By Thalia Lauzon
Crime fighting procedurals will always have a special place in my life. It’s almost creepy how many of them I’ve watched. Each episode is contained within itself and focuses on a new crime and solution, which means you can hop to any episode and watch without having to catch up on anything.
Because I don’t have Netflix, my go-to app to watch TV shows is Amazon Prime. Thankfully, it has an amazing collection of procedurals for my obsession.
- The Mentalist
I can’t recommend this show enough. Patrick Jane is the mentalist. With his abilities to read human behavior, he originally began as a con-man pretending to be a psychic. However, his wife and child are killed by the serial killer Red John because of his showmanship. He takes off his facade and decides to use his skills as a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation.
It sounds heavy by the first description, but this show is light-hearted and insane. Jane’s unconventional methods usually get suspects in a tizzy while they try to wrap their head around him.
Other than the pilot –– which everyone should watch for each of these shows –– the episode to watch is Season 6, Episode 16: “Violets.” Jane works for the FBI at this point, but his brilliant antics are still on full display while investigating art thieves. It includes undercover work, a party and a marching band.
This show was almost my first choice. Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan is the top forensic anthropologist in the world and a bestselling novelist. Working out of Washington D.C., she specializes in deciphering evidence from human bones. Along with FBI Agent Seeley Booth and the team from the Jeffersonian, the fictional equivalent of the Smithsonian, she helps solve crimes.
Brennan’s brilliant mind and hyper-logical reasoning allows her to be the balance to Booth’s instinctual nature. Their opposite outlooks make them perfect partners and thus incredibly entertaining to watch, and the rest of the crew is equally smart and weird. You not only will laugh, but actually can learn a lot from the show.
Watch Season 2, Episode 9, “Aliens in a Spaceship,” to fully see the amazingness of the show.
Similarly to “The Mentalist,” “Psych” involves a fake psychic and a lot of crime-solving craziness. Shawn Spencer is a man-child who can’t hold a stable job and usually follows where life leads him until he decides to provide a tip to the Santa Barbara Police Department for an investigation. It leads him to becoming a suspect, but to get out of it, he decides to attribute his information to a psychic revelation.
As a child, Spencer’s cop father trained him to be an amazing detective. While he decided not to go into law enforcement, Spencer still uses all those skills to solve an inordinate amount of murders within Santa Barbara.
“Psych” is the sillier and blatant-shenanigans version of “The Mentalist,” but is amazing all the same. Spencer works as a consultant with his best friend Burton Guster after going with the psychic thing and opening up a psychic detective agency called Psych. You can outright laugh at the craziness and how everyone believes the lie.
The best episode is Season 3, Episode 16, “An Evening with Mr. Yang,” but the entire Yin and Yang serial killer trilogy is worth viewing.
This is definitely not a typical procedural show, but it works. “Merlin” follows the story of King Arthur from before Merlin was a great wizard and before Arthur was king.
Merlin is a young man who arrives in Camelot when magic is outlawed by Arthur’s father. He must hide his magic while fulfilling his destiny to protect and serve Arthur, who will one day be king.
Instead of criminals, Merlin, who becomes Arthur’s servant, faces an array of opponents including mythical creatures, assassins and other magicians who want to kill Arthur.
It’s weirdly entertaining, and the bromance between Arthur and Merlin is legendary.
The best episode to watch is the pilot, “The Dragon’s Call,” to understand the backgrounds of and relationships between all the characters.