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The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History 

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Updated February 11, 2020 34.4k votes 6.1k voters 270.2k views 140 items

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

These are the best nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat thriller shows on television, ranked from best to worst. This list of the greatest thriller shows also includes information about the series stars. Popular thriller TV shows have been a staple of television for years, so there's often debate about what the most entertaining thriller show of all time is. Don't let your favorite thriller 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 thriller television shows below includes information like the program's cast, creator, and premiere date when available.

The list you're viewing is made up of many different newer and older shows, like Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and even Lost. These are the top rated thriller shows so if you're trying to remember some names of thriller shows this is a great place to start.

This list answers the questions, "What is the greatest thriller show of all time?" and "What are the best thriller shows?"
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list ordered by
1
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn

Premiered: 2008

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 54

Network: AMC

Breaking Bad is an American drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. The show originally aired on the AMC network for five seasons, from January 20, 2008, to September 29, ...more
2
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

Premiered: 2006

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 80

Network: Showtime

Dexter is an American television drama series. Set in Miami, the series centers on Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter pattern analyst for Miami Metro Police Department who also leads a secret life ...more
3
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it ...more
4
Hannibal is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 13

Network: NBC

Hannibal is an American psychological thriller–horror television series developed by Bryan Fuller for NBC. The series is based on characters and elements appearing in the novel Red Dragon by ...more
5
Prison Break is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller, Amaury Nolasco

Premiered: 2005

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 81

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Prison Break is an American television serial drama created by Paul Scheuring, that was broadcast on Fox for four seasons, from 2005 until 2009. The series revolves around two brothers; one has ...more
6
24 is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard

Premiered: 2001

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 24

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

24 is an American television series produced for the Fox network created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, and starring Kiefer Sutherland as Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer. Each ...more
7
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Katie Cassidy

Premiered: 2005

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 158

Network: The WB Television Network, The CW Television Network

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
8
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
VivekRaghunathan added Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 35

Network: AMC

The Walking Dead (A&E, 2010) is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series developed by Frank Darabont, based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie ...more
9
Person of Interest is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Chapman

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 31

Network: CBS

Person of Interest is an American science fiction drama television series created by Jonathan Nolan that premiered on September 22, 2011, on CBS. The series revolves around John Reese, a former ...more
10
The Blacklist is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
MajaKadic added James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff

Premiered: 2013

Network: NBC

The Blacklist is an American crime drama television series that premiered on NBC on September 23, 2013. Raymond "Red" Reddington, a former U.S Navy officer turned high-profile ...more
11
Lost is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia

Premiered: 2004

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 121

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Lost is an American television drama series that originally aired on the American Broadcasting Company from September 22, 2004, to May 23, 2010, over six seasons, comprising a total of 121 ...more
12
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi

Premiered: 1993

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 202

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

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
13
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
goelv2003 added Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: HBO

True Detective (HBO, 2014) is an American anthology drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto. Each season focuses on detectives investigating violent offences.
14
Fringe is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole

Premiered: 2008

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 100

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Fringe is an American science fiction television series created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. It premiered on the Fox Broadcasting network on September 9, 2008, and concluded ...more
15
Criminal Minds is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, Thomas Gibson

Premiered: 2005

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 186

Network: A&E, CBS

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
Homeland is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
MarioArley added Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 3

Network: Showtime

Homeland is an American political thriller television series developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa based on the Israeli series Hatufim, which was created by Gideon Raff. The series stars ...more
17
Sons of Anarchy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Mark Boone Junior

Premiered: 2008

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 66

Network: FX

Sons of Anarchy is an American drama television series created by Kurt Sutter, about the lives of a close-knit outlaw motorcycle club operating in Charming, a fictional town in California's ...more
18
The Mentalist is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Simon Baker, Robin Tunney, Tim Kang

Premiered: 2008

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 116

Network: CBS

The Mentalist is an American police procedural television series that ran from September 23, 2008 until February 18, 2015, broadcasting 151 episodes over seven seasons, on CBS. The show was ...more
19
Bates Motel is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
MajaKadic added Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 7

Bates Motel is an American drama thriller television series developed for television by Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin and Anthony Cipriano, and produced by Universal Television for the cable network ...more
20
American Horror Story is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
aria2000 added Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, Evan Peters

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 103

Network: FX

American Horror Story (FX, 2011) is an American anthology horror television series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. An anthology series centering on different characters and locations, ...more
21
Suits is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams, Meghan Markle

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 134

Network: USA Network

Suits is a USA Network legal drama created by Aaron Korsh that stars Patrick J. Adams as Michael "Mike" Ross and Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter. The first episode debuted on June 23, ...more
22
Orphan Black is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
MajaKadic added Tatiana Maslany, Dylan Bruce, Jordan Gavaris

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 10

Network: BBC America, Space

Orphan Black is a Canadian science fiction television series created by screenwriter Graeme Manson and director John Fawcett, starring Tatiana Maslany as several identical people who are, in ...more
23
The Killing is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman, Billy Campbell

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 28

Network: AMC

This show is an American drama television series that premiered on April 3, 2011, on AMC, based on the Danish television series Forbrydelsen. The American version was developed by Veena Sud and ...more
24
The Following is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
dalal.karima added Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Shawn Ashmore

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 15

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

The Following is an American television drama series created by Kevin Williamson and jointly produced by Outerbanks Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television. The first season follows former FBI ...more
25
Firefly is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk

Premiered: 2002

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 14

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Firefly is an American space western science fiction drama television series created by writer and director Joss Whedon, under his Mutant Enemy Productions label. Whedon served as an executive ...more