The best of British crime series

Poirot – have I mentioned I love Agatha Christie? When I was little I begged the librarian to let me take out her books even though I was not allowed to take books from the adult section. So by the time I was 7 or 8 I had already read most of her books. I absolutely adore Poirot with his mustache, prissiness and little gray cells. And there is nothing lovelier then settling down with a cup of hot cocoa on a wet Sunday afternoon and watching Poirot. With David Suchet of course, he is the embodiment of Poirot. Whether it is London or English countryside, regardless if I know who the killer is – it is old school crime at its best.

Silent Witness – CSI the English way. Sort of. There is no Horatio with Horatio-nisms, there is no Grissom with his bugs or the lovely Gary Dourdan to look at, but it does not mean Silent Witness is less worthy of the accolade for giving us great insight into forensic pathology. And unlike with CSI, some crimes do not get solved and Horatio is not there to save the day. Not to mention a very big plus none wears sunglasses indoors. That could hinder the actual investigation you see.

Midsommer Murders – hm now this one combines 2 of my favorite things – crime series and English countryside. And you would not believe how many people get topped off, the body count is at least 4 per episode. Who would have thought those pretty whitewashed cottages could hide such gruesomeness? And you thought NYPD has their hands full.

Cracker – an English take on the profiling with ever great Robbie Coltrane (he might be more familiar if I say Hagrid in Harry Potter). A profiler with a penchant for booze, gambling, cigarettes and younger women, Cracker is an English take on all that profiling business. On one hand I’m not gullible enough that Robbie Coltrane is so wickedly clever to solve every case (he is not House after all) but Cracker makes an interesting watch.

Sherlock Holmes – did I mention I use to sneak out Arthur Conan Doyle out of library as well? Another favorite of mine and the reason why I love Baker street tube station so much, Sherlock Holmes was another favorite pastime when I was little. And I cannot imagine a better Sherlock then Jeremy Brett, which is unfortunate as he passed away in 1995. Still it makes for an excellent viewing.

Daziel and Pascoe – based on the novels written by Reginald Hill, Daziel and Pascoe is crime series about a duo of detectives. Daziel (it is pronounced Dee-el) is huge, abrasive and decidedly gross at times while Pascoe is more mellow well anyone is more mellow then Daziel. It is classic murder mystery set in a small and fictional Yorkshire town. See told you that countryside in England is awash with crime if these series are anything to go by.

Inspector Lynley Mysteries – great BBC crime series about another detective duo. Inspector Lynley is a bit of a poshy posh English earl or some other sort while his partner is DV Havers is as working class as they get. Forced to work together their partnership might seem as mismatched as it can get on paper however it does work. And it makes for some interesting telly that is for sure.

Waking the Dead – think Cold Case, but in a British version. And I might add much more interesting then the American version. For one all cases do not get solved. Plus unlike in the Cold Case there are far less trips back the memory lane but in my opinion this is what makes the series so good. So if you like crime, pathology, forensics and profiling this just might be your cup of tea.

26 thoughts on “The best of British crime series

  1. Hi Berta,

    Managed to pop across from blogcritics and enjoyed a ganger at yer bloggery-pokery.

    Stephen Fry is, or should, be God, in fact I think he probably is…

    I don’t know if they did, or will, make it over to the States but the BBC did another very good Holmes-related series called, I think, Murder Rooms, or similar. A fictionalised account of Sir A C D’s student days – Sherlock Holmes – genesis, you might call it were you a comic book writer, which I believe you not to be.

    Ian Rankin, writer of the Rebus novels, has also done a couple of bits and bobs on Edinburgh – Britain’s prime location for tourist-friendly historical homicides.

    You’ll have to excuse my ignorance of how, when and if these get to America on the Beeb, but I think the Murder Rooms one would even be worth you buying on DVD if it isn’t shown.

    Anyhow, all the best to you,



  2. Colin, great of you to pop by… :)

    Thank you for the suggestion I will check out Murder rooms, but would you believe I just watched Rebus the other night? It is quite good I have to say… it can be a bit difficult on the stomach but its really good…

  3. I loved Cracker – mainly because of Christopher Eccleston – and the Inspector Lynley Mysteries, it’s a shame the Series is over now :(

  4. Oh I love British crime series… much better then anything on the American telly… although they did do good with Dexter :)

    I was quite happy when I saw Eccleston in Heroes, but then he was gone tssss

  5. My favourite is “Silent Witness”, but I’m also rather partial to “Wire in the Blood”… everything we get here in Australia is very out of date though!

    Oh and I agree, Chris Eccleston rocks, no matter what he’s in :)

  6. Oh I love Tony Hill :) Although for the life of me I dont understand what is the deal with him and those blue plastic bags… fetish perhaps? :)

  7. Thanks for this article. Like you Iam an avid reader of crime fiction. However, I cannot believe that the fabulous David Jason in A Touch of Frost did not get a mention! Or Prime Suspect.

  8. @simena…A Touch of Frost is second on my list! :))) great that you’ve mentioned it…I was thinking to post comment about Frost

  9. I can’t believe no one has mentioned Morse, Lewis or Foyle!! All GREAT. Also one of my new favorites is the Canadian, Murdoch.

  10. Somebody had to ask: In which BBC crime drama, involving a transsexual, was the memorable quote by an investigator, “She’s built like a brick shithouse?”

  11. I would love to see your updated list of these shows if you are still watching the BBC shows. There are a lot of great ones now and from the past. I am always looking for new series to rent or stream or occasionally I find them on BBC america or of all places PBS. There is also something really great about the British shows of female DCIs or Prime Suspect was one of my all time favorites and I still havent gotten over the fact that there are no more episodes. I drove my local library insane so they would buy the series for the library. Now they stock several of the greats.

  12. There was a show which only ran for one season where there was a team of 4. They were always based out of a mobile crime lab. The lead inspector would always say “scenario” and would use childs game pieces to recreate the crime scenes. It was really funny. Anyone remember the name?

  13. MI 5. best show i have ever watched. could not believe the ending. watched it a year ago and still sad….

  14. ‘Cadfael’ is the absolute best; I wish they would have done all 23 books but, alas, they stopped after just 13. ‘Midsomer Murders’ is my second favorite, but the plot lines aren’t nearly as good anymore. ‘Frost’, ‘Morse’, and ‘Lewis’ are also good.

  15. I recently watched a show set in WW2 with a young doctor/coroner who teams up with a young,blonde newsreporter to solve crimes ND CANT FIND IT AGAIN FOR THE LIFE OF ME.ANY IDEAS?

  16. I LIVE & BREATH, BRITISH CRIME DRAMAS, my world does not exist if i cant find something i have not yet seen. PLEASE BBC & ALL BRITISH WRITERS, keep on keeping the UTOPIA of my miserable existence.

  17. Hi there

    Please can you tell me if these are

    appropriated to a 12 year old? Who loves

    mystery reading. Thank you! I was

    thinking about the cracker…any



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