15 Best TV Shows Like The Wire That You Should Watching Update 04/2024

Tv Shows Like The Wire

Even though The Wire ended over a decade ago, there are plenty of other excellent crime dramas to fill the void.

The Wire had five seasons and 60 episodes from 2002 to 2008. This gritty, dramatic show is a fan favorite and was nominated for a slew of awards while it was on the air. Set in Baltimore, Maryland, the show focuses on urban life. From the illegal drug trade to the schools and media, each season examines a different facet of city life and how it interacts with the justice system.

The show was cancelled by HBO after its fifth season aired. When it ended, fans were sad because they had to say goodbye to their favorite show and characters after five seasons of praise for their storytelling and realism. If you miss The Wire, don’t worry; there are plenty of other shows to keep you entertained until the end of the year.

As of March 18th, 2021, here is what Kristen Palamara has to say: The Wire’s realistic and engrossing plots and characters continue to draw in new viewers and keep old ones coming back for more. With The Wire’s absence come shows that explore the criminal justice system from all angles and aren’t afraid to show the reality of the country’s criminal justice system and political system as well. Fans of The Wire will enjoy these stories about illegal drug dealing because they feature realistic yet dramatic characters and plotlines.

15. Show Me A Hero (2015)

Show Me A Hero (2015)

“Show Me A Hero” was based on the true story of Yonkers, New York’s youngest mayor, Nick Wasicsko (Oscar Isaac), who was tasked with bringing public housing to the city’s residents. An important civil rights theme is explored as the story delves into the inner workings of local politics.

While trying to bring public housing to Yonkers, Wasicsko makes everyone happy while also doing his job, which is an unlikable position. It depicts realistic characters on both sides of the debate, and the city plays a significant role in the plot, similar to The Wire in style.

14. The Shield (2002-2008)

Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis), the leader of the LAPD’s experimental new unit known as The Shield, blurs the line between lawman and criminal in this thriller. These cops are allowed to operate outside the rules, which causes them to behave more like criminals than police.

Many of the members’ decisions are morally ambiguous or beneficial to them personally, even though they believe they are breaking the law for the greater good. What an interesting look into the criminal justice and police departments’ corrupt practices.

13. Justified (2010-2015)

Justified (2010-2015)

U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and enigmatic local criminal Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) grew up together in Harlan, Kentucky, and Justified follows their story. Both Givens and Crowder’s lives and the grey areas of being a police officer and in organized crime are explored in the series as both shock the viewers with their actions.

When it comes to moral ambiguity, both The Wire and Justified didn’t shy away from portraying real people instead of archetypal good or evil figures in a setting that’s crucial to the story.

12. Ozark (2017- )

To find out what happens when Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) is forced to pay back the money that his business partner stole, Ozark follows the Byrde family. He and his family flee to the Missouri Ozarks, where they try to make a go of it while reuniting as a unit.

Similarly to The Wire, Ozark depicts complex drug-dealing and money-laundering characters in a fictionalized version of the real world.

11. Mindhunter (2017-2019)

Mindhunter (2017-2019)

Mental profiling and psychology are the focus of Mindhunter on Netflix, which is based on an actual division within the FBI called the Behavioral Analysis Unit. Two FBI agents are joined by a scholar as they begin interviewing convicted serial killers in order to learn their true motives for killing.

The show follows both sides of the law as the agents get caught up in their work and come dangerously close to the serial killers they’re supposed to be studying from afar..

10. The Night Of (2016)

An eight-part miniseries titled The Night Of aired on HBO. Based on a British drama, the show stars Riz Ahmed as Nasir Khan, a Pakistani-American college student, and John Turturro as his attorney.

After meeting a woman on his way to a party, Nasir is arrested and charged with her murder after her stabbed body is discovered. There is a strong focus on city life and the criminal justice system in The Night Of, as there is in The Wire.

9. The Sopranos (1999-2007)

After airing on HBO for six seasons, The Sopranos remains one of the most popular shows of all time. Tony Soprano, a family man with two distinct types of “family,” is the main focus of the show. He is married with two children and lives with them. His “family” is actually his mafia family when he’s away from home.

A stressed-out mob boss, Tony begins to see a therapist to deal with his personal and professional problems as the series opens with. It follows him as he attempts to strike a balance between his personal life and his role as boss of the New Jersey mob. This HBO show is ideal if you’re missing the gritty East Coast drama of The Wire.

