The 20 Best British Crime Shows to Watch (2023)

Crime doesn't pay - but crime fiction and mystery dramas are certainly fun to watch. And here in the UK we love a good police series!

Outside ofBroadchurchForPoirot, ELutherForwhite house farmthe UK has produced a plethora of gripping crime dramas. Some are dark, hard-hitting stories, while others are more lighthearted stories.

But where do you start if you want to get into the British cop series? With this post of course!

Below is a breakdown of the best British crime dramas. These are the can't-miss programs that guarantee hours of entertainment for all aspiring detectives and amateur detectives!



Best British Crime Series

Below is a collection of British crime series to add to your 'watch list'. The collection includes detective shows, psychological thrillers, dramatizations of real-life events and the odd, who doesn't know?.

Dive into the list and see what you missed. You may have forgotten about your next TV obsession.


The 20 Best British Crime Shows to Watch (1)

comes firstCookie– a hard-hitting series about criminal psychologist Dr. Edward "Fitz" Fitzgerald. The film is set in Manchester and was shot between 1993 and 2006.CookieStarring Robbie Coltrane, Christopher Eccleston, Ricky Tomlinson and Geraldine Somerville, it had 25 episodes.



white house farm

The 20 Best British Crime Shows to Watch (2)

Next is the White House farm- a six-part dramatization based on a real-life collection of murders that took place in the village of Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex, in 1985. The series examines the events leading up to the murders and the aftermath, as the police initially focus on the suspect wrong.

white house farmis a gripping and fascinating account of a deeply tragic crime. The series stars Freddie Fox, Mark Addy, Stephen Graham and Alexa Davies.


life on mars

The 20 Best British Crime Shows to Watch (3)

Now for something different - a cop show with a twist.

Emlife on marsIn 2006, police officer Sam Tyler is knocked unconscious, but when he wakes up, he finds himself in 1973. Is he dreaming Did he go back in time? These are just some of the many questions in this impressive and very nostalgic series.

Set in Manchester in the 1970s,life on marsStarring John Simm and Philip Glenister. The show ran for 16 episodes between 2006 and 2007 and spawned a spin-off sequel.

By the way…


(Video) Top 10 British Crime Shows

ashes to ashes

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Following a format similar tolife on mars, and maintains part of the same cast,ashes to ashesis another crime series set in the past. This time it's the 1980s, focusing on police officer Alex Drake, who inexplicably finds himself in 1981.

ashes to ashesran for 24 episodes between 2008 and 2010 and, like its predecessor, is packed with lots of crime, lots of drama, and a whole lot of 80s iconography.



The fall

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Now for a complete change of pace with a dark, psychological crime thriller set in Northern Ireland.The fallStarring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan, it follows the story of Stella Gibson, Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police, who investigates the crimes of a serial killer who preys on young women in Belfast.

The fallis an incredibly fascinating and often disturbing piece of television that plays into the mind of a murderer. The critically acclaimed series ran for 17 episodes between 2013 and 2016.



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Olivia Coleman and David Tennant take the leadBroadchurch- a serial crime drama set in a fictional town in Dorset, England. The show focuses on the events surrounding the death of a local boy, including the investigation and aftermath.

Broadchurchhad 24 episodes that originally aired between 2013 and 2017.



Inspector Morse

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Now a firm UK favorite and one of the UK's most popular and longest running detective shows:Inspector Morse. The show - based on a series of novels by Colin Dexter - follows the story of Detective Chief Inspector Morse, who investigates crimes in Oxford, England.

Inspector Morseit ran 33 episodes between 1987 and 2000. John Thaw took on the title role, while Kevin Whately played Morse's second-in-command, Sergeant Lewis.



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continuation ofInspector Morsestory isLewis- a spin-off series centering on Robert Lewis, promoted from Sergeant to Detective Inspector. Kevin Whately reprises the role of DI Lewis for another collection of Oxford investigations.

Like its predecessorLewishad 33 episodes that aired between 2006 and 2015.


Make an effort

(Video) Top 7 British Crime Dramas You Must Watch | Best TV crime dramas to watch | Best British crime drama

The 20 Best British Crime Shows to Watch (9)

completion ofmorsetrilogy isMake an effort, a prequel series recounting the early adventures of Inspector Morse (or Detective Sergeant Morse, as he is known in the series). Shaun Evans takes on the title role, which debuted on screen in 2012.




