What TV Shows Are Like Burn Notice and White Collar?
January 17, 2017 1:45 PM   Subscribe

White Collar is my all-time favorite TV show. Recently I've speed-binged Burn Notice on Netflix, and I'm almost done. I'm looking for my next fix.

I think what these shows have in common is:
- Procedural dramas that don't take themselves too seriously
- Likeable characters
- Great chemistry between characters
- Some tense drama but not too scary/violent/creepy
- Plots that aren't overly complex (I can watch while doing something else and not feel lost)

Other shows like this that I have enjoyed are Bones, Castle, and Psych. I'd also throw Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries in this category. What can you recommend? (Must be available for streaming or iTunes purchase in USA.)
posted by radioamy to Media & Arts (57 answers total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
I think if you like White Collar, you'll like Person of Interest.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:47 PM on January 17, 2017 [5 favorites]

Leverage, perhaps?
posted by TwoStride at 1:49 PM on January 17, 2017 [7 favorites]

Leverage - 100%

(I say this as a person who has a cat named Mozzie and a fish named Chuck Finley).
posted by magnetsphere at 1:50 PM on January 17, 2017 [10 favorites]

Leverage, although it has occasional unbearably sappy moments.
posted by praemunire at 1:52 PM on January 17, 2017

Yeah, definitely Leverage.

I also love Person of Interest, but it gets pretty dark (but awesome!) pretty fast.

Look for Hustle (Leverage's UK origin) on the youtubes.
posted by rtha at 1:53 PM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

You may also like Supernatural, Warehouse 13, and Chuck. You can also be like us and play the Mark Sheppard drinking game.
posted by magnetsphere at 1:54 PM on January 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

I asked pretty much the exact same question in 2012 - you might find some good (albeit slightly older now) suggestions there.

My suggestion: Numb3rs
posted by cgg at 1:56 PM on January 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Death in Paradise is a cozy procedural set on a fictional UK-held Caribbean island. Five seasons are available on iTunes. It very quickly gets better than its pilot (which was very good indeed).
posted by infinitewindow at 1:59 PM on January 17, 2017 [6 favorites]

Loved Leverage; have to agree it gets tacky sometimes.

Psych is also pretty great; love the characters and chemistry.
posted by teabag at 2:00 PM on January 17, 2017

It was sadly short lived, but you might also like 'The Good Guys' which is on Netflix and Prime. Buddy Cop Comedy where the two always uncover some massive crime while investigating a tiny one.
posted by Caravantea at 2:00 PM on January 17, 2017 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh yes, forgot that I also like Leverage and Chuck! You guys are on the right track.
posted by radioamy at 2:01 PM on January 17, 2017

Suits. Monk.
posted by willnot at 2:02 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Life is on Netflix and will make you appreciate fruit.
posted by shiny blue object at 2:05 PM on January 17, 2017 [12 favorites]

The USA "blue skies" shows are all basically like this. Monk was basically the first, and Royal Pains the last. Covert Affairs was pretty good if you're looking for spy stuff. I'm personally so far a huge fan of the new Lethal Weapon reboot series. Not sure if it's streaming anywhere, but Franklin and Bash also scratched that itch for me. The Good Guys, staring Bradley Whitford's moustache was short-lived by great.
posted by General Malaise at 2:10 PM on January 17, 2017 [7 favorites]

Seconding Leverage (for the first few seasons at least) and Warehouse 13. You might also like Bored To Death. (I'd describe it more like: a kinda campy series where an "unlicensed private detective" solves mysteries and gets into hedonistic trouble with his editor (Ted Danson!) and best friend (a comic book artist.)

In Plain Sight definitely ticks all your boxes. I loved this show (I have a weakness for strong female leads). The friendship between Mary and her partner is really touching and humorous all at once. (Similar: The Closer.)

On preview, OMG the Good Guys!! Might have to go rewatch that stat! I also loved Life--I think I've watched it 2-3 times.

On the much more humorous side, Brooklyn 99 also qualifies for your list, imo!
posted by purple_bird at 2:10 PM on January 17, 2017 [5 favorites]

You might like Veronica Mars, or even more not what you're asking for, Jane the Virgin.
posted by papayaninja at 2:13 PM on January 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

We have the same taste in shows. I've recently enjoyed The Closer and the spin-off Major Crimes. Also seconding Lethal Weapon.
posted by A hidden well at 2:14 PM on January 17, 2017

The Finder might work for you. I'll also third Life as a good choice.

