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The Best Current Procedural Dramas

Updated November 17, 2020 6.4k votes 2.0k voters 37.6k views24 items

List RulesProcedural crime dramas currently airing in a first TV run

List of top procedural dramas currently on-air. Television dramas fall into two categories: procedural and serial. Dramatic series in the procedural genre often have one new plot line every week, as opposed to a serial, shows with a continuing story arc or plot. Procedurals often follow a "case-of-the-week" formula, which makes the story easy for television viewers to follow. A number of procedural programs have been included in the greatest TV dramas of all time. This list includes both serial cop dramas, medical dramas, and serial legal dramas, as well as long-running procedurals.

One of the most successful procedural drama franchises is NCIS, which premiered in 2003 and has launched two popular spin-offs NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans. Current procedural dramas feature a dynamic and memorable lead character with a quirky personality, though ensemble casts are also common in any drama procedural, especially in most-watched shows set around a law enforcement agency, medical facility, or courtroom. The predictable format of such highly-rated programs also makes it easy to air as re-runs because viewers often don't have to follow a certain order or have seen previous episodes.

What is the best current procedural drama? Many are among the best current network dramas, and all are great TV entertainment. Use the list below to vote for the top dramatic procedural that is currently on-air, and if your favorite show isn't included, make sure to add to the list so that other viewers can become fans, too!

 

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  • 1
    Blue Bloods
    121
    143

    Blue Bloods

    Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan

    Premiered2010

  • 2
    Lucifer
    602
    96

    Lucifer

    Tom Ellis, Lauren German

    Premiered2015

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  • 3
    Chicago P.D.
    136
    192

    Chicago P.D.

    Jason Beghe, Jon Seda

    Premiered2014

  • 4
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
    267
    387

    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

    Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni

    Premiered1999

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  • 5
    Person of Interest
    184
    261

    Person of Interest

    Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson

    Premiered2011

  • 6
    The Rookie
    44
    44

    The Rookie

    Nathan Fillion, Afton Williamson

    Premiered2018

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    #6 of 162 The Best New Shows That Premiered in 2018#70 of 122 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time

  • 7
    NCIS
    352
    521

    NCIS

    Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly

    Premiered2003

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  • 8
    Chicago Fire
    105
    130

    Chicago Fire

    Jesse Spencer, Taylor Kinney

    Premiered2012

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  • 9
    The Good Doctor
    40
    45

    The Good Doctor

    Freddie Highmore, Antonia Thomas

    Premiered2017

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  • 10
    Elementary
    198
    302

    Elementary

    Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu

    Premiered2012

  • 11
    NCIS: New Orleans
    70
    98

    NCIS: New Orleans

    Scott Bakula, Lucas Black

    Premiered2014

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  • 12
    9-1-1: Lone Star
    5
    5

    9-1-1: Lone Star

    Rob Lowe, Liv Tyler

    Premiered2020

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  • 13
    Criminal Minds
    310
    475

    Criminal Minds

    Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler

    Premiered2005

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  • 14
    NCIS: Los Angeles
    207
    328

    NCIS: Los Angeles

    Chris O'Donnell, Daniela Ruah

    Premiered2009

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  • 15
    Lie to Me
    60
    113

    Lie to Me

    Tim Roth, Kelli Williams

    Premiered2009

  • 16
    True Detective
    81
    165

    True Detective

    Mahershala Ali, Matthew McConaughey

    Premiered2013

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  • 17
    For Life
    0
    5

    For Life

    Nicholas Pinnock, Indira Varma

    Premiered2020

    More For Life 

    #37 of 43 The Best Serial Legal Dramas of All Time#7 of 22 Dark Dramas Inspired By Real Events

  • 18
    Deputy
    2
    5

    Deputy

    Stephen Dorff, Yara Martinez

    Premiered2020

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  • 19
    Perception
    68
    156

    Perception

    Eric McCormack, Rachael Leigh Cook

    Premiered2012

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  • 20
    9-1-1
    26
    43

    9-1-1

    Angela Bassett, Connie Britton
  • 21
    The Outsider
    1
    5

    The Outsider

    Ben Mendelsohn, Cynthia Erivo

    Premiered2020

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  • 22
    Bulletproof
    1
    14

    Bulletproof

    Noel Clarke, Ashley Walters

    Premiered2018

  • 23
    Criminal
    1
    14

    Criminal

    David Tennant, Clare-Hope Ashitey and Youssef Kerkour

    Premiered2019

  • 24
    FBI: Most Wanted
    0
    8

    FBI: Most Wanted

    Julian McMahon, Alana de la Garza

    Premiered2020