Home

 Contact

 Updates

British Crime & Mystery TV Series

My appetite for British crime and mystery television series is insatiable and at an addiction level.  As compared to their American counterparts, generally speaking, the British series tend to rely less on glitz and gimmicks, and the focus is more on the investigation, procedure, character development, etc.  One key factor that enables this is the program length, which can range from one to three hours per story.  Many of the series are adapted from novels, or characters from the novels.

 

Much to my surprise, this page receives nearly 20,000 views per month, and that continues to grow.  Due to the interest and feedback received, I have also created a British Crime & Mystery Movie and TV Mini-Series page.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or feedback, as I have seen all which are listed, unless specifically noted.  I am more than willing to provide additional feedback, help make comparisons, etc.  Clicking on each image will direct you to a website, such as Wikipedia, etc.

 

 

Where to Find the Series

 

For those who live in the US, some of the series have aired previously on PBS, A&E, or BBC America.  Some are available on DVD from sites like Amazon, from streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Acorn Online, etc.  Some series, though, are only available directly from the UK.  They can be ordered on DVD from Amazon UK, but generally the DVDs will be limited to playing only in a Region 2 capable player.  This problem can commonly be solved by "unlocking" the region limitations via entering a simple firmware code on many DVD players.

 

There are a few key benefits of getting the Region 2 DVDs from Amazon UK. 

 

Nomenclature

 

For the sake of clarity, it should be noted that some of the television nomenclature varies between the UK and the US.  For example, what the US calls a TV "season" is called a "series" in the UK.  Usage of the term "episode" also varies.  For the sake of simplicity, my usage of the word "story" simply describes viewing a particular story or case to completion, and may be consist of multiple episodes.

 

Please help support this website by visiting one of the advertisers below

 

 

 
Above Suspicion

Based on novels from the same author as Prime Suspect, this ITV series follows two police detectives solving murders.  The series ran from 2009 to 2012, and there are 4 stories, each roughly 3 hours in length. This is a solid a police procedural series.
 
 
Accused

This unique BBC series follows the point of view from those that are accused of crimes, including murder.  The series ran from 2011 to 2012, and there are 10 stories than run about an hour each.  The unique point of view makes this series good watch.
 
The Bletchley Circle

This series from ITV is set in the 1950s, and follows former female WWII code breakers solving murder.  The series ran from 2012 to 2014, and there are four episode that run two to three hours.  This is a good series, similar to Foyle's War and George Gently.
 
Blue Murder

This ITV series follows a female police detective solving murder in Manchester, England, who is also a single mother.  The series ran from 2003 to 2009, and there are 19 stories than run an hour each.  This is a good series with some subtle humor.
       
 
Body Farm

This BBC series is a spin-off from Waking the Dead.  It features the same forensic scientist, who is now with a private firm.  The series ran in 2011, and there are 6 stories than run about an hour each.  I found the series to be average at best.
 
 
Broadchurch

This series from ITV follows detectives on a single murder case spanning each series.  The first series aired in 2013 and is about six hours.  There is a second series planned.  I found this series to be an outstanding police procedural.

 
Cadfael

This series from ITV, which also aired on PBS, follows a Benedictine monk who solves murders in middle ages.  The series ran from 1994 to 1998 and there are 16 stories than run about 80 minutes each.  I have yet to watch this series but plan to.
 
Campion

This BBC series follows a private detective, and is based on some novels.  The series ran from 1989 to 1990, and there are 16 stories than run about an hour each.  While I did view a few stories, this was not my preferred type of show.
       
 
Case Histories

This BBC series is set in Edinburg, Scotland, and follows a former police detective who is now a private investigator.  The series has run since 2011, and there are 6 stories than run 90 to 120 minutes each.  This is good and entertaining series.
 
 
Case Sensitive

This ITV series is based on some novels, and follows a female and male police duo solving murders.  The series ran from 2011 to 2012, and there are 2 stories than run about 2 hours each.  I found this to be a good police procedural.
 