If you're ok dropping the procedural requirement, I'd try Better off Ted too.
posted by snaw at 2:14 PM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Pushing Daisies, if you don't mind a bit of fantasy in your procedural.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:19 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

All of the CSI shows. Also Murdoch Mysteries (Netflix streaming). Murder She Wrote (though not streaming on Netflix anymore. I'm depressed.)
posted by Crystalinne at 2:19 PM on January 17, 2017

Darker, but I always lump it in with Burn Notice and White Collar because it started around the same time: Saving Grace. The premise sounds ridiculous, with Holly Hunter playing a police detective who is visited by an angel. But it is one of my favorite shows ever, with a complicated and flawed female lead who is unapologetically promiscuous. Family and work relationships are an important part of the story. It is set in Oklahoma and references the OK City bombing frequently. Not as light as those other shows, perhaps, but definitely worth viewing.

And Holly Hunter is freaking amazing in it!
posted by Bresciabouvier at 2:32 PM on January 17, 2017 [7 favorites]

The Unsusuals
Lie to Me

Not exactly it but you might also enjoy "Brooklyn 99"
posted by pyro979 at 2:37 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

2nding Death in Paradise! Brooklyn 99 too, but it's definitely more humor focused (not too many tense moments, but excellent casting).

Along the same lines but slightly weaker recommendations:

Battle Creek was short-lived but fun.

I like the first season of Sleepy Hollow, liked the cast chemistry (more of a monster of the week feel though).
posted by ghost phoneme at 2:38 PM on January 17, 2017

I find Elementary fits this description.
posted by gideonfrog at 2:39 PM on January 17, 2017 [6 favorites]

2nd Murdoch Mysteries. I'm a couple seasons in and it's delightful.
posted by mama casserole at 2:45 PM on January 17, 2017

This is totally my jam. Have you tried Hawaii 5-0 on Netflix? I also liked The Finder and The Glades.
posted by inevitability at 2:49 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

YES, I was also going to recommend Saving Grace, which is deeper than Burn Notice or Chuck or Psych, but you just love all of those flawed characters in all of their feminist camaraderie. Plus, sexy.
posted by jillithd at 2:54 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Veronica Mars!
posted by slateyness at 2:54 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

There are many good UK cop shows, e.g., Death In Paradise: Midsomer Murders (18 seasons, each of varying lengths), Inspector Gently, Inspector Morse, Inspector Lewis, Inspector Lynley (do you see a pattern?), Happy Valley. If you don't mind subtitles there are some terrific European productions, like Wallender (the Swedish original, though the UK English language version with Branagh is also good), Dicte, Donna Leon's Inspector Brunetti, Inspector Montalbano, La Piovra (The Octopus), The Eagle and Varg Veum, to name a few I've watched over the years.
posted by billsaysthis at 3:01 PM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

My parents are super into this type of show, and they fucking loved Midsomer Murders. I've watched it with them and it really is pretty great, doesn't take itself too seriously, and best of all there's a lot of it - over 100 episodes so far. It's available on iTunes.

The stories are set in modern-day England and revolve around efforts to solve numerous murders that take place in the idyllic, picturesque but deadly villages of the fictional county of Midsomer... Much of the popularity of the series arises from the incongruity of sudden violence in a picturesque and peaceful rural setting. Individual episodes focus on institutions, rituals, and customs popularly seen as being characteristic of rural English counties.

Re other recommendations, Veronica Mars absolutely rules... but it may be too complex for what you're looking for. Usually I find it's hard to follow if I'm doing other things at the same time. I don't think it fits the pattern of the shows on your list.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:04 PM on January 17, 2017

The very unfortunately short-lived Terriers about a disgraced cop who is a recovering alcoholic, working with his friend, a petty crook, as low-rent, unlicensed PIs. Before long they get involved in a bigger arc, and the title refers to their annoying tenacity in getting their man.

Try a couple episodes; if you don't like Hank and Britt, then don't continue, but I think you'll be into them and the show.

