20 of the best crime shows for streaming sleuths to unravel

Crime TV shows can be real brainteasers, especially if you like going up against fictional detectives to see who can solve the case first.

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Crime series have always been extremely popular among TV fans and it's easy to see why. As humans, we long for thrilling activities and crime shows give us the chance to experience fear and horror without actually putting our lives in danger.

Plus, most of the crime shows out there end each episode or season with the criminal safely behind bars, providing a sense of closure that we might not get when bingeing a good-old regular drama. Also, let's not forget about the supreme satisfaction of figuring out the twist or solution ahead of the big reveal. Addictive stuff.

Luckily for crime television fans, streaming platforms are brimming with intriguing titles to gauge your interest. From funny mysteries and gruesome dramas to shows focused on serial killers, there's something for everyone. We've gathered together some of the best crime series available to stream, perfect for when you're itching to give your brain a bit of a workout.


Mare of Easttown

1. Mare of Easttown


  • Year: 2021
  • Cast: Kate Winslet, Julianne Nicholson, Jean Smart, Angourie Rice, Evan Peters

Mare of Easttown follows a detective from a small community who struggles to keep her life from falling apart. At the same time, she's investigating a mysterious murder that ends up exposing devastating secrets.

With a mesmerising performance from Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown is an atmospheric and immersive crime drama. There are twists and red herrings, but the captivating characters are what keep you glued to the screen.

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Only Murders in the Building

2. Only Murders in the Building


  • Year: 2021
  • Cast: Martin Short, Steve Martin, Selena Gomez

A comedy-mystery of the cosy variety, Only Murders in the Building follows 3 neighbours who band together to investigate a suspicious death. They have little in common except their love for true crime podcasts. Naturally, they decide to start their own.

The show is charming and well-acted, with silly detours (will the killer really prove to be Sting?) and a central trio you'll cheer for immediately. Only Murders in the Building doesn't take itself too seriously – and is much better for it.

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Dexter: New Blood

3. Dexter: New Blood


  • Year: 2021
  • Cast: Michael C. Hall, Jack Alcott, Julia Jones, Jennifer Carpenter

Years after the original series wrapped up with a whimper rather than a bang, Dexter is back with a new season. Probably to remind us that there was a good reason we were obsessed with the presentable serial killer at 1 point.

The action in Dexter: New Blood is set roughly 10 years after we last saw the titular character. Dexter is now living in a small town, dating a police officer and keeping his Dark Passenger dormant. But when his son unexpectedly shows up, he decides to confront his problematic past once and for all.

What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, as it turns out.

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The Pembrokeshire Murders

4. The Pembrokeshire Murders


  • Year: 2021
  • Cast: Luke Evans, Keith Allen, Caroline Berry, David Fynn

This British miniseries is as compelling as it is inspiring. Based on true events, it centres on a detective who reopens 2 unsolved 1980s murder cases. When he has someone in his sights, the detective and his team use advancements in forensics to gather enough evidence to make sure the killer doesn't strike again.

At only 3 episodes, The Pembrokeshire Murders is a quick and satisfying binge. Luke Evans and Keith Allen are excellent. Even if you're familiar with the real-life case, you'll still find this crime drama absolutely riveting.

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Time

5. Time


  • Year: 2021
  • Cast: Sean Bean, Stephen Graham, James Nelson-Joyce, Hannah Walters

An exquisite crime drama, Time revolves around 2 men: a teacher sentenced to prison after accidentally killing a man, and a guard doing his best in an understaffed environment. Both are faced with difficult decisions when they must fight for survival.

The show is tense, unnerving and thought-provoking. It's a hard watch at times, but it's worthy of your undivided attention. With 2 amazing performances at its centre, it may just take your breath away.

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Lupin

6. Lupin


  • Year: 2021
  • Cast: Omar Sy, Ludivine Sagnier, Clotilde Hesme, Nicole Garcia

A retelling of the classic story about Arsène Lupin, this engrossing Netflix series follows a world-famous gentleman thief, Assane Diop. When the action kicks off, he is looking to avenge his father's death by punishing those responsible. Assane might just have enough charisma and skill to pull it off.

Suspenseful and slick, Lupin is the kind of show you'll want to tell your friends about. It helps that Omar Sy is an absolute delight in the lead role.

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2 seasons

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The Flight Attendant

7. The Flight Attendant


  • Year: 2020
  • Cast: Kaley Cuoco, Audrey Grace Marshall, Michiel Huisman, Zosia Mamet

An addictive show that expertly blends thrills with black comedy, The Flight Attendant pulls you in from the get-go with its relentless pace and intoxicating twists.

