Are you a fan of true crime, gore, and mystery? Do you feel your heart racing, palms sweating, and mind ticking at 1000 oscillations per second every time you watch some mystery series? Do you feel this strong urge to gang up with the detectives and unravel the truth? Then the BBC channel has the best antidote for you. Sherlock, which is a fresh take on Conan Doyle’s anthology centering on the same protagonist, is one movie series you should look out for. It has got murder, mystery, drama, action, and so much more than you can fathom.
Mark Gattis and Steven Moffat outdid themselves with the direction and execution of this brilliant TV series that brings to life the fictional detective from 221B Baker Street, whom we have all idolized at some stage in our life.
Sherlock is set in modern-day London, where halogen lamps have been replaced with street bulbs, there is no room for outdated investigative techniques, and the crimes are more serious than mere house theft or robbery. In the midst of all these is Sherlock, played beautifully by Benedict Cumberbatch, an egocentric genius and social recluse who overshadows Scotland Yard time and again in solving mysteries.
Sherlock is assisted by veteran and longtime friend, Dr. Watson, played by Martin Freeman. Watson’s character has retained its flavor from the original novel as the bumbling, honest, righteous sidekick but is now more active and even possesses considerable deductive skills.
Together Sherlock and Watson race through the dingy alleys of London and the highways of Paris, and many more astounding filming locations, to catch the perpetrator and put the audience in awe. Every episode brings in a new plot, new characters, some old enemies, and some new friends, each with an interesting history and significance.
The show ran for seven years and is probably one of the most successful detective shows ever. It won 93 awards, including 9 Primetime Emmy awards, and garnered a whopping 183 nominations in various categories. If you loved watching Sherlock and want to experience the same kick out of other shows, we have curated the perfect watchlist for you. They are gritty, inviting, exciting and oh-so-perfect for you to dig into.
1. The Mentalist
Simon Baker steps into the shoes of an extraordinary genius and independent investigator, Patrick Jane, whose sole motive is to seek out the man who murdered his family brutally, Red John. Patrick has sound deductive powers, made even more pronounced by his knack for observing people closely, and is some “mentalist” who can read criminal minds like a pro.
With revenge on his mind, he joins the CBI and Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon to snoop out criminal masterminds, which can however prove to be both a blessing and a headache. Created by Bruno Heller, the TV show spanned seven years with 151 episodes and earned several awards and recognition.
Castle is used to people fangirling over him and his books to get a hint of the next mystery he’s going to write about and probably get a mention of themselves in it too. He is rich, he is widowed, and he is a father to a 16-year-old; more importantly, he writes thriller novels that have made him a household name.
So when Richard Castle decides to kill off the main character in his thriller series, he unknowingly triggers a madman who goes on a rampant killing spree following the same pattern as Castle did in his books. Castle decides to track him down along with the NYPD and the young, intelligent, and sexy detective, Kate Beckett.
Directed by Andrew W. Marlowe, the show aired on March 9, 2009, and set the screens on fire. If you are looking for a gritty, mind-boggling, intelligently crafted crime drama series, this is the show for you.
Temperance Brennan is not your average girl working with the FBI, and she happens to be a forensic anthropologist with deductive and empirical skills that will put to shame even the brightest minds in charge of the investigation department. The only issue is that she happens to be a social recluse and would rather spend her time at the Jeffersonian Institute playing with the bones of the deceased.
However, Special Agent Seeley Booth recognizes the genius in her and persuades her to assist him in solving crimes. The two have starkly different perspectives and work methods that create friction but also lead to capturing some of the most dangerous criminals on the loose. Starring Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz, the show was probably one of the longest-running in TV history, with a record of 245 episodes across 12 seasons.
4. Criminal Minds: Evolution
Created by Jeff Davis, this is probably one of the best true crime detective drama series. The series kicked off in 2005 with an ensemble cast comprising some of the big names in Hollywood, like Kirsten Vangsness, Matthew Gray Gubler, A.J. Cook, Joe Mantegna, and many more. The warriors of justice here are an elite bunch of investigative enthusiasts working under the FBI but operating independently out of Quantico, Virginia.
They have unique ways of solving crimes and analyzing profiles of high-class criminals to prevent them from taking the next step. The show also portrays a deep bonding among the members of the unit, who are more than just colleagues, but the demanding nature of their profession often strikes discord in their personal lives. The series is now on its 16th season, and with a huge fan base, it is here to stay.
5. NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Services
Much like the former series, this one also deals with a special subsection of the FBI but investigates shady dealings that take place within the naval academy and services. Based out of Washington DC, the department is led by the witty and fastidious Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs and includes a team of specially gifted geniuses who share a knack for adventure and mystery.
Every episode comes with a new twist, a set of new characters, and more importantly, often relates past cases with the current ones that give each season a sort of finale ending. The show was hugely popular right from its inception and went on to gross 27 awards and nominations for Primetime Emmy awards thrice.
6. Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni delivered one of their best presences on the screen of all time with this drama series that is sure to catch you off-guard. The NYPD is riddled with bureaucratic pressure, filed reports that no one has glanced through for ages, pending workload, and an air of laziness in the face of gradual obliteration.
It is the up to detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler to help reform the department and especially bring to justice the perpetrators of heinous sexual crimes. That is what makes the show a revelation in ways. Each episode deals with a new kind of crime, and some may be committed out of pure passion, some from jealousy or hatred, and others with vengeance on their minds. The show went on to earn 6 Primetime Emmy awards with a total of 56 wins and has 171 nominations to its credit.
7. Law and Order: Organized Crime
As a spin-off of Law and Order: SVU, this brand-new series focuses on the journey of Elliot Stabler, who has been reinstated by the NYPD to fight crime both within and outside the police department. Elliot has suffered a personal loss that has left him almost distraught, and the process of bereavement is yet not over for him.
However, the NYPD feels the urgent need to pick at his brains to snoop out on a world-class criminal, and Elliot cannot say no. Starring Christopher Meloni as Stabler and a completely new cast with fresh faces like Rachel Lin, Mike Cannon, and Danielle Moné Truitt, this show would appeal to all the fans of Law and Order. The Word is that there is a season 3 in the making, due to be released on December 8, 2022.
8. Law and Order: Criminal Intent
Created by Dick Wolf again, this is yet another spin-off to the original Law and Order, but one that deals with a completely different branch of specialized crime. This is the NYPD Major Case Squad that comprises the sensitive, intelligent, pure-magic-on-TV Detective Robert, the witty and hardworking Alexandra, and a bunch of other specially trained individuals.
Together they work at a harmonious pace in trying to snoop out criminals from their hiding places and deliver justice to the victims. The series has a glittering cast that includes Katherine Erbie, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jamey Sheridan, and Leslie Hendrix. It spanned six seasons and 195 episodes across ten years and has even received quite a several awards and nominations.
9. CSI: Miami
David Caruso steps into the shoes of a former homicide detective, Horatio Caine, who runs the highly specialized and extremely work-intensive investigatory department from the tropical depths of Miami. Horatio’s team includes a bunch of highly skilled and extraordinarily genius individuals, with a wide variety of expertise, from ballistics to forensics to underwater recovery.
Together they take on high-class criminal cases which elude even the FBI and make it their goal to bring each of their masterminds on trial before a court of law. However, this social good also invites unwanted disputes, threats, accelerated crimes, and cryptic cases, which require nothing but the best the investigators can offer. Created by Ann Donahue and Carol Mendelsohn, it sprawled for an entire decade and has 4 Primetime Emmy awards to its credit.
10. CSI: NY
The full-blown success of the original CSI drama incentivized CBS to bring out another engrossing drama series, rather a CSI anthology, with this one being set in New York. CSI New York branch is led by veteran detective Mac Taylor who lost his wife in the 9/11 tragedy and has turned to solve crimes as an emotional leeway.
Mac’s dream team consists of Detective Stella Bonasera, a sexy, intelligent young woman who speaks her mind, to be later replaced by yet another savvy detective, Jo, and other youngsters. One remarkable thing about this show is that it brings in characters from several other CSI series, including Sheldon Hawkes. Created by the same people who were at the helm of CSI: Miami, the series was nominated for 5 Primetime Emmy awards and won a total of 12 awards.
11. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
With an attention-grabbing catchphrase, “Sin never sleeps,” this show probably ran for the shortest period, only five years but has captured an unprecedented amount of viewership and goodwill. Drawing parallels from other CSI ventures, this drama series also showcases a highly selective department in the heart of Las Vegas Crime Bureau, headed by a determined, experienced and astute detective.
