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The Greatest Thriller Shows in TV History 

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Updated March 24, 2020 34.8k votes 6.2k voters 275.9k views 142 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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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 television drama series. Set in Miami, the series centers on Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter pattern analyst for Miami Metro Police Department who also ...more

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

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 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

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

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. The series is based on characters and elements appearing in the novel Red Dragon by ...more

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

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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#218 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time Ranking The Best Seasons of '24'listed 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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#281 of 717 The Best Cartoons of All Time The Best Supernatural Characterslisted 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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#3 of 802 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #25 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate The Most Brutal Kills on The Walking Dead

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. The series revolves around John Reese, a former CIA officer, who is recruited by ...more

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

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

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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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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#5 of 314 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Time Fan Theories About The X-Fileslisted 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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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

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

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

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

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

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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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. The show follows former "psychic" Patrick Jane, who is a consultant to the ...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 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

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

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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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. A police investigation, the saga of a grieving family, and a Seattle mayoral campaign all interlock after the ...more

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

24
Firefly is listed (or ranked) 24 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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25
The Following is listed (or ranked) 25 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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