We are so excited about our 2020 edition of best crime drama, mystery and thriller shows on Britbox. The mix of shows are perfect as we have carefully vetted titles from classics to modern police procedural series to original thrillers.
Our latest Britbox list includes some of the best classic series out there such as Poirot’s Final Cases as well as acclaimed shows like Zen. What follows is a comprehensive list of the best and greatest on Britbox.
For our last year’s selection, you can check out 32 Best Crime Drama, Mystery & Thriller Shows On Britbox: 2019 Edition. For our picks on other streaming services other than Britbox, please read The 30 Best Crime Drama and Thriller Shows On Acorn TV: 2018 Edition and The 52 Best Crime Drama and Thriller Shows On Netflix: 2019 Edition.
1. Death in Paradise
Death in Paradise is a British-French crime drama television series created by Robert Thorogood. The show covers British detective Richard Poole (Ben Miller) who is assigned to investigate the murder of a British police officer on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie.
After he successfully finds the murderer, he is ordered by his supervisors to replace the victim and stay on as the head detective inspector (DI) of the island, solving new cases as they appear and being the object of many fish-out-of-water jokes.
2. 15 Days
Reversing the traditional investigative narrative, the crime thriller immediately flashes back to 15 days ago when a young man is gunned down. Secrets and lies fester within the family.
3. 35 Days
The series begins with the body of Jan Richards in her home on a well-off suburban housing estate. We’re immediately thrown back 35 days, to the day Jan moves to the estate. From that day until her death, 35 days later, we’ll unlock her past and find out why she was on the Crud yr Awel estate.
This crime drama is based on Georges Simenon’s world-renowned fictional French detective Jules Maigret. Rowan Atkinson plays the legendary detective who features in 75 books written by Simenon. Other leading cast members include Fiona Shaw, Lucy Cohu, Shaun Dingwall and Rufus Wright.
The first episode is based on the story `Maigret Sets a Trap’, in which the detective investigates the murder of four women found dead in the Montmarte region of Paris, during the summer of 1955. After setting up an elaborate trap, Maigret is able to uncover crucial details of the events.
With her caustic wit and singular charm, DCI Vera Stanhope and her trusted right-hand man face a series of captivating murder mysteries set against the breathtaking Northumberland landscape.
6. Waking the Dead
A specialized team of police officers uses newfound evidence and new technology to try and solve cold cases. Led by the temperamental Detective Superintendent Peter Boyd, the experts work on bringing justice to murder victims and their families.
7. Silent Witness
The critically acclaimed, award-winning BBC crime drama series, which first aired in 1996, focuses on a team of London-based forensic pathologists and scientists and their investigations into various crimes.
Emilia Fox stars as Dr Nikki Alexander, a skilled pathologist whose expertise in archaeology and forensic anthropology make her an invaluable asset. The team work together with police as they seek justice for the victims of violent crimes.
8. Dark Heart
Whilst devoting his life to his work, DI Will Wagstaffe is a man haunted by his past. With his team in the City of London police force, the investigate a series of horrifying attacks and murders.
9. Shakespeare & Hathaway – Private Investigators
Ex-Detective Inspector Frank Hathaway, now a debt-laden private investigator, meets Luella Shakespeare when she employs him to investigate the fiancé she met online. Hathaway and his assistant Sebastian Brudenell discover that the fiancé is a con man. They report back to Luella, but she is reassured by her fiancé, and the wedding occurs.
When her new husband is killed at the reception, Luella is suspected of murder by local Detective Inspector Christina Marlowe, who had been Frank’s junior. Luella is thrown together with Frank and Sebastian to crack the mystery of what has happened, and after her name is cleared, she uses her recovered savings to buy into Frank’s business. Frank’s only employee is Sebastian Brudenell, a young aspiring RADA-trained actor who uses his skills when undercover investigations are required. He lives above a theater costumier run by Gloria Fonteyn.
10. Midsomer Murders
Based on the crime-novel series by author Caroline Graham, `Midsomer Murders’ follows the efforts of Detective Chief Inspector John Barnaby to solve crimes that occur in the wealthy, isolated English county of Midsomer, a picturesque and peaceful place on the outside but one filled with amoral and snobbish eccentrics with all kinds of vices.
His latest assistant is Detective Sergeant Jamie Winter. DCI Barnaby took over in series 14, replacing his older cousin, Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, who retired.
This is one of our favorite series on Britbox that’s also available on some other streaming services. Shetland is a British television crime drama television series, made by ITV Studios for the BBC and broadcast on BBC One, that first broadcast on 10 March 2013. Initially based upon the novels of Ann Cleeves, the series was brought to screen by David Kane, who has remained a principal writer through all five series.
