10 TV Shows Like ‘American Rust’ | TheReviewGeek Recommends

Shiny Small Town Mysteries

American Rust is the latest slow-burn murder mystery, channeling a small town vibe with a grizzled main character.

If you’ve finished watching this and are looking for alternatives – fret not! We’ve combed through the archives and saved you the hassle with our top 10 picks for alternate viewing.

To keep things simple for skim-readers we’ve added what similarities these have.

So without further ado, we present 10 TV shows that should whet the appetite when you’ve finished streaming American Rust on Showtime

The Sinner

Similarities – Atmosphere & Mystery

From the onset, its obvious that there’s something unsettling lurking in the shadows of The Sinner. The first season starts just like a standard mystery thriller; a short build up leads to young mother Cora Tannetti stabbing a man on a beach for seemingly no reason.

With the crime already committed and shown in visceral detail, two key questions drives the show forward – why did she kill him and what drove her to commit this crime?

The question hangs over the show like a black cloud and when Investigator Harry Ambrose begins digging deeper, a slowly opening puzzle box of clues sheds more light on the motive.

As truths surface and lies are uncovered, this methodically paced mystery keeps the suspense running right through to its climactic ending, playing as a why-dun-it rather than a who-dun-it.

As the seasons progress, Harry Ambrose is the glue that holds the show together as different crimes come to light. The first season is undoubtedly the strongest of the three so far though.

You can read our thoughts on The Sinner in our full season review here!

Happy Valley

Similarities – Hunting A Killer

Happy Valley is a British-based crime drama, centering on a strong-willed police sergeant in West Yorkshire called Catherine Cawood.

Still reeling from her teenage daughter Becky’s suicide 8 years prior, Catherine is a woman on a mission. When she learns Tommy Lee Royce (the man responsible for the brutal rape of Becky prior to her suicide) has been released from prison, Catherine sets out to try and find him.

As Catherine’s vengeance becomes obsession, unbeknownst to her Tommy is actually involved in the kidnapping of a woman known as Ann Gallagher. What ensues is a cat and mouse chase as Catherine tries to track down and apprehend the suspects before it’s too late.

The second season then picks up 18 months after these events for a new crime but along the way, Happy Valley excels with its relatable, strong characters and gripping drama. This one is definitely worth a watch.

Mr. Mercedes

Similarities – Main Character & Mystery

Mr Mercedes is a well crafted, enjoyable thriller from start to finish, even if it is a little slow paced during the halfway point of the series.

With a dual focus on the two excellent lead characters, culprit Brady and ex-Detective Bull Hodges, this character-driven romp is well worth checking out.

A shocking, gut wrenching opening immediately sets the tone and mood, giving Mr Mercedes an unremorseful, no-holds-barred feel.

After this short prologue, the story officially picks up 2 years later. Bill, the lead investigator in the Mercedes case, is now retired from police work with the unresolved case still haunting him. A strange message on Bill’s computer though, reignites the chase for our culprit, setting up a dangerous game of cat and mouse as Bill and Brady attempt to outsmart and out-maneuver one another.

You can read our thoughts on Mr Mercedes in our full season reviews here!

Twin Peaks

Similarities – Tone & Mood

Twin Peaks is one of those classic, quintessential shows from the 90’s that sticks with you long after the final credits have rolled. The simple story about a peculiar FBI agent investigating the murder of a young woman – in the even more peculiar town of Twin Peaks – is simple but surprisingly effective.

It’s one of those rare gems that completely changed the landscape of the small screen when it released in 1990 and showed what could be achieved with horror through this medium.

There’s some genuinely creepy moments along the way, typified by the stunningly horrific nightmare montage in the episode “Lonely Soul.”

If you haven’t watched this already, you absolutely should – it’s one of the better shows out there.

The Village: Achiara’s Secret

Similarities – Small Town Mystery

The Village: Achiara’s Secret combines elements from Twin Peaks, Midsomer Murders and other mystery series of its kind to produce a small-town horror thriller. In its simplest form, this drama slowly chips away at its own happy façade to showcase something very ugly and shocking at its core.

