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Fun fact: for the sixth year running our 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 / Apple+ / Britbox ETC recommendations/queues are BRIMMING with murder, mayhem, AND amazing accents solving those murders and mayhem.

MURDER, in short, is everywhere. So much so, that we even started a true crime festival of our own.

SO, HERE IS THE 2020 EDITION FOR YOUR PERUSAL, with all sorts of addendum.

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:




UNBELIEVABLE: Unbelievable was, hands down, my favorite TV experience of the last year and a true piece of post-feminist entertainment where women do their jobs (often substantially better than the men around them) and have families and look the way they want to look and no one discusses how hard or important it is that they “have it all”. It felt so refreshing to see it, it made me mad about everything else I watch. Inspired by a true crime story about a series of horrific rapes and the insane effort it requires to ACTUALLY build a case that sends someone to prison, it kicks off with a classic case of the first victim not only not being believed but genuinely harassed, ostracized and further victimized… by the police. It all takes a (more positive turn) from there, and the cast is unbelievably (sorry) good. The fact that Merrit Weaver, Toni Collette and Caitlyn Deaver are not getting every award available just handed to them is beyond me. It is also, of course, incredibly hard to watch but if you can make it through the first episode or so, and make it to a place where the female detectives take over, you will not regret it. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

DON’T F*CK WITH CATS: Gimmicky title aside, this was my personal favorite true crime experience of the year. And the less you know going in, the better (so stop reading about it!), but I’ll tell you this: all true crime shows from now on should take lessons: keep it tight (only 3 episodes, so not too much room for red herrings and detour), keep it satisfying (remember how frustrated you were at the end of Keepers when NOTHING was resolved? Not the case here), and keep it actually real (the real-life cast of characters is flawed, funny, super nerdy and infinitely relatable). AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

THE OUTSIDER – We are only 2 episodes into this adaptation of Stephen King’s best-seller (is there any other kind of Stephen King book, though?) but we are all in. The crime is unspeakable, the evidence is overwhelming, the cast (led by Ben Mendelsohn and Jason Bateman) is top notch, and Dennis Lehane and Richard Price are keeping the script tight and twisty, like it deserves to be. The road is long and windy from here, but we have faith. AVAILABLE ON: HBO GO

DUBLIN MURDERS – Tana French’s bestselling Dublin Murder Squad books serve as a basis for this eight part series, blending the cases from the first two novels and detectives Cassie Maddox and Rob Reilly. While some of the backstory requires a pretty substantial suspension of disbelief, the final reveal (and amazing and unexpected villain, even to those who read the books so saw it coming due to prior knowledge) is WELL worth the wait. AVAILABLE ON: Hulu / STARZ

image via STARZ

NIGHT & DAY – One of the best news for murder mystery fans, PBS signed a deal with Walter, bringing quality international mysteries to their streaming as a result. Barcelona set Night & Day leads the pack with a sexy, dangerous cast dealing with a super messed up, dangerous case, all the while trying to manage their sexy, super messed up, dangerous lives. Not many people in the mix are likable, but it is hard to take your eyes off the action. AVAILABLE ON: PBS Masterpiece

C.B. STRIKE – J.K. Rowling’s Roberth Galbraith detective novels get a solid, if a little straightforward TV adaptation.  AVAILABLE ON: Hulu

BAY – With so many shows out there, it would be easy to oversee Bay, but I am here to urge you not to. The center case focuses on a disappearance of teenage twins (a boy and a girl) and the path it takes the detectives on is reminiscent of early Broadchurch, with the real, true treat being in the complicated personal relationships surrounding lead detective Lisa Armstrong and her family, both related to the case and not. A well executed, satisfying season 1. AVAILABLE ON: Britbox

LONDON KILLS London’s best take on its worst, in this “sleek mystery series” from the creator of Suspects. Filled with people you know and liked from other TV mysteries, which is always a bonus: Hugo Speer (Father Brown), Sharon Small (The Inspector Lynley Mysteries), Bailey Patrick (Bodyguard). AVAILABLE ON: Acorn

CRIMINAL – An international, high-concept show set exclusively in interrogation rooms, Criminal is a perfect antidote to long, winding serial cases out there: a person (who, sometimes, is someone quite amazing, like David Tennant, for example) comes in, a person is interrogated, strategies shift, and a case is revealed or not revealed through conversation alone. Forty five or so minutes later, you’re done, and a new person enters the interrogation room. A great palate cleanser between convoluted cases taking up tens of hours of your precious viewing time. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