The Commander

This ITV series follows the commanding officer of a team of detectives, and stars Amanda Burton from Silent Witness.  The series ran from 2003 to 2008, and there are 8 stories than run up to 180 minutes each.  It was an average series.
 
Cracker

The gritty ITV series stars Harry Potter actor Robbie Coltrane as a drinking, smoking, gambling, and cussing criminal psychologist who helps the police solve murders.  The series ran from 1993 to 2006. This is a great and entertaining series.
       
 
Dalziel & Pascoe

This BBC series follows a politically incorrect police detective and his assistant solving murders.  The series ran from 1996 to 2007, and are 46 stories that run up to 120 minutes each.  This is a solid police procedural with some subtle humor.
 
 
DCI Banks

This series from ITV is set in Yorkshire, England, and follows two detectives solving murders.  The series has run since 2010, and so far there are seven stories that run either 90 minutes to 2 hours each.  This is great police procedural.
 
 
Death in Paradise

This BBC series follows a former London police detective who is now in the British islands.  The series has run since 2011, and so far there are 16 stories that run about an hour each.  While I did view a few stories, the series in not my preference.
 
 
Doctor Blake Mysteries

This series from Australia follows a local doctor helping the police solve murders.  The series has run since 2013, and so far there are ten stories that run about an hour each.  This is a light and somewhat over the top, but entertaining series.
 
       
 
Endeavour

This series from ITV is a reboot of Inspector Morse, and traces his start as a detective.  The series has run since 2012, and so far there are 9 stories that run about 90 minutes each.  This is a superb police procedural, and even better than original.
 
 
Falcón

This series from Sky Atlantic follows a police detective solving murder in Seville, Spain, and is English language dialogue.  The series ran in 2012, there are 2 stories about two hours each.  This was entertaining procedural and worth a view.
 
The Fall

This BBC series features Gillian Anderson as a detective pursuing a serial murderer in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  The series runs about 5 hours, and a second series is coming.  This was good thriller though the same storyline will span forward.
 
Father Brown


This fun and lighthearted BBC series is a remake of an earlier series.  It is set in the 1950s and follows a priest who gets himself involved with solving murders before the police. The series has run since 2013 and each story is about a hour.
       
 
Foyle's War


Set in Hastings, England, this ITV series follows a detective solving crimes during the World War II and post war era.  The series has run since 2002, and so far there have been 25 stories that run about 90 minutes each.  A solid and good series.
 
George Gently


This BBC series follows a detective and his assistant solving crimes during the 1960s in Northumberland, England.  The series has run since 2007, and so far there have been 19 stories that run about 90 minutes each.  This is a great retro police procedural.
 

Hamish Macbeth


This very quirky and light hearted series from BBC Scotland that follows a rural police constable in Scotland.  The series ran from 1995 to 1997, and consists of 20 episode that run about an hour each.  While not great, it was an average view.

The Helen West Casebook


This ITV series follows a crown prosecutor handling crime cases, and stars Amanda Burton from Silent Witness.  The series ran in 2002, and there are 3 stories that run about 90 minutes each.  It was an average production and series.
       

Hinterland


This BBC series follows a team of police detectives solving murders in Wales, and a minor amount of dialogue is in Welsh (subtitled in English).   The series has run since 2013, and there are 4 stories that run about 90 minutes each.  This is a superb series, similar to Vera.


Hustle


This BBC comedic drama series follows a team of grifters (con artists) around London.  The premise and style is similar to the Ocean's 11 movie franchise.  The series ran from 2004 to 2012, and there are 48 stories that run about an hour each.


Inspector Alleyn Mysteries


This BBC series follow and English police detective in the late 1930s.  The series ran from 1990 to 1994, and there are nine stories that run about 90 minutes each.  It was an average production and series.


Inspector Lewis

This ITV series is a sequel to Inspector Morse, and follows a police detective and his assistant solving crimes in Oxford.  The series has run since 2006, and there are 27 stories that run over 90 minutes each.  This is a superbly enjoyable series.
 
