A while back, I stumbled across this AWESOME review column of spectacular television crime drama series. I know a lot of folks who are fans of CSI and NCIS and all those American acronym shows that I can’t really get into. As far as acronyms go, I’m a BBC girl. I like my police procedurals with Brit slang and a cuppa. And now, I find out, I like Danish, Aussie, and Belgian cop shows too! I’m impressed with myself that I’ve watched six of the shows reviewed by Al Lowe in her Wheel of Murder reviews. Or, I just need to get out of the house more often.
I started making my own list of superb shows. The ones that I binge-watched on Sundays during tax seasons long past. The ones that made me jump off the couch and holler when something unbelievable happened to a main character. Shows that shape my own work – writing better dialogue, developing characters with emotional depth, learning new slang, trying for actual plot in my novels.
Right, so – in no particular order, here’s my own hell-yes Rule Britannia list.
Luther I dare you to find a more fascinating fictional relationship than our hero DCI John Luther and lovable sociopath Alice.
Foyle’s War Pack up your tea cozy and wool knickers, we’re off to the south coast during wartime to solve murders with the unflappable, respectable (and damn sexy) Michael Kitchen.
Line of Duty I stumbled across this on Hulu and I can’t believe more people aren’t talking about it. Excellent cast, some seriously intense scenes.
The Bletchley Circle I found this show because I’m a big fan of Anna Maxwell Martin and I’ll see anything she’s in. So far there’s only two series here, but I so hope there will be more – it’s a cracking good show about a group of brilliant women codebreakers post-WWII who solve mysteries in the face of danger and chauvinism.
Prime Suspect My list isn’t complete without Helen Mirren’s groundbreaking show. I’m bingewatching it on Hulu.
The Fall Despite being one of those shows that focuses a lot of time on the personal life of a serial killer (eewwww), I was riveted, especially by Gillian Anderson’s steely, shrewd, take-no-shit DSI Stella Gibson. Can’t wait for Season 3.
Whitechapel I am dying for Series 4 to be available in the US. Rupert Penry-Jones is devastating as uppercrusty, OCD, sweetnatured DI Joe Chandler, hunting Ripper-esque killers in modern-day London.
Life on Mars [Do not watch the American remake.] It doesn’t get much better than a time travel (or is it?) and Manchester detectives mash-up set to a David Bowie soundtrack. Gene Hunt is the only misogynist bastard I adore. Follow up with Ashes to Ashes, quite possibly even better than Life on Mars. Keeley Hawes makes everything sterling (see Line of Duty above).
Torchwood I might have to confess here that despite being a longtime Doctor Who fan, I love this spinoff more. Because: John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness. And because despite being a sci fi show, it’s a police procedural at heart. With aliens.
Westminster fog – London – UK By George Tsiagalakis (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons