16 Must-Watch Movies Similar to The Departed

If you loved the thrilling undercover game played by cops and criminals in "The Departed," then you're in for a treat! Check out these 16 must-watch movies that will keep you on the edge of your seat with their gripping crime, drama, and thriller genres. Get ready to dive into the shady underworld of deceit, loyalty, and suspense as you embark on a cinematic journey similar to Martin Scorsese's masterpiece.

1) Infernal Affairs II

Infernal Affairs II is a prequel to Mou gaan dou, and it stands completely alone, even though the audience already knows the ultimate ending. The first movie in this series was a complex thriller, while this film is more character-driven and takes a wider perspective on Hong Kong society. It is like a tale of adversaries on opposite sides of the law, much like Michael Mann's 'Heat.' The subtle behaviors of the heroes and villains alike are more interesting than the macho posturings of the gangsters and cops depicted in American movies. Although Tony Leung is absent from the original cast, these two movies in the series are as complementary and as good as each other. So if you enjoyed The Departed, you should definitely watch Infernal Affairs II.

Release date: October, 2003
IMDB Rating: 7.3

2) American Gangster

American Gangster is a film that will definitely remind you of The Departed. Both movies delve into the gritty world of crime and corruption, showcasing the complex dynamics between law enforcement and the criminal underworld. While The Departed takes place in South Boston, American Gangster unfolds in the bustling streets of New York City. The plot of American Gangster is partly biographical, drawing inspiration from the true story of Frank Lucas, a Harlem drug lord. Denzel Washington delivers a captivating performance as Lucas, a charming yet deadly criminal. Similarly, Leonardo DiCaprio shines in The Departed as an undercover cop trying to identify a mole within the police force. Both films feature outstanding casts, with Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson in The Departed, and Russell Crowe in American Gangster. Despite their differences, these movies share a common thread - they provide an intense and captivating exploration of the depths of human nature and the blurred lines between good and evil.

Release date: January, 2008
IMDB Rating: 7.8

3) Ab Tak Chhappan

Ab Tak Chhappan is reminiscent of The Departed in its portrayal of the police force and organized crime. Both movies dive deep into the world of law enforcement and showcase the complex relationships between cops, mobsters, and the system they operate in. While The Departed takes place in South Boston, Ab Tak Chhappan is set in Mumbai, but they both explore the challenges faced by police officers dealing with corruption and the thin line between good and evil. The performances in both films are outstanding, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Nana Patekar delivering powerful and nuanced portrayals of their respective characters. However, their approaches differ. The Departed focuses more on undercover work and the psychological toll it takes on the characters, while Ab Tak Chhappan delves into the life of an encounter specialist, showcasing the mind games and difficult decisions they must make.

Release date: February, 2004
IMDB Rating: 7.8

4) The Pledge

The Pledge starts off with an impressive array of big names in the opening credits, making you say "Oh wow" multiple times. However, the real star of the film is Jack Nicholson, whose charismatic and natural acting steals the show. It's a reminder of how incredibly talented he is. The movie sets up an interesting premise with a retired detective who believes the real killer of children is still at large. Instead of actively pursuing him, the detective decides to wait and sets a trap. While it's not the most exciting idea, Nicholson's performance keeps you engaged. The film takes a strange turn towards the end, with an ending that is cheap, unrealistic, and extremely unsatisfying. It feels like a letdown after investing so much time and care into the story. However, despite this disappointment, it's hard to make a bad film with Nicholson as the lead.

Release date: November, 2001
IMDB Rating: 6.8

5) Law & Order: LA

Law & Order: LA takes you on a thrilling journey through the crime-ridden streets of Los Angeles, much like The Departed does in South Boston. While The Departed focuses on the intense world of undercover cops and mobsters, Law & Order: LA takes a different approach by showcasing the investigations of police detectives and the subsequent prosecutions by district attorneys. The two movies share the common theme of law enforcement and the pursuit of justice, but they have their own distinct styles. The Departed is a cinematic masterpiece that delves deep into the gritty underworld, propelled by the stellar performances of Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson. On the other hand, Law & Order: LA thrives as a gripping series, gradually finding its footing and direction. The complex crimes in Law & Order: LA offer unexpected twists and turns, sometimes even straying far from their original starting point.

