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Fun fact: for the fourth year running our TV Murder Mysteries to Binge Watch NOW was the #1 clicked story on BYT. And no wonder. Some of the best shows on TV are mysteries and your Netflix/Amazon Prime /Hulu/ Acorn / MhZ Choice / Masterpiece / HBO GO recommendations/queues are BRIMMING with murder, mayhem, AND amazing accents solving those murders and mayhem. If you are in D.C., we are also hosting a BYT Murder Club every Thursday this month at Suns.

MURDER, in short, is everywhere.

SO, HERE IS THE 2018 EDITION FOR YOUR PERUSAL, with all sorts of addendums.

What’s ahead of you is a very extensive, deeply researched (trust me, I HAVE seen every single one of these), immersive guide to the rabbit hole that is the TV thriller universe. Besides, it is FREEZING outside so you have some television marathon time to fill.

We separated them into the following categories, for easy perusal:



MINDHUNTER – In our humble opinion, Mindhunter is one of the best things if not THE best thing to grace TV screens this year. David Fincher, who brought us Se7en, Gone Girl, Zodiac and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo knows a thing or two about building tension, and with the series structure he is allowed to spread his wings a little more than with motion picture format restrictions. Sure, that means there is a lot of talk, but if you were the FBI in the 70s trying to figure out what this new breed of “sequence killers” are all about, you’d be doing a lot of talking too. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

THE MISSING – Subscribing to MhZ was a game-changer for me in the past few months because it opened up a whole world of European mysteries that were unavailable to US audiences. The Missing is a classic example of a Scandinavian potboiler where the mystery of a missing girl draws the entire Ystad police force into a frantic search. AVAILABLE ON: MhZ Choice

THE SINNERThe Sinner is a whydunnit, not a whodunnit. The limited series asks why seemingly loving, sane wife and mother (played with great restraint by Jessica Biel, who got a Globe nomination for her efforts) would kill a man in broad daylight in front of her child and husband with a whole town watching. It’s a truly harrowing, tightly wound thrill ride. AVAILABLE ON: iTunes / Amazon for purchase

SEARCH PARTY -Because every once in a while, you need your mystery to be funny too. And Search Party is very funny. AVAILABLE ON: TBS

SHETLAND – Ann Cleeves is one of the great dames of mystery writing and the show based on her Shetland set mysteries is a great new classic. While all the stories are compelling, Raven Black, based on her most acclaimed book and guest starring the inimitable Brian Cox, is a definite must. The gorgeous setting, which is both vast georgraphically and claustrophobic in terms of community connections, only adds to the tension. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

INSPECTOR TENNYSON – The origin story of one of the most iconic detectives to ever grace the small screen is not QUITE Helen Mirren worthy, but Stephanie Martini does a good job as the girl who would become the tough talking, silk blouse wearing, trailblazer for all women in law enforcement. As a murder mystery completest, you can’t ignore it. Available on: PBS Masterpiece Mystery

RIVERDALE – CW’s re-imagining of the Archie comics was a sleeper-then-runaway hit of last season. Imagine Gossip Girl meets Twin Peaks and you have an idea why no matter the age, we are ALL a target audience for this. Available on: Netflix

LOCH NESS – The haunting shore of Scotland’s most iconic loch is the stunning backdrop for this not-too-original-but-still-compelling hit that follows Laura Fraser (The Missing) and Siobhan Finneran (Happy Valley) as detectives who slowly realize that there is more than one kind of monster in their midst. Available on: Acorn TV

REBECKA MARTINSON – Based on Aja Larsson’s bestselling work, it’s a moody, secrets-within-secrets Scandinavian tale of a woman forced to revisit the past after her childhood best friend is murdered. Available on: Acorn TV

THE ACCIDENT – A woman is found dead in a car accident and the official reasoning is drunk driving. Only she didn’t drink. And her friends are acting all weird. And people keep popping up dead in this tiny beach town in Normandy, decimating the already dwindling population. And he husband and daughter KNOW something is off. What follows is six episodes and possibly 6,000 twists and turns, all executed pretty stylishly, because well, this is France after all. Available on: Acorn TV

THIRTEEN – Thirteen years ago Ivy Moxam was taken away from her home and kept somewhere. The series opens with her returning home, and then, over the course of five tightly wound, well acted episodes, we follow the many sides of this story. Is Ivy an unreliable narrator? She most definitely is. But that doesn’t mean she is not a victim too. This is likely to fly under the radar for most people, but that would be a shame. Pair it with The Sinner for the ultimate life-ruining weekend viewing. Available on: Amazon Prime

HOTEL BEAU SEJOUR –  In case you are looking for a different kind of angle: in this Belgian paranormal chiller, the murderee searches for the murderer. Available on: Netflix

CARDINAL -Those who enjoyed Wind River, will find plenty to like in Cardinal, based on Giles Blunt’s bestselling novel Forty Words for Sorrow: a dogged detective whose search for the indigenous girl during a brutal Ontario winter, puts him on the trail of a particularly nasty pair of serial killers. Much like Wind River, Cardinal is not perfect, but there is plenty of atmosphere and internal turmoil to go around, especially as the complicated relationship between Cardinal and his new partner Detective Delorme, is unspooled. The show just got renewed for two more (mini) season (each is a six episode arc) so look forward to more murder and feelings in Canada.  Available on: Hulu

