1984

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  • NUMB3RS13
    29
    16

    NUMB3RS

    Rob Morrow, David Krumholtz

    Premiered2005

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  • Law & Order14
    25
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    Law & Order

    Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin

    Premiered1990

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  • Body of Proof15
    16
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    Dana Delany, Jeri Ryan

    Premiered2011

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  • Hawaii Five-016
    22
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    Hawaii Five-0

    Leonard Freeman, Alex Kurtzman

    Premiered2010

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  • Medium17
    18
    15

    Medium

    Patricia Arquette, Miguel Sandoval

    Premiered2005

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  • Scandal18
    27
    27

    Scandal

    Kerry Washington, Henry Ian Cusick

    Premiered2012

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  • Major Crimes19
    12
    7

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    Mary McDonnell, G. W. Bailey

    Premiered2012

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  • Cold Case20
    14
    9

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    Kathryn Morris, Danny Pino

    Premiered2003

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  • Blue Bloods21
    19
    18

    Blue Bloods

    Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan

    Premiered2010

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  • The Shield22
    9
    7

    The Shield

    Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent

    Premiered2002

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  • NYPD Blue23
    9
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    NYPD Blue

    Dennis Franz, Gordon Clapp

    Premiered1993

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  • CSI: Miami24
    11
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    CSI: Miami

    David Caruso, Emily Procter

    Premiered2002

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  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation25
    8
    6

    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

    Laurence Fishburne, Marg Helgenberger

    Premiered2000

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