Here this detective is none other than Dr. Raymond, played by Laurence Fishburne, who is assisted by CSI Catherine Willows, a smart detective with a knack for decoding puzzles; CSI Nicholas, the muscle of the department; Greg Sanders, their tech genius and others. This dream team has been oft credited with solving some of the most perplexing of crimes and murders, which makes the drama simply better with each episode.
12. CSI: Vegas
Following the hugely popular and much-appreciated telecasting of CSI, CBS announced that it was planning to release yet another sequel to the franchise with the setting in the glittering gutters of Vegas. The show was accordingly aired in 2021 and has had only two seasons so far, but that cannot undermine the brilliance of it all.
Maxine Robby is the female in-charge detective at Las Vegas Crime Lab. Given the pathetic and rapidly dilapidating forensics department here, she would have to approach old contacts in an attempt to restore order, peace, and justice. The show is yet in the making, and hence nothing can be commented on the characters that would be too definitive. But it keeps getting better with every watch; the murders are gruesome, the plots are mysterious, and the criminals are as sinister as you could expect. All of this makes the show worth watching.
13. NCIS: New Orleans
Created by Gary Glasberg, this show is filmed in New Orleans, more specifically, The Big Easy, which has a bigger-than-life atmosphere with music, women, and lots of entertainment. In the midst of this is the local crime bureau, headed by Special Agent Dwayne “King” Pride, a native of the Big Easy and driven by the desire to do what is right and just.
The department also consists of Special Agent and longtime cop buddy of King, Christopher Lasalle, Special Agent Tammy Gregorio, who’s a cynic but has probing skills that will put even the brightest minds to shame, and Sebastian Lund, their forensics guy with a scientific bent of mind. There are other characters, too, each with certain interests and expertise, all of which help them work cohesively as a team and bring down the perpetrators of crime. The series sprawled across seven seasons for seven years and was nominated for several awards.
14. NCIS: Los Angeles
Shane Brennan cannot be credited enough for this genius production that spanned 15 years and across 14 seasons. Based out of Los Angeles, the show follows the trajectory of a special investigation unit composed of highly skilled and astute investigators whose passion and livelihoods depend upon sniffing out criminal masterminds who work behind closed doors.
The strength of this department lies in G. Callen and Sam Hanna, both of whom have struggled through their initial phases of childhood and paved their way to higher ranks. Starring Chris O’Donnell, Daniella Ruah, Eric Christian Olsen, and Miguel Ferrer, the show garnered one of the highest numbers of TRPs and has a broad-based audience.
15. NCIS: Hawaii
The NCIS series returns, this time on the shores of Hawaii, with Special Agent Jane from NCIS Pearl Harbor taking the lead. She is also the first female in charge to do so, which makes the show an even more compelling watch. As a hardworking, determined, brave, and independent woman, she has to struggle to meet the demands of her family as well as deliver justice to the wronged and crime victims.
This is, however, not a one-man operation, and she can rely on a stable unit composed of scientists, tech geniuses, keen sleuths, and muscular men who share a similar passion as her. Each episode invites a fresh plot and natives with sinister dealings with international criminals, all of which makes the show worth watching. The show kicked off in 2021 and, to date, has two seasons and a total of 33 episodes under its belt.
If you love a good detective drama show but with more scientific truth to it that will tease your gray cells, then this show should be on your binge list. The series’s protagonist is Walter O’Brien, a shoddy sixteen-year-old who also happens to be a prodigy with an IQ of 197, the fourth highest in the world.
He has an interesting backstory related to his childhood, where he tried to hack into NASA’s highly confidential system and steal their blueprints for putting up posters in his bedroom. Once he came of age, he banded with a bunch of other eccentric geniuses like him to solve high-class international crimes that might threaten the human race on Earth. His team includes Toby, their behavioral analyst, and Sylvester, who’s some human-computer. Happy handles the mechanics and Agent Gabe, their middleman. The show is highly addictive and worth each minute of every episode.
Starring Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, this 2012 American crime drama series is a modern take on Conan Doyle’s fictional Sherlock Holmes. Miller plays the role of the witty, egocentric genius detective wasting his years in New York, away from all kinds of social interaction, whereas Lucy Liu is the female sidekick, Dr. Joan Watson.