The story centres on a flight attendant who likes to party a little too hard. After spending the night with a passenger, she wakes up to find him dead. Worried that the police will think she was involved, she sets out to find out what really happened.

Clear your schedule if you plan to watch this one. You wouldn't want to look away.

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Line of Duty

8. Line of Duty


  • Year: 2012
  • Cast: Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar, Craig Parkinson

A hit British crime series, Line of Duty follows a detective transferred to Anti-Corruption Unit 12 after refusing to agree to a cover-up. The unit is responsible for uncovering corruption within the police force. The rest is history.

Intelligent and well-acted, the show immediately pulls you in. Line of Duty is brimming with compelling characters and thoughtful storylines. Our only complaint? The seasons are far too short.

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6 seasons 3 seasons 2 seasons

Better Call Saul

9. Better Call Saul


  • Year: 2015
  • Cast: Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian

A prequel to the popular drama Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul stands on its own thanks to its clever plot and engaging lead character. The show centres on ex-con artist Jimmy McGill, who goes through a series of trials and tragedies as he transforms into his alter ego Saul Goodman, who we came to know in the original series.

Better Call Saul is mainly a dark character study, but the story will keep you coming back for more. Plus, the occasional dark humour is hard to resist.

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5 seasons

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4 seasons 5 seasons 5 seasons 5 seasons

Unbelievable

10. Unbelievable


  • Year: 2019
  • Cast: Kaitlyn Dever, Toni Collette, Merritt Wever

Unbelievable is an uncomfortable yet important crime drama. Based on real events, the series explores what happens when a teen reports a rape, then recants her story. Meanwhile, 2 female detectives follow evidence that could reveal the truth.

Stunning performances and a top-notch script make Unbelievable must-see TV, telling the story with grace and attention to detail. As tough a watch as this show may be, it's also incredibly rewarding.

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My Life Is Murder

11. My Life Is Murder


  • Year: 2019
  • Cast: Lucy Lawless, Bernard Curry, Ebony Vagulans

This crime dramedy is highly recommended for those looking for something light and enjoyable to watch after a long day. My Life Is Murder follows fearless private investigator Alexa Crowe, who manages to solve baffling crimes while simultaneously coping with the frustrations of everyday life.

Seeing Lucy Lawless is always a treat, but what makes the show really stand out are the well-written mysteries. We bet you'll have a lot of fun trying to figure them out.

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1 seasons 2 seasons 1 seasons 2 seasons

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2 seasons

12. Elementary


  • Year: 2012
  • Cast: Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu, Aidan Quinn, Jon Michael Hill

A modern take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic character, Elementary sees Sherlock Holmes relocating to New York and helping the NYPD solve difficult cases with the help of Joan Watson, a former surgeon. Watson enters the scene as a sober companion, as Sherlock is an addict who struggles to maintain his sobriety over the course of the series. Their relationship deepens, blossoming into a fruitful partnership.

Elementary is a classic procedural at first glance, but the series wins bonus points for highlighting the special bond that exists between Sherlock and Watson. Also, the episodic mysteries are more complex than your average crime show and Sherlock's battle with addiction is downright inspirational.

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7 seasons 5 seasons 5 seasons 7 seasons 7 seasons

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7 seasons

13. Luther


  • Year: 2010
  • Cast: Idris Elba, Dermot Crowley, Michael Smiley, Warren Brown

Luther stars Idris Elba as the titular character, a highly intelligent but impulsive detective who uses his many skills to hunt down criminals. In Season 1, he gets caught up in a psychological cat-and-mouse game between detective and criminal, which will take a toll on his sanity, to viewers' delight.

A gritty crime drama, Luther is visually gorgeous and greatly benefits from a powerhouse performance from Elba, perfectly cast as a tortured detective. The show transcends its genre, offering a complex and endearing portrait of the main character. Don't worry, the plot is gripping as well.

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5 seasons 5 seasons

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5 seasons 5 seasons 1 seasons

14. Happy Valley


  • Year: 2014
  • Cast: Sarah Lancashire, Siobhan Finneran, Shane Zaza, Charlie Murphy

Happy Valley centres on police sergeant Catherine Cawood, who is still recovering following her daughter's death a few years earlier. When a kidnapping goes terribly wrong, she has to race to find a young victim while simultaneously battling some pesky inner demons.

