8 Great Crime Shows Like The Wire

Shows Like The Wire

We all enjoy crime shows, but sure we love “The Wire“. Where the main characters are fleshed out properly which makes the suspension of disbelief quite easy. The shows we included are not all sagas, but some anthologies just deserve to be here. Here is our list of the best out there.


Fargo Season 2

Fargo is an American Black Comedy Crime Drama written by Noah Hawley. It has an awesome cast and does feel very similar to the Movie. Great storytelling is this show’s key strength, even if the events are absurd. If you are fond of Coen Brothers movies, this is your cup of tea.

The first two seasons are fantastic. The first season stars Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo, a cold-blooded gun for hire, and Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard, an ordinary insurance salesman. The show is set in Minnesota where a string of murders is suspected to be linked to Malvo.

The second season stars Kirsten Dunst as Peggy and Jesse Plemons as Ed. The pleasant couple accidentally runs over and kills the son of a local crime family. Things escalate very quickly as the naive couple fumble through dicey situations and are able to miraculously survive.

Fargo is a series anthology inspired by the award-winning movie of the same name. The first two seasons were insanely good storytelling much like the movie was. I was hoping they would run with the story and rack up a couple of seasons, but they chose to do it mysteriously and just leave some cool hints about how the stories connect. Still one of the best in the genre in our opinion. Shows like Fargo have become a more popular theme after the success of the movie.



Southland is an American Crime Series created by Ann Biderman for Warner Bros. Television. It stars Brian Mckenzie as rookie cop Ben Sherman and Michael Cudlitz as John Cooper, his training officer, and partner. It had 5 seasons and had a decent following but for some reason, it was cancelled after that. Shows like Southland became more and more popular after The Wire and The Shield put the genre back on the map.

The show is about Ben Sherman’s development as a rookie police officer, while John Cooper is a cynical influence on him. The stories from their day-to-day encounters with the locals and their routine police beat feel raw and authentic. It’s like an amalgamation of a couple of crime shows rolled into one, but it doesn’t really bore you. We enjoyed this truly and even agreed that 5 seasons wasn’t enough – it ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger. But looking back, I think it’s not even something a viewer now would notice.

Southland is like a marriage between The Wire, The shield, and the classic Hill Street Blues in that it feels a bit episodical with a bit of long-form story to it. Still, the characters are well developed so get to know and root for some of them.



Justified is a 2010 Western Crime Drama by Graham Yost. It stars Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, a reckless Deputy US Marshall. It is mainly set in the Appalachian Mountains in Eastern Kentucky in a place called Harlan County. It revolves around the subculture of weed growers and the relative lawlessness of the remote area. The show ran for 8 seasons and was quietly acclaimed for the performances of Olyphant and Goggins.

Things get interesting once Raylan is reassigned back to his hometown. Everyone knew him back then as a normal kid so you’d expect they’d be making a lot of false assumptions about who he is at present. Raylan does have a strange way of looking at the law but he does have a strong sense of justice and does not negotiate well with criminals.

Boyd and Raylan have great chemistry and they keep the show’s dynamics enjoyable. They both grew up together as close friends but end up on the opposing side of situations a lot.

Timothy Olyphant’s super underappreciated cop series is always on the best list. We’ve noticed some of those lists are full of trash that’s not even remotely as good as Justified. Walton Goggins also makes this show unbelievably addicting with his portrayal as Tim’s redneck frenemy of sorts.

The Shield

shows like the wire

The Shield is a 2002 Crime Drama created by Shawn Ryan for FX. It started as a small tv series with no money until it won an academy award, besting some of the big heavyweights at the time. It won the Golden Globes in 2002 while Michael Chiklis, the show’s lead actor, won the Globes and Emmy Award’s best actor in the same year.

The show was groundbreaking and unique with its now popular multi-camera, off-angle, and close-up shots. It just made for a more authentic look and feel to it that viewers that saw the pilot was completely hooked. The story is loosely based on the Rampart Division police scandal where the “strike team” was based on. It’s Shows like The Shield that reinvented the whole crime-drama genre for TV forever.

