Forget the vastly overrated CSI franchise.
Forget the nearly dead Law & Order franchise.
Forget the various other police procedurals.
The Mentalist beats them all.
Why? Because The Mentalist has a protagonist that is an unapologetic sociopath (Patrick Jane). granted, Jane has plenty of reasons to be an uncaring, unfeeling sociopath. His bragging on television about his role as a psychic (he knew he was a con man actually) led directly to the serial killer Red John murdering his wife and daughter.
But he is still a sociopath. He is the kind of man who bluntly tells parents that their children are "dead" or "probably dead". He tells children that one of their friends or family members have been murdered because "children heal faster". He makes an entire large group of people believe they have been exposed to a deadly virus and have only hours to live. He buries a man alive to get a confession.
Patrick Jane is so eminently watchable not only because he is a sympathetic sociopath with a mean and cruel sense of humor but because deep down, he is a bully in the finest "Dirty Harry" mode.
Jane doesn't use violence usually (though he has gunned down three people, including one cold blooded murder). In fact he often shrinks from violence quite cowardly.
But he bullies with his mind. Shamelessly lying and playing cruel mind games on people. Turning them against each other. Having no qualms about setting people violently against each other.
And he is utterly unconcerned (and sometimes amused) at the chaos he causes.
Jane does all this knowing that he is untouchable. He has been told flat out that he can do anything "short of murder" and get away with it.. Ironically, within a season of being told that Jane (through jury nullification) gets away with cold blooded murder.
Watch The Mentalist.