10 Best Christmas-Themed Episodes of Crime Series

Bones / Castle / Veronica Mars

The holiday season is often stuffed with feel-good episodes full of family moments, festive cheer, and fun adventures. But who’s to say crime dramas can’t have a little Kris Kringle?

From real-life holiday horror stories like Oxygen’s Homicide for the Holidays to network crime dramas like NCIS, scroll down to see our top 10 Christmas-themed crime drama episodes.


NCIS' "What Child Is This?" (Season 16, Episode 10)

The NCIS team defers their holiday plans when a murdered Navy veteran’s case is linked to an abandoned newborn baby.

Available to stream on CBS All Access.

The X-Files

The X-Files' "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas" (Season 6, Episode 6)

Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) check out a house claimed to be haunted by a couple who died after a Christmas suicide pact. The real twist: they find two corpses that are identical to each other. The episode ends with an unsolved mystery, as the two ghosts sit by a fire and Mulder and Scully exchange presents at home. Ah, the holidays.

Available to stream on Hulu.

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Bones' "The Santa in the Slush" (Season 3, Episode 9)

Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz) investigate the death of a man resembling Santa and whose legal name is Kristopher Kringle. As Christmas approaches, Booth and Brennan also share a moment underneath mistletoe.

Available to stream on Hulu.

Homicide for the Holidays

Homicide for the Holidays' "Silent Night, Lethal Night" (Season 2, Episode 7)

When a mother and her two daughters are absent at Christmas dinner, police officers discover their bodies shot to death.

Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

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CSI's "Lost Reindeer" (Season 14, Episode 11)

A high-end realty group is shocked to find their company Santa stabbed to death (and seemingly also run over by his sleigh) in the middle of their posh holiday office party. “Grandma may have gotten over by a reindeer, but Santa just got sleighed,” assistant coroner David Phillips (David Berman) jokes. And here’s the real Christmas bonus: a live reindeer guest stars in the episode.

Available to stream on CBS All Access.

Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars' "An Echolls Family Christmas" (Season 1, Episode 10)

Father-daughter detective team Keith (Enrico Colantoni) and Veronica (Kristen Bell) both pursue separate Echolls family cases: Keith tracks down Aaron Echolls’ (Harry Hamlin) stalker, while Veronica investigates who stole Logan’s (Jason Dohring) poker money. Who doesn’t love a little Veronica Mars holiday cheer, topped off with a great midseason finale cliffhanger twist?

Available to stream on Hulu.

Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds' "A Place at the Table" (Season 10, Episode 20)

Three generations of a wealthy Maryland family are murdered at their dining room table while Jingle Bells eerily plays. The team investigates all surviving members of the family as possible suspects, while coming to terms with their own personal familial dramas. A touching moment: Hotch (Thomas Gibson) makes peace with his former father-in-law after discovering he has Alzheimer’s.

Available to stream on Netflix.

Hawaii Five-O

Hawaii Five-0's "Ke Koho Mamoa Aku" (Season 5, Episode 9)

Steve (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danny (Scott Caan) steal a Christmas tree from a nature preserve while the rest of the team travels to the Big Island to solve a cowboy’s murder.

Available to stream on CBS All Access.


Castle's "Secret Santa" (Season 5, Episode 9)

A man dressed as Santa falls from the sky, while Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) celebrate the holiday season for the first time as a couple.

Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.


NCIS: Los Angeles' "Merry Evasion" (Season 5, Episode 12)

The team searches for a motive when a senator’s daughter is attacked in this midseason finale episode.