If you’re a White Collar fan, you’re likely to love the show’s creative cons, entertaining cast dynamics, and—if we’re being totally honest—the rather handsome Matt Bomer. The beloved crime procedural follows a white-collar criminal (Bomer) who leverages his expertise as a conman to help the FBI. Jeff Eastin and Travis Romero created the series, which first aired on USA Network. The show ran from 2009 to 2014, wrapping up with a total of eighty-one episodes for fans to enjoy.
Whether you’ve just finished binging White Collar or you’ve been a fan from day one, you may be searching for something similar to watch. To aid you in your quest, here’s a list of procedural dramas to consider. Like White Collar, these add quick-witted characters, intelligent plot lines, and a dash of humour to the crime drama canon.
With an abundance of smooth talkers in well-fitted suits, this USA Network drama makes legal work look totally glamorous. Suits follows top New York lawyer Harvey Specter and firm partner Mike Ross, who brilliantly hides the fact that he never went to law school or passed the bar. While the show sticks to its formula and may be guilty of convincing too many people to become lawyers, it redeems itself with quality. The show strikes a perfect balance between drama, intrigue, and comedy – very similar to White Collar. Each episode is packed with on-screen chemistry, sharp pop culture references, and a steady stream of Specterisms to live by. It’s a gem of a show and as Harvey would say, “It’s not bragging if it’s true.”
This American drama series follows former insurance investigator Nathan Ford (Timothy Hutton). For is a modern-day Robin Hood who stages elaborate cons for victim of corporate and governmental greed. Under the guise of a company called “Leverage Consulting & Associates”, Ford leads a five-person team: a thief, a hacker, a scam artist, and a retrieval specialist. The TNT series aired for five seasons from 2008 to 2012. Be sure to check Leverage out for its cast of criminal—yet totally relatable—characters.
Sherlock is a 21st-century take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s canon. Arguably, it does the best job at doing this source material justice. As the legendary duo solves the crimes of modern-day London, the show re-invents characters of old. Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a self-proclaimed high-functioning sociopath who is both brilliant and asocial. The banter-filled comradery between Holmes and Watson (Martin Freeman) is hilarious and lovely to watch. The BBC series premiered in 2010 with a total of four seasons. Rumours of an upcoming fifth season are currently circulating. If you loved the crime and comedy mix of White Collar, I would definitely give Sherlock a try if you haven’t already seen it.
FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) has her life turned upside down when a criminal mastermind suddenly demands to work with her. The criminal in question turns out to be Raymond Reddington (James Spader), one of the world’s most wanted. Like White Collar, the unlikely match at the heart of The Blacklist is the number one reason to watch. And as if working together wasn’t hard enough, there’s always an unpredictable surprise to derail the process. The NBC series premiered in 2013, leaving you with six seasons to catch up on.
American intelligence operative Michael Westen is suddenly and inexplicably burned. He is disavowed, his assets are frozen, and worst of all—he’s stuck in Miami, Florida. When he tracks down his handler, he discovers that someone has blacklisted him and embarks on a personal investigation. Jeffrey Donovan (Westen) stars alongside Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell, and Sharon Gless in this USA Network (the same network that commissioned White Collar in the USA) spy drama. The show ran from 2007 to 2013 and a total of 7 seasons are available to stream.
Person of Interest
Who knew that a partnership between a burned CIA operative and a reclusive billionaire programmer could save lives? This crime-fighting match made in heaven features John Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Harold Finch (Michael Emerson). Together, they use an advanced AI ‘Machine’ of Finch’s invention to stop and seize criminals. As expected, series creators Jonathan Nolan and J.J. Abrams succeed in blending all the requisite elements of a crime procedural with dystopian sci-fi. Person of Interest ran from 2011 to 2016, meaning there are five seasons available to binge.
If you’re wondering where all the lady spies are hiding, tune in to Covert Affairs. Annie Walker must adapt quickly to her challenging new role as a CIA field operative. As she goes deeper, she must also determine whether recruiters recognized her talents or a direct connection to her ex-boyfriend. The series has it all, rolling action, mystery, drama, comedy, and romance into one binge-worthy package. Five seasons of the USA series, which ran from 2010 to 2014, are now available for your streaming pleasure.
In the vein of White Collar, former fugitives haved teamed up with a squad of U.S. marshals to track down prison escapees, hoping for a chance to serve lighter sentences. The series premiered in 2011, airing for only two seasons before it was cancelled. As its name may allude, Breakout Kings was produced by the creators of Prison Break. Though its grit and premise set it apart, it does feature a crossover appearance by T-Bag.
Bones features another white collar team-up. This time, FBI Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) partners with a forensic anthropologist by the name of Doctor Temperance “Bones” Brennan. Similarly to Sherlock’s reinvented Holmes, Bones is brilliant but socially inept. Like other shows on this list, an unlikely but effective partnership is the glue that binds. There are 12 seasons of Bones just waiting to be watched.
Being a famous psychic isn’t your typical white collar job, but that doesn’t stop Patrick Jane from being a crime consultant. Jane (Simon Baker) uses his gift for reading people, which he honed as a faux psychic, to solve crimes. Ultimately, he gets involved to find Red John—the man who murdered his wife and daughter. The American series ran on CBS from 2008 to 2015. Seven seasons are now available to stream.
Fun, action-packed, and lighthearted, Chuck does all of its crime-solving with a healthy dose of geek culture. The NBC series follows computer geek Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi), who accidentally downloads top-secret government files into his brain (thanks to his best friend Bryce – played by Matt Bomer from White Collar!). Luckily for Chuck, bombshell agent Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) is deployed as his handler. The series ran from 2007 to 2012, leaving you with five hilarious seasons to watch. Handmaid’s Tale fans interested in seeing Yvonne Strahovski before the dawn of Gilead should definitely dive into Chuck.
Psych is another great con procedural show for those in need of a laugh. Wannabe sleuth Shawn Spencer cons the police into believing he has psychic crime-solving powers. The chemistry between Spencer (James Roday) and his best friend Burton Guster (Dulé Hill) is the root of many laughs. Yet another reason to binge the show is its long list of running gags. Psych is a great option if you’re looking for something that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The show ran from 2006 to 2014, ending with a total of 8 seasons (120 episodes!) to binge.