Last Updated: July 2nd
If you’ve watched as many true crime documentaries as we have, you probably feel confident in your sleuthing skills, but the detectives on these shows (which are all currently streaming on Netflix) would still put us all to shame. Solving murders is their catnip. Catching bad guys is their idea of a good time. Hunting down clues, connecting the dots, uncovering conspiracies — they could do it all in their sleep. So go ahead, test your abilities to decode evidence and string together murder theories against them by watching the series on this list. Let us know how you measure up.
2 seasons, 19 episodes | IMDb: 8.6/10
In Mindhunter, Jonathan Groff plays Holden Ford, a character based on the real-life John E. Douglas (the inspiration for Jack Crawford in the Hannibal series). The series itself is based on the origins of an actual behavioral science unit in the FBI used to study serial killers in the 1970s and 80s. Ford is a young FBI Agent who takes a keen interest in psychology which, in turn, grows into an interest in the psychology of sequential killers. It’s a fascinating exploration into the origins of what now seems commonplace, a science that has inspired dozens of police procedurals. What’s more interesting here, however, is that while Ford is studying serial killers (all of whom are based on actual serial killers from that era), Ford develops his own obsession with serial-killers which mirrors the obsession serial killers have with their victims. The series comes from Joe Penhall and executive producer David Fincher (who also directs several episodes), and fans of Fincher’s Zodiac will appreciate Mindhunter for its same attention to detail, and the same dedication to character and research over surprising twists and reveals.
4 seasons, 13 episodes | IMDb: 9.2/10
Sherlock is the best iteration of Sherlock Holmes ever to air on television. The British series from Steven Moffat stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, and despite the fact that it has been updated, it brilliantly captures the same spirit of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic stories. It’s fast-paced, engrossing, brilliantly acted, often very funny, and frequently tragic. Oh, and Cumberbatch’s chemistry with Freeman is off-the-charts.
3 seasons, 24 episodes | IMDb: 8.4/10
A young boy is found dead in a seemingly idyllic small town, and the detectives charged with solving the case turn up twist after twist in tracking down the murderer. Despite its familiar premise (see also: Twin Peaks, The Killing), Broadchurch relies on its ensemble cast — specifically the impeccable David Tennant and Olivia Colman — to keep viewers caring after each red herring is tossed back into the ocean. The first series centers on the hunt for the killer while the second is on both the suspect’s trial and a reopened case from the past, but they both don’t let up in intrigue. A word of warning, though: This isn’t one of those TV dramas you should binge even if you want to. It gets heavy and emotionally exhausting, and unrestrained streaming kinda negates the effect of the show’s mysteries.
2 seasons, 20 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
Based on the 2002 science fiction novel by Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon mixes a few great, new ideas with a lot of derivative ones and delivers a series that alternates between frustrating and brilliant. The show is set in a future where everyone’s consciences have been downloaded into stacks, which can be transferred into different “sleeves,” or bodies. Theoretically, a person can live forever, unless his or her stack is destroyed; however, in practice, only the wealthy can afford to buy the necessary sleeves to live indefinitely. In this world, Joel Kinnaman stars as Takeshi Kovacs, a former U.N. elite soldier who returns in a different sleeve to work as a private investigator hired by a wealthy man to solve the murder of his own sleeve. In season two, Anthony Mackie takes over for Joel Kinnaman, playing Kovacs and in his season, he’s consumed with the search for his long lost love … and solving more murder mysteries.
2 seasons, 16 episodes | IMDb: 8/10
Jessica Biel stars as a woman with a dark past in this mystery series with Bill Pullman and Christopher Abbot. Biel plays Cora, a wife and mother who commits a horrific act of violence during a family beach trip for no apparent reason. It’s only once a detective (Pullman) begins looking into her life before the murder does he discover a conspiracy plot as tangled as it is gruesome.
4 seasons, 67 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
Any good detective knows the devil is in the details but Lucifer takes that quite literally. Tom Ellis stars as Satan himself, the keeper of the Underworld who’s grown bored with his regular 9 to 5 and decides to head top side for some fun. He teams up with a detective named Chloe (Lauren German), and the two solve some of L.A.’s worst crimes together while battling sexual tensions, avenging angels, and God himself. It’s full of fantasy but at its heart, Lucifer is a procedural filled with comedy and compelling storylines.
5 seasons, 36 episodes | IMDb: 8.1/10
This British series set in 1889 in London’s poor, crime-ridden East End, sees Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn, and Adam Rothenberg teaming up to solve some of the most horrifying crimes of the century. Of course, Jack the Ripper makes an appearance as the first season of the show is primarily concerned with stopping his string of murders, but later seasons see the three men solving train heists, immigration crises, and other tragedies that take place on their turf.
2 seasons, 20 episodes | IMDb: 8.4/10
Good news: Netflix has given us more Narcos. Even better news: Mexico is basically an entirely revamped show, which means you don’t need to be familiar with past installments to enjoy the wild ride. Diego Luna plays the new big bad, a drug lord looking to expand his reach, while Michael Pena plays the fed tasked with busting his operation. Luna looks to be thoroughly enjoying playing the sleazeball gangster-type, and since this installment is set in the 1980s, expect plenty of decadence, a killer soundtrack, and a ton of cocaine.
2 seasons, 30 episodes | IMDb: 8.8/10
If small-town murder mysteries full of camp and supernatural phenomenon are your thing, well then why wouldn’t you watch (or re-watch) Twin Peaks? The series, crafted all the way back in the ’90s by David Lynch, is a cult-favorite and for good reason. With Kyle MacLachlan playing Special Agent Dale Cooper, a poor schmoe who’s called in to investigate the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer, he’s met with more than he bargained for. Conspiracy theories and otherworldly beings, time travel, and dwarves in red business suits soon follow. The original series may have ended with cliffhangers and unexplained plot-holes, but with the recent Showtime revival, now’s as good a time as any to catch up on all the strange events that seem to plague this sleepy town.
1 season, 4 episodes | IMDb: 6.8/10
Carey Mulligan takes on a rare TV role with this British detective mini-series. Mulligan plays Kip Glaspie, an inspector assigned to investigate the murder of a pizza delivery driver who is gunned down in a London suburb. Over the course of four episodes, Kip uncovers a tangled web of players in the seemingly-straightforward case, making her job harder and putting her moral code on the line.