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Poirotis a long-running British drama based on theHercule PoirotStories from acclaimed crime writer Agatha Christie. The series, which aired between 1989 and 2013, ran for 70 episodes and adapted some of Christie's most famous stories, includingThe ABC Murders,Death on the Nile,The Assassination of Roger Ackroyd, EMord im Orient Express.

The show is extremely successful and one of the most popular recordings in thePoirotsecrets.PoirotDavid Suchet stars in the title role, with Hugh Fraser as Captain Hastings.


a touch of frost

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Based onfrostromances de R.D. Wingfield,a touch of frostis a detective series that follows the story of Detective Inspector William Edward "Jack" Frost, who investigates crimes in the fictional town of Denton, England. David Jason played the role of DI Frost for 42 episodes that aired between 1992 and 2010.


Jonathan Bach

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In this mystery drama from author David Renwick, Alan Davies plays Jonathan Creek - a creative adviser to a stage magician who uses his whimsical talent for understanding illusions to unlock seemingly impossible mysteries.

Jonathan Bachis a brilliantly imaginative show full of wacky characters and intriguing crimes. If you've never watched a single episode, now is the time to correct that faux pas.



prime suspect

The 20 Best British Crime Shows to Watch (13)

prime suspectHelen Mirren stars as Jane Tennison - a detective chief inspector working for the Metropolitan Police. The show focuses on Tennison's affairs, as well as her never-ending struggle to prove herself in a male-dominated profession.

prime suspecthad 15 episodes and aired between 1991 and 2006.


silent witness

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First seen on screens in 1996,silent witnessis an incredibly successful BBC show. The series highlights the forensic side of crime and has over 200 episodes to date.

silent witnessinitially focused on pathologist Sam Ryan (played by Amanda Burton), but as the series progressed, the focus shifted to an ensemble cast including Dr. Nikki Alexander played by Emilia Fox.


(Video) The Best English Crime Series to Watch


the sculptor

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Based on the crime thriller of the same name by Minette Walters,the sculptoris a psychological thriller about a woman who may or may not have been responsible for the murder of her mother and sister. Pauline Quirke takes on the role of Olive Martin (aka the Sculptor) in this four-part drama that is a hidden gem of the 90s.


To Honor Lost by Christopher Jefferies

The 20 Best British Crime Shows to Watch (16)

This incredible one-of-a-kind drama tells the true story of a retired teacher suspected of the disappearance and murder of a landscape architect.To Honor Lost by Christopher Jefferiesinvestigates how Jefferies was slandered by the media despite not being wholly innocent of any crime.

Jason Watkins plays the role of Christopher Jefferies - a role that won him a British Academy Television Award.


Agatha Christies Marple

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based on the belovedmiss marbleromanians,Agatha Christies Marpleis a lovely series that aired from 2004 to 2013. Two actresses took on the role of super detective during this period, with Geraldine McEwan primarily playing Marple and Julia McKenzie taking over the role midway through the show.

Agatha Christies Marpleit lasted 23 episodes and is about as much fun as you can imagine.



summer murders

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And now for another long string of crimes that has become something of a British institution.summer murdersis a crime drama based on the Chief Inspector Barnaby books by Caroline Graham.

Set in the fictional English county of Midsomer (where the crime usually takes place), the show follows two detectives, both named Barnaby. John Nettles played the lead role of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby when the series hit screens in 1997, while Neil Dudgeon took on the role of Tom's cousin, Detective Chief Inspector John Barnaby from 2010 onwards.



The 20 Best British Crime Shows to Watch (19)

Idris Elba stars in this psychological crime drama about a detective chief inspector working for the Serious Crimes Unit.Lutherfirst hit screens in 2010 and became an instant hit with viewers.


the missing

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And finally,the missingis a 2014 British anthology drama series. The show stars Tchéky Karyo, James Nesbitt, Frances O'Connor, David Morrissey, and Keeley Hawes.

The first season ofthe missingfollowed the search for a missing boy in France, while the second season focused on a girl who had gone missing in Germany.

