British Police/Crime Dramas

Is anyone else a fan of British police/crime dramas? Aside from the beloved Colin Dexter characters, British television has produced a number of series that are more cerebral and engaging than most American shows. I'm thinking in particular of Unforgotten, which starts Nicola Walker as a detective who investigates cold cases with her partner, and Shetland, set off the coast of Scotland. I'm not a fan of the long-lived Midsomer Murders even though I love the work of Anthony Horowitz, but his Foyle's War is a thoughtful and well-paced story of local crime investigation during WWII.



  • Yes! Love Foyle's War, though it ended too abruptly then was brought back for after the war. I'm a huge Morse/Lewis/Endeavour fan myself. Haven't seen Shetland, but it's on my list as I love the romance of the Scottish Isles.

  • I adore British Mysteries and would be hard pressed to pick one. I search for anything with Nicola Walker in it. She is an amazing talent.

    I think The thing I like most about British Mysteries is their cerebral aspect. For the most part they do not depend upon excessive violence throughout the entire story. I admit I read or watch mysteries from a wide array of British writers, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Poirot, Midsommer Murders, Morse, Endeavour, Shetland, Inspector Lynley, Vera, Lewis, Sherlock, Prime Suspect, A Touch of Frost. The list is endless. I enjoy the series based around and in Oxford, one of my favorite places.

  • I agree that there are just so many that are notable and worthy of five star reviews. Whenever I read other people's reviews I immediately think, "oh, yeah, and that one, too." I have always loved the Colin Dexter spin offs and I think Endeavour is my favorite of that trilogy. I just love how everyone else goes for the simple solution but Morse is always thinking and coming up with the answers.

    Prime Suspect was a favorite of ours back when it aired initially. A couple of the series were a little dark, but Helen Mirren is unequaled. More recently, we've enjoyed Vera, Shetland, Grantchester, Unforgotten, and very recently A Confession on Britbox. Right now I might say my favorite, can't-wait-for-the-next-series, binge-worthy obsession would be Line of Duty. It is such a well-written, complex story line with great unassuming characters. You can't watch just one episode.

    I agree that these shows are not driven by the kind of action, shooting, violence that American shows often have. (although I have to admit that I don't watch many American shows). They are driven more by dialogue and story line than by action scenes, which is why so many viewers will admit that they have to turn on closed captioning to pick up all of the dialogue.

  • I admit to being a fan of all of it. I don't think I've ever seen a Brit crime drama (or read a British mystery) that I didn't enjoy. Currently, I'm indulging in "Shetland" on Canadian Netflix (we've still got the first 3 seasons), and I have a number of other ones saved to my list. And of course, thanks to satellite TV, I'm watching the new season of "Grantchester" on PBS.

  • I've been meaning to give Grantchester a try as well as Father Brown.

  • I love Father Brown! It's sort of a sweet, sanitized crime show (never much blood). I have a love/hate thing for Grantchester. The hunky vicar who drinks whiskey, listens to jazz, and yearns for his old girlfriend is pretty annoying; the new vicar is just as handsome and rides a motorcycle. To me the most interesting peoples are the supporting characters. Does anyone else feel conflicted about this show?

  • I love Midsomer Murders! You can visit and stay in Midsomer but you never know if you'll make it out alive. I love how all the murders are committed. Cheese Wheel, catapulted wine, hatpin in the ear, strangled by piano wire, poisoned by frogs, the list goes on and on.

    I also love Shetland. I really enjoyed MI5 and M.I.T.

  • There was one episode, and I can't remember the title, but there were no murders! I kept waiting for a corpse to turn up, but there

  • OK, that was a bit of a bug... my post posted without me doing anything. Might be my laptop--it does weird things sometimes. I can't see how to edit the comment, either.

  • Do! They're both excellent in their way. "Grantchester" is a bit more modern, in that it tackles some modern ideas but in the 1950s (of course, those ideas were current IN the 1950s, but not at the forefront the way they are today). "Father Brown" has quite a bit of humour in it, but if you're familiar with GK Chesterton's Father Brown stories, you... won't find many similarities. But it's lovely and cosy. I like to watch it before bed. I find it soothing. 😁

  • If click the gear on the right of the post, you should be able to edit your post. I turned on editing for everyone.