Release date: September, 2010
IMDB Rating: 6.7

6) Felony

Felony is reminiscent of The Departed in its exploration of the criminal underworld and the blurred lines between law enforcement and criminal organizations. While The Departed takes place in South Boston and focuses on the Irish mafia, Felony is set in Australia and revolves around an accident that sets off a chain of events for a police officer. Both movies fall under the genres of Crime, Drama, and Thriller, and they both delve into themes of police corruption, moral dilemmas, and the consequences of one's actions. However, The Departed, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson, is a sprawling epic with a runtime of over 2.5 hours, while Felony, written by Joel Edgerton and starring Joel Edgerton, Jai Courtney, and Tom Wilkinson, is a more compact film with a runtime of around 1.5 hours.

Release date: August, 2014
IMDB Rating: 6.1

7) Law & Order: Organized Crime

Law & Order: Organized Crime is reminiscent of The Departed because both stories revolve around the theme of organized crime and the efforts of law enforcement to combat it. In The Departed, an undercover cop and a mole in the police infiltrate an Irish gang in South Boston, while in Law & Order: Organized Crime, Elliot Stabler returns to the NYPD to battle organized crime after a devastating personal loss. Both narratives explore the complex dynamics between the police and criminals, highlighting the challenges and dangers involved in such operations. However, while The Departed is a cinematic masterpiece directed by Martin Scorsese, Law & Order: Organized Crime takes a different format as a series. Nonetheless, fans of The Departed will find Law & Order: Organized Crime engaging as it continues the thrilling exploration of organized crime in a TV series format, with Christopher Meloni reprising his role as Elliot Stabler.

Release date: April, 2021
IMDB Rating: 7.7

8) Prisoners

Prisoners is reminiscent of The Departed because both movies delve into the dark underbelly of crime and feature intricate plotlines with suspenseful twists. While The Departed focuses on the infiltrations of an undercover cop and a mole within an Irish gang, Prisoners revolves around the desperate search for two missing girls and the vigilante justice that ensues. Both films keep you on the edge of your seat, but Prisoners takes it a step further by exploring the psychological toll of being trapped both physically and mentally. With stellar performances from Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, Prisoners is a gripping drama that will leave you questioning the boundaries of justice and the lengths one would go to protect their loved ones. So, if you enjoyed the intensity and complexity of The Departed, Prisoners is a must-watch that will keep you invested until the very end.

Release date: October, 2013
IMDB Rating: 8.1
19 Movies Like Prisoners: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

9) Alarm für Cobra 11 - Die Autobahnpolizei

"Alarm für Cobra 11 - Die Autobahnpolizei" takes place in Germany and follows two police inspectors and their team as they fight criminals on major highways. It's reminiscent of "The Departed" in the sense that both involve law enforcement dealing with crime, but the similarities end there. While "The Departed" is a gritty crime thriller set in South Boston, "Alarm für Cobra 11" is an action-packed German series with a touch of humor. The German show focuses on high-speed car chases and jaw-dropping stunts, often sacrificing realism for the sheer fun of it. The plot holes are as big as Jupiter, and the continuity goofs are innumerable, but that's part of the charm. If you're looking for a thrilling and action-packed series that doesn't take itself too seriously, "Alarm für Cobra 11 - Die Autobahnpolizei" is the perfect choice.

Release date: March, 2014
IMDB Rating: 6.3

10) Gardiens de l'ordre

Gardiens de l'ordre is reminiscent of The Departed in its exploration of the gritty world of crime and corruption. Both movies delve into the dark underbelly of society, with Gardiens de l'ordre focusing on two police officers who find themselves entangled in the city's seedy underworld after a routine noise complaint escalates. While The Departed takes place in South Boston and centers around an undercover cop and a mole infiltrating an Irish gang, Gardiens de l'ordre unfolds in France and follows the protagonists as they try to clear their names by delving into the world of drug trafficking. Both movies share the crime, drama, and thriller genres, offering audiences an intense and suspenseful viewing experience. However, while The Departed received critical acclaim and won numerous awards, Gardiens de l'ordre falls short in terms of plot development and realism.