The series stars Douglas Henshall as Jimmy Perez, a detective inspector working for the Shetland police, Alison O’Donnell as Detective Sergeant Alison “Tosh” Macintosh, and Steven Robertson as Detective Constable Sandy Wilson. Mark Bonnar, Lewis Howden, Erin Armstrong, Julie Graham, and Anne Kidd are also credited as principal members of the cast.
The story takes place largely on the eponymous Scottish archipelago, although much of the series’ filming takes place on the Scottish mainland, with only some location filming actually taking place on Shetland. Five series have been broadcast to date.
Douglas Henshall won the 2016 BAFTA Scotland award for best actor for his role as Jimmy Perez, and the series received the award for Best TV Drama.
12. The Inspector Lynley Mysteries
The aristocratic Inspector Thomas Lynley and the down-to-earth Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers join forces to investigate a series of murders. Their working relationship is challenged by their respective lots in life – Lynley is an earl, while Havers comes from a working-class background. The characters and some of the storylines are based on the novels by Elizabeth George.
When ex-fireman Ken Boon’s services are advertised in the local paper with the words `Anything Legal Considered’, he finds himself taking on a variety of jobs. With help from ex-colleague Harry, his career of courier, bodyguard and PI begins.
14. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Jeremy Brett returns as Sherlock Holmes, whose acute perception and powers of observation are called upon once more in solving a compendium of crimes more baffling than ever.
15. Agatha Christie’s Poirot
David Suchet stars as the dapper, diminutive Belgian who solves the most serpentine cases with the sharpest of minds and the driest of wits.
16. Gil Mayo Mysteries
Detective Gil Mayo wise-cracks his way through murder mysteries with his colleague and ex-love interest. Life is further complicated as he raises his cheeky daughter on his own.
17. Miss Marple
Gloriously remastered from 16mm film, see this series like never before. Who is the strangled woman in Gossington Hall? Fortunately for the Bantrys, Miss Marple is their neighbor. In this version, Joan Hickson plays the role of Miss Marple.
18. Rosemary And Thyme
Brought together by heartache professionally (fired suddenly and underhandedly from her academic position) and personally (husband of more than 20 years left her for a younger woman), two plucky ladies plant the seeds for a brighter future.
Rosemary Boxer, who holds a doctorate in plant pathology, and Laura Thyme, a former police constable and avid gardener, discover their shared love of green-thumbness and start a gardening business. But as they restore various English gardens back to their lavish states, the inquisitive pair also happen upon mystery after mystery, and the more they dig the deeper the sleuthing gets.
19. The Coroner
One of our favorites on Britbox. Claire Goose stars as Jane Kennedy in this crime drama series. Jane, a former high-flying solicitor, returns to her hometown to work as a coroner. Her new position requires her to examine mysterious deaths and work alongside the local detective sergeant, Davey Higgins, who also happens to be an ex-boyfriend.
The coroner juggles the danger and intensity of her cases with the warm relationships she has with her colleagues, family and community. The lines are blurred, however, when Jane’s daughter Beth begins dating Matt, the best friend of a boy whose unexplained death she is investigating.
20. The Doctor Blake Mysteries
One of our favorites on Britbox. Accompanied by haunting memories of his service time in World War II, Dr Lucien Blake returns home to Australia after 30 years to take over his deceased father’s medical practice. As he deals with his own personal loss and changed by his war experiences, the wry, personable doctor performs his other role as police surgeon with gusto.
His unconventional and unpredictable manner unnerve some, but it becomes clear Dr Blake is ahead of his time in his use of forensic science, and in his own understanding of the human heart, to help solve murder mysteries in the country town of Ballarat.
Judge Paddy Coburn (Robert Pugh) struggles against suspicious locals and his own colorful past in an effort to bring law and order to the Liverpool community of Dovefield.
We liked this Britbox show: It’s based on a novel by Scottish author Iain Banks. Stewart Gilmour returns to Stonemouth, a fictional seaport town north of Aberdeen, for a funeral. It is five years since he ran away to London after a sexual indiscretion at a wedding.
Stonemouth is controlled by two rival gangs, the Murstons and the MacAvetts, and Gilmour was engaged to a member of the former clan before he had to leave.
23. The City & The City
This original new drama follows Inspector Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad as he investigates the murder of a foreign student whose body is found on the streets of Besźel.
24. Jonathan Creek
`Jonathan Creek’ is a comedy-drama written by award-winner David Renwick and stars Alan Davies as the protagonist. The story follows Jonathan Creek, an inventor of magic tricks, who uses his natural talents to also solve murder mysteries.
