British TV The Best British Detective Series, Ranked  

Ranker TV
Originally by
253.2k votes 24.9k voters 883.6k views 92 items
Ranker Video The Best British Detective Series of All Time

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 toto 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. 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. Don't see the good British detective shows you love on the list? Add them for other TV fans to vote!

 

list ordered by

1
5,416 1,964
Father Brown is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
mousenmovie added Mark Williams, Sorcha Cusack, Alex Price 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

2
5,513 2,883
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it ...more

3
5,260 2,357
Midsomer Murders is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Suzi Quatro, John Nettles, Neil Dudgeon 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

4
4,877 2,246
Endeavour is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Shaun Evans, Roger Allam, James Bradshaw 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

5
4,171 2,104
Inspector Morse is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
John Thaw, Peter Woodthorpe, Kevin Whately Inspector Morse is a British detective drama television series based on a series of novels by Colin Dexter. It starred John Thaw as Chief Inspector Morse and Kevin Whately as Sergeant Lewis. The ...more

6
4,474 1,770
Inspector Lewis is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Kevin Whately, Laurence Fox, Clare Holman 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

7
3,767 1,949
Grantchester is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
James Norton, Robson Green, Morven Christie

8
4,520 2,034
Broadchurch is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
jobill added David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker Broadchurch is a British television drama broadcast on ITV. It was created and written by Chris Chibnall and produced by Kudos Film and Television, Shine America, and Imaginary Friends. The ...more

9
4,272 1,785
Agatha Christie's Poirot is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
David Suchet, Hugh Fraser, Philip Jackson Agatha Christie's Poirot is a British television drama that aired on ITV from 8 January 1989 to 13 November 2013. David Suchet stars as the eponymous detective, Agatha Christie's fictional ...more

10
3,705 1,555
Vera is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Brenda Blethyn, Jon Morrison, David Leon 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

11
3,046 1,923
Death in Paradise is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Kris Marshall, Danny John-Jules, Ben Miller Death in Paradise is a British-French lighthearted crime drama television series created by Robert Thorogood, initially starring Ben Miller and Sara Martins, and later starring Kris Marshall and ...more

12
3,413 2,276
Luther is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Idris Elba, Warren Brown, Dermot Crowley 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

13
4,244 1,558
Foyle's War is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks, Anthony Howell Foyle's War is a British detective drama television series set during and shortly after the Second World War, created by screenwriter and author Anthony Horowitz and commissioned by ITV after ...more

14
2,985 1,584
Inspector George Gently is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Martin Shaw, Lee Ingleby, Simon Hubbard Inspector George Gently is a British television series produced by Company Pictures for BBC One, set in the 1960s and based on some of the 46 Inspector Gently novels written by Alan Hunter. The ...more

15
3,007 1,344
Shetland is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Douglas Henshall, Alison O'Donnell, Steven Robertson 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

16
2,382 1,258
Miss Marple is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Joan Hickson, Gwen Watford, David Horovitch 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

17
2,761 1,839
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Essie Davis, Nathan Page, Hugo Johnstone-Burt Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is an Australian television drama series. It was first broadcast on ABC on 24 February 2012. The series is based on author Kerry Greenwood's novels and was created ...more

18
2,992 1,762
Happy Valley is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Anna Lane added Sarah Lancashire, Steve Pemberton, Siobhan Finneran Happy Valley (BBC One, 2014) is a British crime drama television series created by Sally Wainwright. Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) is the sergeant on duty when flustered and nervous ...more

19
2,448 1,425
Prime Suspect is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
KathyGrieco added Helen Mirren, Zoë Wanamaker, Tom Bell Prime Suspect is a British police procedural television drama series starring Helen Mirren as Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, one of the first female Detective Chief Inspectors in ...more

20
2,434 1,487
Agatha Christie's Marple is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Geraldine McEwan, Julia McKenzie, Stephen Churchett Agatha Christie's Marple is a British ITV television series based on the books and short stories by British crime novelist Agatha Christie. The title character was played by Geraldine McEwan ...more

21
2,257 1,531
DCI Banks is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Anna Lane added Stephen Tompkinson, Jack Deam, Andrea Lowe 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

22
2,034 1,444
A Touch of Frost is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
David Jason, Bruce Alexander, John Lyons A Touch of Frost is a television detective series produced by Yorkshire Television for ITV from 1992 until 2010, initially based on the Frost novels by R. D. Wingfield. Writing credit for the ...more

23
1,724 1,473
The Inspector Lynley Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Nathaniel Parker, Sharon Small, Lesley Vickerage The Inspector Lynley Mysteries is a series of BBC television programmes about Detective Inspector Thomas "Tommy" Lynley, 8th Earl of Asherton of Scotland Yard and Detective Sergeant ...more

24
1,742 1,620
Whitechapel is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
f_hyett added Rupert Penry-Jones, Philip Davis, Steve Pemberton Whitechapel is a British television drama series produced by Carnival Films, in which detectives in London's Whitechapel district dealt with murders which replicated historical crimes. The first ...more

25
1,970 1,383
Rosemary & Thyme is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Felicity Kendal, Pam Ferris, Ryan Philpott 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

26
1,799 1,548
Scott & Bailey is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Anna Lane added Suranne Jones, Lesley Sharp, Amelia Bullmore 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

27
1,705 1,256
Murdoch Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Wellseasoned added Lisa Ray, Paul Rhys, Georgina Reilly Murdoch Mysteries is a Canadian television drama series aired on both City and CBC Television, titled The Artful Detective in the United States, featuring Yannick Bisson as William Murdoch, a ...more

