36.1k voters

The Best British Detective Series, Ranked

Updated April 9, 2021 310.3k votes 36.1k voters 1.4m views77 items

List RulesVote up your favorite British TV shows that feature detectives - professional and amateur.

This list of the best British detective series is ranked by British TV fans just like you! Who doesn't love a good detective series? It seems like every few months Britain is putting out the newest, most buzzed about detective show on television. This list ranks the all-time top British mystery series, from classic series like Poirot to modern hits like Luther, so you'll always know what to binge watch next. What are the best British detective series of all time tackling the best weekly whodunit mysteries?

From Sherlock to classic British detective shows like Agatha Christie's Marple, these great British series will have you solving crimes and mysteries along with your favorite TV detectives. Many of the shows listed here are BBC detective series, while other British mysteries debuted on different British networks. In the states, you can catch many of them on your PBS station, while others are streaming on Netflix or available through Acorn TV. No matter how you watch television, you know detective series are some of the best British TV shows out there.

This list features the most popular British detective series including Sherlock, The Last Detective, Agatha Christie’s Marple, Foyle’s War, Wallander, and Inspector Lewis. Vote up the British detective shows you love the most, so other fans of the genre won't have to go sleuthing for the best.


  • 1

    Foyle's War

    Michael Simkins, Anthony Howell
    This series is a British detective drama television series set during and shortly after WWII,...  more

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  • 2


    Shaun Evans, Roger Allam
    Endeavour is a British television detective drama series. It is a prequel to the long-running...  more

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  • 3


    Brenda Blethyn, Jon Morrison
    Vera is a British detective television series based on the works of crime author Ann Cleeves....  more
  • 4


    Douglas Henshall, Alison O'Donnell
    Shetland is a BBC Scotland crime drama television series starring Douglas Henshall as...  more

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  • 5

    Father Brown

    Mark Williams, Sorcha Cusack
    Father Brown is a British television period drama which began airing on BBC One on 14 January...  more

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  • 6

    Agatha Christie's Poirot

    Fenella Woolgar, Deborah Findlay
    Agatha Christie's Poirot is a British television drama that aired on ITV from 8 January 1989...  more

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  • 7

    Inspector Morse

    John Thaw, James Grout
    Inspector Morse is a British detective drama television series based on a series of novels by...  more

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  • 8

    Miss Marple

    Joan Hickson, Gwen Watford
    Miss Marple is a British television series based on the Miss Marple murder mystery novels by...  more


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  • 9


    David Tennant, Olivia Colman
    Broadchurch (ITV, 2013) is a British serial crime drama television series created by Chris...  more

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  • 10

    Inspector Lewis

    Kevin Whately, Laurence Fox
    Lewis is a British television detective drama produced for ITV. A spin-off from Inspector...  more

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  • 11

    Inspector George Gently

    Martin Shaw, Lee Ingleby
    Inspector George Gently is a British television series produced by Company Pictures for BBC...  more
  • 12

    Sherlock Holmes

    Jeremy Brett, Charles Gray
    Sherlock Holmes is the name given to the TV series of Sherlock Holmes adaptations produced by...  more


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  • 13

    Midsomer Murders

    Tamzin Malleson, Jason Hughes
    This is a British television detective drama that has aired on ITV since 1997. The show is...  more

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  • 14


    Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman
    Sherlock (BBC One, 2010) is a British crime television series created by Steven Moffat and...  more

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  • 15


    James Norton, Robson Green
    Grantchester is a British ITV detective drama, set in the 1950s Cambridgeshire village of the...  more

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  • 16

    The Bletchley Circle

    Anna Maxwell Martin, Rachael Stirling
    The Bletchley Circle is a television mystery drama miniseries, set in 1952–53, about four...  more
  • 17

    Happy Valley

    Sarah Lancashire, Steve Pemberton
    Happy Valley (BBC One, 2014) is a British crime drama television series created by Sally...  more

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  • 18

    Agatha Christie's Marple

    Geraldine McEwan, Julia McKenzie
    Agatha Christie's Marple is a British ITV television series based on the books and short...  more

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  • 19

    Death in Paradise

    Kris Marshall, Danny John-Jules
    Death in Paradise (BBC One, 2011) is a British-French crime drama television series created by...  more

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  • 20

    DCI Banks

    Stephen Tompkinson, Jack Deam
    DCI Banks is a British crime drama series produced by Left Bank Pictures for the ITV network....  more

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  • 21


    Sanjeev Bhaskar, Trevor Eve
    Unforgotten is a British crime drama television series, which initially aired on ITV on 8...  more
  • 22

    A Touch of Frost

    Bruce Alexander, John Lyons
    A Touch of Frost is a television detective series produced by Yorkshire Television for ITV...  more
  • 23

    Rosemary & Thyme

    Felicity Kendal, Pam Ferris
    Rosemary & Thyme is a British television mystery series starring Felicity Kendal and Pam...  more
  • 24

    Line of Duty

    Keeley Hawes, Lennie James
    Line of Duty is a British police drama, created by Jed Mercurio, which aired on BBC Two 26...  more


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  • 25

    The Inspector Lynley Mysteries

    Nathaniel Parker, Sharon Small
    The Inspector Lynley Mysteries is a series of BBC television programmes about Detective...  more