BECK – Martin Beck is one of the most iconic Scandinavian crime solvers, and the star of a ten novel series by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö which, many say, changed the genre completely when it was first published in the 60s. The TV adaptation ran for almost 20 years in Sweden, but the US viewership only got to enjoy it as of 2017. Not all seasons are available, but what is there is good. Recommended especially-bone-chilling episode: “Scorpion”. Available on: Hulu, MhZ Choice

THE BREAK – S&M and incest, are just SOME of the casual shocks (guaranteed to affect even the most jaded mystery viewer) that feature prominently in this story. 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. Really good, dark stuff. Available on: Netflix

HARLAN COBEN’S THE FIVE – Harlan Coben is the godfather of suburban gothic and this story of four friends whose lives are changed when a decades old mystery of the disappearance of fifth member of their little group resurfaces is a great example of what he does best. Nothing and no one is what they seem, demons are refusing to be kept at bay and just as you think you know where all this is going it goes somewhere completely else. At parts it feels almost far fetched, but we dare you to not keep watching. Available on: Netflix

THE TEAM – Sort of a European super-crime-show, in which national police agencies work together to solve cross-country crimes.  Available on: MhZ Choice

DARK – Netflix’s first ever European original is a moody blend of genres and influences, not the least of which are Stranger Things and Twin Peaks (hey, no one ever accused Netflix of NOT knowing their audience). Not a mystery in a classic sense, but still a great wintertime watch. Available on: Netflix


PRIME SUSPECT– BEFORE any of this became something resembling a pop-culture phenomenon, there was Helen Mirren as Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennyson taking on the worst crimes the Greater London area had to tackle. She was smart, she was tough, she looked great in her blouses, she got into a lot of mental face-offs with both criminals and (male) co-workers and without her we’d probably still be stuck in a world where female detectives were just mere sidekicks. Watch the original and skip the Maria Bello fiasco American network TV tried to shove down our throats a few seasons back. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix, Amazon, and AcornTV

VERA – Brenda Blethyn stars as Vera Stanhope, a hard-as-nails detective with more emotional issues than one could humanly handle. Most of the cases are well plotted traditional whoddunnits set against the moody moors and bleak cityscapes of Northern England but Blethyn’s acting caliber, Stanhope’s troubled past and thorny-but-caring relationship with her DS Joe Asworth keep the viewer coming back. AVAILABLE ON: Hulu, AcornTV

MARCELLA – We’d watch Anna Friel in just about anything and while the 8 hours of Marcella leave all sorts of plot holes to be covered (and no, your lead suffering from sporadic black-outs should not be an excuse) it still is a satisfying enough case of women-vs-psychopath. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix

DEEP WATER: A dark, vicious multi-decade spanning Australian mystery gets personal for a detective whose brother may have been one of the original victims. AVAILABLE ON: AcornTV

WINTER – A small Australian town is rocked to its core after the search for a missing teenager uncovers the corpses of five women in a field. Detective Eve Winter, beautiful, tough as nails, and not the easiest to get along with, is called in to investigate. AVAILABLE ON: AcornTV

THOSE WHO KILL – A couple years back Chloe Sevigny went and made a truly dark, truly cerebral, truly gut-wrenching show for A&E which, naturally was based on a Scandinavian hit of the same name, and naturally got cancelled after first season. Which is a shame because the 10 episodes available do it all: offer some truly chilling crimes for our heroine to solve, have a great underlying personal mystery that keeps her going, and villains both far and near to her that are worth the slow burn. James D’Arcy (who you may remember as the prime suspect from season 2 of Broadchurch) is equally great as her psychiatrist partner. AVAILABLE ON: Amazon

SILK – Maxine Peake, a real MVP of the procedural genre, is amazing as Martha Costello, a tough-as-nails barrister dealing with some of the most morally ambiguous cases around. AVAILABLE ON: Hulu

THE FALL – I wish I was just starting to watch The Fall. While the third season feels a little stale, the first two were amazing. Gillian Anderson does a great job of creating yet another iconic detective that, if this show takes off after first season (and it should), will maybe help us all not think of her as Agent Dana Scully 4ever. Set in Northern Ireland, it follows her as Stella Gibson, trying to track down a murderer and stalker of women before time runs out. The interesting turn here is that we meet the killer as soon as we meet Stella, and while his identity never being in question (at least to the viewer) could have been a downfall of the show, the cat-and-mouse dynamic that emerges from it is palpably nail-biting. Casting bonus: the killer is played by the very handsome Jamie Dornan, the star of  50 Shades of Grey (he made this WAY before) making female viewers uncomfortable on several levels: dread, yes, but also feeling unavoidably attracted to someone who is not just bad for you, but legitimately dangerous.   AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix

SCOTT & BAILEY – While women police officers are not that rare on TV these days, it is nice to see a police office where the senior officers are majority female. Scott & Bailey are partners, solving some pretty messed up murders and dealing with their equally messy private lives (the messiness of which ranges from adultery to YES, MURDER EVEN IN THAT ASPECT OF THEIR EXISTENCE) but the true show stealer here is Amelia Bullmore as their DCI Gill Murray. Fast talking, hilarious and very non-nonsense, she is one of those characters you wish existed on every show.  AVAILABLE ON: Hulu