Watson has been employed by Holmes’ father to keep him sober and shares the same passion for solving crimes as Holmes. Throughout the seasons, they introduce new cases and new character arcs, all of which make the show a must-watch for true-crime fans. It spanned six seasons and a total of 154 episodes, which earned six awards and 19 nominations, including 2 for the Emmys.
18. White Collar
Matt Bomer plays the charming, sexy, beguiling, and bewitching con man, Neal Caffrey, who has been approached by FBI Special Agents to help him solve crimes that are too difficult to solve from the outside. Neal Caffrey is crafty with his mind games and delicious puppy dog eyes, whereas Detective Peter Burke is a straightforward simpleton who wants to do his job right.
However, his promotion in the department has brought upon a load of cases, all of which need special details and insider information that only Caffrey can provide. The series is not a gritty and gruesome true crime drama but rather a fun, entertaining, and humorous watch that also encapsulates witty banters between the two protagonists. The show ran for five years and was nominated for several awards.
Created by Steve Franks and starring James Roday Rodriguez as the protagonist, Shawn Spencer, and Dulé Hill as his sidekick and good friend, Burton Guster, this show is a refreshing, humorous, and addictive watch. Shawn earns his livelihood pretending to be a psychic and, along with best friend Burton, runs a private investigation business, Psych.
The two have enlisted the Santa Barbara police as their clients to help them catch criminals and smell out conspiracies, but they are as inexperienced as they come. This creates a comedic approach to an otherwise thrilling show and also introduces several cases that might put to the test Shawn and Buster’s investigative acumen. The show spans over eight seasons and has received several awards and nominations, including 1 Primetime Emmy.
Adrian Monk is a germaphobe and former detective at the San Francisco police department who lost his wife to a gruesome murder. The murderer is yet to be caught, but the crime was so heinous that it distorted Monk’s perspective and even cost him his job in the homicide department.
Now he assists the police unofficially to help them solve equally elusive criminal cases and put the perpetrators behind bars. Tony Shalhoub plays the role of the endearing, funny, weirdly complicated, and OCD-diagnosed Monk who has quirky and offbeat methods to sniff out potential criminals. He is aided by Randall Disher and Natalie Treeger, both of whom are capable and intelligent in their respective departments. The show was hugely successful, evident from the 8 Primetime Emmy awards it has to its credit and several other awards.
21. Lie to Me
Tim Roth, who has previously played memorable roles in The Hulk and Twin Peaks, steps into the shoes of Dr. Cal Lightman, who is an expert in studying and analyzing human body language. He is a deception artist with a real knack for observing people and bringing the truth out in broad daylight.
His gift does not go unrecognized, and before long, he is approached by the police to help them solve high-profile criminal cases. Cal is entitled to a team of his own that includes some of the most brilliant minds available at his disposal, like Dr. Gillian Foster, Eli Loker, and Ria Torres. Created by Samuel Braun, the series is amazingly good and not your average true crime drama. It has received several awards and nominations for several Primetime Emmy awards.
22. Person of Interest
Created by Jonathan Nolan, this drama series brings together the best of both worlds – true crime and AI, that blend in such exciting proportions that it’ll leave you slavering. Harold Finch is a billionaire software developer who was entrusted with the task of building machines for the government to help them monitor every move of every guy across the world.
Finch creates The Machine, and only the government wants to get hold of it for their selfish purpose when instead it could help them prevent crimes. Enter John Reece, a former Special Agent who was thought to be dead previously. Reece and Finch then team up to evade the government and use The Machine for the greater good of mankind, which kicks off a cat-and-mouse chase. The series was a huge success and received critical acclaim and even a nomination for a Primetime Emmy award.
Kiefer Sutherland outdid himself with this particular drama series, playing the role of Chief Police in Operations, Jack Bauer, who’s embroiled in a race against time to save the world from disaster. Jack’s world comes crashing down one day when he spoils an assassination plot targetting a Presidential candidate but uncovers a worldwide terrorist conspiracy.
In the meantime, his daughter gets kidnapped, which puts strain on his marriage, and this complicates the process further. What is unique about the series is that every episode shows Jack tackling crime and on a mission in just under an hour, so the entire season adds up to 24 hours and hence the title. Created by Robert Cochrane and Joel Sunrow, this highly appraised drama series bagged 20 Primetime Emmy awards and 74 other wins.
24. X Files
This series suggestion may be a bit off track, but if you are in it for the thrill and suspense, then you won’t be disappointed. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson team up to play the intriguing cop duo, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, respectively, who have been entrusted to probe into unsolved murders and missing cases.
