''Profiler'' was an American ForensicDrama on Creator/{{NBC}} starring Ally Walker as Samantha "[[InSeriesNickname Sam]]" Waters, a borderline-[[TheEmpath empathic]] [[TheProfiler criminal profiler]] working for the FBI. Along with the obvious influence of ''Film/TheSilenceOfTheLambs'', it is considered the precursor to modern forensic shows, with its characters operating out of an inexplicably dark [[TheBigBoard room with monitors]] and chasing overly-elaborate {{Serial Killer}}s.

Also notable for having a series-wide MythArc (a rarity in police shows back then) involving the "Jack of All Trades", an elusive killer who is fixated on Sam. Ally Walker left the show early in Season Four, which also wrapped up the Jack storyline.

In response to its star's departure, the show underwent a ReTool with a [[SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute suspiciously similar]] heroine, Rachael Burke. The show's writers also cooked up a brand-new BigBad for the feds to fight, a faceless crime kingpin named [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Damian Kennasas]]. Needless to say, the show wasn't as compelling as before and was soon canceled. As chance would have it, this was mirrored by a B-plot involving the probable shutdown of the task force's office thanks to congressional budget cuts.

For the trope, see TheProfiler.

!!This show provides examples of:
* BigBad: Jack of All Trades.
* BodyDouble: Rather bizarrely, Jack has decoys of himself running around everywhere. The first Jack is a transparent fake (an uncoordinated, [[EvilBrit Eurotrash]] geek packing a submachine gun); the second is more convincing, and just as amorous toward Sam. This is retroactively explained as a side-effect of Jack's brainwashing; the double literally believes he ''is'' the famous killer.
** Jack recreates Samantha's likeness in "Jill" (Traci Lords), a blonde lookalike whom he schools in the art of murder.
* CharacterAsHimself: To maintain the mystery surrounding its main antagonist, the opening credits list the actor as "and Jack".
* CrossOver: ''Profiler'' did two {{Cross Through}}s with the series that aired immediately before it, ''Series/ThePretender'', featuring an identity-swapping hero (Jarod) with no clue to his true past. Le gasp! A forensic psychologist is a Pretender's worst enemy! "End Game" crossed through into "Grand Master", and "Spin Doctor" crossed through into "Clean Sweep". Outside these multi-part crossovers, Jarod also turned up on a separate ''Profiler'' episode, "Pianissimo", towards the end of both series' runs.
* DeathByIrony: The modus of one killer is to decapitate his yuppie victims ("talking heads", as he disparagingly call them) and leave the severed heads in a newspaper bin. You can probably guess what the killer's [[OffWithHisHead ultimate fate]] is.
* TheEmpath: Sam has a "gift" to see into the minds of victims before they were murdered.
* EvilMatriarch: Jack is implied to have one.
** In one episode, we see a lonely, antisocial killer who is being dominated by his mother.
* TheFaceless: Jack, played by Dennis Christopher of ''Literature/{{IT}}'' fame. He steps into the open at last in Season 3.
* FairCop
* FreudianExcuse: A majority of the killers fit this mold.
* GraveMarkingScene: In a manner of speaking -- [[spoiler:Jack is gunned down]] by Sam in front of her late husband's grave.
* TheGrotesque: A psychopath who was deformed as the result of a forceps being used on him during childbirth.
* MasterOfDisguise: Jack masquerades as a small-town sheriff with a hillbilly accent in one episode.
* TheMentor: Bailey Malone (Robert Davi) to Sam.
* MindRape: Jack attempts this on Sam's daughter, Chloe, by masquerading as her child psychologist.
* MoleInCharge: Half-mad ([[HalfTruth and so half-sane!]]) FBI Director Joel Marks (Gregory Itzin).
* MustHaveCaffeine: Rachael's quirk is that she's obsessed with coffee.
* TheProfiler: Sam.
* RomancingTheWidow: Inverted -- Jack cut to the chase by bumping off Sam's husband first.
* RoomFullOfCrazy: The title sequences alludes to this trope by using a [[UsefulNotes/{{Fonts}} typeface]] that resembles crudely scrawled handwriting, making this Credits Full Of Crazy.
* StrangerBehindTheMask: After all that build-up, Jack turns out to be... some random guy we've never seen before.
* {{UST}}: Malone and Sam.
** The crossover with ''The Pretender'' results in some {{UST}} between the two leads, seemingly setting up for a crossover return. You would assume that Ally Walker leaving the show would have torpedoed that idea, but no -- the second Profiler, Rachael, made a cameo on ''The Pretender'' instead. The writers more or less overwrote the romantic tension with Sam, and sparks immediately flew between Jarod and Rachael instead.