THE KILLING The Killing took a little bit of a beating in Season 2 what with that unfortunate decision to stretch out the first “Who Killed Rosie Larsen?” mystery into overtime, but it is worth a revisit because Season 3 is as creepy as they come. Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman star as the mismatched detectives Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder and in the final AMC season they face teenage runaways, prostitution, some of the most horrifying mass graves I’ve seen and a killer, played by the flawless Peter Sarsgaard, who may not be all that he seems. The six episode arc of Final Season 4 was produced exclusively for Netflix. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix



Department Q Adaptations – Feel like you’ve seen it all? Feel like no crime could surprise you these days? Well, in terms of pure murder mystery nerding out, Department Q adaptations are this year’s must-see. Adapted from the best-selling Danish novels by Jussi Adler-Olsen, the full length films follow the twisty, turny, decidedly Scandinavian in their darkness, crimes from the first three of his cold case Department Q files: The Keeper of Lost Causes, The Absent One and A Conspiracy of Faith. The novels are still probably a slightly better bet, but the three cases are so different from both each other, and anything else you’ll see streaming these days, that they’ll satisfy even the most jaded murder consumer. The dynamic between the two seemingly mismatched leads is amazing too. Fingers crossed there’s more to come. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix

The Night Of: John Turturro should win one of those Academy Awards for people who did something good enough to win an Oscar but not in a category that qualifies them for one. And yes, we know those don’t exist. Yet. But Turturro’s performance in this (in the end, lets face it, slightly disappointing mystery) makes a strong case for the need for one.  AVAILABLE ON: HBO GO

Inspector Montalbano: AVAILABLE ON: MhZ Choice

Goliath: Billy Bob Thornton won a Globe for his role in this and it is well deserved. A classic little guy vs. big guy story is elevated by great performances, a very natural feeling script and, yes, a pretty solid case just waiting to be ripped wide open. AVAILABLE ON: Amazon Prime

Lanester: Imagine a French Wallander. Imagine him being blind on-and-off. Imagine a spunky taxi cab driving side-kick. The final product is Lanester, a show you’ve been waiting for if you like your crime fighters middle aged and slightly bitter.  AVAILABLE ON: Amazon Prime

BOSCH – A very solid, allowed-to-breathe adaptation of Michael Connelly LA classics. If you’ve been ignoring it for crime solving with a non-American accent, check it out. AVAILABLE ON: Amazon Prime

SHERLOCK – Cumberbatch and Freeman are back for 4.5th round of crime solving and we could not have been more excited, and the first episode had so many red herrings we almost felt dizzy. Having said that,  all previous seasons are WELL worth revisiting ongoingly (“A Scandal in Belgravia” is probably one of the best things to air on TV in the last half decade). AVAILABLE ON: Hulu, Instant Netflix, Amazon Prime. Current season now on PBS.

LUTHER – Idris Elba owns the screen as Detective John Luther, an intensely smart, tortured, beyond handsome and intimidating presence in the Serious Crimes Unit. All three seasons are fantastic, but my personal favorite is Season 1, mainly because of Ruth Wilson (who JUST won a Golden Globe for The Affair), whose Alice Morgan is, aside from Hannibal Lecter, one of the most captivating villains TV or movies have ever seen. Brilliant, beautiful, and with a genuinely evil glint in her eye, her sparring with Luther walks the thin line between danger and flirtation, as something reminiscent of a friendship emerges. You have to see it to believe it. And then probably re-see it. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime

RIVER – Stellan Skarsgard may seem like the obvious pull for this cerebral, slightly paranormal (but not in a way you’d think) mystery and he IS wonderful as Detective John River (as is Nicola Walker as his partner Stevie) but the real draw here turns out to be the writer Abi Morgan. The woman who penned Michael Fassbender’s downward spiral in “Shame” and Meryl Streep’s ascent in “The Iron Lady” is maybe not the obvious choice for a murder mystery series, but boy does she have fun with it. River is about interpersonal relations and declining mental health as much as it is about the cases at hand, and Morgan has an ear for dialogue and truly stands by our unreliable narrator in a way that feels very real and therefore more gutwrenching. Of course, Skarsgard and Walker’s easy, natural chemistry helps (the series opening scene is an acting masterclass in how to establish a rapport between the two leads), as do the smart subplots surrounding the central mystery. Only six episodes, so savor it. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix

HANNIBAL – The most wonderfully sick, delicious (Jose Andres IS the culinary consultant) TV show American network television has (ever?) produced got canceled but this is not to say it is not worth every second of your time to watch the seasons that somehow (against all odds) still got made. AVAILABLE ON: Amazon Prime

DCI BANKS – I will admit to not diving into DCI Banks in the earlier editions of this guide because I felt that it was probably going to be a run-of-the-mill procedural. But the first episode of season 1 takes you by the jugular within the first five minutes and does not let go. In fact, I am still shuddering just thinking about it. The shocks subside as episodes pass, but a very solid offering throughout. AVAILABLE ON: AcornTV, Hulu

