I confess. I love murder mysteries - but let's be clear - not just any murder mysteries. I'm very picky about the shows I watch. I go by certain criteria that must be met before I give it a time of my day. They should be riveting, unique, fast-paced, highly interesting and even a little quirky. I get bored easily. And I can tell right away when a show lulls or starts dragging. At that point, Sayonara! Sadly, A few many American TV shows in this genre couldn't quite keep up with the competition. Which you'll clearly discover as you go over my recommended watch list below. English-produced films seem to meet my criteria effortlessly. Though I'm probably at tad biased with the fact that I love English TV shows and English-speaking characters. Let's just say, they're bloody good!
Here's my Top Picks for your viewing pleasure:
David Suchet as Poirot
Based on Agatha Christie's novel. This series will keep you guessing who the murderer is at the very end. Poirot played by David Suchet is nothing short of brilliant. He's a genius when it comes to solving murders, though ironically, at the same time also a socially awkward twat, thanks to his quirky traits. But if there is anything that sets him apart from the usual detectives of his time, it is his well-coiffed mustache! The forever bachelor. He is a character worth knowing and loving. And take note, He's not French. he's Belgian Mon Ami.
Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple
The nosy, busybody neighbor who have a knack and brains for solving murder cases in the small town of St. Mary Mead. An elderly spinster that knits away her free time when not snooping around. The neighbor you would love to hate but on the same token, the neighbor you would love to be best friends with, not just when you want to know the local gossip but more so, when you need help solving a murder. This series is also based on Agatha Christie's novel.
*Geraldine McEwan is my favorite Miss Marple. I do believe she portrayed the character the best of them all.
|Essie Davis as Miss Fisher|
She's classy. She's sexy. Totally fashionable and glamorous. She's also the very first female private detective of her time in the 1920's. Definitely the first feminist and very modern, way beyond her time. She's also rebellious, spunky and awfully witty. She's the female version of James Bond and one you can't help but love. Based on Kerry Greenwood's novel.
*Miss Fisher is an Australian-produced series. I first heard about it from a friend in Sweden. I was already in love with the show even before it got syndicated for US broadcast. Season 3 currently airing.
Is an award-winning Canadian-produced TV series featuring William Murdoch. A police detective working in Toronto, Ontario around the turn of the 20th century. He is the Sherlock Holmes of his time, incorporating scientific formulas and test to solve his murder cases. His serious character is equally balanced out by his quirky and formidably funny Captain Goddard and sidekick Constable George Crabtree. Based on Maureen Jenning's Novel. Currently filming Season 9.
|Kenneth Branagh as Wallander|
An award winning BBC one-produced tv series. Wallander is a police detective and inspector in the small town of Ystad, Sweden. It is a high-octane crime mystery drama that will leave you holding your breath at each murder scene. The series will also play with your emotions as it features the personal life of the character who is battling a tumultuous relationship with his daughter and his painter father who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Based on Henning Mankel's Kurt Wallander Novels.
|John Nettles as DCI Tom Barnaby|
The story centers around Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby who lives in a small town seemingly with the middle name, "deadly". It's a long-running detective drama that has not faltered in audience following. Characters have changed and evolved with time but the essence and excitement, along with a touch of comedy, of a suspenseful and enthralling murder mystery will keep you coming back for more.
*Tom Barnaby played by John Nettles is my favorite DCI. He was later replaced by John Barnaby (his cousin) who gave the new Barnaby lead role a different portrayal and personality. British production. Currently filming Season 18.
|Julie Graham, Anna Martin, Sophie Rundle, Rachael Stirling|
As Jean, Susan, Lucy, Millie
The wit and power of four intelligent women who worked in a secret military facility deciphering German military codes during the British World War II, used their uncanny ability to decipher patterns and literally connect dots to solve murder mysteries when Police couldn't. Set in 1952-53 seven years after the war ended and after the four women returned to their ordinary lives keeping their top secret past hidden even from their husbands. A riveting crime drama mini-series based on the women who worked at Bletchley Park during World War II who assumptively were codebreakers.
*Unfortunately, this series never went further than 2 series. It still a good watch especially as a girl's night in movie.
|Lain Glen as Jack Taylor|
A "fallen" police detective whose dark past demoted him to accepting menial work as an unofficial Private Investigator by those who knows his uncanny ability to track killers and finding clues crucial to serving murder crimes. This is of course, if he is sober. His desperation and the tragic end to his police detective career have driven him to the verge of being a full blown alcoholic. Series is gritty, dark and sometimes violent but it's one series you can't say no to.
*Jack Taylor is an Irish-produced crime drama based on Ken Bruen novel.
|Richard Harrington as DCI Matthias|
Is another award winning police detective drama series featuring DCI Tom Matthias. A young, modern, new breed of detective, who have a troubled past that keeps him from living his life to its full potential. He moved to small town Hinterland as a way to escape that past but not totally succeeding.
*Filmed twice with two dialogues in English and Welsh. Currently filming for Season 2.
|David Tennant as Detective Alec Hardy|
A case of whodunit crime drama. The story revolved around the murder of an 11 year old and the impact of Social media in the resolution of the murder. As it is a small town, the case was given to a city detective, Alec Hardy, who projected a seemingly unfeeling, stoic and anti-social persona to the disdain of those affected by the tragedy. The series is filled with climactic cliffhangers that will hook you into watching the entirety of the series. David Tennant portrayed the role well, you'll forget he was at one time, the famous, wacky and funny tenth Doctor.
* Broadchurch garnered awards and was adapted for US television titled Gracepoint but with a different ending. British production. Renewed for Season 3.
|Ben Miller as Richard Poole/ Photo: BBC One|
This crime drama series takes viewers into the inner trappings of life in a small island where everything is devoid of the comfort of modern living and technology, including the local police Station where Richard Poole, the quirky detective from London was assigned to. In spite of his non-people-person attributes, he is brilliant in solving murder cases. He is the modern version of Poirot who seemingly shares the same OCD complex as well. His quirkiness added to the comical dynamics to each episode that it will leave you laughing and craving for more, episode after episode.
*Ben Miller is my favorite character in the show. His portrayal of the lead role in Season 1 and 2 had catapulted this series to its top notch popularity and continuity and is now commissioned to run for its 5th season. British-French production.
- Murder Mystery not your type? Then try these 10 Amazing Documentary Films on Netflix That WIll Blow Your Mind Away.
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