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The Best British Murder Mysteries to Watch and Stream

If you're staying in, watch these great shows

Amanda Bell

No one does a good murder mystery series quite like the Brits. Sure, the United States has plenty of compelling shows to offer, like Mindhunter, True Detective, and even Pretty Little Liars, but there's just something about the atmosphere in the U.K. that really drives home a mystery narrative.

So if you're in the mood to cue up some sleuthing from across the pond while staying in -- and, let's face it, we're all staying in right now -- the good news is that many of the best shows are just a click away. Here's a look at the best British murder mystery series available to stream right now. (And if you're looking for something outside this particular genre, we've got plenty of other TV and movie recommendations lists available right here.)


Cumberbatch Sherlock

Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock Season 4


Watch it on: Netflix

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's signature characters come alive anew in this bromantic series about its eponymous detective, the "high functioning sociopath" Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch), and his war veteran sidekick, John Watson (Martin Freeman). The four-season series was a fan-frenzied affair during its run on the BBC and PBS thanks to its sublime stars, behind-the-scenes talent, and production quality, all of which led to some serious awards decoration for everyone involved.


David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Broadchurch

David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Broadchurch


Watch it on: Netflix

Set in a sleepy little seaside town, Broadchurch's first season follows two detectives -- Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) -- on the hunt for the killer of an 11-year-old boy, and, sadly, the suspects list slowly inches into deeply uncomfortable territory. The show continued to enjoy acclaim in its second and third seasons which, while venturing on to some new directions, kept the devastating case that defined its inception in the mix.



Robson Green and James Norton, Grantchester

Colin Hutton and Kudos/ITV for MASTERPIECE

Watch it on: Amazon Prime

Based on James Runcie's short stories The Grantchester Mysteries, Grantchester introduces us to a small-town, but very fun and studly vicar named Sidney Chambers (James Norton) as he pairs with Detective Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green) to solve crimes in the 1950s. Between its immersive storyline and keen character drama aspects, the show makes for an easy-pleasey binge session indeed. And although Norton departed the show in Season 4, there's still plenty reason to watch.

Prime Suspect


Prime Suspect, BBC

Watch it on: Hulu

Who wouldn't want to watch Helen Mirren as a badass detective trying to break the glass ceiling? The original BBC procedural series Prime Suspectfeatured the Dame as Detective Jane Tennison -- a role which earned her two Emmys and three BAFTAs, no less -- whose pursuit of justice is hindered by her struggles with rampant sexism on the force. The London-set series also follows Tennison as she takes those frustrations home and realizes that in addition to tracking down offenders, she's also got some soul-searching to do in her own time.


Idris Elba, Luther

Idris Elba in Luther

Robert Viglasky/BBC America

Watch it on: Amazon Prime

For those who stan Idris Elba, Luther is not to be missed. The actor has racked up quite a few trophies -- including a Golden Globe -- for his depiction of the titular DCI John Luther, who's dedication to the Serious Crime Unit has cost him dearly on the personal front. Not only does it feature Elba hitting all the right drama marks, but it also gives The Affair's Ruth Wilson room to stretch her legs into even more twisted territory as a psychopathic murderer who becomes an unlikely asset.

The Fall


Gillian Anderson, The Fall

Helen Sloan, Helen Sloan / The Fall 3 Ltd

Watch it on: BritBox

For those X Filesfans who still haven't gotten enough of Gillian Anderson doing detective things after her shocking exit from the series, congrats,The Fall is now at the top of your to-be-watched pile. The actress stars as Irish detective superintendent Stella Gibson as she tries to catch a loose serial killer (Jamie Dornan, whom you might know better from all his red room action in Fifty Shades of Grey) before he attacks even more women.

Happy Valley


Happy Valley, BBC One

Ben Blackall/Netflix

Watch it on: Netflix

As cheery as the title of this BBC One series sounds, Happy Valley is actually very dark and contains some very difficult subject matter. The series centers on a female detective named Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire), whose world is turned upside-down after the man who sexually assaulted her daughter -- which led to the girl birthing an unwanted child and deciding to end her life -- is freed from prison. In the process of tracking the assailant down, Cawood accidentally stumbles into a completely unrelated, but ongoing crime.

Death in Paradise


Death in Paradise, BBC One

Watch it on: BritBox

Now, here's a show whose moniker is a little more on the money. Death in Paradise is, as the title indicates, primarily located in the Caribbean as British detective Richard Poole (Ben Miller) makes way to the sunnier climate to investigate the murder of a colleague. He's not the only U.K. transplant who'll make way to the island, but you'll have to watch the series to see why.



Vera, ITV

Watch it on: BritBox, Acorn TV

ITV's adaptation of Ann Cleeves' Vera novels breathed life into the caustic and obsessive nature of detective Vera Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn), whose myriad personal dilemmas never deter her from demanding the truth. The show's depiction of the character has received the author's utmost approval and even informs her writing on the novels nowadays.

Midsomer Murders


Watch it on: BritBox, Acorn TV

Based on the Caroline Graham book series Chief Inspector Barnaby, The Midsomer Murders offers a slightly lighter approach to the world of mischief and mayhem and finds moments of humor among all the macabre. The series centers on DCI Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) -- and eventually, his cousin -- as he tries to solve the many murder mysteries that spring up in the otherwise quaint namesake town. The series has been airing for well over two decades, and despite some key changes to the cast and creatives on board, continues to draw a rapt crowd.