8. Breaking Bad (2008-2013)

Breaking Bad (2008-2013)

Those who enjoy dramatic TV shows like AMC’sBreaking Badand Netflix’s follow-up film El Camino will be familiar with these two titles. During its run on AMC, this series had viewers rooting for the antagonist and wondering what happened to his loyal sidekick until El Camino arrived on Netflix in 2019.

A high school chemistry teacher is diagnosed with lung cancer and finds himself in a financial bind. The best methamphetamine New Mexico has ever seen is made by his former slacker student, Jesse, in order to pay for his treatment and leave enough money for his family to carry on without him. Nevertheless, Walt undergoes a transformation when his greed overcomes him.

7. Narcos (2015-2017)

Over the years, Netflix has produced some excellent original series.

They include Narcos a series that follows the life and business dealings of notorious cocaine trafficker Pablo Escobar in its beginnings. As a result of Pablo Escobar’s death, the show focuses on the DEA’s ongoing efforts to bring down his rising competitors who are flourishing without him.

Despite the fact that there aren’t as many characters in Narcos who the viewer can identify with or feel pity for as there were in The Wire, this show is still a lot of fun to watch. Since the show is based in Spain, you’ll want to turn on the subtitles because there’s a lot of Spanish dialogue.

6. Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014)

Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014)

Boardwalk Empire was an HBO drama with a strong sense of realism. With Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, and Kelly Macdonald as the lead actors, the series is set in the roaring twenties in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In the series, Buscemi plays Atlantic City treasurer Nucky Thompson, a corrupt official with immense power during the Prohibition era.

The show focuses on Nucky’s personal and professional life as he tries to strike a balance between his relationships with the residents of Atlantic City, the mob, and the city’s vibrant underworld. Because he’s based on real-life politician Enoch L. Johnson, this show will appeal to fans of The Wire who enjoy dramas about corrupt systems.

5. Longmire (2012-2017)

This show’s intensity may be different from The Wire’s, but that doesn’t mean that fans of The Wire will be disappointed with Longmire.

Longmire is an American western television series that debuted in 2012 on A&E before being picked up by Netflix for the remainder of its run.

Walt Longmire, sheriff of Absaroka County, is the focus of the show. As he attempts to balance dealing with his personal life and the recent death of his wife with keeping this Wyoming county safe, the series will follow him along his journey on the small screen. Longmire’s blend of crime drama and interpersonal relationships is ideal for viewers looking for something different fromThe Wire, despite its setting in a different part of the country.

4. Oz (1997-2003)

Ozwas a six-season drama on HBO that was quite gripping. Fans and newcomers alike enjoy this prison drama, which was HBO’s first hour-long original production.

The action takes place in the maximum-security prison of Oswald State Correctional Facility, affectionately known as Oz by its inmates. There’s a lot of action in “Emerald City,” a section of the prison where experiments are being conducted to help the inmates instead of punishing them.

3. Sharp Objects (2018)

Sharp Objects (2018)

Gillian Flynn’s novel of the same name served as the inspiration for the HBO miniseries of the same name. Amy Adams plays Camille, a journalist compelled to return to her small hometown to look into a series of murders, in the show.

Psychic thriller meets crime drama, this ominous show is hard to put down. With only eight episodes, this show keeps you guessing until the very end about what happens to the Wind Gap girls.

2. Peaky Blinders (2013-)

Five seasons of Peaky Blinders have aired so far, and the show’s creators have stated that they have plans for a sixth and perhaps a seventh season. Peaky Blinders is the focus of this period drama, which takes place in early twentieth-century England.

Thomas Shelby, the leader of the Peaky Blinders gang, is played by Cillian Murphy, a World War I veteran. The show follows Thomas as he works to expand the Peaky Blinders gang’s influence throughout England and for himself.

1. True Detective (2014-)

In each season of True Detective, a new team of sleuths is introduced. It’s been three seasons of this gritty, dramatic HBO show, with a different case and investigators working to solve it in each one.

If The Wire’s emphasis on crime and solving it is what initially drew you in, thenTrue Detective will have you hooked right away. Like The Wire, this show exemplifies what HBO is all about: intense, dramatic storytelling.