However, as they deal with the X-Files, Dana chances upon evidence of paranormal activity and is convinced there are some greater supernatural forces at work. But Mulder is not ready to believe in her yet. The series received immense critical appreciation, as evident by the 16 Primetime Emmy awards, 100 wins, and 207 nominations it has to its credit.
Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan have created some masterpieces with this thriller drama series which is quirky and dystopian. Inspired by Michael Crichton’s Westworld (1983), the show revolves around the fictional Westworld created by Dr. Robert Ford, a scientific theme park, and its inhabitants.
The inhabitants are all scientifically engineered to resemble humans, except they are androids, and whenever a human attempts to step into this fantasy world, he is encouraged to indulge in his wildest desires without any consequence. The series is a symbolic representation of how dangerous human desires can be if they go unregulated. Starring an ensemble cast comprising Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Anthony Hopkins, and Luke Hemsworth, the series has bagged around 16 Primetime Emmy awards.
26. Black Mirror
The title of this drama is derived from the black screen that is often found when you switch on the TV and can view your reflection on it. If this is not intriguing enough, then the fact that the series revolves around a fictional world, “Black Mirror,” where individuals meet their duplicates, with one trying to be perfect and the other indulging in their deepest desires unbounded.
The show merges science fiction with rationality, satire with suspense, and delivers some of the jaw-breaking dramatic moments ever to be aired on TV. Every episode stars new characters and a new story, all set in Black Mirror. Created by Charlie Brooker, the show continued for eight years and won 6 Primetime Emmy awards, and received a total of 207 nominations in various categories.
27. Breaking Bad
Walter White is a chemistry prodigy but works as a high school teacher in Albuquerque, Mexico. He has one specially challenged son and a wife who’s about to have a second issue. So when Walter gets diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer that too in its terminal stage, he decides to quit his job and join Jesse Pinkman in manufacturing and dealing with a select variety of meth.
However, this quickly grabs the attention of the local DEA and White’s brother, Frank, and also invites other problems. One of the best shows to be ever created on American TV, this thriller drama series has one of the highest IMDb ratings, won 16 Primetime Emmy awards, 154 other different awards, and got nominated 247 times in various categories.
28. Better call Saul
If Breaking Bad was appealing enough to you, you could not miss Better Call Saul. It is a spin-off of sorts from the previous series that centers around Walter White’s lawyer, Saul Goodman, and his fateful interaction with Walter White and Pinkman in the future. Played by Bob Odenkirk, Saul Goodman, formerly known as Jimmy McGill, was a small-time attorney who had shady dealings.
However, he also happens to be an excellent criminal lawyer and is assisted by the beautiful and intelligent Rhea Seahorn. Often categorized as a dark comedy of sorts, there are criminal elements to it and, of course, mystery cases that need to be solved. All of these amp up the must-watch quotient of this gem of a series. It has been nominated for 46 Primetime Emmy awards and has won all of them, besides receiving 250 nominations in several other categories.
29. Stranger Things
A band of high school kids teams up to fight unknown supernatural creatures devised by evil scientists to wreak havoc on Earth – that is the central theme of this series. But if you think there is no suspense, murder, or mystery to it, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Millie Bobby Brown plays the role of Eleven, a girl with supernatural powers who escapes from a lab after authoritative government agents try to harness her powers and kill her. She befriends Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Nancy and involves them all in one hell of a mission to put an end to it all. The series kicked off in 2016 and is four seasons down, with the 5th one yet to be released. It has won 12 Primetime Emmy awards and a whopping 267 nominations in several categories.
Golden Globe winner Michael C. Hall plays Dexter, a crime detective with a caustic sense of humor. Dexter is a forensics specialist, except he’s way too good at his job and at sniffing out the possible perpetrators or at gauging the criminal’s modus operandi, so much so that his half-sister, Debra often enlists his help in solving them. Debra, again, is a Special Agent in the homicide department.
However, there is one dark secret that Debra doesn’t know, and nor does anyone else- Dexter Morgan himself is a serial killer. Based on a true story, the drama series is extremely intriguing, deep, and irresistible, with each episode bringing in a new angle to the plot and teasing your gray cells like anything. The show was critically acclaimed and received 4 Primetime Emmy awards, 53 awards in other categories, and 196 nominations in total.