CHASING SHADOWS – An unlikely pairing is a murder mystery staple and at first the DS Sean Stone and Ruth Hattersley seem to be just that. But as the first season of this gem moves along, Reese Shearsmith and Alex Kingston add a depth to the relationship between a borderline-Aspberger afflicted detective (who still somehow understands the mind of a killer better than anyone) and his psychiatrist aide (who is also a woman, and a mother, making her almost TOO empathetic). It is a classic Sherlock/Watson set-up but the crimes are solidly plotted, the outcomes take no prisoners, and by the time the 4 four episodes available wrap up, you will be searching the internet for more (sadly, there isn’t any, at least not yet). AVAILABLE ON: AcornTV

REBUS – Based on Ian Rankin’s bestselling novels, Rebus is a moody, gritty show of Irish murders, men who drink too much, women who don’t quite understand why men drink so much and other human misunderstandings. The show originally kicked off with John Hannah but it is really with Ken Stott’s (and Ken Stott’s nose’s) arrival that the show hit full stride. AVAILABLE ON: AcornTV, Hulu

GEORGE GENTLY -In the 1960s, an old-school detective is paired with a potentially shady new partner and has to come to terms with the fact that the lines between the police and the criminals have tentatively been blurred. AVAILABLE ON: piecemeal seasons on Netflix, Hulu, AcornTV

CASE HISTORIES – Somewhere in between writing well regarded literary fiction (Human Croquet, Life After Life, etc), Kate Atkinson spend a few years in the 2000s producing a great series of crime thrillers (Case Histories, One Good Turn, When Will There Be Good News and Started Early, Took My Dog), all featuring a troubled, but very charming PI Jackson Brodie. The novels were terrific and it only seemed natural that a mini-series series was in order. Jason Isaacs is great as Brodie, and while the plot lines never really reach the literary heights Atkinson set us up for, it is still a noble contribution to the genre. Read the books though. They’re terrific (I know we mentioned this already, but it bears repeating).  AVAILABLE ON: AcornTV

BROADCHURCH:  The British phenomenon (it is the most viewed drama in England, aside from Downton Abbey) stars David Tennant as a tortured detective arriving to a sleepy English beach side hamlet to hopefully not be in the middle of mayhem and get a moment’s rest, and naturally, a murder happens on his first day at the job. The third and final season is available now. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix (three seasons now)

INSPECTOR MORSE (and Inspector Lewis & Endeavour in extension) – John Thaw’s portrayal of the classical music loving, no-first-name-sharing, borderline-alcoholic, sugar addicted Morse is a cornerstone of detective television. Over 33 episodes, he solves some seriously grisly crimes in Oxford, a city he once denounced after university, and for whose academic residents he harbors a healthy mix of complete disdain and occasional reverence. Since Morse is pretty hard to handle by himself, the viewer was handed the smart but affable Inspector Lewis as his sidekick, who later got a show of his own (which I personally prefer to Morse) and a young, intellectual, tortured partner all his own. BONUS: There is a prequel to Morse (ENDEAVOR) available on Instant Netflix, telling us a little more about his origins story and yes, his first name. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Acorn TV

JACK IRISH – Guy Pearce stars as the titular ex-criminal lawyer who now spends his time as a part-time private eye, debt collector, cabinet maker who keeps finding himself in more and more and MORE trouble. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix, Hulu, AcornTV

JACK TAYLOR – Iain Glenn stars as a womanizing, alcoholic ex-detective who now spends his time as a private eye who keeps finding himself in more and more trouble. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix, Hulu

WIRE IN THE BLOOD – In this Val McDermid inspired series, Robson Greene stars as Dr. Tony Hill a psychologist who finds himself entangled in some seriously gruesome crimes and even more gruesome people behind them. There are six seasons and the first episode of season 1 perfectly sets the tone for just how unsavory these crimes are going to be. The fact that Dr. Hill is somewhere on the autism spectrum adds a new layer of interest to the show, and his fragile relationships with the people around them are often more intriguing than the (very) intriguing cases they’re solving. AVAILABLE ON: AcornTV

TOUCHING EVIL – More Robson Green, this time in a serial crime unit. AVAILABLE ON: Acorn TV

TRUE DETECTIVE – HBO’s runaway hit had a rough season 2 but season 1 is a wonderful, weird, dark, if ultimately sort of predictable journey into both a crime and the relationship between the two leads. AVAILABLE ON: HBO GO

WALLANDER – I prefer the Kenneth Branagh version to the original Scandinavian show, but you know, each to their own. Branagh has a certain kind of water colored torture permanently imprinted on his face that makes him perfect for the recently divorced, very sad, yet emotionally disconnected detective he plays. The crimes are typically Scandinavian (meaning decidedly more creepy than your standard American fare) and the villains a little more desperate than usual, but the cinematography is GORGEOUS, Branagh obviously a very intelligent actor and the sum of all parts makes for a good rainy afternoon with a hot toddy viewing. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix, Hulu

WHITECHAPELWhitechapel is catnip for those into historic crimes. First season finds DI Joseph Chandler (a very handsome, completely emotionally unavailable, definitely OCD Rupert Penry-Jones) on the trail of a series of murders which resemble Jack The Ripper. Season 2 deals with the Brothers Kray, and season 3 is less focused on obvious sensationalist cold cases (and therefore, to me, the most effective). AVAILABLE ON: Hulu


MURDOCH MYSTERIES – This period drama has been a success for eight seasons now and follows investigator William Murdoch as he uses radical forensic techniques for the time, including fingerprinting and trace evidence, to solve some of the city’s most gruesome murders, in the 1890s. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix, Hulu, AcornTV

