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.
This post was updated in July 2019.
Imagine a town so isolated that it has no cell phone reception and no GPS tracking—even compasses go haywire. Now imagine that town is on the outskirts of a forest where inexplicable events and grisly crimes occur, and you’ll come close to the eerie setting that is Villefranche, a community with a murder rate six times the national average.
This British police procedural has a supernatural twist: suffering from guilt after the murder of his partner, Detective Inspector John River sees her ghost everywhere. The series follows his attempts to solve ongoing cases as well as the mystery of what happened to his partner, and who wanted her dead.
This whimsical British show has been airing since 1997—and now, American audiences can stream the first 19 seasons. Set in the fictional English county of Midsomer, Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby solves crimes with the help of his younger cousin John Barnaby, who later takes over as the series’ forerunner. With quirky black comedy and an ever-evolving cast, there’s never a dull moment on this show.
The Frozen Dead
How and why did the DNA of Julian Hirtmann, a serial killer who’s been locked up for over a decade, end up at an active crime scene? The Frozen Dead opens with this perplexing mystery, and it only gets more puzzling from there. Based on the novel by Bernard Minier, this icy thriller will chill you to your core.
This period mystery shows us the seedier side of London. In 1889, the city seethes with panic as Jack the Ripper stalks the streets, viciously murdering as he pleases. Desperate to stop the killings, Whitechapel’s police force teams up with an eclectic cast of characters, including a former surgeon and the madam of a local brothel.
Dexter’s Michael C. Hall stars as a grieving widower in this nailbiter of a miniseries. When his 16-year-old daughter goes missing, pediatric surgeon Tom Delaney launches a frantic search—one that exposes the buried secrets of numerous townspeople, including Jenny herself.
Loosely based on the short stories by G.K. Chesterton, Father Brown features a crime-solving priest whose occupation gives him a unique outlook on earthly justice. Mild-mannered and compassionate, Father Brown often finds himself at odds with a bumbling police inspector, but his shrewd sleuthing skills are undeniable.
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: 13 Thrilling Nordic Noir Novels
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 show in its entirety is streaming on Netflix, so you have no reason not to binge.
Related: 10 British Crime Dramas to Die For
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.
Based on the true crime book by legendary FBI agent and criminal profiler John E. Douglas, 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 true identity 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 being remade for American audiences by Eva Longoria, with Season 1 premiering in June 2019 on ABC.
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 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 own deaths, it’s exactly what we want to watch alone. In the dark. Though the show aired for two seasons, only the first (and best) is available on Netflix.
Featured still from "Black Spot" via Netflix