31. Prison Break
When Lincoln gets falsely accused and imprisoned for murdering the brother of the Vice President of the United States, it is up to his brother to retrieve him from the pits of hell, Fox River State Penitentiary. Michael happens to be an engineer who designed the layout of the prison himself, and the security on the same, as well as the escape route, is as complex and intricate as you can imagine.
Michael purposefully gets himself indicted and sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit only to help his brother escape, and that too, through a series of clues hidden in body tattoos. Created by Paul T. Schering and starring Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller in the lead roles, this drama series is quite suspenseful, mysterious, and worth a watch. It got nominated for one Primetime Emmy award and received eight other awards in different categories.
32. The Walking Dead
Created by Frank Darabont and starring some of the big names in Hollywood, like Andrew Lincoln, Melissa McBride, Danai Gurira, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, this show started in 2010 and is continuing even today. With the 11th season officially under wraps, the Word is that its immense success over the past 13 years has made the creators toy around with renewing it for yet another season.
Rick Grimes is the Deputy Sheriff in a small town who wakes up from a coma after several years only to find himself at the crux of a zombie apocalypse. Grimes tries to search for his family in vain but, in the process, finds himself a bunch of survivors who might help him scourge for food and possibly stay alive. The series is quite different from Sherlock, yet the drama, intrigue, and thrill are all present in bucketful.
Idris Elba plays the leading role in this gritty, true crime Brit drama series as the genius detective with a knack for solving the most perplexing of crimes. However, as is the case with most intellectual prodigies, his out-of-the-box methods and twisted logic makes him pretty unpopular among his peers and even more difficult to get a simple task done.
But Luther then befriends criminal mastermind Alice Morgan, played by Ruth Wilson, who got acquitted due to lack of evidence. Alice and Luther share an electric chemistry that not only sets the charts reeling but also helps them catch criminals. The series changed the course of British TV drama and even earned the show 11 nominations for Primetime Emmy awards.
34. The Fall
Written and created by Allan Cubitt, this is another British drama that is essentially a psychological thriller with so much suspense and intrigue that it might put your gray cells to shame. The series parallelly focuses on a serial killer from Belfast, Northern Ireland, by the name of Paul Spector, and a female detective, Stella Gibson, from the London Metropolitan Police who has been assigned to put him behind bars.
However, the task is not as easy as it looks because Paul Spector leads a double life as a husband and father, which makes the process of indicting him difficult. Starring Jamie Dornan and Gillian Anderson, the series is only three seasons long but has rendered a memorable impression on all viewers.
Adapted from the highly acclaimed novel series written by crime novelist Ann Cleeves, this British drama series is the best thing you’d watch on TV right now. Shetland follows the ordeals of Jimmy Perez, detective, and investigator, as he tries to solve a high-profile criminal case within the mysterious and small island town of Shetland.
Jimmy is, however, not alone; he is assisted by a team of equally brilliant and hardworking individuals who have expertise in different areas. There is DS Alison McIntosh, Perez’s right hand, DC Sandy Wilson, and PC Alex Grant. The series is down only seven seasons but has introduced so many twists and turns over the years, with new characters and newer plotlines, that it can potentially send your mind reeling. It has been nominated for several awards over the years, and it keeps getting better and better.
36. Mare of Easttown
Mare is the detective at the Easttown Police Department who has been quite celebrated in the olden days for her superbly executed line of investigation and for bringing potential criminals to justice. Now a mother of two and divorced, she is struggling with her alcohol addiction and is plagued by the unsolved missing case of the daughter of one of her best friends.
To add to her disappointment, yet another girl gets murdered, and this forces her to reopen the file for all the missing people from Easttown. Starring Kate Winslet as Mare, Evan Peters as Colin, and Guy Pierce as Richard, the show is only seven seasons long. It has, however, won several awards, including 3 Primetime Emmys.
37. Line of Duty
Created by Jed Mercurio, this fast-paced British thriller follows the story of Detective Steven Arnott, who was at the helm of a botched operation to catch some Islamic terrorists that resulted in the loss of an innocent man’s life. Because of his negligence and mismanagement, Arnott gets demoted and transferred to AC 12, a small unit designed to fight corruption.
He pairs up with Constable Kathrine Fleming and starts unraveling the mysterious dealings that occur behind closed doors within the department. Starring Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar, and Polly Walker, the series was nominated for 13 BAFTA awards and won 19 other awards in different categories.
