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7 Shows Like Animal Kingdom to Watch If You Like Animal Kingdom

Hope you like crime dramas about brothers

Liam Mathews
Ben Robson, Shawn Hatosy, Finn Cole, and Jake Weary, Animal Kingdom

Ben Robson, Shawn Hatosy, Finn Cole, and Jake Weary, Animal Kingdom


Sun-kissed SoCal crime drama Animal Kingdom premiered in 2016 and became one of cable network TNT's most successful shows. Viewers came for the elaborate heists and stayed for the complex characters and family dynamics. The story of the Cody clan came to an end this summer with an explosive, no-holds-barred finale. Animal Kingdom is based on the 2010 Australian film, which earned Jacki Weaver an Oscar nomination for playing Smurf, the Cody family matriarch played by on the show by Ellen Barkin in Seasons 1-4 and Leila George in flashbacks in Seasons 4-6. If you like the show but haven't watched the movie, you have to check it out; it's awesome. Ben Mendelsohn is one of the greatest actors alive. If you have seen it and are looking for even more things to watch like TNT's Animal Kingdom, we have some recommendations. 

There are dozens of crime dramas that could go on this list, but we've tried to narrow it down to macho family dramas about brothers (or brothers in arms) who do crime together, plus a few shows with different premises but similar vibes because they were produced by Animal Kingdom executive producer John Wells. One of them is called Kingdom; all of them are about animalistic people. We're confident you'll find something that floats your surfboard.

More recommendations:

Peaky Blinders

Finn Cole, Peaky Blinders

Finn Cole, Peaky Blinders

Matt Squire/Netflix

If you need an actor to play a nephew who has a complicated relationship with his uncles, you get Finn Cole. The babyfaced actor has played similar roles on Animal Kingdom and the British crime family drama Peaky Blinders for years. On Animal Kingdom, Cole plays Joshua "J" Cody, Smurf's teenage grandson whose introduction to the family business drives the show in its early episodes. On Peaky Blinders, which also ended after six seasons this year, he plays Michael Gray, son of family matriarch Polly Gray (Helen McCrory). In the final season of the slick interwar period-set thriller, he swears revenge on his much older cousin, gang leader Tommy Shelby. Animal Kingdom and Peaky Blinders are both shows about how the family that does crimes together doesn't necessarily stay together. 

Sons of Anarchy 

Kim Coates, Charlie Hunnam, and Tommy Flanagan, Sons of Anarchy

Kim Coates, Charlie Hunnam, and Tommy Flanagan, Sons of Anarchy


Maybe Animal Kingdom would still exist if Sons of Anarchy hadn't been a big hit for FX; it's not like Sons of Anarchy was the first testosterone-fueled series about a criminal brotherhood. The template has been around for a long time. But Animal Kingdom is so obviously TNT's attempt at a Sons of Anarchy-style crime family drama that it could be called Sons of Sons of Anarchy. The blood-related SoCal Codys are a little bit more of a self-contained unit than the Central Valley outlaw bikers of SAMCRO, which means their conflicts are more frequently internal than they are with other gangs, which are a bigger part of Sons of Anarchy and its spin-off Mayans M.C. But if you love shows about modern outlaws, like Animal Kingdom, and have somehow missed Sons of Anarchy, rectify that ASAP. 


Demetrius Flenory Jr. and Da'Vinchi, BMF

Demetrius Flenory Jr. and Da'Vinchi, BMF



Another show about brothers doing crimes together, BMF is based on the true story of Demetrius "Big Meech" Flenory and Terry "T" Flenory, charting their rise from humble origins as street-level drug dealers in Detroit in the '80s to becoming cocaine kingpins with close ties to the hip-hop industry in the late '90s and early '00s. Young Meech is played by Big Meech's real-life son, Demetrius Flenory Jr. BMF leans pretty heavily on crime drama cliches, but it's an engaging watch steeped in the themes of brotherhood, masculinity, and turning to a life of crime as way to escape poverty. 


Jonathan Tucker, Nick Jonas, and Frank Grillo, Kingdom

Jonathan Tucker, Nick Jonas, and Frank Grillo, Kingdom


This drama is a lot like Animal Kingdom from its title on down, though it's more about brotherhood and less about crime. Also set in Southern California, it's about a dysfunctional family of MMA fighters who have similar relationship dynamics to the brothers of Animal Kingdom. The pilot episodes have a very similar structure, where a family outsider gets welcomed back into the fold. Kingdom's version of Animal Kingdom's J is Ryan Wheeler (Matt Lauria), a once-promising fighter who gets out of prison and comes looking for a job at the struggling MMA gym owned by family patriarch Alvey Kulina (Frank Grillo), who is now in a relationship with Lisa (Kiele Sanchez), Ryan's ex-fiancee. Alvey's sons Jay (Jonathan Tucker) and Nate (Nick Jonas) are also troubled young fighters with complicated lives. The loose cannon Jay, in particular, could be one of the Codys. The show ran for three seasons on the Audience Network from 2014 to 2017. 

The Black Donnellys

Keith Nobbs, Michael Stahl-David, Billy Lush, Thomas Guiry, Olivia Wilde, Jonathan Tucker, and Kirk Acevedo, The Black Donnellys

Keith Nobbs, Michael Stahl-David, Billy Lush, Thomas Guiry, Olivia Wilde, Jonathan Tucker, and Kirk Acevedo, The Black Donnellys

Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

This one is another show about brothers, also featuring Kingdom's Jonathan Tucker. The Black Donnellys, which ran for one underrated season on NBC in 2007, follows the titular Irish American boys as they try to survive on the mean streets of Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen. It's a bit exaggerated — it had been 20 years since Hell's Kitchen stopped being the gritty Irish Mob-controlled ethnic enclave the show depicted as contemporary — but it has a propulsive crime drama structure and great performances from a large ensemble cast that features a young Olivia Wilde. If you're looking for another easy-to-watch drama about skewed brotherhood, this one will do it for you. 



Arija Bareikis, Michael McGrady, Tom Everett Scott, Ben McKenzie, Regina King, Michael Cudlitz, Shawn Hatosy, and Kevin Alejandro, Southland

Mitchell Haaseth/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

This extra-gritty cop drama also comes from Animal Kingdom's John Wells. It follows a group of LAPD officers as they do the job, which is always dangerously unpredictable. The series ran for five acclaimed seasons between 2008 and 2013, one on NBC and four on TNT. Southland focuses on a different side of the law than Animal Kingdom does, but it has many things in common with the latter show, including a Southern California setting, a sun-bleached visual aesthetic, and the presence of Shawn Hatosy, Animal Kingdom's loose cannon Pope. Here, he plays a cop named Sammy Bryant, the partner of Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie), the show's J Cody character, from whose perspective the audience sees things. The great cast also includes Regina King and Michael Cudlitz




Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME

Shameless, Showtime's long-running dysfunctional family dramedy about the Gallaghers of Chicago, isn't much like Animal Kingdom on the surface. The Gallaghers could never manage the kind of organization the Codys' crimes require. But both shows come from executive producer John Wells and figured out how to keep the story going for a long time. They're both family dramas where the head of the family — matriarch Smurf on Animal Kingdom and patriarch Frank (William H. Macy) on Shameless — has done an absolute number on their offspring, and much of the conflict on both shows springs from how their children deal with them and with each other in relation to their unsafe parent.