It is practically a law that at least one episode of at least one broadcast of the Law and order the universe must be broadcast on television at all times. (Trust us, we’re experts.) And Dick Wolf’s hugely popular procedural empire has only grown now that NBC Law and order: organized crime is in the mix. The drama, now in its second season, gives fans something many thought they would never see again: Christopher Meloni’s spirited sleuth, Elliot Stabler, who is back in the NYPD and back in his orbit. old SVU partner, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). In short, there is now even more exciting L&O content for those inclined to feast on it.
If, however, you are looking for something new to watch, but still want a show that checks out some of the Law and order boxes, we have a few recommendations that should fit. Below, find eight dramas full of investigative and legal intrigue, procedural formats, and central partnerships that ooze chemistry.
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Looking for more recommendations on what to watch next? We have a ton! And if you’re looking for more handpicked recommendations based on the shows you love, we also have them.
All stand up
If there just isn’t enough courtroom drama Law and order for your tastes, it’s time for you to check out All stand up. Simone Missick plays Lola Carmichael, a former prosecutor who, at the start of the series, was just appointed a judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, and begins to push the boundaries as soon as she accepts her new position. There’s a lot of that flavor of the week you’re looking for on a show like this – All stand up deals with everything from police brutality to drug rings to far-right extremists, so you won’t miss Dick Wolf’s love for weighing in on hot topics – but he also delves into personal life district attorneys, court reporters and bailiffs who make up the culture of the court. [Watch on Amazon (for purchase)]
The truth is out there, gentlemen, and the truth is that Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) basically made up investigative duos that sometimes face each other but ooze chemistry and still support each other (at least in my world. , they did it). So if you were in Law and Order: SVU for the Benson and the Stabler, you will find a lot in common in X files. You will also find common ground: for the uninitiated, X files is a science fiction drama about two FBI agents investigating cases related to the paranormal. Mulder is the ultimate believer, while Scully is a proven skeptic sent to overpower him. The series is worth watching for their partnership alone. X files – which originally lasted for nine seasons starting in 1993, returned for two more in 2016 and 2018, and has a few movies thrown in for good measure – balances a procedural-type case-of-the-week format with a mythology much more full of government conspiracies and little green men, and really sets the bar for gripping and emotional sci-fi television. [Watch on Hulu]
If we’re talking about iconic investigative duos, how can we not mention Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson? Yes, the couple Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman on Sherlock is awesome, but if you are a Law and order fan and looking for something Sherlockian but more procedural and you love this New York setting, Elementary is for you. In this CBS drama, which ended in 2019 with its seventh season, Jonny Lee Miller’s Sherlock Holmes is a recovering drug addict who consults on cases for the NYPD and, thanks to his father, is forced to take a companion. sober – enter Dr Lucy Liu Joan Watson, a former surgeon whose medical expertise and natural talent for investigative work become invaluable to Holmes. Their chemistry, going from a bit contradictory to partners to close friends, anchors the whole show. And the series will seem familiar to fans of the Case of the Week format, but it easily delves into Sherlock mythology (Natalie Dormer plays a major character who twists that mythology in a new direction) and cleverly pulls from Sir Arthur Conan’s source material. Doyle. [Watch on Hulu]
So you are a fan of procedural but looking for something other than detective series and also you are cool with things that get a little weird? Wrong Is the answer. Robert and Michelle King’s creation is the best show on TV right now, and it effortlessly mixes up case stories from the week while building the show’s bigger, absolutely savage mythology. Here, however, the cases are not crimes under investigation by the police; these are miracles and demonic possessions being investigated by the Catholic Church through a motley team including priest-in-training David Acosta (Mike Colter), forensic psychologist Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers) and entrepreneur, technician and extreme skeptic Ben Shakir (Asif Mandvi). The dynamics of our fearless trio are great from the get-go, the storylines range from trippy to absolutely gruesome, the writing is smart and daring, and if you’re into Benson / Stabler sexual tension, wait until you meet Kristen and David. Either way, this show is pretty good. [Watch on Paramount+]
The good fight
For those who tend to appreciate the courtroom aspects of the Law and order franchise more than anything else, and are willing to dive deep into legal shenanigans, The good fight doing his best at the moment. Technically, the series, which is gearing up for a fifth season, is a spin-off of Robert and Michelle King’s other legal and political drama, The good woman, but it almost immediately became his own thing. Directed by Christine Baranski, Audra McDonald, Delroy Lindo and Cush Jumbo, The good fight follows lawyers from a powerful predominantly black law firm in Chicago. He’s smart, offers bold and thoughtful social and political commentary both inside and outside the courtroom, and can get wacky and meta when you least expect it. The good fight is a stroll. [Watch on Paramount+]
For a layered spin on detective duos solving crime together trope, how about a detective investigating and then working with a homicidal psychopath? When Chief Detective Inspector John Luther (Idris Elba) is called to investigate the murder of Alice Morgan’s parents (Ruth Wilson), he immediately knows something is wrong with her but is unable to prove it. Alice becomes obsessed with Luther, and throughout the series they move between enemies and allies and more. Luther already had a whole bunch of demons before meet Alice Morgan, so it’s safe to say that this psychological thriller series gets dark and brooding at times. [Watch on Hulu, HBO Max, and Starz]
Why not take a break from big city crime and trade it for some seaside crime in England? The UK’s first season Broadchurch follows the investigation into a murder shaking up a small town, and the next two seasons expand the series from there. While the flow of the investigation itself is captivating, it’s the characters that fill this small town that will keep you watching. The cast is led by Olivia Colman as DS Ellie Miller, a local detective, and David Tennant as DI Alec Hardy, a stranger who comes to investigate and is not the easiest to get along with. Colman and Tennant are great at their respective roles, but it’s when they’re on screen together that things really jump out. [Watch on Netflix]
This eight-episode miniseries is based on actual cases of serial rape that took place in Washington and Colorado between 2008 and 2011. The series follows two storylines: first, that of Marie (Kaitlyn Dever), a teenage girl and sexual assault victim who was falsely accused of lying about her rape after a truly haunting set of circumstances in 2008. The second storyline, which takes place in 2011, focuses on Colorado detectives Rasmussen (Toni Collette) and Duvall (Merritt Wever) who decide to join forces once they realize there are links between the sexual assault cases they are working on individually, as the two women grow closer to the rapist in series. Unbelievable is a tough series to watch, but it’s a gripping and moving series that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it. [Watch on Netflix]
Serial killers and criminal profiling abound on Law and Order: SVU, but none of this would be possible without the work of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, which was formed in the 1970s after a rise in homicide and sexual assault cases. David Fincher’s Netflix series Spirit hunter tells the story of the origins of this division. FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) and psychologist Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) lead the unit in the late 1970s and travel to prisons across the country to interview serial killers incarcerated, including Ed Kemper and Charles Manson. – to learn more about their way of thinking, then apply that information to current cases (the case of the BTK killer is a major common thread). It’s packed with calm, absorbing visuals and haunting, memorable performances. [Watch on Netflix]