FOYLE’S WAR – A Masterpiece Mystery classic that deals with the question not many dare tackle: crime doesn’t stop during war. AVAILABLE AT: Hulu, Instant Netflix, PBS, AcornTV

GRANTCHESTER – With Masterpiece Mystery seeing that Sherlock was slipping from their hands (Cumberbatch and Freeman becoming some of the biggest stars in the world and all) they got themselves an old-fashioned mystery story focusing on two unlikely murder solving companions, and the women who don’t quite understand them. Set in a sleepy hamlet of Grantchester, James Norton’s blonde, dreamy, single vicar Sidney Chambers and Robson Green’s brown haired, grumpy, married police officer Geordie Keating find themselves in Miss Marple style trouble all the time. It is breezy fare, and the mysteries are not anywhere as challenging as those solved by the Sherlocks of the world but it is done well and harkens back to a simpler time where murders were solved in libraries and green fields, instead of torture chambers and such. If you like the two leads and enjoy your mysteries grittier – we recommend checking out Norton in Happy Valley and Green in the new classic Wire in the Blood. AVAILABLE ON: Amazon Prime, PBS

DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY – PD James’ mystery novel of the same name took on an interesting and seemingly irresistible premise: Six years after Pride & Prejudice took place, Darcy and Elisabeth Bennet, now married and all that, are readying for their annual ball when, well, DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY. Starring people with some SERIOUS thriller chops: Matthew Rhys (The Americans), Anna Maxwell Martin (Bletchley Circle) and Matthew Goode (Stoker and Match Point) plus enough corsets and brooding by the moors to make the Austen original jealous, this one’s winner, no questions asked. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix

MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES – If you’re in the mood for your murders a little more stylish and jaunty (and, let’s face it, sometimes we all are) – Miss Fisher, a very modern, very independent women of the 20s, with a social calendar filled with glamorous parties AND MURDER is your gal. Bonus: Miss Fisher is played by Essie Davis who is uncannily reminiscent of a young Diana Rigg, a fact that should not be lost of at least some of the men reading this (I hope). AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix and Season 2 on AcornTV (who are offering a month’s free trial btw)

THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE: A group of lady code-breakers find themselves at their wit’s end with boredom when the war ends and so they do what had to be done: they pretend to be in a book club while solving a horrible, dastardly murder. It sounds hokey, but it is truly dark, wonderfully acted, and heartbreaking from a certain feminist standpoint too. Season 2 is not quite as good as season 1 but… AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix


Now, it should be noted that I understand that the definition of a classic is sort of loose in this day and age  but below I will tackle what I consider, well, essentials.

THE AGATHA CHRISTIE OUVRE – Obviously, first and foremost-we are talking about David Suchet’s POIROT here. For numerous seasons, Poirot, Captain Hastings and Miss Lemon have had their little grey cells working in overdrive,  solving one elegant murder after another. Final season is now finally available. For Poirot completists though, please check out the Peter Ustinov movies too: Evil Under the Sun, Murder on the Orient Express (which features one of the most impressive all star casts ever, with Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman and more), and Murder on the Nile. Then, of course, there is Miss Marple. The TV show is fun, but I was always a fan of the Angela Lansbury movies myself (especially The Mirror Crack’d, which stars Kim Novak and Liz Taylor as the competing aging movie stars who will stop at nothing to emerge on top, plus Tony Curtis, Geraldine Chaplin AND Rock Hudson to boot). ON TOP OF THAT- Acorn has a a very complete series of lesser known mysteries like The Seven Dials MysterySparkling Cyanidestarring such English heavyweights as Pauline Collins, John Gielgud and Francesca Annis.

RUTH RENDELL MYSTERIES – Ruth Rendell wrote some of the most well regarded crime novels of all time (Judgement in Stone, Babes in The Woods) and this series of stand alone crimes across England’s many landscapes, from rock-strewn moors to suburban estates. The likes of Colin Firth, and other British stage and screen mainstays pop-up, sealing in the prestige of the production. AVAILABLE ON: AcornTV

MIDSOMER MURDERS – Over 81 episodes, this Caroline Graham novel inspired series finds cousin detectives John and Tom Barnaby solve crimes across Midsomer. The show equivalent of your favorite low fuss dinner-always satisfying, never too demanding. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix, AcornTV

TAGGART – Britain’s longest running TV mystery is 27 seasons deep at this point (with 15 and up available for streaming). AVAILABLE ON: Hulu


X-FILES – Mulder and Scully’s whole story arc may be too much to revisit in one sitting, but it is a GREAT pick-and-choose procedural too. Everyone has their favorite episode, and mine will forever be the FAMILY one. Nothing supernatural happening here necessarily, but it is all the more deeply, profoundly disturbing for it. Also, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson look SO YOUNG. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime

TWIN PEAKS – David Lynch’s network masterpiece turns (sort of) 25 this year and while some may argue it doesn’t hold up, it is still a deliciously weird box of chocolates to dive into, especially season two, where the One Eyed Jack mystery takes over for Laura Palmer’s mystery. Bonus: Agent Cooper is truly the only purely good leading man that is also not boring at all. Until he isn’t (good that is). Just think about it.  AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, new season on Showtime

HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREETS – Barry Levinson’s Baltimore crime drama starring Andre Braugher is the only show on this list you can’t readily stream on something. BUT IT IS WORTH ordering those DVDs from Netflix from, I promise. Still SO GOOD.

