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11 Best Mystery TV Shows Everyone Should Check Out

Updated on April 8, 2017
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Rahul is a TV addict who can never get enough of good shows. His all-time favorites are 'The Wire', 'Breaking Bad', and 'The Sopranos.'

Do you love TV shows with a lot of secrets and mystery that push your buttons? Do you like cliffhangers? If yes, then you have landed on a perfect place. This list is not going to be about series like Twin Peaks or The X-Files. Everyone has watched those. And if you haven’t, you should, before starting with this list. Instead, I’m going to include some underrated and recent mystery TV shows not a lot of people talk about. Without any further ado, let’s get started.

Westworld

With around five hundred scripted shows scheduled to air in 2017, it’s getting pretty hard to get noticed in the TV landscape these days. Even the likes of HBO have found it pretty difficult despite boasting a variety of TV shows ranging from sitcoms to gritty dramas. Created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, Westworld turned out to be just the hit HBO so badly needed.

The first season revolves around a Wild West themed park with robot hosts, who are trained to behave just like humans and entertain the clients in every way they can. They can do almost anything to these robots without any consequences to their heinous actions. Things go awry when Dolores, one of the robots from the park, becomes conscious, thus complicating matters for the park owners. Can they control the situation before it gets uglier?

With the second season scheduled to release sometime in 2017, the plot is guaranteed to thicken up. You have ample time to catch up with everything. Give it a shot.

The Leftovers

2016 was an incredible year for TV lovers. It was the year when a lot of shows came out of nowhere and dazzled viewers with their brilliance. Directed by Mimi Leder, The Leftovers turned out to be one of those pleasant surprises.

Season one, which aired in 2015, wasn't bad by any means. It just felt kind of slow and fluffy at times. The second season, however, turned things around with a spellbinding script and some of the best acting I’ve ever seen on TV. This show has finally figured out how to balance out between what viewers need and what creators want to do with the story.

Overall, The Leftovers is an emotional journey all the way through. It's a shame that not a lot of people are watching this show. If this best mystery show somehow went under your radar, there couldn't be a better time to get started.

The Returned

The lives of everyone in a small town is changed when their loved ones randomly disappear. Things, however, take a sinister turn when they come to life after a few years, completely unaware that they were dead all this time. No one is expecting them to be back. Families are reunited. As they attempt to get on with their lives once again, strange events start to occur all over the town. Who's behind it? Is it the sign of worse things to come?

While it may not be as blood-curdling as Les Revenants, the French show it’s based on, the emotional dynamic between different characters of this show is going to suck you in from the very first moment. This is a character-centric story of families dealing with grief, shock and reunion as their dear ones disappear and then appear out of nowhere. If you’re into slow-burning TV shows that slowly tug at your heart, you’d love what The Returned has to offer.

Wayward Pines

When two secret agents mysteriously disappear in a small, sinister town, another agent is sent to find out what happened to them. On his way to Wayward Pines, the town of secrets, he meets with an unfortunate accident and ends up in a hospital where nothing is as it seems. He investigates further, only to get consumed by the secrets of the town and its people.

Director M. Night Shyamalan needs no introduction here. If you loved his previous works (The Sixth Sense, The Village and more), you'd love what he’s done with Wayward Pines, especially the very first episode. The way every episode is directed, you have to watch episodes one after another to make sense of the whole story. By the third episode, the story goes off in unexpected directions and trusts viewers with a subtle, mind-boggling story.

Leave logic at the doorstep, suspend your disbelief, and enjoy a captivating story.

Hemlock Grove

Developed by Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman, Hemlock Grove takes place in a Pennsylvania town - a place teeming with strange, murderous creatures and peculiar residents. While some people in town are filthy rich, others struggle to make ends meet. Everyone, however, has one thing in common – they all have morbid secrets to protect.

When a teenage girl is brutally murdered, an investigation ensues, which may unveil the secrets of the town and its residents.

It’s a good thing that a show of this caliber is on Netflix – a place where you can binge all the episodes one after another. Unlike the shows on other networks and cable, you don’t need to wait for a week for another episode to feast your eyes upon. That kind of traditional arrangement won't work here. If you don’t keep up with the storyline, it will get frustrating after a while. That’s why I’d recommend you to burn through the episodes one after another.

Bates Motel

Set as a prequel to Psycho, a famous 1960 American psychological horror film, the story revolves around the early life of a troubled Norman Bates and his mother. The series explores his life before he turned into a murderous monster. To grasp the full story, I'd recommend you to watch the movie first. Then you can come back and enjoy this slow-burning prequel that focuses on his Bates’ early romantic life and a complex relationship with his mother.

