Charlie, Bones, Caffrey... Who's next?
October 30, 2012 7:50 AM   Subscribe

I've come to realize I really like smart procedural-type tv shows where the two main characters are an FBI agent and their talented sidekick. I've burned thought Numb3rs, Bones and am half way though White Collar. What's next?

It's not a requirement, but bonus points if it's on Netflix Instant. Also, it needs to be modern-day relevant; I don't care how good the show is, if it's obviously 70s/80s or even 90s tech I'm going to have a hard time watching it. Other than that, assume I haven't watched any other shows of this type since mid-90s Law and Order.

Thanks all!
posted by cgg to Media & Arts (35 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

No talented sidekick, but whoo boy!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:52 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Fringe and The Mentalist.
posted by mibo at 7:56 AM on October 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

It's not FBI-based, but I have enjoyed the first few episodes of Elementary, and I think it will be right down your alley.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:56 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding the amazing X-Files. Like RB said, no sidekick, but plenty of awesome recurring characters (Skinner, the Lone Gunmen, etc).
posted by futureisunwritten at 7:56 AM on October 30, 2012

posted by Defying Gravity at 7:58 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by rhapsodie at 8:04 AM on October 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

Not FBI, but Castle has the crime solving "buddy" system.
posted by dpaul at 8:06 AM on October 30, 2012 [8 favorites]

Not FBI, but Castle might also appeal to you.
posted by Defying Gravity at 8:06 AM on October 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Also not FBI, but "Person of Interest" has the same type of dynamic.
posted by xingcat at 8:08 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Rocky and Bullwinkle?

But seriously, a version of this is Inspector Morse - mercurial genius and more prosaic sidekick. Both policemen though. Much copied in the UK [see: Midsomer Murders, Taggart, Frost, Inspector Lynley].

There is a whole TV trope around the Watson-ish sidekick. Everyone in CSI to Grissom (or the Grissom-ish character in the other variants). Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Burn Notice. Life on Mars. The list is pretty long.

Another interesting riff on the cop/genius idea is Jonathan Creek.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:13 AM on October 30, 2012

Have you ever seen the movie "The Day of the Jackal"? (Also not FBI.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:14 AM on October 30, 2012

Criminal Minds doesn't have a duo as lead characters, but they are FBI and the team contains the combination you're looking for - Reid and Garcia both qualify as "genius sidekick" to Morgan as cop.
posted by MinusCelsius at 8:18 AM on October 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

It's not exactly what you specify, but I suspect you'd enjoy Lie to Me. Basically, smart but kind of an asshole psychologist gets called in to help solve crimes, also has a team with various interactions swirling around them.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:20 AM on October 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

Seconding Sherlock and Lie to Me. I was coming in to suggest them and here they already are.
posted by cooker girl at 8:28 AM on October 30, 2012

I know this show has won a lot of hate for itself, but my wife and I enjoyed The Killing. There is a sidekick. He's rather untalented though.

Also, I only made it through the first half of the pilot on Netflix streaming – it seemed a little ridiculous – but Breakout Kings might be another possibility. There's, like, four sidekicks at least, depending on who the "hero" is supposed to be.
posted by eric1halfb at 8:38 AM on October 30, 2012

Came in to suggest Lie to Me, but will now favorite this thread so I can see the rest of the answers - this is my type of show, too!
posted by hungrybruno at 8:39 AM on October 30, 2012

Not an FBI show but a fun cop show called The Good Guys and it's on Netflix.
posted by KathyK at 8:44 AM on October 30, 2012

You're not going to want to see it through to the current wacked-out dystopian future season, probably (OR WILL YOU), but definitely Fringe! I love it so.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:51 AM on October 30, 2012

If the FBI/Genius duo can be extended to "By the Book"/"Loose Cannon" then that opens up USA mainstays Monk and Psych when tend to pair wacky people with an amazing talent and a more straight laced partner.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:54 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have only watched a few episodes, but the dynamic between the federal marshal and her partner in In Plain Sight seemed quite entertaining. Looks like it lasted 5 seasons. (Critic's article about the show's ending.)
posted by Glinn at 9:14 AM on October 30, 2012

Not a procedural, but Suits features a firm full of Harvard-educated lawyers plus this kid who faked his law degree. It definitely has that straight-guy/sidekick vibe and it's so funny and well-written.
posted by kate blank at 9:17 AM on October 30, 2012