The closest rival that can beat The Wire in terms of fan worship is The Shield. This show is the only show that has stuck with me so much that to this day, I still find myself yearning for it. The characters are flawed people that you may very well know. The whole story just feels so natural, intense, and real that it just affects you in so many different ways. Free Vic and Ronnie!

True Detective

true detective

True Detective is an American Crime Drama Anthology created by Nic Pizzolatto for HBO but was initially supposed to be a novel. It stars the brilliant Matthew McConaughey as Rust Cohle alongside the equally outstanding Woody Harelson as Martin Hart. The story spans a timeline of 17 years so there are lots of changes in the characters within this period.

Rust comes off as an intellectual nihilist which pisses off the typical cop persona of Marty. They don’t get along but their interactions and dialogue with each other are fascinating to watch. They travel all throughout Lousiana to find a serial killer, and the ominous atmosphere of the places they go to are downright chilling. It’s a murder mystery with some supernatural undertones, but it’s definitely clear that the people there are products of their environment.

One of the goats in the crime drama genre, shows like True Detective stands as the gold standard as far as one-offs go. The creators of the show managed to compress all that in a season to become one of the immortal crime classics of all time.

Damages (2007)


This television series is based on the real-life financial scandals that occurred during the Enron and California energy crises. The third season is based on the infamous Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme. The series centers around two attorneys, Ellen Parsons and Patty Hewes. The show centers on a large case that Hewes takes on. This show highlights the conflicting ethics of each character and the relationship they develop.

The best thing about this show is the complex relationship between Patty and Ellen. You never really know where both stand and the ups and downs of their partnership are definitely one for the ages.

The cast of Damages is impressive. It features a stellar ensemble, including Rose Byrne, Tate Donovan, Lily Tomlin, and Keith Carradine. Glenn Close and Rose Byrne star as the lead characters, while Ted Danson and Rose Byrne are also part of the main cast. The series is produced by Steven Spielberg and David Fincher, who both contributed to the overall quality of the series.

We Own This City (2022)

we own this city

The We Own This City tv series focuses on the life of a star police officer, Wayne Jenkins. It stars Walking Dead alum Jon Bernthal, who excels at playing cocky, physical guys. The series is set in 2022. It will premiere on HBO on April 11.

The show follows the rise and fall of the GTTF, a unit of Baltimore police officers. The team used illegal activities like plantation of drugs and assault to rise in the ranks, but it was also accused of stealing and reselling drugs. The series will also follow the fall of the unit’s former leader, Sergeant Wayne Jenkins. Jenkins was arrested after the scandal broke out. This will give viewers a better understanding of police corruption.

The story of these police officers is riveting, but the show often feels like a footnote compared to the acclaimed “The Wire” or “Game of Thrones.” But despite its limited time and limited scope, “We Own This City” still packs a powerful punch. It tells the story of the Gun Trace Task Force of the 2010s, which had been a deeply corrupt group of police officers in Baltimore.

“We Own This City” is an adaptation of the nonfiction book by Justin Fenton. It begins two years after the death of Freddie Gray. After that incident, six Baltimore police officers were cleared of the charges and were acquitted. The city was the poster child for failing to control lawlessness. It’s not surprising that the cast of the show includes law enforcement officers and elected officials from all over the country.

The Wire (2002)

the wire

The Wire is a 13-episode HBO television series based in Baltimore, Maryland. Simon and Burns, the creators of The Corner, set out to create an accurate portrait of life on the mean streets of Baltimore. While the previous show aimed to uncover the underlying humanity in its characters, The Wire presents its characters as being largely driven by expediency and void of conscience. Although The Wire is a compelling series, viewers may not want to watch the show week after week.

The Wire is an American television drama series that aired for five seasons from 2002 to 2008. The series follows a group of characters dealing with the illegal drug trade in Baltimore, Maryland. Each episode follows a new institution while maintaining the characters from previous seasons. The series follows the lives of five different institutions, each introduced in chronological order. These include the seaport system, education, and illegal drugs.

The cast of the show includes many familiar faces, including Gbenga Akinnagbe as Chris Partlow. Neal Huff returns as Mayoral chief of staff Michael Steindorf. The show also features a number of actors who played prominent roles in real-life Baltimore and Maryland. While the series is a crime drama, it also highlights the social and political issues facing an American city. It shows the effects of institutions on individuals.

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