Over the course of last four seasons, Norman’s persona has changed quite a bit. It’s pretty fascinating to observe his gradual transformation from a typical teenager to someone who’s a danger to everyone.

Being a huge fan of the original movie, I had my doubts about it. A contemporary prequel to an almost 60-year-old movie? There were a lot of things that could go awry. A few episodes in, I knew that Bates Motel is going to be something special, and I wasn’t wrong. If you haven’t watched it yet, now is your time jump on the bandwagon.

American Horror Story

FX has been killing it with shows like American Horror Story, The Americans, Fargo, and Legion. They can hardly put a foot wrong. With one hit shows after another, they have undoubtedly set a benchmark for the other networks out there.

Created and produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, American Horror Story is an anthology series that tells a different harrowing tale in each season. It’s unlike anything you’ll ever find on TV. From a haunted house to a freak show, they have experimented with different locations and settings in each season, freighting viewers to their core with haunting stories each time.

There are so many things that could have gone wrong with the show. But props to the showrunners for keeping it intriguing, deranged and creepy over the course of last five seasons. They could easily have gone for safe, traditional version that would appeal to everyone. Instead, they decided to venture into the uncharted territories, knowing very well that it might backfire.

Before opting in, you should know that this show is not for everyone. If you don’t like the first few episodes, you probably won’t like the rest. But if you end up liking it, you’d burn through the whole thing in no time. It’s addictive once you get used to the fast-paced storytelling.

Created by Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler, and Daniel Zelman, Bloodline mostly revolves around a Floridian family who operates Rayburn House, an old resort with a lot of dark secrets of past. For those on vacation, it’s a place to drown their sorrows in alcohol and forget about everything else. But this place haunts its owners, for they can’t undo their dark deeds of the past.

Things get worse when a family member decides to come back home and contribute to the family business. His high-temper and recklessness pose a serious threat to unveil the very secrets the family has protected all these years. Can they keep him in check?

Nothing here is ever as clear as black and white. They’re good people who have done some dark things to protect themselves. They might be pathetic, but you’d still empathize with them.

Overall, Bloodline is a quality Netflix series nobody should miss out on. With the third and last season scheduled to air sometime in 2017, you have ample time to catch up with the story.

Top of The Lake

Directed by none other than Jane Campion, Top of The Lake is a mystery TV series that revolves around the mysterious disappearance of a 12-year-old pregnant girl. When Robin Griffin, a female detective, delves deep into the case, she finds herself surrounded by people with no interest or sympathy for this case. Overwhelmed with a lot of secrets and questions in a male-oriented society, she eventually realizes that something sinister is going on. Can she get to the bottom of it?

Right from the very beginning, you will fall in love with the sceneries. Apart from that, a boundary-pushing story, ineffable cinematography, and excellent acting is surely going to hook you. The only problem with this mini-series is that there isn’t enough of it. With only six episodes to watch, you’ll undoubtedly be looking for more. In that case, you should read on.

The Killing

On the last day of her job, Officer Sarah Linden finds herself dealing with the murder of Rosie Larsen, a 17-year-old teenager. She delays her plan to join her husband in the hope that this case will only take a few days. Things become more complicated when she finds out that Councilman Darren Richmond is involved in the murder one way or another. It doesn’t take long before Sarah realizes that there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Despite having a relatively large cast, it’s pleasantly surprising to see how well all the characters are fleshed out. Everyone appearing on the screen is connected to the murder one way or other, making for a subtle story that’ll keep you hooked till the very end. While there are more than a fair share of action sequences, the focus is always on the aftermath of the murder and how everyone around struggles to cope with it. It’s inspirational, heartbreaking and hauntingly beautiful at the same time.

The Mentalist

When a madman murders a famous psychic's wife, the latter decides to work for California Bureau of Investigation so that he can finally get to the perpetrator. As it turns out, working with them isn’t as straightforward and easy as he’d initially thought.

One can safely assume that those who compare this show to Psych have never watched either of these shows. While both shows have a lead character with the ability to mess with people’s mind and read their thoughts, The Mentalist takes itself more seriously than Psych. Watch the pilot and see for yourself as to how the storyline turns from cute to disturbing by the end of the episode.

It’s heart-breaking when you finally realize that behind his beautiful smile is a man who’s being crushed by the weight of the burden and questions he has carried since his wife’s death.

Did I miss out any other good mystery shows around? Let me know in the comments section.

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    • Ashish Dadgaa profile image

      Ashi 12 months ago

      @Rahul,

      Wow, this is excellent. I am a mystry lover. I have seen American Horror Story, The Mentalist and The Returned. I will check out others very soon. Thank you for sharing this 11 best Mystery TV Shows.

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