British TV mystery may have you thinking of proper tea drinking heroes, peering through the foxgloves at some suspicious goings on about the Village green. But there’s a whole other side to British Crime Dramas – a tough contemporary side where hardened detectives battle it out with society’s most depraved and disturbing criminals. The British seem to have a talent for depicting the complicated and sometimes compromised nature of coppers. Here are some of our favorite gritty Brit crime shows.
Prime Suspect: Helen Mirren stars as a female police detective investigates a series of serial murders while dealing with sexist hostility from her male comrades.
Luther follows the cases of a troubled yet brilliant English police detective, DCI John Luther. Separated from his wife, whom he loves passionately, he is torn between an unrelenting approach to solving serial killings and his attempts to rekindle his marriage. Luther is a highly charged emotional man who is not above stretching the law to solve a case or save a life.
Dalziel & Pascoe The blunt-talking Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel does not suffer fools gladly, but he has even more trouble with what he call the “smart arses” of this world. So when the inexperienced Peter Pascoe joins his team at Mid-Yorkshire CID, the omens don’t look good. Pascoe is one of the new breed of career police officers, armed with a degree, a caring attitude and a sharp brain. But just as Pascoe is surprised by the intuitive methods of his brash boss, so too does Dalziel begin to recognize the merits of his Detective Inspector…
Trial & Retribution In this Law & Order-like British series, Lynda La Plante follows cases from the commission of the crime to the trial of the accused. She examines grueling, pressure-packed police investigations in all their gritty detail. Going behind closed doors, she reveals the strategies of both prosecution and defense as they maneuver toward a final verdict.
Case Histories Jackson Brodie used to be a soldier in the British army and then an officer in the Lothian and Borders Police. Now the tough detective has turned private investigator, compelled to bring peace to victims and their families. Based in Edinburgh, the good-hearted Brodie finds himself looking into everything from lost cats to wayward spouses and killers on the run. He does a lot of running himself, partly to unwind from the stresses of his work, but mostly to escape the memories of his own traumatic past.
Waking the Dead Det. Supt. Peter Boyd (played by Trevor Eve) is the leader of a multi-discipline police team of detectives and scientists, the Cold Case Squad, which investigates old, unsolved murder cases using modern methods and new technology that may not have been available during the original investigation.