TRUTH BE TOLD – We are just starting to get into this show about a true crime podcaster looking into a case that made her famous, and possibly admitting she was wrong. Everything so far seems a little too polished, too on-the-nose, but we can’t help but LOVE the fact that Octavia Spencer LOVES true crime in real life, which was the motivation for the show to exist in the first place. Stars, they’re just like us. AVAILABLE ON: Apple TV+

SERVANT – M. Night Shyamalan’s Servant is not a murder mystery per se, but it is delightfully creepy, never not having fun with itself, and worth a visit. AVAILABLE ON: Apple TV+

WHEN THEY SEE US – Unbelievable aside, Ava DuVerney’s Central Park Five case revisit is the single most important piece of crime TV out there. You may not want to watch it, but you should. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

MAIGRET – Most don’t imagine Rowan Atkinson (best known for being Mr. Bean, Black Adder and the bumbling priest in Four Weddings and a Funeral) as a thoughtful French period detective but, by and large, he pulls it off. The beauty of Simonon’s novels, which the show is based on, was always the WHY vs the WHO, and the premise translates well to a TV near you. AVAILABLE ON: BritBoxAmazon Prime / Ovation

FORGOTTEN GIRLS – Another Walter addition to PBS Masterpiece, a great, gritty six parter inspired by Sarah Blaedel’s terrific book (if you have not read it, please do that), about a detective determined to find what happened to “forgotten girls”, a series of unsolved abduction cases. AVAILABLE ON: PBS Masterpiece/Amazon Prime

OLDENHEIM 12 – It all begins how most really good mysteries begin: On a quiet summer evening in a small Dutch village, a teenage girl goes missing while riding her bike. Was it an abduction, an escape, or a murder? When a second person disappears without a trace, the townsfolk of Oldenheim start to succumb to paranoia and suspicion as they wonder what happens next? What happens next is 12 episodes of pretty solid Dutch noir, if your winter heart is in the mood for murder, Scandinavian way. – AVAILABLE ON: Acorn

MODUS – More Walter Presents! This time, we are in Denmark, the inspiration are the novels by the great Ann Holt, there are Christmas murders happening everywhere, and the only witness is an autistic daughter of a now-retired profiler. Season 2 involves a US President played by Kim Catrall (!) and while I have not seen it, I am looking forward to it.  AVAILABLE ON: PBS Masterpiece / Amazon Prime

DEADLY SEASONS – A well done, twisty French limited series pitting an aging, traditional detective (with some secrets in his past) and a cool, American educated, younger profiler with 4 cases spanning a year. You never see any of the solutions coming, which is high praise in this neck of the internet. Bonus: Jane Birkin as a quadriplegic, mute wife of the older detective adds some glamour and melodrama to the proceedings. AVAILABLE ON:  Amazon Prime

MANHUNT – Martin Clunes must be in line for some British TV lifetime achievement by now. The star of Doc Martin (and Men Behaving Badly, sigh) stars in this true-crime (!!) drama playing a bit against type as DCI Colin Sutton, the lead detective on a case that starts out as a simple stand alone murder but turns into something way more complicated and sinister (naturally) that captivated Britain. – AVAILABLE ON: Acorn

THOU SHALT NOT KILL – This Italian Walter import is surprisingly thoughtful and unrelenting, focusing on a (gorgeous, but very low key) detective, with a killer mother and a complicated personal life, who grabs each case like a pit bull and never lets go. AVAILABLE ON: PBS Masterpiece/Amazon Prime


ABDUCTED IN PLAIN SIGHT – The most widely discussed true crime documentary (prior to “Don’t F*ck With Cats”) is a truly insane, deeply aggravating, super frustrating story of a family, a predator, and apparently zero common sense. Be careful who you open your doors (and pre-teen children’s beds) to out there. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

LEAVING NEVERLAND -We will never dance to “Billie Jean” at a party ever again. AVAILABLE ON: HBO GO

LORENA – Lorena Bobbitt’s iconic (D.C. area based!) case gets the true crime documentary treatment on its 25th birthday, straight from executive producer Jordan Peele. BONUS: Lorena stopped by our DC edition of Death Becomes Us True Crime Festival, and chatted to Amanda Knox about her experiences. AVAILABLE ON: Amazon Prime

THE ACT – Mommy Dead and Dearest case gets the anthology series treatment in the first season of Hulu’s ambitious project, starring Patricia Arquette and Joey King as Dee Dee and Gypsy Blanchard, mother and daughter, whose stranger-than-fiction relationship ended in murder. AVAILABLE ON: HULU

Brownie Harris/HULU

CONVERSATIONS WITH A KILLER: Ted Bundy Tapes – Present-day interviews, archival footage and audio recordings made on death row form a searing portrait of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix


STAIRCASE – Did Michael Peterson kill his wife? Did the owl do it? The conversation continues. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

EVIL GENIUS – The true story of “America’s most diabolical bank heist” captured the hearts and minds of America this past year in large part due to the very colorful, almost unbelievable cast of characters and suspects involved. Looming large over them all is Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, one of the most charismatic, deeply disturbed, but also heartbreaking villains of our time. A fun crime story, yes, but also an unflinching insight into what havoc untreated mental illness can do, even to the brightest of minds. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

INNOCENT MAN – Based on John Grisham’s only non-fiction book, this adaptation follows in the steps of Making a Murderer, asking the tough questions about murder and convictions in small town Oklahoma. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

DIRTY JOHN – The podcast everyone talked about in 2017 gets a glossy TV adaptation featuring Connie Britton and Eric Bana in 2018. I still maintain Debra should have known better. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

HOMICIDE HUNTER – The Godfather of True Crime TV (and Death Becomes Us festival alum), Joe Kenda solves hundreds and hundreds of cases, while never losing his cool. With the show officially over it is a great time to binge it while awaiting what Kenda does next. Check out his WHY TRUE CRIME? interview with us, too. AVAILABLE ON: Investigation DiscoveryHULU

BUZZFEED UNSOLVED – With a delightful Mulder & Scully, Believer-and-Sceptic dynamic, Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej tackle unsolved crimes (but also the paranormal AND now, sports conspiracies). The boys (now twice alums of Death Becomes Us festival), their demons and their undeniable chemistry are stepping away from Buzzfeed and starting Watcher entertainment now so keep an eye for more original programming from there.  AVAILABLE ON: YouTube

PEOPLE VS OJ SIMPSON / ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE – Catch up on Ryan Murphy’s true crime anthology before the 3rd season shows up. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

O.J.: 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: HuluESPN

AMANDA KNOX – A surprisingly thoughtful, incisive profile of America’s second most famous murder suspect.BONUS: Amanda has done two editions of our Death Becomes Us True Crime Festival, and chatted to Lorena Bobbitt about her experiences. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

JINX: The Life and Death of Robert Durst – 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 GOAmazon Prime

THE 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 – Three years ago, if you weren’t not watching Netflix’s answer to 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. Season two is now available. AVAILABLE ON: 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


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: HuluAmazon

IN EXTENSION: INSPECTOR TENNISON – 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: Amazon

NO OFFENCENo Offence was the best show you have likely not seen yet. From the creator of Shameless (Paul Abbott), this (REALLY) fast talking, (REALLY) filthy, (REALLY) real group of Manchester detectives was a breath of fresh air in the sometimes formulaic universe of murder mysteries. It is also, as expected from Abbott, VERY FUNNY at the most inappropriate times. Led by women, the team solves a truly disturbing, very personal long-lead mystery throughout season one, with smaller (but often equally gut wrenching) cases sprinkled throughout. Season 2 is relatively freshly available for US streaming, and while subtitles may be needed to keep up with DI Kowalska, DCI Deering and the gang, it is well worth it.  AVAILABLE ON: AmazonAcornTV

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: YouTube TV

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: Netflix

UNFORGOTTENUnforgotten was my 2nd favorite show of the past year, and for completely different reasons than No Offence. A truly human, heartfelt and deeply emotional PBS show starring the always reliable Nicola Walker (a veteran of Wire In The Blood and River) and Sanjeev Bhaskar, tackles some of the hardest cold cases I’ve watched on TV of late. Not for the fainthearted. Season 3 is relatively recently available. AVAILABLE ON: Amazon Prime

KILLING EVE – While Killing Eve is not a murder mystery in the classic sense, the Sandra Oh / Jodie Comer dynamic and chemistry make this cat-and-mouse spy-and-assasin game addictive. As we count the days to season 2, the question remains: who is the cat and who is the mouse here? 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: 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:  AmazonHulu


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: Hulu

SHARP OBJECTS – We loved Gillian Flynn’s Middle-American-Gothic novel and were thrilled at the casting choices HBO made for the adaptation. The final product was, yes, sometimes (oftentimes) tough to watch but quality TV none-the-less. AVAILABLE ON: HuluHBO GO


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. Fourth movie has been out in Europe for a min, so fingers crossed it is coming our way shortly. AVAILABLE ON: Hulu

MINDHUNTER – In our humble opinion, Mindhunter is one of the best things if not THE best thing to grace TV screens in a while. Inspired by the work of John Douglas (who has now done 2 of our Death Becomes Us festivals and we love him for it), 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. Season 2 with its focus on Atlanta Child Murders was worth the wait. AVAILABLE ON: 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 GOHulu

