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The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked 

Ranker TV
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Updated July 15, 2020 9.7k votes 1.4k voters 43k views 45 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite suspenseful British shows.

British crime dramas are beloved around the world, thanks in part to the detectives who make sure the bad guys receive justice. The top British crime shows take viewers through the process of figuring out who done it. This is a list of the best British crime drama shows, including everything from Midsomer Murders to Death in Paradise to Wallander.

What series will you find on this list of the greatest British crime dramas? In LutherIdris Elba stars as a brilliant, but troubled detective with a bit of a temper. Waking the Dead is another good British crime series. Gillian Anderson hunts an elusive serial killer, played by Jamie Dornan, in the BBC Two series The Fall. Other great English crime shows featured on this list include Vera, Miss Marple, and Rosemary & Thyme.

Which of these popular British crime dramas is the best? Give your favorites a thumbs up to move them to the top of the list, and please add any great shows that are missing.

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list ordered by
1
Midsomer Murders is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Suzi Quatro, John Nettles, Neil Dudgeon

Premiered: 1997

This is a British television detective drama that has aired on ITV since 1997. The show is based on Caroline Graham's Chief Inspector Barnaby book series, as originally adapted by Anthony ...more
2
Broadchurch is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Guest_a33c6e56-af79-42f0-8fff-3b917c83a4f7 added David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker

Premiered: 2013

Broadchurch (ITV, 2013) is a British serial crime drama television series created by Chris Chibnall. Police detectives DI Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and DS Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) ...more
3
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

Premiered: 2010

Sherlock (BBC One, 2010) is a British crime television series created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, based on stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The brilliant yet insensitive detective ...more
4
Vera is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Brenda Blethyn, Jon Morrison, David Leon

Premiered: 2011

Vera is a British detective television series based on the works of crime author Ann Cleeves. It stars Brenda Blethyn and is broadcast on ITV and in the United States on public television
5
Foyle's War is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks, Anthony Howell

Premiered: 2002

This series is a British detective drama television series set during and shortly after WWII, created by screenwriter and author Anthony Horowitz and commissioned by ITV after the long-running ...more
6
Happy Valley is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Happy Valley Sarah Lancashire, Siobhan Finneran, Shane Zaza
7
Father Brown is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked

Premiered: 2013

Father Brown is a British television period drama which began airing on BBC One on 14 January 2013. It features Mark Williams as the eponymous crime-solving Roman Catholic priest. The series is ...more
8
Luther is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Idris Elba, Warren Brown, Dermot Crowley

Premiered: 2010

Luther is a British drama series starring Idris Elba as the eponymous character DCI John Luther. Written by Neil Cross, the first series, comprising six one-hour long episodes, premiered on 4 ...more
9
Doc Martin is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
NRoden1951 added Doc Martin Martin Clunes, Caroline Catz, Ian McNeice
Doc Martin (ITV, 2004) is a British television medical comedy drama series. Dr. Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes), a brilliant and successful vascular surgeon at Imperial College London, develops ...more
10
Endeavour is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Shaun Evans, Roger Allam, James Bradshaw

Premiered: 2012

Endeavour is a British television detective drama series. It is a prequel to the long-running Inspector Morse and—like that series—is set primarily in Oxford. Shaun Evans portrays a young ...more
11
Line of Duty is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Line Of Duty Keeley Hawes, Lennie James, Martin Compston

Premiered: 2012

Line of Duty is a British police drama, created by Jed Mercurio, which aired on BBC Two 26 June 2012. The first series was BBC Two's best-performing drama series in 10 years, with a consolidated ...more
12
Shetland is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked

Premiered: 2013

Shetland is a BBC Scotland crime drama television series starring Douglas Henshall as Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez. The story takes place on the Scottish archipelago of Shetland, though much ...more
13
DCI Banks is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Stephen Tompkinson, Jack Deam, Andrea Lowe

Premiered: 2010

DCI Banks is a British crime drama series produced by Left Bank Pictures for the ITV network. The series is based on Peter Robinson's Inspector Alan Banks novels and stars Stephen Tompkinson as ...more
14
Death in Paradise is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Kris Marshall, Danny John-Jules, Ben Miller

Premiered: 2011

Death in Paradise (BBC One, 2011) is a British-French crime drama television series created by Robert Thorogood. After investigating the murder of a police officer on a Caribbean island, British ...more
15
Unforgotten is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Unforgotten Sanjeev Bhaskar, Trevor Eve, Anthony Farrelly

Premiered: 2015

Unforgotten is a British crime drama television series, which initially aired on ITV on 8 October 2015. It is written by creator Chris Lang and directed by Andy Wilson. The programme follows two ...more
16
Hinterland is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Richard Harrington, Mali Harries, Alex Harries

Premiered: 2014

Y Gwyll, titled Hinterland in the English-language version (S4C, 2013), is a Welsh noir police detective drama series created by Ed Talfan and Ed Thomas. Troubled Detective Chief Inspector Tom ...more
17
Wallander is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Wallander Kenneth Branagh, Richard McCabe, Jeany Spark

Premiered: 2008

Wallander is a British television series adapted from the Swedish novelist Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander novels and starring Kenneth Branagh as the eponymous police inspector. The first ...more
18
Inspector Lewis is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Eric Thomas added Kevin Whately, Laurence Fox, Clare Holman

Premiered: 2006

Lewis is a British television detective drama produced for ITV. A spin-off from Inspector Morse, like that series it is set in Oxford. Kevin Whately reprises his character Robert ...more
19
The Fall is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan, John Lynch

Premiered: 2013

The Fall (BBC Two, 2013) is a British-Irish crime drama television series created by Allan Cubitt. Metropolitan Police Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) sets out to capture a ...more
20
Miss Marple is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Miss Marple Joan Hickson, Gwen Watford, David Horovitch

Premiered: 1984

Miss Marple is a British television series based on the Miss Marple murder mystery novels by Agatha Christie. It starred Joan Hickson in the title role, and aired from 1984 to 1992. All 12 ...more
21
The Bletchley Circle is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Rachael Stirling, Julie Graham, Sophie Rundle
The Bletchley Circle is a television mystery drama miniseries, set in 1952–53, about four women who used to work as codebreakers at Bletchley Park. Dissatisfied with official failure to ...more
22
Grantchester is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
James Norton, Robson Green, Morven Christie

Premiered: 2014

Grantchester is a British ITV detective drama, set in the 1950s Cambridgeshire village of the same name. The show features Anglican vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton), who develops a sideline ...more
23
Scott & Bailey is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Eric Thomas added Suranne Jones, Lesley Sharp, Amelia Bullmore

Premiered: 2011

Scott & Bailey is a British detective drama series that debuted on ITV on 29 May 2011. The programme's main characters are Detective Constable Janet Scott and Detective Constable Rachel ...more
24
Silent Witness is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Eric Thomas added Emilia Fox, William Gaminara, Tom Ward

Premiered: 1996

Silent Witness is a British drama series, produced by the BBC, focusing on a team of forensic pathology experts and their investigations. First broadcast in 1996, and still on air, the series ...more
25
Rosemary & Thyme is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Very Best British Crime Dramas, Ranked
Rosemary & Thyme Felicity Kendal, Pam Ferris, Ryan Philpott

Premiered: 2003

Rosemary & Thyme is a British television mystery series starring Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris as gardening detectives Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme. The show began on ITV in 2003. The ...more