COLUMBO – Peter Falk played Lieutenant Columbo as a man that was very easy to underestimate: always polite, always a little rumpled, always unassuming. But under all that disarming exterior was a sharp-as-a-tack deduction brain and no one should ever have been happy to hear his famous, “Oh, and just one more thing…” line. We, as the viewer, always knew who the killer was from the very beginning (because they WOULD show it to us), but watching Columbo get his man (or woman, or both) was never any less fun because of it. Also: some of the most amazing guest appearances this side of Murder, She Wrote. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix

LAW & ORDER: SVU & CRIMINAL INTENT– All of it is streaming on Instant Netflix and HULU, so you can relive those classic college days of being hungover on a Sunday and doing nothing but watching reruns of it ad nauseum. With the important difference than now it DOESN’T have to be Sunday for you to do that. AVAILABLE ON: Hulu

MURDER, SHE WROTE – For TWELVE seasons Angela Lansbury solved civilized crimes on this CBS drama. People enjoy making fun of it (in a sort of a well meaning, loving way, naturally) but think about it-this is a smart, funny, wink-worthy, wildly popular TV carried on the shoulders of not a young actress or some hunk-o-the-month, but a charming, life-loving, cocktail drinking, slightly saucy middle-aged widow, something that yes, has been a staple of British TV for a while (and Lansbury herself played Miss Marple on occasion) but almost unheard of on American TV. Plus, the cases are almost gleefully delicious. A perfect murder mystery to relax to before going to sweet, sweet slumber. For extra nostalgia points, revisit the Magnum PI crossover episode too, for sure:



CASE: You show me a murder mystery which begins with a teen ballet dancer’s supposed suicide in an empty theatre and I’m IN. Add to that some signature Icelandic chill, a tough-as-nails female detective and a down-and-out Private Eye seeking some sort of redemption and I am REALLY IN. The twists and turns don’t disappoint either. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix

INSPECTOR MONTALBANO: The Italian mainstay chronicles the seemingly endless sequence of crime in the tiny town of Vigata, Sicily. Inspired by Andrea Camilleri novels, it is such an institution, that there is a origin story prequel (Young Montalbano) too. AVAILABLE ON: MhZ Choice

DISAPPEARANCE: France’s answer to Broadchurch (their words, not mine) is a urban, messy, slow burn centered around a disappearance (murder?) of a 17 year old and the effects it has on her family. While the first few episodes do require some patience, it does come with a solid pay-off. AVAILABLE ON: AcornTV

CAMILLA LACKBERG Ouvre: Not one but two different shows bring to life Lackberg’s Fjallbecka set murder-in-paradise best sellers. Available on: MhZ Choice

WITNESSES  – Now two seasons. The second one had probably one of the strongest kick offs of any season I’ve seen recently, only to fall apart towards the end. Still, worth it for the initial twists and turns. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix

EPISTAFIOS: HBO Latino’s first original crime series is a dark, gothic puzzle in which everything BUT the murderer’s identity is a mystery. Almodovar favorite Cecilia Roth leads the all star Argentine cast in a brutal cat-and-mouse game. Not for the squeemish.   AVAILABLE ON: HBO NOW

DICTE – Iben Hjejle (remember her from “High Fidelity?) stars as a newly divorced investigative journalist who moves from Copenhagen to a smaller town she grew up in (and has MANY A PAINFUL memory from) only to find herself ongoingly embroiled in murders (often involving children, which is a theme that ties to those painful memories of her past) and other crimes, and constantly both helping AND being in the way of Inspector Wagner whom she’s forced to liaise with. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix (NOW SEASON 2 AS WELL)

THE SANDHAMN MURDERS – In a tiny (and pretty fancy) Swedish summer town of Sandhamn, the body count seems to be rising. Constantly. And it is up to summer resident Nore Linde and Detective Thomas Andreasson (Jakob Cedergren, from the original version of Those Who Kill) to solve them. Based on the (not available in English) novels by Viveca Stens, this is more Scandinavian sunny than Scandinavian noir but still a good time.  AVAILABLE ON: Hulu

SPIRAL – The French have a great tradition in the compelling thriller department and this series is a great example of that. At the center is Detective Laure Berthaud, who knows her way around both a grisly murder case and a perfectly layered t-shirt situation and the prosecutor Pierre Clement as they deal with assorted (and often, well, messily kinky) crimes, corruption and their increasingly sticky personal lives. I understand that to a lot of people watching crime drama with subtitles is a chore (you can’t be emailing during it! you can’t be playing on your phone during it! you have to pay attention! WHAT?) but this one is definitely worth the time. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix, MhZ Choice

THE BRIDGE: FX pretty famously pulled their content from Hulu a little while a go and Hulu now went and stuck a middle finger up FX’s face by releasing the original The Bridge in all moody Swedish/Danish glory. FX is back now but the show is still great. The premise is still the same: a body is found on a bridge connecting the two countries, but the mood is well, more Scandinavian.  AVAILABLE ON: HULU