(Video) Classic British Crime Shows No 3




The 20 Best British Crime Shows to Watch (21)

I hope you found this collection of British police dramas and mystery shows useful. To keep you from going back, here are all the programs in a handy list:

  • Cookie
  • white house farm
  • life on mars
  • ashes to ashes
  • The fall
  • Broadchurch
  • Inspector Morse
  • Lewis
  • Make an effort
  • Poirot
  • a touch of frost
  • Jonathan Bach
  • prime suspect
  • silent witness
  • the sculptor
  • To Honor Lost by Christopher Jefferies
  • Agatha Christies Marple
  • summer murders
  • Luther
  • the missing



The 20 Best British Crime Shows to Watch (22)

If you are a fan of British police series,Then you might want to know that some of those classic series mentioned above are currently available on DVD, including many episodes ofsummer murders.

Midsomer Murders: Barnaby's Fallbuch is one such release, containing several episodes of the show in one convenient box.

The Midsomer Murders: The Barnaby CasebookCollection of DVDs and miscellaneoussummer murdersDVDs are available from all good entertainment retailers includingamazon usaEamazon uk.


Thanks for your visitIt's a Stampede!to watch the best British police series. For more crime-related content, see recommended reading below.


Keep reading:


(Video) 10 Crime Shows to Binge Watch

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What are some good British crime dramas? ›

Thankfully, there's no shortage of incredible British detective series on the streaming platform today.
  • 1 'Peaky Blinders' (2013 - 2022) ...
  • 2 'Collateral' (2018) ...
  • 3 'Bodyguard' (2018) ...
  • 4 'Giri/Haji' (2019) ...
  • 5 'Criminal: UK' (2019 - ) ...
  • 6 'The Stranger' (2020) ...
  • 7 'Top Boy' (2019 - ) ...
  • 8 'Marcella' (2016 - )
Feb 1, 2023

What is the best British crime drama on Netflix? ›

Binge-worthy British Crime TV Shows
  • Top Boy.
  • Bodyguard.
  • Marcella.
  • Safe.
  • Inside Man.
  • Anatomy of a Scandal.
  • Stay Close.
  • Don't Pick Up the Phone.

What is the most popular crime drama? ›

Top 50 Crime TV Series
  • Law & Order (1990– ) ...
  • Will Trent (2023– ) ...
  • Castle (2009–2016) ...
  • Magnum P.I. ...
  • Only Murders in the Building (2021– ) ...
  • Ozark (2017–2022) TV-MA | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller. ...
  • Columbo (1971–2003) TV-PG | 100 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery. ...
  • Fargo (2014– ) TV-MA | 53 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller.

What series is as good as Broadchurch? ›

More Shows Like Broadchurch
  • Unforgotten (2015- )
  • Happy Valley (2014-2022)
  • The Missing (2014-2016)
  • Vera (2011- )
  • Deadwater Fell (2020)
  • Hinterland (2013-2016)
  • Marcella (2016- )
  • The Bay (2019- )
Jan 24, 2022

What are the five most popular British TV shows? ›

TV Series, United Kingdom (Sorted by Popularity Ascending)
  1. Game of Thrones (2011–2019) TV-MA | 57 min | Action, Adventure, Drama. ...
  2. The Gold (2023– ) 58 min | Crime, Drama, History. ...
  3. Happy Valley (2014–2023) ...
  4. Lockwood & Co (2023– ) ...
  5. Clarkson's Farm (2021– ) ...
  6. Better (2023– ) ...
  7. C.B. ...
  8. Death in Paradise (2011– )

What is the most popular BBC drama? ›

1. Line of Duty (2012–2021) Drama series following the investigations of AC-12, a controversial police anti-corruption unit.