Amazon Video has it, but it's not free on Prime; you'd have to shell out. Not sure about other services.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:19 PM on January 17, 2017 [7 favorites]

posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:12 PM on January 17, 2017

Seconding Terriers and Battle Creek. I have to say I'm surprised by all the Leverage love. I mean I watched it for its whole run but I was always disappointed or annoyed by it. (Whereas I loved White Collar and enjoyed Burn Notice in spite of their flaws.)

So keeping that in mind, for something new and ongoing I'd suggest The Catch. It takes itself a lot more seriously than White Collar or Burn Notice but it's still about scam artists and the people on the other side trying to catch them. It's a bit more violent than WC and the deaths tend to be a little more on-screen (and a bit more sudden) than they are in BN. It does, however tend to be a bit plot heavy and might require a tiny bit more focus than BN or WC (although if you could follow the music box plot I'm sure you'll be just fine).

If you can cope with genre TV, I'd say give Lucifer a try. Typically there is a procedural case per episode in addition to the mythological plots that run through the seasons. It definitely has the don't take anything seriously attitude (from the main character) that you're looking for and the dynamics between the supporting characters are really good. Despite its subject matter, I don't find it too dark/scary/creepy.
posted by sardonyx at 4:47 PM on January 17, 2017

Seconding Life, and want to suggest The Good Wife and Eureka. The Good Wife is darker than what you have listed, but we seem seem to have similar taste and I really enjoyed it. Eureka was borderline silly and not a crime procedural, so YMMV.
posted by checkitnice at 5:01 PM on January 17, 2017

I'm so excited others suggested The Good Guys! Great show!
posted by Room 641-A at 6:12 PM on January 17, 2017

One season and done, but I think Limitless might scratch the itch for you.

The show deals with nootropics, but revolves around the likeability of the lead.
posted by porpoise at 6:13 PM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I was so excited I forgot to mention that The Good Guys is also a Matt Nix show, which is why I started watching Burn Notice!
posted by Room 641-A at 6:16 PM on January 17, 2017

It never got a second season, and they may not have shown the whole first season, but New Amsterdam might scratch the itch. It looks like it is on demand on some Cable providers and available for rent/purchase elsewhere.
posted by phil at 6:23 PM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

This question is totally my jam.

I hated the Murdoch Mysteries the first time i watched it, which was on the heels of Midsomer Murders/A Touch of Frost/Endeavor.

Restarting Murdoch, it was still cheesy, and the themed/future-aware episodes can be painfully hokey, but i still watched every episode on Netflix (while multitasking). I fell in love with the characters, especially Crabtree, and they do a few things with Murdoch that are against modern sensibilities but honest to the character and the time period that I really appreciate.
posted by itesser at 7:01 PM on January 17, 2017

Ooh, yes, phil reminded me of New Amsterdam. Bunch of flashbacks and historical/now visual comparisons which were really cool (but I'm a superfan of Highlander).

It's (the actor who does) Jamie Lanister from Game of Thrones as an immortal detective/police-man in New York who was there when it was still called New Amsterdam.

I remember enjoying it on several different levels and wasn't intellectually insulted by the plot(s).
posted by porpoise at 8:15 PM on January 17, 2017

Oh, the USA network shows that are eye candy and don't require complete attention. A favorite genre of mine. Glad to see LEVERAGE and the fantastic TERRIERS covered already.

I would say give COVERT AFFAIRS and FAIRLY LEGAL and FRANKLIN AND BASH a try. FRANKLIN AND BASH has the bonus of Malcolm McDowell gleefully cashing his checks throughout its run.
posted by old_growler at 8:28 PM on January 17, 2017

Ah, the descriptions of New Amsterdam of course made me think of Forever and it might fit your bill. Procedural. Not bad chemistry between characters. Again, it's light genre (fantasy). The characters take themselves a little more seriously--it's closer to Bones in tone and subject matter than Castle but it fits in the vibe of both of those shows. It's another one-season-then-cancelled series.
posted by sardonyx at 9:05 PM on January 17, 2017

Graceland is from the creator of White Collar (who also happens to be a relative of mine)
posted by Clustercuss at 9:09 PM on January 17, 2017

