What do I watch after Criminal Minds?
August 25, 2020 8:22 PM   Subscribe

I am finishing up an intense two weeks of all Criminal Minds, all the time. What should I watch next?

Key to this question is that I don't think Criminal Minds is a "good show"-but it's formulaic and well-done enough that I can consume episode after episode with my brain off. I'm not looking for high art.
The actors are charming and the characters have enough rapport to be likable. I like the aspect of the same small team solving mysteries together. There usually is a happy ending, even if the episode itself is grisly. But something like NCIS might be too goofy? There are a billion seasons on Netflix (or Hulu or Amazon).

My next two go-tos would be Leverage or Person of Interest, which is in the same procedural vein for the first few seasons. But I've seen those before. Anything similar I can watch with my brain off?
posted by clarinet to Media & Arts (37 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Midsomer Murders on Amazon. Amusing, lightweight detection. By all rights Midsomer County would have been depopulated years ago, but somehow they're up to Season 21.
posted by JimN2TAW at 8:38 PM on August 25, 2020 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: And I guess, also key: POI and Leverage are shows I would classify as actually good, while part of the charm of Criminal Minds is people making absurd claims about the suspect they're tracking ("Arsonists usually tend to relate more to their mothers"???) I would love to turn off my brain and not use up the 10% of it that's still functioning in These Times :)
posted by clarinet at 8:38 PM on August 25, 2020

Best answer: I think you'd be fine with NCIS. (I watched all of Leverage, about half to three-quarters of POI, and some Criminal Minds--enough to get the flavour of the show.) I think the LA version would be "goofier" (according to your definition of the word) than original flavour. Personally, I can't stand the New Orleans version, but that might even be goofier.

I came to NCIS from JAG and stuck with it up until three or four seasons ago. (I stopped watching when the blonde agent came in because she drove me nuts.) The stuff that Abby and Tim got up to with the computers and lab analysis is about the technical equivalent of how believable "arsonists relate more to their mothers" is.

NCIS and especially LA are heavier on the action and the chase aspects of crime solving than CM. I'm sure one season of LA has more explosions than three seasons of CM.

If you liked POI and Leverage, I'd suggest White Collar. There are definitely times when it's best to turn your brain right off when watching it, but it scores really, really high on charming actors and likable characters and a small team working together (but sometimes against each other) to solve mysteries.

That said, when I hit those times I just want a mindless procedural to watch--something familiar to fill the time with characters I mostly know and like, NCIS (formerly) and NCIS: LA (more recently) have definitely been the shows to fill that slot.
posted by sardonyx at 8:53 PM on August 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

Law & Order SVU or Original Flavour.
posted by hepta at 8:56 PM on August 25, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I should note (in case it matters to you) that one of the main NCIS actresses (the one who played Abby) came out relatively recently and had some harsh things to say about working conditions on the show, so if that kind of thing bothers you, consider yourself warned.
posted by sardonyx at 8:57 PM on August 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

Bosch! I like how the main character and his partner work together. And I can "watch" it and do other things like surf the Internet.

Hawaii 5-0? original OR new
posted by cda at 9:48 PM on August 25, 2020

I’ve liked Bones, Castle and (already suggested) White Collar for this sort of procedural mindless binge watches in the past. That said, I’ve never actually watched Criminal Minds... i’d had my fill after those 3 a few years ago.
posted by cgg at 10:08 PM on August 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My name is Thella and I am a Criminal Minds binge watcher.
The Mentalist scratched the same itch for me.
posted by Thella at 11:35 PM on August 25, 2020 [10 favorites]

Criminal Minds, NCIS and L&O:SVU are my interchangeable brain-noise shows. I think the general patter is very similar in all the shows.
posted by The otter lady at 12:50 AM on August 26, 2020

Best answer: Elementary! It's very charming. Also White Collar. Hawaii Five-O and NCIS you might enjoy - the "rah rah yay US military" eventually killed both for me though, so it depends on your level of tolerance.
posted by Cheerwell Maker at 2:07 AM on August 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Lucifer!
posted by Calvin and the Duplicators at 2:11 AM on August 26, 2020 [3 favorites]

The Mentalist and Bones FTW.
posted by carmicha at 2:26 AM on August 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

I should note (in case it matters to you) that one of the main NCIS actresses (the one who played Abby) came out relatively recently and had some harsh things to say about working conditions on the show, so if that kind of thing bothers you, consider yourself warned.

This ruined the show for me. The reliable, laconic, fatherly figure of Jethro took on a much more sinister cast.
posted by Thella at 2:28 AM on August 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Monk, Rizzoli & Isles, and L&O Criminal Intent
posted by Sweetie Darling at 2:47 AM on August 26, 2020

Hi person with the same television watching habit as me!

Hulu has a single season of the Criminal Minds spin off.
Hulu also has all three seasons of Lie to Me.
Going old school - Without a Trace. I know it's available via Roku, but not sure where else.
Also old school - Cold Case. Again, via Roku.
I've just started Numbers on Hulu, it's scratching a similar enough itch that I'm two seasons in without noticing.
Next on my list is POI - it's the ones of the above mentioned I haven't binged yet.
posted by librarianamy at 5:03 AM on August 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I used to watch Bones when I was writing papers and needed background noise. That feels like it would work for you.
posted by SeedStitch at 6:11 AM on August 26, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I know you're looking for TV but if you want to move into the realm of books, you might enjoy the Pendergast series, listed in order here. They are extremely readable and all fairly ridiculous, and IMO have a lot of similarities with Criminal Minds.
posted by phunniemee at 6:45 AM on August 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

You might like the Netflix series Mindhunter.
posted by XtineHutch at 6:48 AM on August 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Crossing Jordan may scratch this itch.
posted by Sassyfras at 6:50 AM on August 26, 2020 [3 favorites]

Seconding Numbers. You might also try Scorpion. Fizzled out a bit at the end, but I liked it quite a bit for a long while.

