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Can't keep all of TV's cop shows straight? Let us lend a hand

1 of 18 Doug Hyun/TNT


TNT's Perception stars Eric McCormack as a schizophrenic neuroscience professor who uses his unique skills to help the FBI solve crimes. As such, the show is the latest "cop drama with a twist." Don't believe us? Just click ahead to see our handy guide to some of the show's procedural forebears.
2 of 18 Craig Blankenhorn/CBS

Blue Bloods (CBS)

The Premise: Crime-fighting runs in the blood of the Reagans, who have been in law enforcement — as police officers and lawyers — for generations. The Twist: It's really a family drama. Couldn't you tell by all the Reagan family dinners? Could Be Confused With: True Blood, but in name only. For other reasons, it's not to be confused with the tony White Collar.
3 of 18 Beth Dubber/Fox

Bones (Fox)

The Premise: FBI Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) relies on forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and her team at the Jeffersonian Institute to solve murders. Booth is also totally into Brennan, who after six seasons, is now carrying his child. The Twist: As the show's name implies, the missing link in every case almost always comes back to the bones on Dr. Brennan's table. Could Be Confused With: CSI and Castle — the former because of the show's reliance on science to catch killers and the latter because of the core couple's will-they-won't-they drama.
4 of 18 Karen Neal/ABC

Castle (ABC)

The Premise: Mystery writer Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) begins shadowing Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) to find inspiration for his new protagonist, Nikki Heat. When Castle's creativity proves useful in solving cases, he leverages his relationship with the mayor to stay on as a consultant. (Plus: He has the hots for Beckett.) The Twist: Unlike most other hard-boiled cop shows, Castle keeps it light, thanks to Fillion's boyish charm and the show's unabashed love of pop culture. Could Be Confused With: Bones, Murder She Wrote.
5 of 18 Karen Neal/TNT

The Closer (TNT)

The Premise: Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick)is the twangy leader of the LAPD's Major Crimes Division. Passionate but often blunt, Brenda is known as the go-to person for securing a murderer's confession — sometimes by whatever means necessary. The Twist: Though she's a tough customer in the interrogation room, she's actually kind of a sweetheart. Fittingly, she's obsessed with sweets! Could Be Confused With: Saving Grace, TNT's (now-defunct) other cop drama led by a badass lady with a Southern drawl.
6 of 18 Christos Kalohoridis/USA Network

Covert Affairs (USA)

The Premise: CIA trainee and shoe connoisseur Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) is abruptly plucked up by the Domestic Protection Division and made a field operative to help capture her on-again, off-again beau Ben. The Twist: As a fish-out-water newbie, Annie is assigned a CIA guide, Auggie — who is blind. Could Be Confused With: Alias, without the double-spy awesomeness. Or Spy Daddy.
7 of 18 Monty Brinton/CBS

Criminal Minds (CBS)

The Premise: The FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit of profilers collars serial killers with the help of their tech goddess Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) and a high-flying jet. The Twist: It's not about the crime, but the criminal. As the title suggests, the good guys nail the bad guys by analyzing their warped minds. So yes, they have some pretty twisted thoughts themselves. Could Be Confused With: Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Who needs a whole team when Goren can just play minds games with you?
8 of 18 Robert Voets/CBS, Monty Brinton/CBS, Sonja Flemming/CBS

CSI, CSI: Miami, and CSI: NY (CBS)

The Premise: Crime scene investigators — led by D.B. Russell (Ted Danson) in Las Vegas, Horatio Caine (David Caruso) in Miami and Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) in New York — reconstruct murders using DNA, gun powder residue and hundreds of other microscopic pieces of evidence. The Twist: Forget the beat cops — here, the geeks rule. Could Be Confused With: Each other. Although each locale provides a different backdrop, the plots could really take place on any show at any time.
9 of 18 Liane Hentscher/Fox

Fringe (Fox)

The Premise: The FBI's Fringe Division — agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), genius/jack-of-all-trades Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and his mad scientist pop Walter (John Noble) — tackles the weirdest, most unorthodox cases, including the collision of two universes. The Twist: There's a parallel universe. Oh, and Peter never existed. Could Be Confused With: Star Trek. And who directed the movie? J.J. Abrams, who also executive-produces Fringe. See, it all comes full circle.
10 of 18 Norman B. Shapiro/CBS

