Us Brits have a palpable craving for crime dramas, and autumn is the perfect time to get our thrill. Think rainy northern towns, detectives with a tendency to get a little too involved in the case at hand, and some kind of scandalous sexual relationship, all while curled up on the sofa with a cuppa. Bliss. Looking for a new series to sink your teeth into? These are the best crime box sets to watch next – plus where to find them.
Best Crime Box Sets To Watch Now
American Crime Story
This anthology series was created by the team behind the similarly named American Horror Story, but explores real crimes in intense detail as opposed to fictional (and often supernatural) horrors. The first series is subtitled ‘The People V OJ Simpson’, following the OJ Simpson murder trial of 1994-95, while the second series tells the story of the murder of Gianni Versace at the hands of Andrew Cunanan, and the third examines the national crisis that led to the first impeachment of a U.S. President in over a century, focusing on the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal. If you love dramatisations of real, high-profile happenings, this is the series for you.
WATCH: American Crime Story is streaming on Disney+.
Line of Duty
This police procedural drama turns the attention on the coppers who are supposed to be stopping crimes, not committing them. Premiering on BBC2 in 2012, the show follows the investigations of AC-12, a controversial police anti-corruption unit, as they uncover corruption within the fictional Central Police. It ran for six seasons, delving into an array of different serious crimes while also taking a look at the lives of our three protagonists: DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), DC Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar). Plus, it might be returning for a final three episode series, so time to get watching if you’re not up-to-date.
WATCH: Line of Duty is streaming on BBC iPlayer.
How To Get Away With Murder
This American thriller-cum-legal drama premiered in 2014, and stars the inimitable Viola Davis in the lead role. The series follows a group of ambitious law students interning for their brilliant criminal defense professor Annalise Keating (Davis), before all become embroiled in a twisted murder plot. Luckily, as training (or extremely feared) criminal lawyers, they should know just how to get away with it. Jumping back and forth in time, the ensemble cast packs a punch in this witty, high stakes drama.
WATCH: How To Get Away With Murder is streaming on Netflix.
Over to Belfast for this crime drama boxset, which follows three new police officers as they navigate the unique pressures and dangers of being frontline response cops in the city – from finding killers to figuring out who wants to kill them simply because of the uniform they wear. Our protagonist, Grace (Siân Brooke), leaves her stable job as a social worker in her 40s to join the police force, all the while being a mum to a teenage boy. Series creators Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson have been praised for their attention to detail, providing a nuanced overview of Belfast’s complex policing. Debuting in March 2023, expect tension and suspense in bucketloads.
WATCH: Blue Lights is streaming on BBC iPlayer.
Who doesn’t love a crime drama starring Stephen Graham? This brand-new Netflix series has gained a lot of attention for that one fact, but the plot is just as arresting: a time-bending drama, four detectives find the same dead body in four different time periods, spanning 150 years. Read all about what to expect here, plus our interview with Amaka Okafor, who plays DS Hasan, here.
WATCH: Bodies is streaming on Netflix.
Chris Chibnall’s Broadchurch ran for three series on ITV from 2013–2017, meaning there are 27 episodes ripe and ready for streaming. Set in Broadchurch, a fictional, close-knit town in Dorset, the series centres on Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) who, in the first series, are tasked with finding the killer of an 11-year-old-boy. Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan, Arthur Darvill, Carolyn Pickles and Jonathan Bailey all make appearances across the series, which heightens tension and realism with documentary-style visuals, exploring the impact that suspicion has on a small town.
WATCH: Broadchurch is streaming on ITVX.
Before we knew them as ‘serial killers’, the working definition for murderers who have killed multiple people was ‘sequence killer’. Taking us back to 1977, Mindhunter dramatises those early days of criminal psychology, following FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), and psychologist Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), who launch a research project interviewing imprisoned killers to learn more about their psychology and hopefully solve ongoing cases. Somewhat of a serial killers all-stars, expect to see the likes of Ed Kemper, David Berkowitz, the BTK Killer, and even Charles Manson.
WATCH: Mindhunter is streaming on Netflix.
This British period crime drama garnered critical and commercial acclaim across its nine-year run, repopularising the flat cap and tweed, while shining an uber bright spotlight on the talents of Cillian Murphy. Beginning in Birmingham in 1919 in the direct aftermath of WWI, the series centres on the eponymous street gang, their exploits across robbery, violence, racketeering and illegal bookmaking, and their ambitious, cunning crime boss, Tommy Shelby (Murphy).
Interested in the war on drugs? Narcos provides a glimpse from the criminal perspective, following notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, and chronicling the rise of Colombia’s lucrative and bloody cocaine trade. Told from the perspective of American DEA agent Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) and starring Pedro Pascal as his fellow weathered agent, the show explores Escobar’s motivations, provides fascinating insight into the drug trade, and explores real historical instances of narcoterrorism – all set against the stunning backdrop of Colombia.
WATCH: Narcos is streaming on Netflix.
A classic in the British crime genre, Idris Elba stars as the titular DCI John Luther in this crime thriller series, a detective inspector in a Special Crimes Unit in London who has a talent for solving cases but also struggles with his own personal demons. A dark and compelling series that has been praised for its writing, acting and direction, Ruth Wilson co-stars as Alice Morgan, a psychopathic but brilliant young woman who has a complicated relationship with Luther.
WATCH: Luther is streaming on BBC iPlayer.
Kaitlyn Dever really shines in this touching and thought-provoking limited series, which tells the true story of Marie Adler (Dever), an 18-year-old woman from Washington state who reported being raped in 2008, and the upsetting repercussions of her accusation. The show jumps between Marie’s story in 2008, and 2011 when two detectives (played by Toni Collette and Merritt Wever) are working on a serial rapist case.
WATCH: Unbelievable is streaming on Netflix.
Based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s world-famous detective, each episode of this modern BBC spin is a film in its own right. Benedict Cumberbatch leads the series as an annoyingly clever Sherlock Holmes, with Martin Freeman playing his sidekick Dr John Watson. Set in modern-day London, Doyle’s original stories experience a fresh spin, successfully attracting a brand new dedicated audience.
WATCH: Sherlock is streaming on BBC iPlayer.
Richard Madden delivers a stellar performance as David Budd in this political thriller. A heroic but volatile war veteran, Budd is now working as a Specialist Protection Officer for the Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch of London’s Metropolitan Police Service. After a heroic act which prevents a terrorist attack on a train, Budd is assigned to protect the Home Secretary, Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes), who is a controversial figure in politics. It’s extremely tense and thrilling, keeping viewers glued to the edge of their seats.
WATCH: Bodyguard is streaming on Netflix.
This crime drama recently made a comeback for a third series, seven years after series two. Taking viewers across to the Calder Valley, West Yorkshire, we follow Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire), a police officer who is dealing with personal tragedy while investigating cases in a small town. Unusually intimate, there’s a unique focus on Cawood’s life, a fiercely protective woman grappling with a whole host of personal demons.