Release date: April, 2010
IMDB Rating: 6

11) El comisario

El comisario is a Spanish series that takes place in San Fernando, a small police station in Madrid. Although it is set in a different country and has a lower rating, it shares a key topic with The Departed: police. While The Departed focuses on the intricate world of undercover cops and mobsters in South Boston, El comisario takes a broader approach, showcasing the daily challenges faced by Chief Castilla and his team as they handle various cases. The Departed's intense and suspenseful plot is contrasted by El comisario's more episodic nature, allowing viewers to dive into different criminal investigations each episode. While The Departed captivates with its star-studded cast and its gripping portrayal of organized crime, El comisario offers a unique perspective into the world of law enforcement in Madrid, making it a delightful choice for fans of police dramas looking for a fresh and captivating series.

Release date: April, 1999
IMDB Rating: 5.9

12) Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is reminiscent of The Departed because both revolve around the theme of police work and crime. While The Departed focuses on an undercover cop and a mole in the police infiltrating an Irish gang, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit follows a specially trained squad of detectives in the New York City Police Department investigating sexually related crimes. Both are gripping crime dramas that provide an intriguing look into the world of law enforcement. However, there are notable differences between the two. The Departed is a cinematic masterpiece directed by Martin Scorsese, featuring an all-star cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson. On the other hand, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is a long-running series led by Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni.

Release date: September, 1999
IMDB Rating: 8.1

13) Unit One

Unit One is reminiscent of The Departed in its thrilling portrayal of the police force and the criminal underworld. While The Departed takes place in South Boston and follows an undercover cop and a mole infiltrating an Irish gang, Unit One is set in Denmark and follows a mobile task force dispatched across the country to solve tough cases. Both movies delve into the dark and gritty world of crime, showcasing the complexities of police work and the challenges faced by law enforcement. However, while The Departed focuses on the Irish mafia and organized crime, Unit One explores a variety of cases, including the murder of a child and true crime. Additionally, The Departed is a feature film with a runtime of 2 hours and 31 minutes, while Unit One is a series with multiple episodes, allowing for a more in-depth exploration of its characters and storylines.

Release date: October, 2000
IMDB Rating: 8.1

14) CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is reminiscent of The Departed because both involve the world of crime and law enforcement. While The Departed is a gripping crime drama set in the Irish mafia of South Boston, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation follows an elite team of forensic experts as they solve crimes in Las Vegas. Both share the key topics of police and crime scene investigation, providing a captivating look into the world of crime and the people who fight it. However, they differ in format and setting. The Departed is a cinema movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 31 minutes, while CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is a series with episodes that span approximately 1 hour. The Departed focuses on the intense undercover operation and the moral dilemmas faced by the characters, while CSI: Crime Scene Investigation delves into the scientific and procedural aspects of crime-solving.

Release date: October, 2000
IMDB Rating: 7.7

15) The Wire

The Wire takes you deep into the Baltimore drug scene, showcasing the perspectives of both drug dealers and law enforcement. While The Departed focuses on an undercover cop and a mole in the police trying to uncover each other's identities while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston, The Wire offers a broader exploration of the entire city of Baltimore. If you loved The Departed, you'll be drawn to The Wire's intricate storytelling, exceptional writing, and abundance of fascinating characters. It may be a bit violent and complex for some, but if you appreciate the craft of filmmaking and enjoy a series with attention to detail, The Wire is a must-watch. Each season delves into a different facet of the city, gradually becoming more complex and engrossing. With its compelling characters and outstanding writing, The Wire is undoubtedly one of the greatest shows ever made. Watch it, and you'll likely join the ranks of the 3000 people recommending it to everyone you know.

Release date: June, 2002
IMDB Rating: 9.3
11 Must-Watch Movies Similar to The Wire

16) Hunter

Hunter: In this thrilling series, tough Homicide detective Rick Hunter and his beautiful partner Dee Dee McCall screech tires and chase bad guys around San Diego. Reminiscent of The Departed, Hunter explores the world of crime and law enforcement, but with a more action-packed and adventurous vibe. While The Departed delves deep into the complexities of undercover work and the blurred lines between good and evil, Hunter focuses on the adrenaline-fueled escapades of its protagonist duo. With a mix of action, drama, and mystery, Hunter keeps you on the edge of your seat as Rick and Dee Dee navigate the dangerous streets of San Diego. So, if you enjoyed the thrilling ride of The Departed and want more heart-pounding action, Hunter is the perfect series for you.

Release date: April, 2003
IMDB Rating: 7.1

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