       

Inspector Lynley Mysteries

This BBC series follows an aristocrat police detective and his assistant that solve murder cases in London.  The series ran from 2001 to 2007, and consists of 23 stories that run over 90 minutes each.  This is a good production and series to watch.
 
Inspector Morse

This legendary ITV series follows an Oxford educated police detective and his assistant solving murder cases in Oxford.  The series ran from 1987 to 2000, and there are 33 stories that run over 90 minutes each.  This series is superb, and has aged well.

Inspector Resnick


This BBC series stars Tom Wilkinson as a police detective in Nottingham.  The series ran from 1992 to 1993 and there are two stories that run about 90 minutes each.  This is pending release on DVD in the US, and I have not seen it yet.



Jack Irish


This Australian series stars Guy Pearce as a former lawyer who is now a private detective.  The series has run since 2012, and so far there are four stories that run about 90 minutes each.  It is an above average production, and worth a view.

       

Jack Taylor

This series from Ireland follows a former police detective now working as a private detective in Galway, Ireland.  The series has ran since 2010, and consists of 5 stories that run about 90 minutes each.  While somewhat over the top, it is a good view.
 

Jo

This is an English language show set in Paris and follows a team of police detectives.  The series ran in 2013, and consists of 8 stories.  It is an average production, and comes across as a US produced show, including US accents.
 

Jonathan Creek

This BBC series follows magician that solves crimes by applying his skills to "how it was done."  The series has run since 2007, and there are 31 stories that run from one to two hours each.  It is very breezy series but a worthwhile view.
 

The Last Detective

This humorous and lighthearted ITV series follows a bumbling police detective that solves crimes with his civilian sidekick.  The series ran from 2003 to 2007, and consists of 17 stories that run about an hour each.  This is a great series to watch for humor.
 
       

Law & Order UK

This series from ITV is quite simply an British adaption of the American show, but set in London.  The series has run since 2009 and consists of 43 stories that run less than an hour each.  It as an above average production, but a worthwhile view.
 

Line of Duty

This BBC series follow police detectives in England investigating other police officers who are possibly corrupt.  The series has run since 2012 and so far there are two stories that run about five hours each.  This is an entertaining thriller type show.
 

Luther

This BBC series follows an obsessive detective in London, and stars Golden Globe winner Idris Elba.  The series has run since 2010 and consists of 14 stories that run about an hour each.  This is a solidly produced series and enjoyable view.
 

Marple

This series from ITV is based on the novels from Agatha Christie.  The series has run since 2004 and consists of 23 stories that run about 90 minutes each.  There is also a previous series known as Miss Marple.  It is a well produced series, but is not my style.
 
       
 
Messiah

This BBC series follows a team of detectives that investigate gruesome murders, and stars Ken Stott from Rebus.  The series ran from 2001 to 2008, and there are 5 stories that run up to 180 minutes each.  This was produced well, and worth a view.
 
MI-5 (Spooks)

This BBC series follows a team from the British domestic security service (MI-5).  The series is known as Spooks in the UK and as MI-5 in the US.  The series ran from 2002 to 2011, and there are 86 stories about an hour each.  Over the top but good.

Midsomer Murders

This long running series from ITV follows a police duo solving murders in the quirky English countryside.  The series has run since 1996, and consists of over 100 stories that run about 90 minutes each.  The show is classic and light hearted.
 

A Mind to Kill

This Welsh series follows a police detective and his team solving murders in Wales.  The series ran from 1994 to 2004, and consists of 21 stories that run about 90 minutes each.  It is an average series, and worth a view. 
 
       

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

This light hearted Australian series follows a flapper female private detective in Melbourne during the 1920s.  The series has run since 2012, and consists of 13 stories that run about an hour each.  It is entertaining and contains some humor.
 

Missing

This BBC series is light and follows the investigations of a missing person unit in Dover, England.  The series ran from 2009 to 2010, and consists of 15 stories that run about an hour each.  It is an average show but was worth watching.
 