Oh, another one-season effort that might fit your bill (assuming you can find it anywhere) is Chaos. The IMDB description is "rogue CIA agents battle the bureaucracy" and while that's true, it's a lot better than that. It was a lot of fun and I was sorry it didn't get renewed.
posted by sardonyx at 9:10 PM on January 17, 2017

We have wide-ranging tastes but some of the things we like may work for you. On our list of bingeables that haven't been mentioned above:

I, Zombie
Lost Girl
Dark Matter
True Detective (first season)
Strike Back
Crossing Lines (first season)
House of Lies (kinda strange)
Battlestar Galactica (new version)
posted by Altomentis at 9:23 PM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Nthing Veronica Mars.

posted by azalea_chant at 11:30 PM on January 17, 2017

Sneaky Pete, Bosch
posted by at at 11:55 PM on January 17, 2017

Procedural dramas that don't take themselves too seriously / streamable / character interplay - if you're willing to do Sci Fi then the Stargate franchises are rollicking good fun and would last a while (SG-1 made 10 seasons!).

Killjoys (from the creator of Lost Girl which was recommended already) is more current and is also much fun - a bit violent but mostly implied, not gory.
posted by Ness at 2:20 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think they've all been mentioned, but I'd second Royal Pains, or for a more sci-fi slant along the same lines, Warehouse 13 and Eureka. I love White Collar, Leverage, and Chuck, and am inspired to go back and introduce my wife to them now...
posted by BevosAngryGhost at 6:43 AM on January 18, 2017

Stargate SG-1 is procedural, but also space nerd-y, a little campy at times, and the team of characters are what really keep you in. There are planets/aliens of the week, but also bigger season arcs.
posted by jillithd at 7:39 AM on January 18, 2017

Quantico is fun, pulpy TV with a dual timeline structure in which FBI trainees are shown in flashbacks learning skills that are then featured in the current timeline. It's pretty convoluted actually, but it's not really that important to follow the plot too closely. It's arc-y, but the acting is a lot of fun and there's definite chemistry among the beautiful, beautiful cast. It's not New Golden Age Prestige Television, more of a guilty pleasure.

iZombie might be good too, the show it reminds me most of is Psych. They do a great job of walking the tightrope between dark and light. There's plenty of witty repartee, and when they hit a dark or emotional moment it's always earned.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 7:59 AM on January 18, 2017

Terriers again - and it was on Netflix last time I was in the states. Great great show.
posted by ominous_paws at 2:13 PM on January 18, 2017

Oooh thought of another one: Eli Stone starring Jonny Lee Miller as a lawyer who starts having visions of George Michael singing "Faith."

Although it's weird hearing him do an American accent now after seeing him in Elementary.
posted by Bresciabouvier at 2:47 PM on January 18, 2017

All mentioned above, but I wanted to specify why these fit the bill:

If you want "Burn Notice/White Collar with different characters," Leverage is it. Full stop. Look no further.

Killjoys is basically Burn Notice...IN SPACE! Well, if Fiona was the main character and had an even weirder past. My partner agrees with me 100%.

As said above, iZombie has a number of similarities to Psych. It is also about a fake psychic - however, in this case the "fake psychic" is getting her clues by eating brains.

I loved every bit of New Amsterdam and was crushed when it was canceled. It is a procedural but is not caper-y like Burn Notice/White Collar/Leverage/Killjoys/Psych.

I'm a huge Stargate fan, and it does have a lot of the elements you are looking for in that it is largely self-contained, likeable characters, doesn't take itself too seriously. The plots start getting more complicated as you go, however. I got hooked on this when I was working full time and going to school full time - it kept me sane.
posted by rednikki at 6:08 PM on January 18, 2017

Another vote for Life, partly because I would happily watch Damien Lewis read the classifieds—but, I don't remember why it will make you appreciate fruit.
posted by she's not there at 3:42 AM on January 19, 2017

You might also give Human Target a try, although they retooled it in the second season and it wasn't as good.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:12 AM on January 19, 2017

Response by poster: Lots of great suggestions. Some I've seen and enjoyed, including Psych, Leverage, Chuck, Eureka, Lie to Me, In Plain Sight, The Closer (I really have a type, don't I?). I've spent the weekend bingeing Death in Paradise. Will definitely be coming back to this thread in the future. Thanks, MeFi!
posted by radioamy at 8:51 PM on March 12, 2017

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