10 Unmissable British Crime Series: From Golden Age to Contemporary Classics


The art of British Crime Series is a genre unto itself. It weaves together elements of suspense, mystery and raw emotion, crafting gripping narratives that keep viewers riveted. These intriguing series, deeply rooted in the diverse backdrop of British culture and history, deliver a unique viewing experience that resonates with audiences globally.

Chapter 1: The Glorious Era of British Crime Series

The Trailblazers of the Genre: The British crime drama genre boasts a rich and illustrious heritage. Groundbreaking series such as Inspector Morse, Prime Suspect, and A Touch of Frost laid the groundwork for today’s iterations of the genre, setting an exceptional benchmark in narrative craft, character evolution, and visual storytelling.

Inspector Morse: This iconic series, which aired from 1987 to 2000, introduced audiences to the life of Detective Chief Inspector Morse, an Oxford-based sleuth renowned for his keen intelligence and passion for classical music.

Prime Suspect: Prime Suspect broke new ground in the genre with its unflinching portrayal of sexism within the police force and its complex lead character, Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison.

A Touch of Frost: This cherished series endeared audiences with its idiosyncratic main character, Detective Inspector William Edward “Jack” Frost, noted for his unconventional approach to investigations.

British Crime Series

Chapter 2: The Modern-day Masterpieces

The Contemporary Virtuosos: Modern British crime dramas such as Broadchurch, Line of Duty, and Sherlock have expanded on the legacy left by their forebears, pushing the envelope of the genre with inventive narrative methods and intricate character trajectories.

Broadchurch: Based in a quaint coastal village, Broadchurch is a study in building suspense. The series trails detectives Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller as they probe into a succession of spine-chilling crimes that expose the town’s buried secrets.

Line of Duty: This riveting series explores the murky realm of police corruption, trailing the members of AC-12, an anti-corruption squad tasked with scrutinising their own fellow officers.

Sherlock: Sherlock revitalises Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic detective tales, transporting Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson to the milieu of 21st century London.

Chapter 3: The Undiscovered Treasures

Off the Beaten Track: Beyond these renowned series, there is a plethora of underappreciated British crime dramas worthy of exploration. Happy Valley, The Fall, and Unforgotten are just some examples that offer viewers enthralling narratives and layered characters.

Happy Valley: Set in West Yorkshire, Happy Valley revolves around Sergeant Catherine Cawood, a determined police officer dealing with personal loss while combating crime in her home town.

The Fall: This psychological thriller unfolds a terrifying chase between a serial killer and a resolute detective superintendent.

Unforgotten: Unforgotten is a captivating series that trails two detectives as they solve ‘cold’ murder cases. Its meticulous plot development and well-rounded characters distinguish it from other crime dramas.


From the trailblazing classics to the contemporary virtuosos and undiscovered treasures, British crime dramas offer a diverse spectrum of narratives and styles. These series, deeply rooted in the rich tapestry of British culture and history, continue to fascinate audiences globally with their compelling storylines, intricate characters, and expert storytelling.

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