British crime shows (split from Mare of Easttown)

lengmolengmo RTP, NC
If you're enjoying Mare of Easttown (influenced by British crime shows) or just looking to try something different, the UK offers a wide variety of police/crime/mystery shows.  I'll mention some good/bad (personal preference) ones I've seen; hopefully others will chime in.

Babylon - amazing dialogue

The Bay - a police officer and mother tries to keep her household together while solving crime.  I found the second series stronger than the first.

Broadchurch seasons 1-2 - great interplay between the two detectives investigating murders

Death in Paradise seasons 1-6, 10 - (Mostly) lighthearted series about a fish out of water UK detective sent to a Caribbean island where he solves crimes.  May be problematic for some viewers (white male detective in charge of black officers).

Foyle's War - crime doesn't stop just because there's a War on.

Gangs of London - heard great things about this but haven't seen it yet.  Clips on YT indicate the action is amazing.

Grace - only one episode out but strong so far

Line of Duty - internal affairs investigating police corruption.  Gets more unbelievable with each new series (like a lot of British crime shows) but has strong material/scenes

Luther - serious (gory) crimes

Marcella - while completely unbelievable, Anna Friel keeps the show interesting as a policewoman with a mental disorder

Prime Suspect - tough policewoman makes her way in a male-dominated force.  I found it good until the drug dealer? episode where the quality nosedived.

Sherlock - Holmes and Watson in modern times.  I found the show uneven but still entertaining.

Unforgotten - two detectives investigate cold cases.  I find the stories pretty meh but the two leads elevate the material

Vexed - comedy

Death in Paradise seasons 7-8 - boring detective

Life of Crime - notable mostly for Haley Atwell as the star

Prime Suspect: Tennison - attempted reboot of classic series

Wild Bill - US police chief moves to UK to becomes a chief constable.  Dull except for some interesting characters

Death in Paradise season 9 - show writers badly misjudged the humor this season

Broadchurch season 3 - not just the victim was hit in the back of the head this season, the writers were as well

DeecdriveTeresa from Concord


  • DeeDee Adelaide
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    Also, I thought Broadchurch S1 was phenomenal, S2 was craptacular, and S3 was an okay, run of the mill crime drama. 

    I have so many things to say about this genre so I apologise right now that I am probably going to monopolise this thread.
    Teresa from Concord
  • lengmolengmo RTP, NC
    edited May 2021
    Dee said:
    Also, I thought Broadchurch S1 was phenomenal, S2 was craptacular, and S3 was an okay, run of the mill crime drama.
    I guess we can disagree.  S3 came across as some spinster's polemic against non-Church sanctioned sexuality. (ETA: talking about the extreme reactions to porn in the show.  The police handled the rape cases with sensitivity).

  • DeeDee Adelaide
    Unforgotten is a powerhouse of quality acting. Everyone from the regulars to the season’s guests to the one off appearances are just amazing. The main thing I love about it is that the cops take their jobs and the victims extremely seriously. There’s no “quirky” gallows humour, Stableresque abuse of perps/suspects, showboating mavericks, etc. It’s very much a procedural in the truest sense of the word. I feel that the cops other than Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar are a little underwritten - I’d like to know more about Fran, Jake and especially MVP Murray, but I also appreciate that they’re not TV Cop stereotypes. 

    Line of Duty is completely bonkers in a fun way. It’s so convoluted I have to watch catch ups and recaps every time a new season hits, because I can’t remember a damn thing. I just finished watching the latest (and final?) season, and a lot of people hated it, but I’m coming around to it the more I think about it. (Don’t Google if you’re intending to watch it as there are massive spoilers everywhere.) 

    I’m sure any British crime drama fan worth their salt is already on to these, but I would also recommend Happy Valley, River (Stellan Skarsgård!), Strike, The Fall, DCI Banks, Safe, The Missing/Baptiste, The Five, Whitechapel, and Ripper Street. 
  • Teresa from ConcordTeresa from Concord Concord, California
    edited May 2021
    Anyone know which channel I need to watch Happy Valley here in America? I haven’t found it on any of the bazillion apps/channels I already have. I’m hoping wherever it lives I don’t have to pay $4.99 a month for it. 
  • Just finished Keeping Faith season 1 on Amazon Prime. I liked the show, hated the soundtrack.
  • Anyone know which channel I need to watch Happy Valley here in America? I haven’t found it on any of the bazillion apps/channels I already have. I’m hoping wherever it lives I don’t have to pay $4.99 a month for it. 