Golden Globe winner Olivia Coleman and David Tennant from Dr. Who team up to deliver this cinematic brilliance, one of the most highly rewatchable British drama series, second to Sherlock. In the small town of Dorset, 11-year-old Danny Latimer is found dead and floating on the idyllic shores of Broadchurch.
This alleged murder seems both preconceived and heinous, requiring the best of minds to catch the perpetrator. Alec Hardy is that person, and he is assisted by the salty Ellie Miller, who wants to investigate it solo. The rest of the series follows the course of the investigation and unravels more secrets within the Broadchurch community than you comply fathom. It won several awards in different categories and is one of the most successful crime dramas.
39. Prime Suspect
Hellen Mirren takes center stage with this beautiful cop drama rendition for British television. Jane is a hardworking, determined, independent, and assertive woman who, by a strange turn of events, lands one of the most complicated and unsolved cases of all time.
What started as an isolated homicide case of a young prostitute, Della Monday quickly escalated into multiple crimes and a hushed-up affair among the higher ranks within the department. This makes Jane’s task even more dangerous, especially when she cannot trust anyone around her. Written by Lynda La Plante, the series was released in 1991 and played for seven seasons over five years.
40. Midsomer Murders
Created by Caroline Graham, the series follows the trajectory of a British detective John Barnaby, who is neither a very keen investigator nor one who has a track record of solving way too many crimes. But when strange occurrences keep taking place in the fictional County of Midsomer, it will require Barnaby to rise to the occasion and pull off something great.
The show, as such, is not a very serious drama with gore and crime aplenty, but there are several instances where the thrill and suspense will get to you. There are comical interludes and a few goofs here and there, too, that make it an entertaining watch. It is 22 seasons long, and the Word is that there might just be a 23rd season in the making. Starring John Nettles, Jane Wymark, Barry Jackson, and Jason Hughes, the series has received seven nominations so far and one award.
41. Agatha Christie’s Poirot
If you are a fan of fictional characters adapted from books and novels, it doesn’t get better than Agatha Christie’s masterpiece. Starting from 1989, David Suchet plays the role of the little, cartoonish, endearing, and astonishingly shrewd Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, who is assisted by Arthur Hastings, played by Hugh Fraser.
The series starts as an adaptation of one of Christie’s all-time masterpieces, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and the success of that particular episode motivated the creators to continue with more such screen adaptations. What’s even more exciting about this Brit drama show is that over the years, the scriptwriters have included some of the most notable names in crime fiction, from Agatha Christie herself to Anthony Horowitz, Ian Hallard, and Mark Gatiss.
Straight from the mind’s eye of Bill Dubuque, who has formerly delivered well-crafted thrillers like The Judge and The Accountant, comes this intensely dark comedy with true crime elements. Starring Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner, and others, this series is probably one of the biggest hits on Netflix.
Bateman plays the role of Marty Byrde, a financial planner who shifts out of Chicago to a community rec center in the Ozarks. However, Marty gets embroiled in some money laundering scam, and soon it threatens the dynamics of his family, which is already hanging by a loose thread. It is essentially a crime drama, but there are several intriguing angles to it too. The series went on to win 4 Emmy awards and 22 other awards in different categories.
43. Doctor Who
Doctor Who, also referred to as The Doctor, is essentially a time traveler who shifts through space and time from his home planet in Gallifrey to other universes, including the Earth. Across the several seasons, the lead actor has changed multiple times, from Jodie Whittaker to Peter Capaldi to Matt Smith to David Tennant.
Every new season brings in new drama, adventure, mystery, and intrigue. At the heart of all of this is Dr. Who’s quest to solve crimes caused by supernatural entities and solve mysteries. The series has won 4 BAFTA awards, 118 awards in different categories, and has been nominated 218 times in total.
Set in Minnesota, this crime drama series which happens to be a dark comedy of sorts too revolves around different characters in different seasons, a “whodunnit” crime sequence, and a cat-mouse chase, all of which effectively traces back to Fargo in North Dakota. Every season serves a new plot with new characters and a new crime, but the essence of it remains the same.