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

THE SINNERThe Sinner is a whydunnit, not a whodunnit. The limited series began with a case about 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 was a truly harrowing, tightly wound thrill ride. Season 2, centering around a child killer, was great and, somehow, even darker, and Season 3 is coming (w/ Matt Bohmer as the new villain?). Bill Pullman’s troubled detective connects the dots. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

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

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: Netflix

QUIRKE -Gabriel Byrne solves crimes in Catholic Ireland in the 60s. Based on the well liked Benjamin Black novels, the series never quite delivers on its promise of secrets-and-lies seething under the polished fronts of Irish society, but still, an enjoyable time. AVAILABLE ON: BritBox / Amazon

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: HuluStarz

YOU – Everyone is losing their minds over Penn Bedgley’s portrayal of nice guy / bookstore employee/ stalker / murderer Joe Goldberg, and while I MUCH preferred the Caroline Kepnes novel of the same name, personally, it is still a refreshing addition to the genre. Season 2 is freshly available. 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. All three seasons are available now in America.  Available on: Hulu

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: 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

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:  AmazonHulu

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: Acorn TV

INSPECTOR 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: Youtube TV

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: Amazon Prime

BROADCHURCH – The British phenomenon 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. Olivia Colman confirms her international treasure status as his partner. Second season was underrated and the third and final season is available now. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

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: BritBox / Amazon

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 ONYouTube TVAcorn TV

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

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 ONAmazon Prime / Acorn TV

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

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. Season 3 premieres THIS WEEK. AVAILABLE ON: HBO GOHulu

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:  BritBox / Amazon

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


THE ALIENIST – TNT’s adaptation of Caleb Carr’s seminal masterpiece of the historic forensic mystery genre was a well reviewed, well cast, dark-as-all-hell addition to the canon. Added bonus for mystery fans of Ted Levine (Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs, and Tony Shaloub’s foil in Monk) as Byrnes, was not discussed enough, in our humble opinion.  A second season is rumored, with a brand new, as-yet-unknown case.  AVAILABLE ON: YouTube TVTNT

CODE OF A KILLER – A limited series following, in parallel, a murder case and the parallel discovery of the DNA testing that would revolutionize violent crime investigations. AVAILABLE ON: Acorn TV / Amazon

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: Hulu, Ovation TV

FOYLE’S WAR – A Masterpiece Mystery classic that deals with the question not many dare tackle: crime doesn’t stop during war. AVAILABLE AT: Acorn TV

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: PBS Masterpiece/Amazon

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:  Acorn TV / Amazon / Ovation

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, and the American spin-off is questionable but… AVAILABLE ON: PBS Masterpiece / Amazon / Ovation


Now, it should be noted that we understand that the definition of a classic is sort of loose in this day and age  but below we will tackle what we 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 very complete series of lesser known mysteries like The Seven Dials Mystery, Sparkling Cyanide starring 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:  BritBox

SILENT WITNESS – Now running strong for 23 seasons this forensic drama is the closes England has to Law & Order SVU. The cast, led by Emilia Fox is later seasons is strong, and the 2 episode format allows for the storylines to stretch a little beyond the usual 45 min window US audiences are allowed in their standard-issue procedurals – AVAILABLE ON: BritBox

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: BritBoxAcorn TV / Ovation

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: Hulu

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: Netflix

LAW & ORDER: SVU – 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:  HuluNBC


THE FOREST – Another French drama. A 16-year-old girl disappears from a small town, and the forest where another young girl was discovered years a go holds the answers. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

FROZEN DEAD – ANOTHER French addition to the genre. Based on a best-selling novel, the story starts with a discovery of a dead horse atop of a mountain, and descends into a Hannibal Lecter-esque game of cat-and-mouse between the police and a notorious, imprisoned serial killer, who was once one of their own. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

DEADWIND – A classic Nordic combination of criminal investigation and dark personal drama, featuring a compelling female detective. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

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: Netflix

PERFUME – Using Patrick Suskind’s classic novel of murder of the same name as a loose inspiration, this German series is one of the darkest, most visceral, and possibly weirdest things to come to our streaming screens of late. The story of six lifelong friends obsessed with smell and power games, faced with a murder of one of their own, is not for everyone, but it holds its own as an audacious addition to this list. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

LA MANTE – Netflix invested in a number of French murder mysteries to add to their ever-growing repertoire of binge-worthy TV and La Mante (direct translation: preying mantis), a rare case of a brutal, smart, gorgeous FEMALE serial killer (played with steely resolve by the ever-luminous, former-face-of-Chanel Carol Bouquet) and a relationship between her and her son (now a police officer) as they try to solve a series of copycat murders is one of the stronger ones. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

