Best Crime-Drama Shows You Should Watch If You Like Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad (B.B) has undoubtedly become one of the most beloved television series of the 21st century. Its gripping narrative, which revolves around the transformation of a seemingly ordinary family man into a notorious drug lord, has captured the hearts of fans worldwide. Even as the show's five seasons aired, viewers remained captivated by the enthralling journey of Walter White (portrayed by Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul). Interestingly, Breaking Bad continues to attract new fans regularly, further solidifying its status as a cultural phenomenon, TV Shows Like BB Series

However, every exceptional television show eventually comes to an end, forcing fans to bid farewell to the characters and the intricate worlds they have grown attached to. While rewatching Breaking Bad from the beginning or indulging in its sequel movie, El Camino, are viable options, those seeking a fresh crime-drama fixation will find a plethora of alternatives. Some of these offerings share similarities with the storylines of Mr. White and his associates, while others delve into distinct aspects of the criminal underworld.

'Weeds' (2005 - 2012)

Following the tragic loss of her husband to a heart attack, Nancy Botwin (portrayed by Mary-Louise Parker) embarks on a unique path to provide for her two sons. In an unconventional turn of events, she ventures into the world of marijuana distribution, initially viewing it as a means to sustain their current way of life. However, what starts as a small-scale operation gradually evolves into something far more significant, thrusting Nancy and her family into a perilous situation where their very lives are at stake.

Weeds stands as one of the shows that shares similarities with Breaking Bad, as both narratives revolve around an ordinary parent living in the suburbs who delves into the world of drug dealing to secure financial stability. However, where Weeds diverges is in its emphasis on comedy, offering a lighter tone compared to the intense seriousness of Breaking Bad. Despite tackling dark subjects, Weeds maintains a more lighthearted approach, often infusing humor into its storytelling.

'Prison Break' (2005 - 2017)

In the thrilling TV series, Prison Break, the protagonist Michael Scofield (portrayed by Wentworth Miller) finds himself in a desperate situation when his brother is wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Determined to save him, Michael, an ingenious engineer, concocts an elaborate plan to break him out of prison. To facilitate their escape, Michael goes to extreme lengths by getting intricate blueprints of the penitentiary tattooed on his body and deliberately getting himself incarcerated in the same facility as his brother. With his meticulous planning and resourcefulness, Michael aims to execute their daring escape from within the prison walls.

Upon its release, Prison Break quickly captivated audiences and became a sensation, garnering widespread attention as one of the most buzzworthy shows of its time. The series made a significant impact with its intriguing premise and quickly gained a dedicated following. However, as the show progressed into later seasons, some viewers felt that it lost momentum, as the recurring theme of breaking out of prison became repetitive. Despite this, the first two seasons of Prison Break are widely regarded as high-quality viewing and are highly recommended for fans of intricate and suspenseful crime-dramas, similar to the appeal of Breaking Bad. These initial seasons offer a thrilling and twist-filled narrative that is sure to engage and entertain viewers.

'Barry' (2018 - 2023)

In the TV series Barry, the character Barry Berkman (played by Bill Hader) undergoes a profound transformation. Initially an experienced hitman, Barry becomes disenchanted with his life of violence and discovers a newfound passion for acting. As he enrolls in an acting class and strives to distance himself from his troubled past, Barry faces constant pressure from his criminal associates, who refuse to let him leave his old life behind.

While Barry is primarily a comedy, it delves into darker themes as the protagonist navigates the complexities of his dual existence. Bill Hader delivers a remarkable performance in the lead role, showcasing his versatility in seamlessly blending comedy and drama. Interestingly, Barry's character arc contrasts with that of Walter White from Breaking Bad: Barry is a criminal seeking a normal life, while White is a seemingly ordinary man descending into the criminal underworld. This inverse dynamic adds depth and intrigue to Barry's story as he grapples with his desire for change while being pulled back into his old ways.

'Ozark' (2017 - 2022)

Ozark follows the story of financial advisor Marty Byrde (played by Jason Bateman) as he relocates his family to the Ozarks in Missouri after a money laundering scheme goes awry. Deeply indebted to a Mexican cartel, Marty devises a new plan to generate a larger sum of money in order to repay his debt. However, as Marty and his family become entangled with local criminals, they find themselves navigating dangerous situations and facing the repercussions of their choices.

The series Ozark proved to be a resounding success for Netflix, receiving critical acclaim throughout its four-season run. It captivated audiences by exploring the impact of criminal activities on an ostensibly ordinary family, showcasing the complexities and consequences that arise from their involvement with illicit activities. Similar to Breaking Bad, Ozark delves into the psychological and moral dilemmas faced by its characters, while also providing a significant focus on the criminals they associate with. This combination of family dynamics, crime, and intricate storytelling made Ozark a favorite among fans seeking shows akin to Breaking Bad.

'Boardwalk Empire' (2010 - 2014)

Set during the Prohibition era in America, Boardwalk Empire tells the story of Nucky Thompson (portrayed by Steve Buscemi), a corrupt city treasurer who transitions from the drug trade to the illegal sale of alcohol. The series delves into the lives of various individuals involved in organized crime, politics, and law enforcement during this tumultuous period.

