American television has been making a downward turn for years. Filled with “reality” TV and base sexual innuendo, TV has become a desert for the intellect. Even our dramas have become stale. Because of that I have broadened my horizons to the BBC. Mystery, murder, and mayhem await in these five great shows. Most can be watched or rented from Netflex. Others can be rented from your local library. PBS also carries some of the older episodes of these shows.
Wire in the Blood
This drama centers around clinical psychologist Tony Hill ( Robson Green) who tries to figure out why serial killers behave the way they do. He works along side DI Alex Fielding (Simone Lahbib) to stop the serial killers before they can kill again. This is a dark show. The cases are bizarre and chilling. The show leaves little to the imagination. More than one has given me nightmares. The writing is strong and current. The character of Tony Hill is fascinating as he mentally acts out the crime in order to figure out the killer. The viewer is left to question Tony’s sanity. These shows can be watched on Netflix, or the DVD can be sent by mail.
This is a quirky show set in a more rural setting. DCI Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) works with his partner DS Ben Jones (Jason Hughes) to solve murders in Midsomer. The solving of these crimes takes you through the beautiful English countryside, where you meet the wealthy, ordinary, and uncommon citizens of the area. DCI Barnaby doesn’t miss a trick and occasionally has to teach young DS Jones a lesson or two. The show is a fun mystery. Like all small communities, there’s more than one oddball hiding in the shrubbery. Midsomer Murder can be rented from Netflix and watched online.
Inspector Lewis is the protégé of Inspector Morse. DI Lewis (Kevin Whatley) and DS Hathaway (Laurence Fox) solve murders in Oxford. DI Lewis is a no nonsense, blue collar detective. He’s a bit of an outsider in the scholarly scene of Oxford. Hathaway represents most of what Lewis doesn’t like about Oxford. Hathaway once studied to be a priest and is educated. Together they make a great team. They solve murders involving everyone from scholars, artists, and handymen. No one is too smart or rich for Lewis and Hathaway. Inspector Lewis can be rented from Netflix.
This is a new take on Sherlock Holmes. It brings Holmes ( Benedict Cumber batch ) and Watson (Martin Freeman) together in modern London. Using Holmes’ superior powers of deduction they solve murders. The actors have great timing together. The show is witty and fast paced. It has all the classic Holmes wit with hip new twists. This show is brand new. As of yet the only way to watch it is to catch it on PBS
Harry Pierce (Peter Firth) stars in Spooks. In the US, it is called MI-5. The cast on this show has changed through the years. Pierce has been on the show from the start and is the head of the intelligence agency called MI-5. They fight domestic threats to the UK. This is a sharp, smart, and action packed show. The dialogue is quick, so pay attention. The writing is precise. They bring in current threats and events from around the world. Sometimes they are painfully real. It’s not full of outlandish special effects or props. Most of the technology seems surprisingly real. MI-5 can be rented from Netflix and watched online. Older shows can be seen on PBS.
All five of these shows are proven winners. They cover a variety of detective styles and settings. All have great casts and writing. If you are tired of being treated like an idiot by American television, then try one of these great mysteries.