Hawaii Five-0 (CBS)

The Premise: Navy officer Lt. Cmdr. Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) returns to Hawaii after his father is murdered and creates an elite crime-solving unit that can pursue any case it chooses with the governor's blessing. The Twist: It's Hawaii. Both the crooks and the cops look great in surfwear! Could Be Confused With: Justifiably so, the original Hawaii Five-0, the much stuffier, less explode-y series that ran for 12 seasons (1968-1980) and inspired CBS' current re-imagining.
11 of 18 Will Hart/NBC

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC)

The Premise: A spin-off of procedural mothership Law & Order, this installment focuses on the work of Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), a product of rape who now catches rapists. The Twist: Because the show deals in sex crimes, the victims don't always end up dead, allowing the cops to show their softer sides through empathy. Could Be Confused With: The franchise's four other shows — the original, Trial By Jury, Criminal Intent and Los Angeles — all of which have now been canceled.
12 of 18 Erik Heinila/TNT

Leverage (TNT)

The Premise: Former insurance investigator Nate Ford (Timothy Hutton) recruits a band of thieves, grifters and hackers to act as modern day Robin Hoods, executing elaborate cons to bring down the wealthy. The Twist: The bad guys are the good guys! Could Be Confused With: Not much. Although it's definitely a case-of-the-week show, its premise stands above the rest of paint-by-numbers cop dramas.
13 of 18 Sonja Flemming/CBS

The Mentalist (CBS)

The Premise: Former "psychic" Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) uses his powers of observation to help the California Bureau of Investigation solve crimes while he also pursues Red John, the serial killer who murdered Jane's wife and daughter. The Twist: Screw evidence! Jane sizes up his bad guys with a simple handshake and pleasant conversation. (Usually over tea.) Could Be Confused With: Psych. You don't have to be psychic to know why.
14 of 18 Cliff Lipson/CBS; Matt Kennedy/CBS

NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS)

The Premise: Teams of NCIS agents — headed up by stone-faced leaders Gibbs (Mark Harmon) in D.C. and Callen (Chris O'Donnell) in L.A. — solve crimes involving members of the armed forces and relating to national security. The California crew specializes in undercover work. The Twist: You're just a civilian? Who cares! Could Be Confused With: You can't spell NCIS without C-S-I.
15 of 18 David Russell/CBS

Person of Interest (CBS)

The Premise: Mysterious billionaire Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson) built a machine to predict criminal activity, but the government only wanted it to track terrorists. So, Finch hires ex-CIA special forces operative John Reese (Jim Caviezel) to hunt down the victims (or perpetrators) whose social security numbers the machine spits out. The Twist: They're vigilantes, although decidedly more nerdy tech-savvy. Could Be Confused With: Fringe, although that show's "machine" was much more dangerous.
16 of 18 Alan Zenuk/USA Network

Psych (USA)

The Premise: Police consultant Shawn Spencer (James Roday) convinces people he's psychic when it's really his incomparable observational skills that break cases. BFF/business partner Gus (Dule Hill) is along for the ride. The Twist: He's not really psychic! Could Be Confused With: The Mentalist, minus Patrick Jane's sun-kissed curls .
17 of 18 Doug Hyun/TNT

Rizzoli & Isles (TNT)

The Premise: Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) is a Boston homicide detective whose best friend, Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander), just so happens to be a medical examiner and forensics expert. Dynamic duo? We think so! The Twist: Jane is totally a tomboy and Maura is the epitome of glamour. What's that got to do with solving murders? We're not sure, but the show reminds us of the Odd Couple pairing every chance it gets. Could Be Confused With: TNT's legal procedural Franklin & Bash. Darn those ampersands!
18 of 18 David Giesbrecht/USA Network

White Collar (USA)

The Premise: Con man Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) and stand-up FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim Dekay), who caught Neal, agree to team up to catch white collar criminals as part of a work-release program for Neal. The Twist: It's a buddy cop dramedy with a good cop and a (former?) criminal! Could Be Confused With: Blue Collar TV. It's also not to be confused with Blue Bloods.