I’m hooked on British Mystery TV

written by Lee Strauss | Lee Strauss, Murder Mystery, musings, Mystery Suspense

September 15, 2016

I've been watching a lot of British Mystery TV lately. The writing is pretty fantastic for the most part: great character development, compelling story lines, and interesting settings. Things are just different in Europe and it's a nice change to see the old buildings, seaside landscapes, and of course, to hear the cool accents. 🙂

The biggest noticeable difference from North American crime shows is the lack of arms. The police in England and Scotland do not carry firearms. And many of them aren't exactly fit and skilled fighters. They march into danger with just the authority the Queen has given them!

Here are some of my favorites.

 Scott & Bailey


Scott & Bailey is a sisterhood/friendship partnering, but unlike Rizzoli and Isles, it's a pretty rocky one. These women are edgier and have bigger flaws, but you can't help but root for them, which is a testament to the writing. I was sorry to see this one end.



Okay, so we have David Tennant from Dr. Who fame (and more recently Jessica Jones), so you know this one is going to be good. Again the writing and character development are impeccable. The two leads have an acerbic relationship, but are forced to work together to solve the death of a young boy.



Shetland is set in the northern islands of Scotland, so your typical isolated small town setting. I have to watch this one with the close captioning on because the accents can be thick. The first eight episodes follow the storylines of Ann Cleeves' novels pretty closely.

Father Brown

Programme Name: Father Brown - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Embargoed for publication until: n/a - Picture Shows: L-R Lady Felicia (NANCY CARROLL), Mrs McCarthy (SORCHA CUSACK), Father Brown (MARK WILLIAMS), Inspector Valentine (HUGO SPEER), Susie (KASIA KOLECZEK), Sid (ALEX PRICE) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Des Willie

Father Brown is set in the 1950s, so there's that fun aspect, and it also eliminates the use of modern technology to solve the case. Fans of cozy mysteries would love this. It's lighter in mood than the previous shows and the storylines are basic whodunits. It took me a couple of episodes to get into this one, but I'm glad I stuck it out.

How about you? Do you have a favorite, or should I say favoUrite British TV show?

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  1. I love the British shows. My favorites are Midsomer Murders, Father Brown, Murdock Mysteries (which actually take place in Toronto), Miss Fisher Mysteries ( Australian). If course there are Agath a Christie Poiro t and Miss Marple As you can see I am quite an Anglophile

  2. I love british Mystery TV Shetland and Broadchurch are great. I also watch the Coroner whenever posible and some of the oldest ones are amazing Cracker and George Gently. They had a new one last year but I’m not sure it will ever be back (Cuffs). I also thoroughly enjoy Whitechapel, A seires ste in the contemporary neighborhood where Jack the RIpper made himself at home. The combination of modern police work and crimes combined with historical research to point at trends and profiles of the denizens of this district is lovely. If you’re Up for a period piece you might try the CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries. Set in Victorian Canada Murdoch is a forensic science based detective and they have even created a female Medical Examiner for the show. A lovely perspective on how far we’ve come with the feel of modern police work in a setting similar to Anne of Green Gables. Great fun!

  3. I don’t know if you will have access to a great program from New Zealand ‘Brokenwood’. The accents can be a bit difficult but it is a great police procedural.

    1. I loved Loch Ness! You might look for one called River. It stars Stellan Skaarsgard and Nicola Walker. It is perhaps 3 years old and there was only one season but it was filmed by ABC Studios for the BBC. Besides, Skaarsgard! As a Detective Inspector! Its amazing quality!

  4. Yes to Inspector Lewis – or if you haven’t yet watched “Inspector Morse”, start there. My other current favourite is New Tricks – apparently even the Queen loves that one!

  5. I absolutely love British Mysteries. There are so many good ones. Inspector Lewis, Midsomer Mysteries, Father Brown is my favorite lately. There are so many that I pay for Acorn TV to get more than I get on the other sites.

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