The centerpiece for this tale is Achiara, a quiet, peaceful village boasting very little crime. The villagers there unfortunately find their world turned upside down when English teacher Han So-Yoon discovers a buried corpse.

With no identity or motive, it’s up to rookie policeman Park Woo-Jae and So-Yoon to find out what’s really going on.

If you’re looking for a compelling whodunit with eerie, unsettling vibes, this Korean drama definitely fits the description.

Beyond Evil

Similarities – Small Town Mystery

At its core, Beyond Evil plays out as a simple murder mystery. Police detective Dong-Sik is haunted by the death of his sister Yu-Yeon 20 years prior. With the case still unresolved, a string of new murders seem to be connected with her death. It also coincides with the arrival of junior detective Joo-Won.

He suspects Dong-Sik killed Yu-Yeon and sets to work piecing together evidence to incriminate him. Only, as he soon comes to learn, those at Manyang substation are a tight-knit family and watch out for one another.

Beyond the killings, Beyond Evil is a tale of forgiveness, healing, and respect. There’s no big romance or montage sequences, there’s just 16 episodes of crime investigating and character development. Beyond Evil completely exceeds expectations, solidifying itself as one of the best Korean dramas of all time.

You can read our thoughts on Beyond Evil in our full season review here!

The Killing

Similarities – Character & Murder Mystery

On the last day of her job, Detective Sarah Linden is called to a crime scene where she finds a bloodied sweater out in a field. Inevitably, this then leads to a murder investigation.

While Linden is very much a by-the-book officer, her new partner in crime is anything but. The younger, street-smart detective Stephen Holder joins the hunt, transferring from narcotics to help piece together what’s happened.

With both officers butting heads and looking at the investigation through a different lens, this interesting dynamic is explored in more detail and given great range across the season. Both actors are fantastic in their roles too, and this really helps to elevate this absolute gem of a show.

True Detective

Similarities – Mystery

True Detective is an excellent crime drama mini-series. It’s one of those gems that always comes up in “best of” discussions when mentioning detective series. And for good reason too.

This anthological series revolves around various different police investigations, unearthing personal and professional secrets of those involved along the way.

The first season in particular, revolves around a strange ritualistic murder that took place in 1995. Set deep in the heart of 2012, the series cleverly weaves these timelines together to form a clearer picture of what happened. To give much more away though would be a disservice to the story.

The other two seasons revolve around three officers brought together after a strange murder (season 2), and a missing persons case (season 3).

The acting is outstanding across the board too and True Detective has a great pacing that keeps things consistently engaging and interesting.

Mare of Easttown

Similarities – Small Town Mystery

Mare of Easttown is an incredible murder mystery. It’s a well-acted, enthralling and hugely satisfying 7 episode thriller. The show manages to combine deep characterization with a compelling narrative that runs through a series of different red herrings, clues and culprits in a believable way.

All of this leads to the final episode where one final twist serves as the cherry atop this beautifully constructed cake.

Mare of Easttown is hands down one of the best murder mysteries of the year and another reminder that TV is just as good – if not better – than big screen blockbusters.

You can read our thoughts on Mare of Easttown in our full season review here!


Similarities – Small Town Mystery

Moody, atmospheric and well written, if you’re looking for something tonally similar to Broadchurch – look no further.

The story here takes place in a town called Fortitude. Surrounded by the bleak beauty of the polar landscape, Fortitude portrays itself as one of the safest towns on Earth. However, a violent crime rocks the community, setting up an intriguing whodunit to follow.

Ironic, given its surrounding setting, Fortitude is a glacially paced show that you need to go into with some patience. However, the show soon reveals that there’s more here than meets the eye. A must-watch for sure.

So there we have it, our 10 TV show alternatives to watch when you’re finished watching American Rust on Showtime.

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!

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