Though Boardwalk Empire may not have achieved the same level of mainstream success as Breaking Bad, it garnered a dedicated following throughout its five-season run. The show's unique setting during the Prohibition era sets it apart from other crime dramas, adding an intriguing historical backdrop to its narrative. Anchored by a strong cast of morally ambiguous characters and featuring compelling storytelling, Boardwalk Empire offers a binge-worthy experience for viewers seeking a captivating and well-crafted series.

'Sons of Anarchy' (2008 - 2014)

Sons of Anarchy quickly rose to become a cultural phenomenon as it delved into the world of an outlaw biker gang and those connected to them. At the heart of the series is Jax Teller (played by Charlie Hunnam), a young member of the group who grapples with the moral complexities of his criminal lifestyle, especially considering his father's previous leadership of the gang.

While Jax serves as the central character, what sets Sons of Anarchy apart is its rich ensemble cast. Much like Breaking Bad, the show features a colorful array of characters who contribute to its depth and complexity. These supporting characters not only add layers to the narrative but also help to flesh out the world of the series, providing a unique and diverse cast where everyone has their own favorites. These well-developed characters and their individual storylines contribute to the show's success and keep viewers engaged throughout its run.

'Justified' (2010 - 2015)

In the TV series Justified, U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (played by Timothy Olyphant) finds himself in constant conflict with local criminals upon his return to his hometown in Kentucky. Givens' unwavering commitment to justice often puts him at odds with the dangerous elements of the community, leading to intense confrontations and the formation of a complicated alliance with former criminal Boyd Crowder (portrayed by Walton Goggins).

Justified pays homage to the classic Western genre, with Givens embodying the archetype of a righteous cowboy transplanted into the modern era. Like Walter White from Breaking Bad, Givens is regarded as one of the standout television characters of the 21st century, and Timothy Olyphant's portrayal is widely acclaimed. Supported by a talented cast, Justified offers a compelling blend of action, drama, and complex character dynamics.

Olyphant's performance as Givens, along with the strong ensemble cast, contributes to the show's success and makes it a must-watch for fans of gripping storytelling and well-developed characters. Justified's fusion of Western themes with contemporary crime elements creates a unique and compelling viewing experience.

'The Shield' (2002 - 2008)

The Shield explores the dark side of law enforcement, showcasing that those who are meant to uphold the law can sometimes be just as morally corrupt as the criminals they pursue. The series stars Michael Chiklis as Detective Vic Mackey, the leader of the infamous Strike Team, a police unit that resorts to extreme measures such as torture and planting evidence to achieve their desired arrests.

While The Shield focuses on the police rather than criminals, it shares similarities with Breaking Bad in its portrayal of morally complex protagonists. Like Walter White, Vic Mackey is a deeply flawed character who has committed heinous acts. Yet, the compelling writing and the performances of Bryan Cranston and Michael Chiklis make it difficult not to develop a certain level of empathy or even root for these morally ambiguous characters.

The Shield's exploration of the blurred lines between good and evil within law enforcement, combined with the strong performances and well-crafted writing, captivates viewers and makes it a standout series. It challenges traditional notions of heroism and delves into the complexities of human nature, much like Breaking Bad, resulting in a gripping and thought-provoking viewing experience.

'Narcos' (2015 - 2017)

Narcos is a gripping drama set in 1980s Colombia, focusing on the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar (portrayed by Wagner Moura). Based on real events, the series chronicles Escobar's ascent to becoming a billionaire through his control over the cocaine trade. Simultaneously, it follows the relentless efforts of several DEA agents who are determined to bring him down.

What sets Narcos apart is its grounding in reality, as it tells the story of a villain whose reign of terror had real-world consequences. While Walter White from Breaking Bad was a fictional character, Narcos explores the impact of a truly malevolent figure on the lives of those around him and the wider society. The series delves into the intricate web of corruption, violence, and power struggles that Escobar's criminal empire created, highlighting the far-reaching consequences of his actions.

By examining the real-life events and individuals involved, Narcos provides a unique perspective on the drug trade and its impact on Colombia and beyond. It offers a compelling blend of historical accuracy, intense storytelling, and complex character dynamics, making it a must-watch for fans of crime dramas and those interested in exploring the real-world ramifications of criminal activities.

'Peaky Blinders' (2013 - 2022)

Peaky Blinders is a highly popular series set in post-World War I Birmingham, England. The show revolves around the life of Tommy Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy), the leader of the notorious Peaky Blinders gang. It follows the Shelby family and their criminal activities as they navigate conflicts with rival gangs and law enforcement over the years.

The series has gained significant popularity, with its distinctive British take on the crime genre capturing the attention of viewers worldwide. Peaky Blinders has become a cultural phenomenon, and its iconic characters, such as Tommy Shelby, have garnered significant attention on social media platforms, with fans often sharing images and quotes associated with the show.

While Peaky Blinders offers a different setting and narrative style compared to Breaking Bad, its strong storytelling, well-developed characters, and gritty portrayal of the criminal underworld have attracted a dedicated fan base. The series provides an alternative perspective on the world of crime, creating a unique viewing experience that has resonated with audiences craving a fresh take on the genre.