WALLANDER – The Original Swedish superdetective solves crimes in his tiny town on the Baltic Coast. Pair it with the Kenneth Branagh British special and you’re set for days. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix, Hulu


HINTERLAND – Set in the depths of Wales (with thick accents to match, and some straight-up Welsh on top) Hinterland is a great, if almost too bone chilling drama centering on Detective Tom Mathias solving some truly bleak (often hate related) crimes while looking for redemption of his own. AVAILABALE ON: Instant Netflix, AcornTV

HAPPY VALLEY – Sarah Lancashire stars as Sergent Catherine Cawood, overseeing a sleepy, rural, drug addled valley in Yorkshire. Haunted by an irreversible family tragedy and dealing simultaneously with a gruesome kidnapping AND her own revenge issues, she faces all her demons and then some. The acting is all around amazing, and hints of Fargo (only with really thick, working class British accents) are more than lightly noticable (and that is a good thing).  AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix

THE FIELD OF BLOOD – A superb ensemble cast anchors this new BBC drama set in Glasgow in the 1980s. Based on the hit book by Denise Mina, The Field of Blood follows a low-level newspaper employee (a girl in a man’s world, of course) whose world is turned upside down when a murder story involves her family. The outstanding ensemble cast includes BAFTA winner Jayd Johnson, David Morrissey (The Walking Dead’s Governor) and Peter Capaldi (aka The Twelfth Doctor).  AVAILABLE ON: AcornTV

THE BROKENWOOD MYSTERIES – Now that you’ve seen ALL of British, French, and Scandinavian thrillers, it is time to dive into… New Zealand? Brokenwood Mysteries takes on the classic Midsomer Murders format and sets each 2 hour stand-alone crime in a single, seemingly sleepy hamlet (which, somehow, seems to be teeming with secrets and animosities). AVAILABLE ON: AcornTV


CRIMINAL JUSTICE – The first season of Criminal Justice served as inspiration for 2016’s HBO hit The Night Of. The second season stars the always amazing Maxine Peak as a (seemingly happy?) housewife who killed her (successful, caring, lawyer) husband and feels more timely than ever, in this #MeToo era. AVAILABLE ON: Hulu, Amazon PRIME

RED RIDING TRILOGY – The 2009 300 minute undertaking is probably one of the most masterful collections of suspense and grit, spanning decades of murder, corruption,and loss, and finally arrives to free streaming this weekend on Hulu. Watching the Yorkshire set series now one can imagine being inside the head of a 1,000 Hollywood casting agents whose eyes lit up every time a very young Andrew Garfield or Rebecca Hall came on screen, the Game of Thrones team dazzled by Sean Bean’s cool brutality or The Walking Dead’s creators not being able to keep their eyes off of David Morrissey. In short – it is an ALL STAR cast, and rightfully so, and the team behind the cameras is as strong as the one in front. The 1974 edition was directed by Kinky Boots’ Julian Jarrold (who also directed Appropriate Adult, which we discuss in the mini-series section of this guide), the 1980 is helmed by Man On Wire’s James Marsh (who then went on to direct Theory of Everything after this dip into fictional film making), and the 1983 is a step into unwavering masculinity for Anand Tucker (whose previous credits included Shopgirl and Hilary and Jackie). Everyone is at the top of their game, each segment deserves its own viewing time, and the gut punch of final revelations is so brutal and unwavering that we still can’t recall a mystery we’ve seen since that had that effect on us. A complete must see. AVAILABLE ON: Hulu

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE – Agatha Christie’s classic locked-room-mystery (only add to it that the locked room is on a deserted island) adapted into a mini series with a cast right out of a murder mystery masterclass. Savor it, even if you know the outcome. AVAILABLE ON: AcornTV

WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION – Agatha’s Christie’s classic courtroom mystery with a twist, adapted into a TV movie. It is hard to outdo the Billy Wilder classic with Tyrone Power and Marlene Dietrich but a worth recent addition to the cannon. AVAILABLE ON: AcornTV

MAYDAY – A young girl goes missing during a May Day parade and before you know it the whole town is suspect and nothing is what it seems. A solid cast elevates what could have been a relatively simple reboot of the Laura Palmer trope. AVAILABLE ON: AcornTV

MIDWINTER OF THE SPIRIT – Anna Maxwell Martin is like the patron saint of murder mystery TV at this point (just on this list catch her in Bletchley Circle, And Then There Were None and Death Comes to Pemberley) and this is a pretty well done Exorcist tinged paranormal crime in which the newly ordained Rev Merrily Watkins faces off with forces both hyperlocal and completely out of this world. Perfect for cold winter viewings. AVAILABLE ON: AcornTV

THORNE – David Morrissey (The Walking Dead) plays a tortured (is there any other kind?), police officer with a secret (of course) who goes and solves some pretty killer killings while helping Sandra Oh get off cocaine, dealing with some serious father issues and looking like a less beat up version of Liam Neeson. Highly recommended all around. Two reiterations are available: Sleepyhead and ScaredyCat. Watch them both. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, AcornTV

