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10 BEST Crime TV Series to Binge With the Lights Off

We all know Criminal Minds, NCIS or Hawaii Five-0, but what are some of the more mature ones? What about the Crime TV shows that take much more of a grounded approach and pushed boundaries?

Story telling, mature content, heavier emphasis on acting and more. Be forewarned, these 10 shows are known for being much more graphic and heavy than more standard shows. Just keep that in mind as we recommend some shows that’ll keep you up at night.


The Killing – Amazon Prime

Equal part political thriller and part crime thriller. The Killing tells the story of investigator Sarah Linden, who investigates the murder of a young girl in Seattle.

What soon unravels is a story of cover ups, darker stories beneath the surface and gruesome developments.

Where The Killing stands apart from other crime related thrillers is in it’s more politically charge focused. Not in terms of social commentary, think like House of Cards meets Ozark.


The Fall – Amazon Prime

Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan star in this hauntingly complex series about two people inexplicably drawn together. A policewoman and a seemingly normal father who’s harboring deeper secrets than she could imagine.

Jamie Dornan deserves an especially big shoutout in this show. His charisma and off putting mannerisms are delivered perfectly by his cold but methodical character. Anderson as well delivers an astounding performance, plus it’s Scully, there’s no losing here.

This series also excels at its ability to weave a complex story without making you feel like you’re getting lost along the way. Creator Alan Cubitt, definitely deserves a shoutout for the way the story is crafted and plays out.


Broadchurch – Netflix

David Tennant and Olivia Coleman lead the charge in this emotionally infused crime serial about murders in the small town of Broadchurch.

Truth be told, the story does take a few twists and turns, but a lot of it you will see coming from quite a ways away. Not to say that’s poorly written or acted, just maybe not as well paced out as some of these other entries. 

All that being said, Tennent and Coleman are absolutely stellar in this show. They alone, are reason enough to take the plunge.


Luther – Amazon Prime

One of the fewer shows on the BBC that absolutely deserves to be continued. It came out when Sherlock was really starting to blow up, so it isn’t surprising that Luther really struggled to get off of the ground.

Which is a shame, because Idris Elba is fantastic as the unorthodox detective in this series. Playing a slightly unhinged detective who never quite gets the best results, it’s a greatly underappreciated series. 

Especially with how the main character is honestly kind of vilified, he’s not particularly great at being a detective. He sort of lucks out just by proxy of being intelligent.


The Sinner – Netflix

Bill Pullman and Jessica Biel star in this series that explores the method behind the madness. What does drive ordinary people to snap, and cause horrific violence on people and each other? 

There are no clear answers really presented in The Sinner. Creator Derek Simonds crafts a particularly unnerving look at how the world works. Anything that goes on inside someone else’s mind will never be known until they act on it.

All of which serves to make The Sinner an engrossing watch that keeps you on edge over and over again. Doesn’t hurt that Pullman and Biel serve up career best performances.


You – Netflix

So this is one of those shows that I’m not really entirely sure how to recommend. It’s intensely disturbing, subject matter is disgusting and the performances are hauntingly realistic.

Ultimately this is a series about a serial killer, pathological manipulator and arguably a bit of a rapist. But, You dares to ask a very unnerving question; what if you root for the bad guy? Even when you know his every motive, his methods and his line of thinking, what if…

Only reason You asks that question, is because his victims seem like they deserve it at face value. However, the longer the episodes go on, the longer you’ll realize that the show is playing a sick game with you.


Ozark – Netflix

You’ve probably seen a lot of hype thrown around when it comes to Netflix’s Ozark. Look, it’s for a very good reason. Trust us when we say that this is the best crime based series since Breaking Bad

When a deal goes bad and a work associate crosses the wrong person, Jason Bateman’s character finds himself in a fight for his life. As things continue to spiral out of control, we watch as he makes increasingly terrible decisions and begins to lose himself. 

Equal parts a look into blue collar violence and the demented justifications of people doing horrific things. Ozark is an incredible viewing experience that only happens once in a while.


Mindhunter – Netflix

We recently discussed Mindhunter in a much longer article than this entry, because we honestly think it’s one of the best out there.

All about the creation of the FBI’s BSU department, Mindhunter is about what goes behind the most famous serial killers. Why did they do what they did, what was the logic behind it.

Told in grotesque and dialogue driven stories, Mindhunter is haunting and real to a distressing level. If you are easily offended by graphically discussed crimes, violence and some of the harshest language on TV, stay away.

For everyone else, this show is on another level.


I Am the Night – Hulu

Ever heard of the unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short called, The Black Dahlia murder? If you have, then you know that it is one of the most gruesome unsolved mysteries of the last 50 years. Leading detectives on never ending wild goose chases and disturbing revelations.

When Fauna Hodel, the granddaughter of one of the suspects, decides to investigate it herself, she finds more than she bargained for. To anyone that finds the name ‘Hodel’ familiar, there’s good reason. We’re not going to go into it here because he’s a truly sick individual.

Led by a terrifically charismatic performance from Chris Pine, I Am the Night is sickening, mesmerizing and interesting.


The X-Files – Hulu

We can’t not mention The X-Files in a list about the best mature takes on crime TV. Hell, X-Files more or less pioneered the mature crime TV genre. While it does tend to flit back and forth between crime, SciFi and conspiracy, it nails each genre every time. 

We follow the characters Dana Scully and Fox Mulder who find themselves assigned to the FBI’s X-Files. A series of unsolved cases that involve supposed supernatural and unexplained circumstances.

Paced well, even if the final season ends on a sour note, acted perfectly and entertaining to the max. X-Files somehow manages to blend disturbing, entertaining and interesting in one fell swoop.

In Summary

That’s our list for best Crime TV series that you may or may not have heard of before. Granted we’ve mentioned a couple of them before on our other best TV lists, but hopefully most of these are new to you!

We honestly love thrillers, crime or otherwise, here at Scoophash. I’ll personally claim that they’re the best example of well written TV, period.

Let us know what your favorite genre is, and if it’s thriller/crime what is your favorite series? Leave us a comment below and let us know your thoughts!


For more lists and articles like this, stay tuned right here at Geekhash!