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The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time

Updated February 11, 2021 1.7k votes 319 voters 13.0k views57 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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  • Bones1
    98
    56

    Bones

    Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz

    Premiered2005

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  • The Mentalist2
    87
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    The Mentalist

    Simon Baker, Robin Tunney

    Premiered2008

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  • Psych3
    70
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    Psych

    James Roday, Dulé Hill

    Premiered2006

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  • Castle4
    70
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    Castle

    Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic

    Premiered2009

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  • White Collar5
    55
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    White Collar

    Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay

    Premiered2009

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  • Criminal Minds6
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    Criminal Minds

    Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler

    Premiered2005

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  • Monk7
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    Tony Shalhoub, Bitty Schram

    Premiered2002

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  • The Wire8
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    Dominic West, Lance Reddick

    Premiered2002

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  • Lie to Me9
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    Tim Roth, Kelli Williams

    Premiered2009

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  • NCIS10
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    Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly

    Premiered2003

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  • Murder, She Wrote11
    34
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    Murder, She Wrote

    Angela Lansbury, William Windom

    Premiered1984

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  • Luther12
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    Luther

    Idris Elba, Warren Brown

    Premiered2010

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  • NUMB3RS13
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    NUMB3RS

    Rob Morrow, David Krumholtz

    Premiered2005

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  • Law & Order14
    27
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    Law & Order

    Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin

    Premiered1990

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  • Cold Case15
    19
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    Kathryn Morris, Danny Pino

    Premiered2003

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  • Hawaii Five-016
    26
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    Hawaii Five-0

    Leonard Freeman, Alex Kurtzman

    Premiered2010

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  • Major Crimes17
    15
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    Major Crimes

    Mary McDonnell, G. W. Bailey

    Premiered2012

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  • Without a Trace18
    14
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    Without a Trace

    Anthony LaPaglia, Poppy Montgomery

    Premiered2002

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  • Body of Proof19
    18
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    Body of Proof

    Dana Delany, Jeri Ryan

    Premiered2011

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  • Medium20
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    Patricia Arquette, Miguel Sandoval

    Premiered2005

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  • Scandal21
    27
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    Scandal

    Kerry Washington, Henry Ian Cusick

    Premiered2012

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  • Matlock22
    8
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    Matlock

    Andy Griffith, Linda Purl

    Premiered1986

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  • NYPD Blue23
    11
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    NYPD Blue

    Dennis Franz, Gordon Clapp

    Premiered1993

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  • Blue Bloods24
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    Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan

    Premiered2010

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  • Chicago P.D.25
    5
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    Chicago P.D.

    Jason Beghe, Jon Seda

    Premiered2014

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