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

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

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

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

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

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/Amazon

THE 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: Amazon

CAMILLA LACKBERG – Not one but two different shows bring to life Lackberg’s Fjallbecka set murder-in-paradise best sellers. AVAILABLE ON: MhZ Choice/Amazon

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: Amazon

EPITAFIOS – 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 GOHulu

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: Netflix

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: Hulu

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:  BritBox/Amazon


HIDDEN – Wales is emerging as a strong destination for mystery settings (2018 saw Requiem and Keeping Faith join Hinterland) and with good reason: the dark, moody landscapes led themselves perfectly to dark, moody secrets, but Hidden is a personal favorite. A tense, claustrophobic story with Sian Reese-Williams as DI Cadi John trying to solve a case of a serial sex offender who keeps women captive for years at a time, but has deep wounds of his own to contend with, is almost too tense for words. AVAILABLE ON: AcornTV / Amazon

THE MISSING – A strongly acted, very effective anthology series featuring two separate cases in 2 available seasons – first one focusing on a five-year-old boy, the second one a teenage girl. The impressive cast across seasons features Frances O’Connor, James Nesbitt, Keely Hawes, David Morrissey and more. Very good, dark stuff. AVAILABLE ON: Amazon Prime

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: BritBox / Amazon

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: 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 / Amazon

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:  Netflix


TRIAL & ERROR – A two-season, genuinely funny and smart gem that is filled with both laughter and easter eggs for those who are fans of the mystery genre. The first season is clearly inspired by the Michael Peterson/Staircase trial (With John Lithgow as the prime suspect), and the second one takes a stab at every Black Widow case ever, as well as uses the true crime podcast world as a narrative vehicle. AVAILABLE ON: Amazon

AMERICAN VANDAL – Taking a mockumentary approach to the true crime frenzy sweeping the nation, the two seasons of this high-school set anthology tackle penis graffitti, poop scandals and more. Definitely crude, definitely well made, and definitely hilarious. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

AGATHA RAISIN – A London publicist retires to a picturesque village and is faced with, you guessed it, murder, resulting in a combination that is part Bridget Jones, part Midsomer Murders, all Miss Marple in non-terrain appropriate footwear. The very funny Ashley Jensen (Extras, Catastrophe, Lobster) stars AVAILABLE ON: Acorn TV / Amazon

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 brought 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:  NetflixAmazonTubi

SEARCH PARTY – A hipster murder grows in Brooklyn. Or does it? The results are funny, charming, and often aggravating, as youth typically is, but Alia Shawkat and John Early are national treasures and we should all support everything they do. AVAILABLE ON: YouTube TV/TBS


SAFE – Harlan Coben has sold over 75 million books worldwide, mostly set in suburban settings where something dark is lurking beneath the surface, two of which were adapted into fun, if a little far-fetched available-on-Netflix adaptations (The Five, and now Safe, which featured a welcome return of Michael C. Hall to the small screen). If you enjoyed them – get ready for more – Coben just signed a Netflix development deal where 14 of his novels will be turned into limited series. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

RETRIBUTION – A newlywed couple is brutally murdered and a dark, twisty web of secrets between their two families unravels as a result. A great cast, but an unfortunate ending. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE / ABC Murders – Amazon is doing a series of limited Agatha Christie adaptations, and these were the first two.  Both feature an impressive cast (We’d watch ANYTHING with Bill Nighy in it, always) and game but flawed set-ups, but still a great few hours for genre completists. AVAILABLE ON: Amazon Prime

THIRTEEN – Thirteen years ago Ivy Moxham (played by Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer) 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

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

NATIONAL TREASURE: KIRI – Season 2 of this limited series dives headfirst into racial tensions behind a kidnapping and murder of a young black girl, who was awaiting adoption by a white foster family. Sara Lancashire (of Happy Valley), always great, adds her watercolored-eyed gravitas to this. AVAILABLE ON: Hulu

COLLATERAL – A seemingly random murder of a pizza delivery man, opens the doors to a convoluted case involving race, class, immigration rights, military and foreign policy, and (of course) deeply personal causes for the prestige cast (Carey Mulligan! John Simm! Nicola Walker!) at hand. AVAILABLE ON: Netflix

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: IFC Films/Amazon

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

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:  Netflix

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: Acorn TV

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: Netflix

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

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: Youtube TV/AMC

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: Acorn TV

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: PBS Masterpiece/Amazon

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: Hulu

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