MASTERPIECE: Place of Execution – There is obviously an insane amount of Masterpiece Mystery productions out there and most of these are covered in this story but PLACE OF EXECUTION, a 2 hour Masterpiece Contemporary made-for-TV movie is a hidden, chilling gem. Based on a Val McDermid novel, the story starts on a freezing December night in 1963, 13-year-old Alison Carter took her dog for a walk on the moors in Scardale, a secluded Derbyshire hamlet, and was never seen again. 45 years later a new detective and a filmmaker (the always wonderful Juliet Stevenson) both revisit the case and the results are well… almost unfathomable. AVAILABLE ON: Hulu, Amazon Prime

AMNESIA – A 2004 two-parter starting John Hannah as DS Mackenzie Stone and Brandon Coyle (aka Downton Abbey’s Mr. Bates) as his partner Ian Reid who have spent the last five years searching for Stone’s wife who went missing on their wedding anniversary. All the roads seem  to be leading to a man suffering from severe amnesia, who is now leaving a brand new life in a quiet coastal town where they all live. Solid pacing, strong performances and Hannah’s forever likable everyman face make this underseen show worth catching. Pretty thick accents and no closed captioning available though, so bear that in mind. AVAILABLE ON: Hulu, AcornTV

VEXED – If all these sex crimes and insanity have left you wanting some light relief, may we point you to this British comedy-murder-drama mini-series which has aired 2 seasons with hopefully more to come.  The show stars Toby Stephens (aka son of Maggie Smith!) as a lazy but very charming DI Jack Armstrong and his rotating cast of increasingly stressed out female partners (Season one had the always amazing Lucy Punch, while season two brough along the regal Miranda Raison) while they solve crimes, drink cappuccinos and fight over who gets to drive the car. Fluffy yes, but delicious and still very smart. AVAILABLE ON: Hulu, AcornTV

MASTERPIECE: THE ESCAPE ARTIST – We’d watch pretty much anything with David Tennant in it and this Masterpiece Mystery about a lawyer who manages to get a psychopath off only to regret it almost instantly is fantastic. Toby Kebbel who plays his adversary is a revelation (catch him in Black Mirror too, streaming on Instant Netflix).  AVAILABLE ON: Amazon Prime

TOP OF THE LAKE – Season 2 was probably even better than season 1 and offers one of the strongest explorations of inter-female relationships we’ve seen in a while. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix, new season on Hulu


PEOPLE VS OJ SIMPSON: – Catch up on Ryan Murphy’s first true crime outing before the Assassination of Gianni Versace takes over. Available on: Netflix

LAW & ORDER TRUE CRIME: The Menendez Murders – Because we will watch Edie Falco in anything. Available on: Hulu

OJ: Made In America – Now, the ESPN critical darling is not a murder mystery per se (we all know who did what to whom here, right?) but it does offer unique, both emotional and sociological insight into the making of the most famous murderer in America. AVAILABLE ON: Hulu

ALMOST PERFECT CRIMES: A French documentary series about some of the most notorious crimes that ever shook the country. A great fit if you feel you know ALL there is to know about American true crime. Available on: MhZ Choice

AMANDA KNOX – A surprisingly thoughtful, incisive profile of America’s second most famous (maybe) murdered. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

JINX – The six part show by Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling (the team behind Oscar nominated Capturing The Friedmans) follows the story of Robert Durst (with Durst willingly participating) an heir around whom most humans seem to be dying whenever it is convenient for him. The series is tightly plotted, endlessly frustrating, and the finale is one of those great “HOLY SHIT!” moments that qualify as “stranger than fiction”. AVAILABLE ON: HBO GO, Amazon Prime

KEEPERS: Netflix’s follow up to the Making a Murderer runaway success was a, one could argue, a substantially more compelling story: a young nun goes missing one night, and a web of abuse, scandal, and secrets in a nice little upper middle class neighborhood in Baltimore. Decades later, the question: “Who Killed Sister Cathy?” is still so pertinent to those that knew her, that a group of her former students sets out to find some answers. The women in question are the best part of the show – they’re strong, and funny, and, well, fearless, but the ending feels a little rushed. While we often complain about mysteries not wrapping up in one season, Keepers could have used some more room to breathe (and investigate). AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

MAKING A MURDERER – Two years ago, if you weren’t not watching Netflix’s answer to nation’s Serial podcast obsession you clearly were not interested in having anything to talk about with your co-workers. A story of a man acquitted of a crime he didn’t commit (after serving 18 years in jail based purely on circumstantial evidence mind you) only to be saddled with another one promptly upon leaving, is frustrating, fascinating, and everything in between. AVAILABLE ON: Instant Netflix

MOMMY DEAD AND DEAREST: The documentary adaptation of one of the most mind-boggling long-reads of 2016 became one of the most mind-boggling short-watches of 2017. What makes a daughter kill her Mother? What makes a Mother be the kind of Mother that gets murdered by her own blood? Where was the law BEFORE all this happened? Prepared to be fascinated, outraged, and make sure you have someone to discuss this with after it is over. AVAILABLE ON: HBO GO

PARADISE LOST TRILOGY: A classic in the “movie as an agent of change” genre of crime documentary film making, Paradise Lost tells (and further) uncovers the story of the “West Memphis Three,” a trio of Arkansas teens dubiously convicted, and later exonerated, of the murder and mutilation of three younger boys. AVAILABLE ON: Amazon Prime

So, there’s that. Feel free to discuss YOUR favorites in the comments and happy watching and puzzle solving everyone!