Dark and suspenseful, the series manages to pack a lot into only 6 episodes per season, with Sarah Lancashire delivering an amazing performance in the lead role. This is a show you'll want to binge, with each instalment upping the intensity to the point where you'll be dying to find out what happens next.

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15. Mindhunter


  • Year: 2017
  • Cast: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv

If you'd like to get a glimpse behind the curtain and are interested in figuring out what makes killers tick, this is the perfect show for you. Mindhunter takes place in the late 70s and follows 2 FBI agents who try to understand and catch serial killers by studying their minds. Based on a true crime book, the series centres on the agents who kick-started the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit and pioneered the development of modern serial killer profiling. Fascinating stuff.

Besides the historical importance of the (fictional) series, Mindhunter keeps viewers engaged with slick visuals and chilling interviews with prolific serial killers (which are based on real people). Even seeing the 2 leads struggle with bureaucratic obstacles is entertaining. Innovation never comes easy, especially within an established institution like the FBI.

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16. NCIS


  • Year: 2003
  • Cast: Mark Harmon, David McCallum, Pauley Perrette, Michael Weatherly

NCIS stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service. As you might have cleverly deduced already, the show follows a group of special agents tasked with solving crimes that involve the US Navy and Marine Corps. They are led by Leroy Jethro Gibb, who has to manage a team consisting of several colourful personalities. Each has its own expertise ranging from forensics to threat assessment.

A straightforward procedural, NCIS is perfect for when you want something light but engaging. The series is extremely successful in the US. If you're into it, you should also check out the spin-off, NCIS: Los Angeles. Similar premise, different crime-solving team.

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18 seasons 16 seasons 16 seasons 19 seasons 19 seasons 1 seasons

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19 seasons

17. Law and Order: SVU


  • Year: 1999
  • Cast: Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T, Christopher Meloni

At the moment, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit is the longest-running non-animated US primetime TV series. It's worth the time investment, mainly thanks to fascinating characters and provocative storylines. The show follows Olivia Benson, a detective who investigates crimes of a sexual nature. Cases are often ripped from the headlines, so a lot of episodes are based on actual crimes that occurred in the US.

Due to the nature of the crimes featured (rapes and sexual offences), SVU can get dark and emotional. In this particular case, we recommend you give binge-watching a break and take it 1 episode at a time.

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8 seasons 13 seasons 15 seasons 1 seasons

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1 seasons 23 seasons

18. Broadchurch


  • Year: 2013
  • Cast: David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker

Broadchurch shows how a grisly crime can affect a small community. When the body of a young boy is found on a beach, 2 detectives have to work together to figure out what happened, all while dealing with the media madness that usually accompanies such a case.

More and more townspeople get drawn into the investigation and it quickly becomes clear that the community won't be able to find peace until the criminal is brought to justice.

Beautifully shot and acted, Broadchurch is a pleasure to watch. With an intelligent script and fabulous characters, you'll find yourself hooked in no time. It's everything a crime series should be: riveting, clever and heartbreaking.

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3 seasons 3 seasons 3 seasons

19. The Wire


  • Year: 2002
  • Cast: Dominic West, John Doman, Michael Kenneth Williams

Regarded as one of the greatest crime series of all time, The Wire provides a comprehensive look at the narcotics scene in Baltimore through the eyes of both law enforcers and drug dealers. The show takes a while to get started, but it seamlessly pulls the viewer in with the help of intriguing story arcs and thoughtful commentary on America's drug problems. Years after it went off the air, it's still as relevant as ever.

Instead of serving 1 case per episode, The Wire takes 1 investigation and follows it through an entire season, allowing characters and viewers to get a better sense of what's going on. Watching The Wire is like reading a good book – you won't be able to pinpoint the exact moment you became obsessed, but you won't be able to put it down afterwards.

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5 seasons 5 seasons

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6 seasons 5 seasons 5 seasons 5 seasons

20. Psych


  • Year: 2006
  • Cast: James Roday, Dulé Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson

If you're looking for a lighter spin on the crime procedural, Psych is the perfect pick. The show follows Shawn, a young man with incredible powers of observation, who convinces the cops that he's a psychic and starts consulting on cases with help from his best friend, Gus.

A refreshing take on the crime-solving genre, Psych can get too goofy for its own good, but it generally provides enough character development and heartwarming moments to balance things out. Moreover, the mysteries are inventive and the Shawn/Gus duo is hilarious. You'll have a great time binge-watching this one.

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8 seasons

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8 seasons 7 seasons 8 seasons

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