Do you know the shows that are constantly seeking new actors? Police procedurals and hospital dramas are the working actor’s best friend; fresh plots each episode call for whole new casts of supporting roles and guest stars on a weekly basis. Here are 15 such shows that (thankfully!) create tons of jobs for actors.
“Law and Order: SVU”
Dick Wolf’s “Law and Order” franchise has long been a huge employer of New York-based actors. The numerous, long-running shows are true police procedurals, meaning that challenging new principal roles are called for every week. As the only “L&O” branch still on the air, “SVU” casts hundreds of actors each year and offers fabulous opportunities for challenging dramatic roles.
Dick Wolf also executive produces this popular NBC show about the brave men and women of Chicago Engine Company 51. Four seasons in, the show requires dozens of actors to portray paramedics, firefighters, and other FD personnel in each episode, and to play family members and friends of “Chicago Fire” series regulars.
A police-focused spinoff of “Chicago Fire,” this NBC hit will air 23 episodes over the course of its third season—great news for actors looking to land those guest-starring roles. The procedural crime drama requires new characters each week, and features suspenseful plotlines that allow lucky actors to show off their dramatic chops.
This extremely long-running hospital drama has been creating tons of roles for actors since it premiered way back in 2005. Between a frequently-changing surgical staff and a constant new roster of patients, countless actors have graced the “Grey’s” set, with no sign of stopping yet.
This CBS police procedural follows an old-school NYPD family, exploring their personal drama along with their work on the streets. Currently airing its sixth season, the show shoots locally in New York City and features a large rotating cast of gritty New York characters.
“The Good Wife”
The only show on our list that is neither emergency nor crime focused, “The Good Wife” centers on the political realm. Julianna Margulies plays a former litigator who returns to work as a result of her high-profile husband’s sex scandal. Though episodes are serialized (progressing the same plot each week), the show requires many recurring characters as well as weekly guest stars.
This popular NBC crime drama has all the makings of a long-running show, which is good news for actors hoping to get their first break or find steady work as recurring guest stars. James Spader stars as a former U.S. Naval Intelligence Officer-turned one of the FBI’s most wanted, and the plot follows his unlikely partnership with a rookie agent (Megan Boone) as they take down the world’s most dangerous terrorists.
Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu star in this modern, New York-based adaptation of “Sherlock Holmes,” now in its fourth season on CBS. The show’s revolving mysteries offer plenty of opportunities for new characters to be introduced each week, and its snappy script offers moments of lightness in the midst of gruesome plotlines.
“The Mysteries of Laura”
A relative newcomer to the procedural genre, this Debra Messing-helmed police dramedy casts new actors each episode in a variety of roles. Messing plays an ambitious NYPD detective and mother to twin sons, an impressive dichotomy that offers plenty of chances for personal and professional drama.
“Person of Interest”
Gearing up for Season 5, this hit CBS sci-fi drama involves multiple government agencies, bad guys, police officers and more; in other words, it’s chock full of excellent recurring roles. The story centers on a mysterious genius and a former assassin as they team up to prevent crimes through artificial intelligence.
This USA Network dramedy follows former ER doc Hank Lawson as he cares for the rich and powerful as a doctor-for-hire in the Hamptons. Plotlines (and bizarre cases) vary week to week, and the show’s lively setting and quirky characters call for talented actors from all walks of life.
The CBS original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” just ended after an incredible 15 years, but the popular franchise is not done yet. The latest addition is “CSI: Cyber,” a weekly procedural focused on cyber-terrorism and other Internet-based crimes. Like its predecessors, “Cyber” offers plenty of opportunities for interesting characters on both sides of the law. Get ready to think like a hacker.
This long-running ABC show recently entered its eighth season, and features large casts of guest star, recurring, and co-star roles each episode. The show’s comedic tone comes largely from star Nathan Fillion as the crime-solving, mystery novel-writing title character, and chemistry with co-star Stana Katic creates a lightness even in the show’s darker moments.
Another crime show with a serio-comedic tone, Fox’s “Bones” has been creating juicy roles for actors for 11 seasons and counting. Emily Deschanel plays the title character, a forensic expert and novelist who solves crimes for the FBI. David Boreanaz co-stars as Special Agent Seeley Booth, and the dynamic duo encounter dozens of guest stars and recurring characters each episode.
This major franchise leader for CBS is now in its thirteenth season, and inspired popular spinoffs “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “NCIS: New Orleans.” All three shows involve the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Major Care Response Team, a group of special agents charged with solving crimes within the U.S. Navy. Weekly episodes require tons of new actors to portray military personnel, innocent victims, criminal masterminds, and more.