I have gotten so into murder mystery shows in the past year. Who’s with me?! There’s something wonderfully captivating about them. I think it’s because I love to guess what’s going to happen and when I get it right I feel like I might secretly be a genius. You take what you can get when you’re a college dropout. I’m particularly keen on English murder mysteries (again, because they make me feel clever and sophisticated), but I’ve seen some top notch American ones too. So for you lot out there that are as sick in the head as I am, here are some leads (yyyyeaaaahhhh).
Does it seem odd if I start by saying I don’t think I can watch the second season of True Detective? Not because this show wasn’t amazing, but rather it was SO amazing it messed with my head. It was so dark and so well done that it disturbed me to my core. Season one follows two detectives (played by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson) trying to solve the case of a serial murderer. Matthew McConaughey gives an outstanding performance. I can’t belive that dude used to be king of the chick flicks. I have to warn you, if you’re faint-hearted you might need to give this one a pass. Shit. Gets. Messed. Up.
This one is different in that it’s not necessarily a murder “mystery” per se. We, the audience, know who the killer is, but the thrill is in watching detective Gibson crack the case. Gillian Anderson is fantastic as detective Gibson, pulling off an impeccable English accent. More surprisingly, Jamie Dornan is absolutely top notch too. Who’s Jamie Dornan you ask? Why he’s Mr Grey… from 50 Shades of Grey. Boy did I ever feel sorry for him having to do that movie after seeing what a talented actor he is in The Fall. He plays the serial killer Gibson is looking for and, boy, does he ever get deep and dark into that character.
Set primarily in the gorgeous county of Dorset, Broadchurch is about the events following the death of 11-year-old Danny Latimer. The devastation of the family and surrounding close knit town feels all too real. It feels very personal and intimate, what with getting to look in on the after effects of a death like that. I had a lump in my throat for a large portion of the first episode. David Tennant and Olivia Colman, who play the lead detectives on the case, are one wonderful pair. This show had me guessing right up until the end.
I watched The Killing almost a year ago now and I’m tempted to go back and re-watch it again soon. Season one starts with the murder of a teenage girl and, like Broadchurch, you’re left to watch the family try to piece together a life. Meanwhile, detectives Linden (Mireille Enos) and Holder (Joel Kinnaman) are working on the case, while trying to navigate their own crumbling lives. In season 3, Peter Sarsgaard is introduced and, wow, his character – an accused murderer – is powerful. I also love that portions of this show were filmed in the Downtown East Side of Vancouver, which is you’re not familiar with, is a major area for drug use, mental illness and homelessness. The show actually brought some attention to the conditions down there.
Okay, everyone knows Sherlock. There’s not much point explaining… Watson and Sherlock solve cases together… there, that’s about it. It’s a great one to watch if you haven’t though, or to re-watch. It’s what got me into murder mysteries in the first place. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are the perfect pair. So many of these shows are what they are because of the dynamic between the two lead roles.
Luther (Idris Elba) is an interesting man. He’s a near-genius level detective, but he’s controlled largely by his passion and anger. He’s the type of fellow that makes his own rules and doesn’t wait for the law to give him the okay. This is a bit more of a “bad-ass” detective show, if that’s what you’re into. If nothing else, Idris Elba is a treat to watch. What a beautiful man.
Scott & Bailey
Scott & Bailey is new to me. In fact I’ve only seen the first 6 episodes. I’m already in love though. What I find great about English shows is that the characters are never one dimensional. They’re flawed and sometimes you want to punch them in the face, but it makes the show that much more watchable. Scott & Bailey is about two strong female detectives, with two very different personalities, who support each other on the force and in the their personal lives through and through. I love watching them together and I love watching women kicking butt in this show!