Chuck is definitely on the lighter side, but it grew on me and you could also try that.
posted by gudrun at 7:26 AM on August 26, 2020

mindhunter for the creepy serial killer commonality. More realism. Less serial killers that feed their victims to tornadoes.

for a totally different flavor but great characters and the same formula of a mix of cases that are wrapped up quickly and long term nemesis, Longmire. Makes for great binge watching

The suggestion of without a trace above is a good one. easy watching

if you have Amazon Prime and want true dramatic ridiculousness, the original Dallas. Especially if you are around my age (early 50's) and from the south/southwest. The acting is mediocre, the plots are ridiculus, the fashion is gaudy but my husband and I were dying of laughter. Like when JR offers Sue Ellen a drink to celebrate her pregnancy or when Bobby straps a very flimsy piece of plastic car seat in the front seat of his convertible to protect the baby he just bought.
posted by domino at 7:30 AM on August 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The original CSI is exactly what you’re looking for, if you haven’t seen it already. Streaming on Hulu. Very likable characters with great rapport, procedural, not too dark. And now that I know it’s streaming, I definitely want to rewatch it!

CSI Miami is stupid, but I thought it was the fun kind of stupid at the time — not sure if it holds up now.

I haven’t watched the full runs, but you’d probably dig Elementary and Numbers (not sure if they’re streaming anywhere).

Mindhunter and SVU are pretty dark. But if you like dark, I would also recommend Manhunt: Unibomber. It’s really great. Paul Bettany is awesome. Also on Netflix.
posted by liet at 7:58 AM on August 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

You definitely want Bones here.
posted by roadrunner9 at 8:07 AM on August 26, 2020

Another vote for Rizzoli & Isles.
posted by ReiFlinx at 8:57 AM on August 26, 2020

Seconding Elementary. Also it makes me laugh when the main character snarks on profilers (a la Criminal Minds).
posted by inevitability at 9:53 AM on August 26, 2020

Bones, CSI Vanilla, Numbers are all good and fit the bill, I even liked the CSI spin-offs in that turn-your-brain-off way. May I suggest Psych as a mystery of the week with entertaining characters, even if Shawn does tend to be a Marty Stu.

POI starts as a mystery of the week procedural but then turns into... something else. I enjoyed it very much but for what I think are different reasons than the OP had in mind.
posted by Horkus at 10:04 AM on August 26, 2020

+ 1 Lucifer
posted by Jacen at 10:17 AM on August 26, 2020

Best answer: Bones is stupid in the exact same way, filled the same programming slot for me. It has my vote! Also can we talk about that human puppet episode of CM?
posted by Freyja at 10:47 AM on August 26, 2020

Response by poster: You all are lovely. Marked a few as best answer but I will probably run through a bunch of these-can't believe Bones and R&I didn't occur to me. Other early contenders are Lucifer and White Collar.

And thanks for the heads up on NCIS-that sucks and I'm glad the actress quit :(

(and yeah, why is CM so into weird doll/puppet stuff???? how is this even common enough that they can profile it??? fantastic show.)
posted by clarinet at 3:30 PM on August 26, 2020

Silent Witness?
posted by ohkay at 4:41 PM on August 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

You people are all my tribe.

I find NCIS LA a perfectly acceptable NCIS (and have never gotten into the NOLA version). All CSIs are fine, as are are Law and Orders.

We find some of these on ION tv, which is almost the only broadcast TV we get flawlessly, so many you can pick being stripped on Ion any day of the week. They also have Blue Bloods and Murdock Mysteries (sometime on Ion, sometimes on Ion Plus).
posted by lhauser at 6:34 PM on August 26, 2020

If anyone wants to go back in time a little, every episode of Moonlighting is on Youtube, in one convenient playlist. (My kids had never seen Bruce Willis with hair before).
posted by Calvin and the Duplicators at 1:36 AM on August 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have enjoyed FBI and FBI: Criminal Intent.
posted by callmejay at 12:13 PM on August 27, 2020

If you like Leverage, you will probably like Hustle on Amazon Prime. Same caper-y escapades without the Robin Hood Aspect.
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 8:07 PM on August 29, 2020

Murdoch Mysteries is so silly but fun. Set in turn-of-the-(last)-century Toronto, the lead detective is an inventor who meets everyone solving cases: Tesla, Conan Doyle, Churchill, Al Jolson, H. P. Lovecraft, Charles Ponzi, and the list goes on and on.

I love Bones and Person of Interest—that ilk of show—and the characters and situations of Murdoch are comforting and mindless.
posted by thebrokedown at 12:59 PM on August 31, 2020

You want a silly procedural? Grimm. Police procedural with a real Big Bad Wolf.
posted by notsnot at 10:17 AM on September 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh! Another one that my wife started watching and it sucked me in: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Set in 1920's Australia. Gorgeous setpieces and costuming.
posted by notsnot at 10:21 AM on September 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

« Older What was that book about cinematography or...   |   Three Pasta Shapes for the Elven-kings Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.