Film & TV
This post was updated on May 9, 2018.
To call our love for crime dramas an obsession would be an understatement. The shock of the murders, the thrill of the hunts—it’s intoxicating. And better yet: it’s all happening to someone else. We know you love a good puzzle as much as we do. So we’ve scoured the corners of your favorite streaming hub in pursuit of the best crime mysteries on which to binge. In no particular order, here are our favorites.
A slow-burner about conflicted cops solving crimes among the austere woodlands of Wales, Hinterland looks a lot like your favorite detective dramas. What sets this one apart is its methodical Nordic noir and that it’s the first Welsh-made drama available to U.S. bingers. Warning: heavy accents ahead.
Related: 10 Thrilling Nordic Noir Novels
Veena Sud’s soggy Seattle-set procedural is drenched in murderous intrigue and features characters who don’t know how to smile. The Killing follows two detectives as they try to solve the murder of Rosie Larsen. The mood shifts throughout four seasons, but you can always count on the storylines being as bleak and thrilling as the skies they unfold beneath—and on the fact that you won’t want to stop watching.
Detective Kurt Wallander is no stranger to the screen. A character given life by Swedish author Henning Mankell, he’s seen many an adaptation. The one we’re recommending here, though, is the gritty four-season BBC-PBS saga starring Kenneth Branagh. Ax murders, dementia, online dating: it’s all here.
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
Looking for something a bit cozier in spirit? Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is your next binge. Phryne Fisher is a glamorous private detective in 1920s Australia. This case of the week is heightened by its lead performances, its wit, and its gorgeous clothes.
As its moniker suggests, Broadchurch is rooted in religion, particularly, the sins of man and how those sins refuse to stay buried. When authorities find the body of a murdered 11-year-old boy, their sleepy town of Broadchurch gets ripped apart. Get ready to worship at the altar of Olivia Coleman. The final season, which aired over the summer, was recently added. Get ready to binge.
More psychological thriller than color-by-number police procedural, this cat-and-mouse chase stars Gillian Anderson as Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson opposite her prey, Jamie Dornan, a serial-killing family man who has a thing for strangling the life out of attractive, successful brunettes.
13 Reasons Why
Technically a teenage whydunit, this Selena Gomez-produced series struck binge-worthy gold with its story of a high schooler who reveals her motivations for committing suicide over 13 highly emotional cassette tapes. The show has been intensely divisive among viewers. Some believe that the makers are unintentionally glorifying suicide; others hail it for starting a conversation. 13 Reasons Why has already had a second season confirmed for production.
This BBC crime drama was originally based on Ann Cleeves’s novels, but has since branched off to include fully original stories. Taking place on its namesake, the Shetland Islands, Shetland brings a taste of the Nordic to the United Kingdom. With a stellar cast and fantastic guest stars like Ciarán Hinds and Archie Panjabi, this chilling mystery series will satisfy.
Released in early October, and already confirmed for a second season, Mindhunter has become a phenomena. The mystery of Mindhunter isn’t so much about the crimes committed by infamous serial killers (although that certainly is a factor), but about the mystery of the mind of a killer. Real killers are featured in this offering from David Fincher, including Ed Kemper, the Co-Ed Killer.
A Brussels detective and his daughter move back to the Belgian town where he grew up, though their welcome home is cut short when the body of a football player is pulled from the nearby water source. Incest, S&M, and things that will shock even the most hardened mystery viewer make this series a standout. Also know: This one’s in French.
Hotel Beau Séjour
If this list is any indication, Belgian noir is having a moment, although this 10-episode, subtitled series takes a rather different approach: the murderee looks for her own murderer. Meet Kato Hoeven, the teenage protagonist who awakens to find she’s actually dead in a bathtub. Unraveling the events of Kato’s murder, even with her ghost to help, is a complicated and thrilling process.
This soapy Spanish mystery is perfect for those who wanted Downton Abbey to have just a bit more murder. Grand Hotel is set in 1906 and follows Julio, a young servant at the hotel. He’s taken the job after his sister disappeared while working there. He changes his name to hide his relation while trying to uncover just what happened to his sister. There’s plenty of cross-class mingling, scandal, and intrigue along the way. The show is currently being remade for American audiences by Eva Longoria, set to premiere sometime in 2018.
Idris Elba and his gritty cockney accent star in this BBC series dreamed up by Neil Cross about a brilliant yet impulsive detective whose investigative skills are as finely honed as the psychological warfare executed by his prey, a red-headed sociopath by the name of Dr. Alice Morgan, played by Ruth Wilson. Even if you've already watched Luther, it's time to rewatch—season 5 has been confirmed.
Related: British Crime Dramas to Die For
Damages’ creators go from urban jungle to a sweltering labyrinth of mangroves in the Florida Keys, where the Rayburns, once-proud pillars of their community, tirelessly try to keep their secrets from bubbling to the surface. Trust, there’s misery in paradise. And you know what they say about misery.
Did he, or didn’t he? That is the question in Ray McKinnon’s haunting character study about a small-town convict’s life after exoneration, the torment that continues to imprison him, and the innocent and not-so-innocent people who surround him. The answer? Everyone’s guilty of something.
What begins with the sodden body of a homecoming queen washing ashore the banks of an idyllic town unfurls into the one of the most iconic murder mysteries of the ‘90s. Stylized and often just plain odd, it’s straight out of the mind of David Lynch. Bonus: The acclaimed new season is currently airing on Showtime, as well as 1992’s prequel film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
For a truly eerie experience, hit play on this French atmospheric take on zombies. This zombie show forces viewers to actually use their own brains rather than watch undead monsters eat others’. About a group of loved ones who return home years after their deaths, it’s exactly what we want to watch alone. In the dark.
Featured still from "The Fall" via Netflix