With an ability to look past illusions and use deductive reasoning the magician’s consultant is able to uncover the truth. Creek often enlists the help of an assistant to aid him in the investigation.
Bancroft is a four part British television thriller first shown in December 2017. It features Sarah Parish as Elizabeth Bancroft, a well-respected Detective Superintendent, attempting to bring down a criminal gang whilst a cold case is re-investigated by young Detective Sergeant Katherine Stevens, played by Faye Marsay.
26. The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco
Years after secretly serving during WWII as code-breakers, four remarkable women gifted with extraordinary intelligence turn their skills to solving murders overlooked by the police.
27. Prime Suspect
After a colleague suffers a near-fatal heart attack, Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison takes over an investigation into the murder of Delia Mornay, a young prostitute. The case is challenging enough in its own right, since Jane quickly determines that there is very little tangible evidence against the main suspect, an ex-convict.
Worse, however, she suspects there is a cover-up going on in her department, where her male team of investigators isn’t making a secret of their displeasure to be working for a woman. After a second body is discovered, what started as a single murder inquiry turns into an investigation stretching back over 10 years, forcing Jane to devote every waking hour to the case and taking a toll on her home life with her recently divorced live-in lover, Peter Rawlins.
28. Life on Mars
A fast-paced, suspenseful crime series with a twist. After a near-fatal car accident, smart, savvy, sharp-suited detective Sam is mysteriously transported back to 1973 – only four years after he was born. Confused by his new and outdated surroundings, Sam impatiently tries to return to the present, but the police force of long ago needs his help.
29. A Touch of Frost
David Jason stars as Jack Frost – an unconventional policeman with a sympathy for the underdog and an instinct for moral justice. In the opening series, Frost finds himself leading the investigations in three mysterious and sinister cases.
30. Poirot’s Final Cases
If you’re into classics, make sure you check this show on Britbox. An ailing Poirot returns to Styles with Hastings nearly three decades after solving their first mystery there in order to prevent a serial killer from claiming more victims.
Zen is one of our favorite shows on Britbox. Detective Aurelio Zen, a smart and honest police detective in Rome, struggles to maintain his integrity amongst the bureaucracy and political interference in the department. He is in love with Tania Moretti, but long odds in the betting for who will sleep with her first.
32. Life of Crime
Hayley Atwell stars in this gritty, urban crime drama as risk-taking and impulsive policewoman Denise Woods, who becomes obsessed with tracking down the killer of a teenage girl.
Written by Declan Croghan `Waking the Dead’, and `Ripper Street’, the three-episode series follows Woods’ progression through the Metropolitan Police Force over three decades and shows how choices she makes as a rookie officer have lasting and explosive repercussions on both her professional and personal life.
33. Maigret (1992)
In the first season of this 1992 show, which is less intense than the more recent version played by Rowan Atkinson, Inspector Maigret’s wife prods him to take a vacation. But there is no time to relax when a jewel thief is shot, and the only suspect is his mistress.
Other mysteries involve a burglar who sees a murder during a break-in, a teacher at odds with an entire village, an elderly woman whose schemes are mistaken for lunacy, and a serial killer targeting young women in Montmartre.
34. WPC 56
WPC 56 is a British television drama series on Britbox, written by Dominique Moloney. The stories feature the first woman police constables (WPC) to join Brinford Constabulary in 1956. Series one and two focus on Gina Dawson (Jennie Jacques) as she struggles to gain acceptance at a male-dominated police station and having to deal with the sexist attitudes that were commonplace at that time.
35. The Ruth Rendell Mysteries
The Ruth Rendell Mysteries is a British television crime drama series. Created by renowned author Ruth Rendell, the first six series focused entirely on Rendell’s main literary character Chief Inspector Reg Wexford, played by George Baker.
36. Little Boy Blue
This four-part crime drama is based on the true story of Rhys Jones, an 11-year-old boy who was murdered on his way home from football practice in 2007. The series is filmed in Liverpool, where the crime took place, and the North West, and stars Stephen Graham, Sinead Keenan, and Brian F O’Byrne.
The drama focuses on the aftermath of this tragic event, the ordeal Rhys’s parents endured, and how Detective Superintendent Dave Kelly was tasked with leading the investigation and bringing the murderer and associates to justice.
One of the U.K.’s longest-running series, “Taggart” is a gritty detective show based in Glasgow, Scotland. The show follows detectives in the Maryhill CID of Strathclyde Police as they investigate crimes, often murders. The personal relationships of the officers and their families is also explored in the series. This is one those shows that you can only watch in only few places and Britbox is one of them.