What is the best crime series on BritBox? ›

10 of the best British crime series on BritBox
  • Broadchurch: Series 1-3.
  • The Fall: Seasons 1-3.
  • Happy Valley: Seasons 1-2.
  • Magpie Murders: Season 1.
  • Midsomer Murders: Season 22.
  • Line of Duty: Season 1-6.
  • Luther: Season 1-5.
  • Prime Suspect: Season 1-7.
Sep 21, 2022

What British crime dramas are on Amazon Prime? ›

  • The Corrupted. StarringSam Claflin. ...
  • Endeavour, Season 7. StarringMarianne Oldham. ...
  • Midsomer Murders. StarringNeil Dudgeon. ...
  • Motive, Season 3. 4.74.7 out of 5 stars (190) ...
  • Unforgotten Season 1. 4.64.6 out of 5 stars (1,000) ...
  • Whitstable Pearl S1 - Season 1. ...
  • Masterpiece: Endeavour, Season One. ...
  • Unforgettable, Season 1.

Are there any new British crime dramas? ›

More New British Mysteries to Come…
  • Acorn TV Original Mystery The Chelsea Detective to Premiere in March (+Trailer) January 19, 2022 Stefanie Hutson British TV Premieres, British Mysteries 2.
  • David Tennant in Deadwater Fell: Trailer & US Premiere Details. ...
  • US Air Date Announced for JK Rowling's Cormoran Strike Series.

What is the new UK police drama? ›

The New BBC police and crime drama 'Better' starring Leila Farzad is set to premiere in the UK. The show is being looked forward to by fans of the genre across the country as a new scripted programme takes over the broadcaster's late-night slot.

Which is the No 1 drama serial in the world? ›

1. The Last of Us (2023– ) After a global pandemic destroys civilization, a hardened survivor takes charge of a 14-year-old girl who may be humanity's last hope.

What other series is like Grantchester? ›

5 shows to watch if you love Grantchester
  • Sanditon. Sanditon is a period drama adapted from an unfinished manuscript by Jane Austen. ...
  • Doc Martin. Part of the charm of Grantchester is the location, which is as much a part of the story as any of the characters or the plot. ...
  • Shetland. ...
  • Magpie Murders. ...
  • A Touch of Frost.
Jul 21, 2022

What is the American version of Broadchurch with David Tennant? ›

Upcoming Fox series Gracepoint – which is slated to air Thursdays this Fall – is an Americanized remake of Broadchurch, in which Tennant is reprising his role as the lead detective, though he'll be called Emmett Carver this time around.

What is the best streaming service for British mysteries? ›

BritBox. Britbox is a streaming service born out of an alliance between two British broadcasters: BBC and iTV. If you like British humour, British detective shows, or anything British TV, it's the place for you.

What is the most watched British show? ›

There was an eclectic mix in the top 10. The most-watched TV programmes of the year in the UK have been revealed, with the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II topping the list.

What is the number 1 TV show in UK? ›

1EastEndersBBC One
2EastEndersBBC One
3Coronation StreetITV (Granada)
4Live AidBBC One/BBC Two
17 more rows

What is the biggest British TV show? ›

1. Game of Thrones (2011–2019)

Are there any good British series on Netflix? ›

Popular on NetflixExplore more
  • The Last Kingdom.
  • Peaky Blinders.
  • The Crown.
  • Call the Midwife.
  • Formula 1: Drive to Survive.
  • Bodyguard.
  • Fate: The Winx Saga.
  • Top Boy.

What is the biggest English series on Netflix? ›

As of February 2023, the most popular English-language Netflix TV show of all time was the fourth season of American science-fiction series "Stranger Things," with over 1.3 billion hours viewed in the show's first 28 days on the platform.

What is the best British drama? ›

Best British TV Dramas on Netflix UK, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, Prime Video, NOW, BritBox, All4
  • A Discovery of Witches. ...
  • Around the World in 80 Days. ...
  • Ashes to Ashes. ...
  • Being Human. ...
  • Black Mirror. ...
  • Bodies. ...
  • Bodyguard. ...
  • Boys from the Blackstuff.
Feb 23, 2023

What are the most famous British crime cases? ›

Three famous crimes
  • The Great Train Robbery. One of the most famous robberies in British history happened at 3 am on the morning of 8th August 1963. ...
  • An unusual burglary. In the early morning of 9th July 1982, the Queen was asleep in her bedroom at Buckingham Palace in London. ...
  • The doctor who murdered his patients.

Who is Britain's most loved detective? ›


Elementary, my dear Watson! Sherlock Holmes has not only been named the UK's number one big screen detective, but also the UK's favourite mystery thriller movie, according to new national research published today1.


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