A detective gets called in from the city to unravel clues about some mysterious occurrences, and soon people start getting killed, which only complicates the system further. The series has starred some legendary actors like Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Colin Hanks, Kirsten Dunst, Ewan McGregor, and Chris Rock, all of whom have delivered stellar performances. It has 6 Primetime Emmy awards, 62 wins, and 247 other nominations.
Oscar-winning director David Fincher and Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron produced this one hell of an intriguing series that will appeal to every true crime aficionado. Mindhunter is nothing like your ordinary cop drama or mystery thriller series, and it doesn’t necessarily involve cops going after criminals and trying to prevent crimes.
It rather takes us into a psychological study of the criminals’ minds and their backstories, what motivates them to act in the horrific way that they do. FBI Agent Holden Fort is a recruit to the department and quickly earns a reputation for being the earnest new guy without any experience. He seeks the help of criminal psychologist Bill Trench and another associate to understand the famous criminal cases of Ted Bundy, Edmund Kemper, and others. The series got nominated for 2 Primetime Emmy awards and has several others to its credit.
46. American Crime Story
Produced by John Travolta, Monica Lewinsky, and some other big names in Hollywood, the series follows several high-profile murder cases and criminal activities with proper factual backing and historical evidence. One may even call it a docu-series of sorts.
Season 1 follows the infamous trial of O.J. Simpson, who was wrongfully implied in a racially motivated crime season 2 narrates the assassination of Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace, the secret to it yet unearthed, but it offers some interesting insights into the probable cause of his murder. It is a biographical crime drama of sorts and what makes it even more interesting is the fact that the episodes are based on real events in history. Starring Sarah Paulson, Annaleigh Ashford, Sterling K. Brown, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Margo Martindale, among others, the series went on to win 17 Primetime Emmy awards, 103 other awards, and received 245 nominations in all.
47. Big Little Lies
This women-centric crime drama is one of the newest and freshest things that Netflix has to offer to you in recent times. Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley play the protagonist trio – three wealthy suburban housewives who get caught amid a murder scandal in their quaint California homestay.
Madeline and Celeste take in the newly single mom, Jane, and her little boy under their guidance, but when a murder happens in the local schoolyard, it makes them question everything. The series is a short one, spanning only two seasons, but it has garnered 8 Primetime Emmy awards, 54 other awards, and 101 nominations in several categories.
48. The Undoing
Nicole Kidman delivers yet another scintillating performance in this mini-drama series produced by HBO and co-starring Hugh Grant, Donald Sutherland, and Edgar Ramírez. Kidman plays the role of psychiatrist Grace Fraser who seemed to have a pretty sorted life with her rich and loving husband and son with the makings of a keyboard maestro someday.
Her life turns upside down; however, when her husband goes missing, violent murder takes place, and in the process of searching for him, she makes some terrible revelations about his past. The series is only six episodes long but has already been nominated for 6 Primetime Emmy awards, won 2 other awards, and received 37 other nominations.
49. Sharp Objects
Camille is a reporter who has previously been confronted by a violent murder and a troublesome childhood and, as such, has been at a psychiatric rehab facility for almost a year. She returns now to her hometown to investigate the murder of two adolescent girls, and that forces her to come face to face with some internal demons of her own. ‘
She is plagued by her hypochondriac mother and teenage half-sister and, more importantly, the eerie grip they have over the entire town. Starring Amy Adams as Camille, Patricia Clarkson as the mother, Eliza Scanlen as the half-sister, and Chris Messina as the town detective, the show is available on Disney Hotstar. It has been nominated for 8 Emmys.
50. True Detective
Save the best for the last, and in this case, if you are looking for some serious, mind-boggling, nerve-wracking crime drama series, it simply doesn’t get better than this. This American psychological thriller series is only three seasons long, and each season unravels a new case, with new characters hot on the trail of some perpetrator, and as usual, nothing is black and white.
The first season stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, who try to pin the man behind a series of occult practices and murders of innocent girls. The second season follows shady business-men signing deals to keep others quiet, and the third season depicts some Tennessee murder case with a racial angle to it. The series bagged 5 Primetime Emmy awards, 30 wins, and 93 nominations in different categories.
Besides these top 50 crime drama series, you can add others like Candy, Perry Mason, and the more recent Dahmer. Every series included in this list comes highly recommended and critically acclaimed and is a perfect watch for a Friday night. If you are a true crime enthusiast, this should be your comfort show watchlist, so get it straight away.
Also watch: 90 Best Drama TV Shows of all Time.