Whether you're a fan of period dramas, gripping crime stories, or simply enjoy compelling characters, Peaky Blinders offers a captivating journey into the dark and dangerous world of the Shelby family.

'Fargo' (2014 - 2023 )

Fargo, inspired by the Coen brothers' Academy Award-winning film of the same name, takes the core themes and atmosphere of the movie and weaves them into its own unique narrative. Each season of the series presents a standalone storyline with a different cast, all set in small towns and centered around crimes that disturb the peace and draw unsuspecting individuals into the dark underbelly of their communities.

Similar to Breaking Bad, Fargo explores the transformation of seemingly ordinary people who become embroiled in a life of crime. It delves into the depths of human nature and showcases the lengths individuals will go to in order to avoid the consequences of their actions. The show's anthology format allows for fresh and self-contained storylines within each season, adding variety and keeping viewers engaged.

Fargo boasts a talented ensemble cast, with actors such as Billy Bob Thornton, Kirsten Dunst, Ewan McGregor, and many more delivering standout performances that bring the complex characters to life. The series masterfully blends dark humor, suspense, and intricate storytelling, creating a compelling and unpredictable viewing experience.

For fans of crime dramas, Fargo offers an intriguing and distinctive take on the genre. Its ability to captivate audiences with its original stories, talented cast, and the exploration of human morality and the consequences of one's choices make it a must-watch series.

'Better Call Saul' (2015 - 2022)

Better Call Saul serves as an excellent continuation for fans of Breaking Bad who are not ready to part with the world and characters they love. The series focuses on the journey of criminal lawyer Jimmy McGill, portrayed by Bob Odenkirk, before his encounters with Walter White, delving into the events that shaped him into the character known as Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad.

With the same creative team behind both shows, Better Call Saul maintains the high-quality storytelling and attention to detail that made Breaking Bad a beloved series. Some fans even argue that it surpasses its predecessor by offering a deeper exploration of the backstories of compelling characters like Mike Ehrmantraut, played by Jonathan Banks, and Gus Fring, portrayed by Giancarlo Esposito.

Better Call Saul not only provides an intriguing narrative about Jimmy McGill's transformation into Saul Goodman but also offers an opportunity to revisit familiar faces and learn more about their origins. The series beautifully captures the essence of its predecessor while adding a unique flavor and depth to the Breaking Bad universe.

For those who crave more of the gripping storytelling, complex characters, and morally gray world of Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul is a compelling and satisfying continuation. It stands as a testament to the talent of its creators and the rich universe they have crafted, making it an excellent choice for fans looking to stay connected to the Breaking Bad universe.

'The Sopranos' (1999 - 2007)

The Sopranos is widely regarded as one of the greatest television series of all time, and for good reason. It follows the life of Tony Soprano, brilliantly portrayed by James Gandolfini, as he navigates the dual roles of a mob boss and a family man. The show intricately weaves together Tony's criminal activities with the challenges he faces in his personal life, creating a multi-layered and compelling narrative.

The Sopranos is often mentioned alongside The Wire and Breaking Bad as part of the "holy trinity" of television series. All three shows showcase exceptional storytelling, a talented ensemble cast, and the ability to immerse viewers in their respective worlds. However, The Sopranos stands out in its ability to effortlessly draw audiences into its complex and morally ambiguous world.

James Gandolfini's portrayal of Tony Soprano has become iconic, much like Bryan Cranston's Walter White in Breaking Bad. Gandolfini brings depth, vulnerability, and complexity to the character, making Tony Soprano one of the most memorable and fascinating protagonists in television history.

The Sopranos delivers a masterful blend of drama, dark humor, and introspection, exploring themes of identity, family, and the consequences of one's actions. Its impact on television storytelling and its ability to captivate audiences with its rich characters and intricate plotlines solidify its status as a true television classic.

'The Wire' (2002 - 2008)

The Wire is indeed a highly acclaimed television series that explores the intricate dynamics between law enforcement, criminals, and those caught in the crossfire. Set in Baltimore, the show delves into the complexities of the city's institutions, including the police department, drug trade, education system, and politics. It presents a realistic and nuanced portrayal of the interconnectedness of these sectors and the challenges they face.

Similar to Breaking Bad, The Wire showcases a grounded approach to crime, highlighting the blurred lines between the law and chaos. The show's exceptional writing and performances contribute to its reputation as one of the greatest television series of all time. The characters are richly developed, offering viewers a deep understanding of their motivations and struggles.

The Wire's exploration of the social, economic, and political issues that contribute to the city's crime problem elevates it beyond a typical crime drama. It sheds light on the systemic problems that perpetuate crime and offers a critical examination of the institutions meant to combat it.

For fans of Breaking Bad, The Wire provides a compelling and thought-provoking viewing experience. It shares a commitment to showcasing the complexities of the criminal world and the individuals involved, while also delving into broader societal issues. The exceptional writing, performances, and its realistic portrayal of the thin line between law and chaos make The Wire a must-watch series for anyone seeking a gripping and intelligent crime drama.