    I think I watched it on Netflix, but that was few years ago. Any free trials you can grab to watch it? Not a ton of episodes, could probably binge it in a week. In any case it's definitely worth watching!
  • There's a show on Prime called "The Capture" that my cousin and I really liked.  It's hard to talk about what it's about without spoiling it, but it's basically about living in a city like London where CCTV is everywhere and how that can be used to incriminate or exonerate someone who's been accused of a crime.

  • lengmolengmo RTP, NC
    Other posters are jogging my memory.  Differing opinions are why you should try each show yourself, see what you like.

    Bodyguard - started strong but became sillier as it went
    Collateral - twisty anti-terrorism story hurt by lead actress having four facial expressions
    Criminal UK - (Netflix) well done
    DCI Banks - watched a few episodes; title character was too emotional for me
    Paranoid - mostly interesting to see Indira Varma (Ellaria Sand on GoT) as a ditsy policewoman
    River - great leads, story didn't work for me
    Touching Evil - unbelievable plots but stars a young Nicola Walker
  • PBS seems to specialize in airing the lighter, more "comfort food" types of British procedurals, so I've been catching occasional episodes of Death in Paradise, Father Brown, Vera, and, most especially, Midsomer Murders. Midsomer Murders especially reminds me of why there were years where I'd hear of people marathoning Law and Order reruns on USA or wherever they aired. At this point, I've become a fan of the show in spite of myself, even though it's the same formula every time, the murderer is usually the same kind of character, and it rarely takes the actual deaths all that seriously. Reminds me of Doctor Who in that last regard. What's more, it's not even the original guy that I'm watching, it's the second DCI Barnaby, John, played by Neil Dudgeon. 

    I do also enjoy the "Hey, it's that guy/gal" as every British character actor in existence has apparently guest starred at one point in the show's 22 seasons. 

    While I don't think every show is great, I do appreciate that so many are set in different regions of the UK, giving the shows different feeling, character, and accents. Hinterland in Wales, Shetland up on its namesake Scottish islands, Vera in and around Newcastle; even on Death in Paradise, with all of its issues, I do kind of like that they set a show on a (fictionalized) Caribbean British territory. Also, when I discovered Gary Carr had been a main character for a few seasons, it occurred to me I have now seen him on DiP, The Deuce, and Downton Abbey, and not once have I seen him speak in his native English accent.


    Luther - Not the most complex of shows, but that cast!

    Shetland - I like this one quite a lot. The main guy is who I think of when I imagine the stereotypical serious British procedural detective. 

    Broadchurch - The first season was great. I did not watch the following series when their reviews were less than glowing. 

    Ripper Street - Not my favorite, but if you're into Victorian London, it might be for you. Points for introducing me to pre-Succession Matthew MacFadyen and for giving guest spots to what felt like half of Game of Thrones' early cast, including Jerome Flynn as one of the leads. 

    Hinterland - Only saw a couple episodes of this one. Seems pretty grim. 

    Midsomer Murders - Like I said, a bit of a guilty pleasure. Constantly has me question when the murderers of Midsomer County will figure out to stop murdering for a few days when DCI Barnaby shows up to investigate. You'd think the guy's reputation would get around. Roku has a streaming channel called Filmrise Mysteries and marathons the show every so often, so now I have two places to watch this one. 

    Vera - Not as somber as the PBS advertisements and Vera's wardrobe made me believe. 

    Father Brown - I've yet to watch a full episode, but Dad Weasley as a priest on a bicycle will probably pull me in at some point. Not to mention Bunty's fashion. She and Mrs. McCarthy seem to make a good team.

    Collateral - Only four episodes. Hard to beat that. 

    I am planning to catch Sherlock, Line of Duty, and Gangs of London at some point. 

    Anyone know which channel I need to watch Happy Valley here in America? I haven’t found it on any of the bazillion apps/channels I already have. I’m hoping wherever it lives I don’t have to pay $4.99 a month for it. 
    I want to say it's on BritBox, but I'm not sure. 
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    @jluzania In Australia, Midsomer Murders is everyone’s mum’s favourite show. I have yet to see an entire episode but I’m probably only a few years off becoming a die hard fan. 

    I love that there are about 17 British actors that just rotate through all the crime dramas - Nicola Walker, Indira Varma, Darren Boyd, Lorcan Cranitch, James Norton, etc etc etc. 
  • lengmolengmo RTP, NC
    Grace episode 2 was awful.

    Law & Order UK - Starts with good cast then they leave over the seasons. Still, watchable if you want a story resolved each episode.
  • I also liked " Murder at White House Farms". based on a True Story, Limited series of 8 Episodes and Featured at least 3 actors from Game of Thrones, including Robert Baratheon, Yara Greyjoy and Reek,. great True crime mini series if your into that.
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