Mrs. Bradley Mysteries

This BBC series follows a widowed 1920s socialite and her chauffer solving crime.  The series ran from 1998 to 1999, and consists of 5 stories that run about 90 minutes each.  This is a light and entertaining series, where she even talks to the camera.
 

Murder City

This ITV series follows a mismatched male and female police detective duo solving murders in London.  The series ran from 2005 to 2006, and consists of 10 stories that run up to 90 minutes each.  This was an above average series and worth a view.
 
       

Murder in Mind

This unique BBC series follows murder from the killer's perspective and the events leading up to it.  The series ran from 2001 to 2003, and consists of 23 stories that run about an hour each.  There are many familiar faces and was a good view.
 

Murder in Suburbia

This lighthearted series from ITV follows two female detective that solve murders in the suburbs of London.  The series ran from 2004 to 2005, and consists of 12 stories that run about an hour each.  This was a solid show with some humor injected.

Murder Investigation Team

This series from ITV follows a team of detectives solving murders in the London area.  The series ran from 2003 to 2005, and consists of 12 stories that run up to 75 minutes each.  It is an average show and was worth watching.

Murphy's Law

This BBC series follows an undercover detective in London.  The series ran from 2001 to 2007, and consists of 23 stories that run about an hour each.  While I saw a few stories, the undercover role is typically not my preferred type of show.
 
       

New Tricks

This lighthearted BBC series follows a female detective and three retired detectives that are brought back to solve cold cases.  The series has run since 2003, and consists of 77 stories that run about an hour each.  This is a fun and entertaining series.

Pie in the Sky

This BBC series follows a near retirement detective who opens a restaurant.  The series ran from 1994 to 1997, and consists of 40 stories that run about an hour each. It is a fun and lighthearted style, but I found it a bit too slow moving for me.

Poirot

This ITV series stars David Suchet as the Belgian detective based on the Agatha Christie novels.  The series ran from 1989 to 2013, and consists of 66 stories that run up to 90 minutes each.  While popular and solidly produced, it is not my style of show.
 

Prime Suspect

This ITV series stars Helen Mirren as a rising police detective in London who has a problem with alcohol.  The series ran from 1991 to 2006, and consists of 9 stories that run as long as 200 minutes each.  This is a superb series to watch.
 
       

Quirke

This BBC series stars Gabriel Byrne as a pathologist in Dublin, Ireland during the 1950s.  The series has run since 2014, and consists of 3 stories that run about 90 minutes each.  It is an above average production, and worth a view.

Rebus

This ITV series follows an edgy police detective and his assistant that solve murders in Edinburg, Scotland.  The series ran from 2006 to 2007, and consists of 10 stories that run about an hour each.  This a well produced and great series.

Ripper Street

This BBC series is set in London shortly after the "Jack the Ripper" murders, and follows police detectives.  The series has run since 2012, and consists of 16 stories that run about an hour each.  I've seen a few stories and plan to watch more.

Rosemary & Thyme

This breezy and light series from ITV follows two female gardeners who encounter and solve murders while on the job.  The series ran from 2003 to 2007, and consists of 22 stories that run about an hour each. While not my style, it is well produced.
 
       

Scott & Bailey

This series from ITV follows two female police detectives solving murders in Manchester, England.  The series has run since 2011, and consists of 22 stories that run about an hour each.  It is well produced and an enjoyable view.

Second Sight

This BBC series stars Clive Owen as a detective that has a rare disease and is starting to lose his sight.  The series ran from 2000 to 2001, and consists of 8 stories that run about an hour each.  It is good procedural with a unique twist.


Sherlock

This BBC series is quite simply a modern day Sherlock Holmes with his sidekick Watson.  The series has run since 2010, and consists of 9 stories that run about 90 minutes each.  While very well produced, it is not my style of show.

