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The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History 

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Updated April 8, 2020 34.9k votes 6.2k voters 276.5k views 143 items

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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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

Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008) is an American drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to ...more

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The Best Breaking Bad Characters of All Time #1 of 263 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #3 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

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

Dexter (Showtime, 2006) is an American crime drama mystery series developed by James Manos Jr., based on the 2004 novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. When he's not doing forensic work ...more

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Dexter Morgan’s Infamous ‘Work’ Rooms, Ranked By Practicality #7 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #14 of 263 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

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

Sherlock (BBC One, 2010) is a British crime television series created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, based on stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The brilliant yet insensitive detective ...more

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Ranking the Best Seasons of 'Sherlock' #4 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #1 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

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

Hannibal (NBC, 2013) is an American psychological thriller–horror television series developed by Bryan Fuller, based on the characters created by novelist Thomas Harris. A gifted FBI profiler ...more

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The Most Appetizing Meals From ‘Hannibal’ You Might Actually Try #170 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #133 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

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

Prison Break (Fox, 2005) is an American television serial drama created by Paul Scheuring.The series revolves around two brothers; one has been sentenced for a something he did not commit, and ...more

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The Best Seasons of Prison Break #39 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #105 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

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

24 (Fox, 2001) is an American drama television series created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran. Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), Director of Field Ops for the Counter-Terrorist Unit of Los ...more

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Ranking The Best Seasons of '24' #218 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Timelisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

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

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

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The Best Supernatural Characters #281 of 717 The Best Cartoons of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

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

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

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The Most Brutal Kills on The Walking Dead #3 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #25 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

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

Person of Interest (CBS, 2011) is an American science fiction drama television series created by Jonathan Nolan. An ex-CIA agent (Jim Caviezel) and a wealthy programmer (Michael Emerson) save ...more

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The Best Seasons of Person of Interest #148 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #124 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

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

The Blacklist (NBC, 2013) is an American crime drama television series created by Jon Bokenkamp. Raymond "Red" Reddington, a former U.S Navy officer turned high-profile criminal, ...more

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Ranking the Best Seasons of 'The Blacklist' #24 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #42 of 263 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

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

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

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The Best LOST Characters #7 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #22 of 314 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Time

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

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

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Fan Theories About The X-Files #5 of 314 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Timelisted on Longest Running Sci-Fi TV Shows

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

True Detective (HBO, 2014) is an American anthology drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto. Each season focuses on detectives investigating violent offences.

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5 Writers to Read to Better Understand 'True Detective' #32 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #82 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

14
Criminal Minds is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Shemar Moore, Matthew Gray Gubler, Thomas Gibson

Premiered: 2005

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

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How Accurate Is The Depiction of Behavioral Analysts In 'Criminal Minds?' #39 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #65 of 263 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

15
Fringe is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History
Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble

Premiered: 2008

Fringe (Fox, 2008) is an American science fiction television series created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. An F.B.I. agent (Anna Torv) is forced to work with an ...more

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The Best Seasons of Fringe #20 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #46 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

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

Homeland (Showtime, 2011) is an American political drama thriller series developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa based on the Israeli series Hatufim, which was created by Gideon Raff. The ...more

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The Best Homeland Characters of All Time #37 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #51 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

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

Sons of Anarchy (FX, 2008) is a television drama series created by Kurt Sutter. A biker struggles to balance being a father and being involved in an outlaw motorcycle club.

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'Sons Of Anarchy' Fan Theories #15 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #38 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

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

The Mentalist (CBS, 2008) is an American police procedural television series created by Bruno Heller. After his family is murdered, a con man posing as a psychic medium (Simon Baker) uses his ...more

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#87 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #97 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #55 of 263 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

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

Bates Motel (A&E, 2013) is an American psychological horror drama television series based on characters from the 1959 novel Psycho by Robert Bloch. After his father's sudden death, teenager ...more

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#216 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #210 of 263 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

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

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

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Scary True Stories That American Horror Story Should Make A Season About #15 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #31 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

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

Suits (USA, 2011) is an American legal drama created by Aaron Korsh. On the run from a drug deal gone bad, brilliant college dropout Mike Ross, finds himself working with Harvey Specter, one of ...more

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All the Top Suits Characters, Ranked by Fans #34 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #56 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

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

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

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Ranking the Best Seasons of 'Orphan Black' #72 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #49 of 314 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Time

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

The Killing (AMC, 2011) is an American drama television series created by Veena Sud, based on the Danish series Forbrydelsen. Seattle homicide detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen ...more

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The Best Seasons of The Killing #318 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #255 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

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

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

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#32 of 70 The Creepiest Shows In TV History #103 of 154 The All-Time Greatest TV Pilots

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

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

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13 Crazy Yet Plausible Fan Theories About Firefly #33 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #1 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time