Also not FBI, but what about the Good Wife? Two or three main lawyers, and Kalinda, their trusty sexy sidekick. Procedural, plus ongoing drama.
posted by dpx.mfx at 9:17 AM on October 30, 2012

Covert Affairs. It's CIA, not FBI, but the last few episodes were great.
posted by kingfishers catch fire at 9:20 AM on October 30, 2012

Gregory House as the FBI detective dressed up as a doctor and his loveable sidekick, Wilson. I believe I read somewhere that the characters were loosely based on Sherlock (Holmes/House) and Watson (Wilson/Watson).
posted by like_neon at 9:42 AM on October 30, 2012

Depending on your tolerance for wackiness, Psych mostly fits these parameters. A fake psychic detective and his sidekick help the local police department solve crimes. I think all but the most recent season are on Netflix Instant.
posted by wsquared at 9:44 AM on October 30, 2012

CIA, again - sorry, but Chuck was quite a bit of fun for the first two seasons. It appears to have ended now after 5 seasons, but it was 2 CIA agents and the main character is the sidekick - the unwitting recipient of a database of information from a government intelligence program. Etc. He also has his own trusty sidekick.
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 10:00 AM on October 30, 2012

My husband loves shows like that too, and is a huge fan of The Mentalist.
posted by Lynsey at 11:08 AM on October 30, 2012

Wire in the Blood, Cracker, Inspector Morse, Inspector Lewis, Waking the Dead, Prime Suspect (female lead, no sidekick), Luther (with gorgeous idris Elba) - these are all British shows and they're on Netflix.
posted by shoesietart at 11:24 AM on October 30, 2012

Taking off where Inspector Morse left off is Inspector Lewis

He's got a very interesting sidekick.
posted by saffronwoman at 11:40 AM on October 30, 2012

Terriers ran for only one season and has the distinction of being the lowest-rated show in the history of the FX network. But it's a smart, funny buddy-cop show about two private investigators with more bluster than skill who find themselves way in over their heads in a season-long plot arc involving shady real estate deals, government corruption, and maybe even a missing dog.

The show was badly named, poorly marketed, and given up on almost immediately. It's a shame, because its a really fun character-driven show that deserved a wider audience. The show delighted in breaking genre stereotypes: for example, the alcoholic ex-cop is in recovery and not angsty about it. He has a friendly relationship with his ex-wife. His sister has a mental illness that is not played for laughs or pathos, but depicted as a chronic, troubling, manageable condition.

The show was much better than it had any right to be. You'll watch all 13 half-hour episodes and wish there were more.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:27 PM on October 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

Burn Notice is good fun - not quite FBI but definitely along those lines.
posted by leslies at 12:30 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

nthing Castle; it's adorable. And it starts the guy from Firefly, Nathan Fillion. But the side characters, too, are just awesome (except for the daughter, whom both my husband and I wish would get kidnapped or something.) In general the acting is way better than it needs to be.

We just caught up to the present season, and thus have had to change our nightly fix to something else. We've started Fringe -- it's fun too, but at least thus far the characters are nowhere near as appealing as those in Castle.
posted by kestrel251 at 1:28 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Try Warehouse 13 for one episode. It involves secret service agents that have joined a special project to protect the world from basically 'magical' objects (e.g., Edgar Allens Poe's pen does something dangerous, etc). It's well-written (though I enjoy sci-fi), and my other favorite shows lately have been White Collar, Bones, Castle.

Note: Fringe -- I loved the first two and most of the third season. After that, it has a different flavor.

The BBC Sherlock, first two seasons are on netflix, is quite good too. (Haven't watched elementary.)
posted by ejaned8 at 6:25 AM on October 31, 2012

ps. Warehouse 13 is on hulu, and the first few seasons are on netflix streaming.
posted by ejaned8 at 6:26 AM on October 31, 2012

ejaned8: The BBC Sherlock, first two seasons are on netflix, is quite good too. (Haven't watched elementary.)

Sherlock is certainly much better than Elementary, by leaps and bounds, but I think Elementary is a better fit for this specific request.

MetaFilter: Not FBI, but Castle
posted by Rock Steady at 6:28 AM on October 31, 2012

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