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The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time 

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Updated February 11, 2020 738 votes 161 voters 9.1k views

List Rules Shows near the top must be only the best Procedural Drama TV series.

Procedural dramas can get your adrenaline pumping and keep you hooked from the get go, but which procedural dramas are the best? This list of the greatest procedural drama shows ranks the greatest in the genre. From the Law and Order franchise to shows like Bones and Scandal, pick your favorites below! 

Popular procedural drama TV shows have been a staple of television for years, so there's often debate about what the most entertaining procedural drama show of all time is. Don't let your favorite procedural drama 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. The list of procedural drama television shows below includes information like the program's cast, creator 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?" Vote up your favorites to the top of the list. 

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Bones is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz & Michaela Conlin (Fox Broadcasting Company)
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
2
Castle is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic & Susan Sullivan (American Broadcasting Company)
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
3
The Mentalist is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Simon Baker, Robin Tunney & Tim Kang (CBS)
The Mentalist (CBS, 2008) is an American police procedural television series created by Bruno Heller. The show follows former "psychic" Patrick Jane, who is a consultant to the ...more
4
Psych is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring James Roday, Dulé Hill & Timothy Omundson (USA Network)
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
5
Person of Interest is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson & Kevin Chapman (CBS)
Person of Interest (CBS, 2011) is an American science fiction drama television series created by Jonathan Nolan. The series revolves around John Reese, a former CIA officer, who is recruited by ...more
6
Lie to Me is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Tim Roth, Kelli Williams & Brendan Hines (Fox Broadcasting Company)
Lie to Me (Fox, 2009) is an American crime drama television series created by Samuel Baum. A master of studying facial expressions and involuntary body language, Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) and ...more
7
NCIS is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly & Pauley Perrette (CBS)
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
8
Monk is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Tony Shalhoub, Jason Gray-Stanford & Ted Levine (USA Network)
Monk is an American comedy-drama detective mystery television series created by Andy Breckman and starring Tony Shalhoub as the eponymous character, Adrian Monk. It originally ran from 2002 to ...more
9
White Collar is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay & Willie Garson (USA Network)
White Collar is a USA Network television series created by Jeff Eastin, starring Tim DeKay as FBI Special Agent Peter Burke and Matt Bomer as Neal Caffrey, a highly intelligent and ...more
10
Scandal is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Kerry Washington, Henry Ian Cusick & Columbus Short (ABC)
Scandal (ABC, 2012) is an American political thriller television series created by Shonda Rhimes. A former White House Communications Director (Kerry Washington) starts her own crisis management ...more
11
Luther is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Idris Elba, Warren Brown & Dermot Crowley (BBC One)
Luther is a British drama series starring Idris Elba as the eponymous character DCI John Luther. Written by Neil Cross, the first series, comprising six one-hour long episodes, premiered on 4 ...more
12
Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin & Dennis Farina (NBC)
Law & Order is an American police procedural and legal drama television series, created by Dick Wolf and part of the Law & Order franchise. It originally aired on NBC and, in ...more
13
The Wire is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Dominic West, Lance Reddick & Sonja Sohn (BBC Four)
The Wire (HBO, 2002) is an American crime drama television series created and written by David Simon. The series features the Baltimore drug scene, as seen through the eyes of drug dealers and ...more
14
NUMB3RS is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Rob Morrow, David Krumholtz & Judd Hirsch (CBS)
Numbers (CBS, 2005) is an American crime drama television series created by Nicolas Falacci and Cheryl Heuton. Special Agent Don Eppes (Rob Morrow) and his brother Charlie Eppes (David ...more
15
Criminal Minds is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler & Thomas Gibson (A&E)
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
16
Blue Bloods is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan & Will Estes (CBS)
Blue Bloods is an American police procedural drama series shown on CBS in the United States and Canada and on Sky Atlantic in the United Kingdom. The series is filmed on location in New York ...more
17
Quantum Leap is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell & Deborah Pratt (NBC)
Quantum Leap is an American television series that originally aired on NBC for five seasons, from March 1989 through May 1993. Created by Donald P. Bellisario, it starred Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam ...more
18
Murder, She Wrote is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Angela Lansbury, William Windom & Ron Masak (The Biography Channel)
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
19
Warehouse 13 is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly & Saul Rubinek (Syfy)
Warehouse 13 is a U.S. television science fiction series that premiered on July 7, 2009, on the Syfy network. Executive-produced by Jack Kenny and David Simkins, the dramatic comedy from ...more
20
NCIS: New Orleans is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Scott Bakula, Lucas Black & Zoe McLellan (CBS)
NCIS: New Orleans is an American television series combining elements of the military drama and police procedural genres that airs on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET on CBS. It premiered on ...more
21
Medium is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Patricia Arquette, Miguel Sandoval & Jake Weber (CBS)
Medium is an American television drama series that premiered on NBC on January 3, 2005, ending its run on that network on June 1, 2009. The series then moved to CBS on September 25, 2009, airing ...more
22
NCIS: Los Angeles is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Chris O'Donnell, Daniela Ruah & Barrett Foa (CBS)
NCIS: Los Angeles is an American television series combining elements of the military drama and police procedural genres, which premiered on the CBS network on September 22, 2009. NCIS: Los ...more
23
The Shield is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent & Walton Goggins (FX)
The Shield is an American drama television series starring Michael Chiklis that premiered on March 12, 2002, on FX, in the United States, and concluded on November 25, 2008, after seven seasons. ...more
24
For Life is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Nicholas Pinnock, Indira Varma & Joy Bryant (ABC)
For Life (ABC, 2020) is an American legal drama television series created by Hank Steinberg. Prisoner Aaron (Nicholas Pinnock) becomes a lawyer and fights to overturn his life sentence for a ...more
25
Life on Mars is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Procedural Dramas of All Time
Starring Jason O'Mara, Harvey Keitel & Jonathan Murphy (American Broadcasting Company)
Life on Mars is a science fiction drama television series which originally aired on ABC from October 9, 2008 to April 1, 2009. It is an adaptation of the BAFTA-winning original UK series of the ...more