Sherlock Holmes

This series from ITV stars Jeremy Brett as the infamous detective, and his sidekick Watson.  The series ran from 1984 to 1994, and consists of 41 stories that range from one to two hours.
       

Shetland

This BBC series follows a team of police detectives that investigate murders in the Shetland islands of Scotland.  The series has run since 2013 and consists of 4 stories that run up to 120 minutes each. The series is superb, and similar to Vera.


Silent Witness

This BBC series follows a team of independent forensic pathologists that help the police investigate murders.  The series has run since 1996, and consists of 71 stories that run up to 120 minutes each. The series is an enjoyable watch.


Single Handed

This series from RTE Ireland follows a Garda policeman on the rural west coast of Ireland.  The series ran from 2007 to 2010, and consists of 12 stories that run about an hour each.  While somewhat slow moving, it is an good show to view.

Taggart

This long running series from Scotland follows of team of detectives solving murders.  The series ran from 1983 to 2010, and consists of 109 stories that run about an hour each.  It is an average show and was still a good view.
       

Thorne

This Sky1 series stars David Morrissey from The Walking Dead, and follows a team of police detectives solving murders.  The series ran in 2010, and consists of 2 stories that run about 180 minutes each.  These are well produced and a good view.
 

A Touch of Frost

This ITV series follows an aging and quirky detective solving murders in the fictional town of Denton, England.  The series ran from 1992 to 2010, and consists of 42 stories that run about 90 minutes each.  This is a great and solid series.
 

Touching Evil

This gritty series from ITV follows murder cases handled by elite Organized and Serial Crime Unit (OSC) based in London.  The series ran from 1997 to 1999, and consists of 8 stories that run about 2 hours each.  This is a superb series and I loved it.

Trial & Retribution

This ITV series is procedural and follows a team of detectives from investigation to the court room.  The series ran from 1997 to 2009, and consists of 22 stories that range from 90 to 200 minutes each.  This is good and solid series.
 
       

Vera

This ITV series follows a female detective and her assistant solving murders in Northumberland, England.  The series has run since 2011, and consists of 16 stories that run about 100 minutes each.  This is a superb series and a favorite.
 

Vexed

This is a hilarious police procedural comedy from the BBC about a lazy, disorganized, and politically incorrect detective.  The series has run since 2010, and consists of 9 stories that run about an hour each.


The Vice

This gritty series from ITV stars Ken Stott (Rebus) and follows a vice squad in London.  The series ran from 1999 to 2003, and consists of 21 stories that run up to 120 minutes each.  This is good procedural from a vice point of view.


Waking the Dead

This BBC series follows a cold case squad consisting of detectives, a forensic scientist, and a psychological profiler.  The series ran from 2005 to 2011, and consists of 46 stories that are about 2 hours each.  While a bit over the top, it is a good solid series.
 
       

Wallander

This BBC series is adapted from novels about a police detective in Sweden, and stars Kenneth Branagh.  The series has run since 2008, and consists of 9 stories that run over 90 minutes each.  This is a superb series and one of my favorites.
 

Whitechapel

This ITV series follows team of detectives that solve murders which appear to replicate historical murders.  The series has run from 2009, and consists of 8 stories that run as long as 180 minutes each.  The earlier series are better than the later.

Wire in the Blood

This dark series from ITV follows a clinical psychologist who helps the police solve gruesome serial murders.  The series ran from 2002 to 2009 and consists of 24 stories ranging from 90 to 120 minutes.  This is a great series, but not for everyone.

Wycliffe

This series from ITV is adapted from novels about a police detective in Cornwall, England.  The series ran from 1994 to 1998, and consists of 38 stories that run about an hour each.  It is an average series at best, and a slow drama type.
       

Zen

This BBC series is adapted from Italian novels about a police detective in Italy, starring Rufus Sewell.  The series ran in 2011, and consists of 3 stories that run about 90 minutes each.  This was a good series and worth a view.
 
     
       

 

This page was updated July 27, 2014

 

 

Please help support this website by visiting one of the advertisers below