  • Inspector Morse, Inspector Lewis, Endeavour, Shetland, Vera, Sherlock, Prime Suspect, Inspector Lynley, A Confession, MI-5, Grantchester, The Bay, Unforgotten, Collateral. I watch British shows almost exclusively. Anyone else watched Deadwater Fell, Blood, London Kills, or Suspects?

  • @Fscn8nSt
    I watched London Kill and found it to be just all right. 
  • My all-time favorite is/was Hamish MacBeth with Robert Carlisle.

    I also like Shetland, Agatha Raisin, The Coroner, Father Brown...

  • It's funny, but I'll watch anything British (even mediocre shows) rather than watch American TV. Basically, I watch local or cable news here (although quite often BBC World News), PBS, any travel show I can find, and British shows. I have Prime Video, Britbox, Acorn TV, and Netflix to help me there. It allows me to travel to Great Britain and surrounds me with the landscapes and accents I crave.

  • Anyone else watch London Spy? With Ben Whishaw? If so, what did you think?

  • Now MI5 is what I know as Spooks. And I was about to ask what M.I.T. is, but a quick google reveals it is a spin off from The Bill.

  • edited September 2020

    Are you familiar with Don Henderson's Bulman? The character starts off as a Special Branch officer in The XYY Man, continues in an undercover role in Strangers and then becomes a private eye in Bulman. Strangers developed into a slick and gripping thriller, particularly once they switch to film. Speaking of Special Branch, TPTV has recently finished a run of the Thames/Euston series that started as a studio based show with Derren Nessbit then became a hard hitting film series with George Sewell (of UFO and The Detectives).

  • Slight PS, can I recommend Shakespeare & Hathaway:Private Investigators which is delightfully barking.

  • Another recommendation if you can find it. Public Eye with Alfred Burke, is an ITV series from the late Sixties, early Seventies. Frank Marker is an ex-con who returns to his work as an enquiry agent. his rates stay the same through the whole series even though he is down at heel for most of that.

  • I agree - London Kills was a little ropy at the beginning but got a bit better. We loved Hinterland and Hidden - both set in Wales and quite dark.

  • I would suggest "Line of Duty" (series 6 now back in production) and, for something slower paced, try "Broadchurch" ...

  • Line of Duty is the best, by far.

    For a different look at policing, No Offence is quite good. Consider it's from the producer of the original UK version of Shameless (not the American garbage rip off).

    There was also one several years ago based in Brighton. Only got one series, but it was quite good. Can't remember the name. Was on ITV or C4, if memory serves.

    Happy Valley was brilliant, as well.

  • Has anybody watched Death in Paradise and more extremely, Year of the Rabbit? I have a real soft spot for the former and Year of the Rabbit features Matt Berry, so.....

  • Loved Year of the Rabbit, which feels like a long time ago.

    They are filming a new batch of Death in Paradise and promising the return of some familiar faces.

    I've just finished Two Weeks To Live which is delightfully demented. Maisie Williams has another list.

  • I believe there’s another Series of Year of the Rabbit planned too. Whether it’s in the can, works or Covid abeyance is anybody’s guess though!

  • Love Shakespeare & Hathaway! I adore the Shakespearean references, and my mother loves the fact that it's set in the Cotswolds. ;-)

  • I recently discovered that Knowledge Network here in Canada (out of BC) has a number of episodes of "Rebus" starring Ken Stott on their website for streaming. Watched the first one and really enjoyed it. I know it's an oldie, but definitely a goodie.

    I've started watching "Bulletproof" starring Noel Clarke and Ashley Walters (airing on Showcase here in Canada). Not sure how I feel about it, to be honest. There's an awful lot of American-style action, and far more guns than I expect from a British cop show, but I do like the chemistry between Clarke and Walters. Lashanna Lynch is criminally wasted in her teeny role as Walters' character's wife, though.

  • Haven't seen Bulletproof, but with Sky shows in mind Maisie Williams is hilarious in Two Weeks To Live.

    There is an ongoing debate about the better Rebus - Stott or Hannah. While I enjoy the books, I've never really got into the tv show. Having said that, Reichenbach Falls by Ian Rankin makes an entertaining film.

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