28
1,677 1,431
Line of Duty is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
elisabethclive added Keeley Hawes, Lennie James, Martin Compston 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

29
2,222 1,289
The Bletchley Circle is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Anna Maxwell Martin, Rachael Stirling, 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

30
1,146 1,349
Dalziel and Pascoe is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Warren Clarke, Robert Powell, Colin Buchanan Dalziel and Pascoe is a popular British television crime drama based on the novels of the same name, written by Reginald Hill. The series was first broadcast on 18 March 1996, with Warren Clarke ...more

31
1,411 980
Sherlock Holmes is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Jeremy Brett, Charles Gray, Edward Hardwicke Sherlock Holmes is the name given to the TV series of Sherlock Holmes adaptations produced by British television company Granada Television between 1984 and 1994, with the first two series ...more

32
989 1,011
Cadfael is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
mousenmovie added Derek Jacobi, Sean Pertwee, Michael Culver Cadfael is the name given to the TV series adapted from The Cadfael Chronicles novels written by Ellis Peters. It was produced by the ITV Central between 1994 and 1998. The series was broadcast ...more

33
1,608 1,430
New Tricks is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
James Bolam, Alun Armstrong, Amanda Redman New Tricks is a British procedural comedy-drama that follows the work of the fictional Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad of the Metropolitan Police Service. Originally led by DSI Sandra ...more

34
1,013 1,218
Jonathan Creek is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Alan Davies, Caroline Quentin, Stuart Milligan Jonathan Creek is a British mystery crime drama series produced by the BBC and written by David Renwick. It stars Alan Davies as the title character, who works as a creative consultant to a ...more

35
1,790 1,495
The Fall is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan, John Lynch The Fall is a BBC crime drama television series set in Northern Ireland and created, written and, in its second series, directed by Allan Cubitt. The series stars Gillian Anderson as ...more

36
1,166 1,423
Ripper Street is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn, Adam Rothenberg Ripper Street is a British TV series set in Whitechapel in London's East End in 1889, six months after the infamous Jack the Ripper murders. The series stars Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn, and ...more

37
1,324 1,418
Prime Suspect is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Maria Bello, Aidan Quinn, Elizabeth Rodriguez Prime Suspect is an American police procedural television drama series that premiered on NBC on September 22, 2011. It stars Maria Bello as Detective Jane Timoney. The series is a ...more

38
843 1,471
Waking the Dead is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Trevor Eve, Sue Johnston, Wil Johnson Waking the Dead is a British television police procedural crime drama series produced by the BBC featuring a fictional Cold Case unit composed of CID police officers, a psychological profiler ...more

39
1,359 1,422
Wire in the Blood is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Robson Green, Simone Lahbib, Hermione Norris Wire in the Blood is a British crime drama television series, created and produced by Coastal Productions for the ITV network, that ran from 2002 to 2008. The series is based on characters ...more

40
908 985
Agatha Raisin is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
NickKing added Ashley Jensen, Katy Wix, Mathew Horne Agatha Raisin is a British comedy-drama television series based on the novel of the same name by M. C. Beaton. Agatha Raisin (Ashley Jensen), a public relations professional, gives up her life ...more

41
874 325
The Doctor Blake Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Linda Rees McCoy added The Doctor Blake Mysteries

42
2,103 1,392
Wallander is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Kenneth Branagh, Richard McCabe, Jeany Spark 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

43
993 1,338
Silent Witness is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
jobill added Emilia Fox, William Gaminara, Tom Ward Silent Witness is a British crime drama series, produced by the BBC, focusing on a team of forensic pathology experts and their investigations into various crimes. First broadcast in 1996, and ...more

44
711 1,251
Hamish Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Robert Carlyle, Shirley Henderson, Barbara Rafferty Hamish Macbeth is a comedy-drama series made by BBC Scotland and first aired in 1995. It is loosely based on a series of mystery novels by M. C. Beaton. The series concerns a local police ...more

45
720 1,214
The Mrs Bradley Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Neil Dudgeon, Diana Rigg, Peter Davison The Mrs Bradley Mysteries is a British drama series starring Diana Rigg as Adela Bradley, and Neil Dudgeon as her chauffeur George Moody. The series was produced by the BBC for its BBC One ...more

46
803 1,294
Rebus is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Ken Stott, Claire Price, Jennifer Black Rebus is the title of the detective drama TV series based on the Inspector Rebus novels by the Scottish author Ian Rankin set in and around Edinburgh. The series was produced by STV Productions ...more

47
579 1,049
Rumpole of the Bailey is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Samantha Bond, Leo McKern, Rosalyn Landor Rumpole of the Bailey is a British television series created and written by the British writer and barrister John Mortimer. It stars Leo McKern as Horace Rumpole, an ageing London barrister who ...more

48
954 1,343
Cracker is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Robbie Coltrane, Geraldine Somerville, Kieran O'Brien Cracker is a British crime drama series produced by Granada Television for ITV and created and principally written by Jimmy McGovern. Set in Manchester, the series is centered on a criminal ...more

49
800 1,192
The Last Detective is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Peter Davison, Sean Hughes, Rob Spendlove The Last Detective is an ITV drama starring Peter Davison as Dangerous Davies. The first series was aired in 2003, with three more seasons following it. The first season consisted of a pilot and ...more

50
972 1,178
Hetty Wainthropp Investigates is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best British Detective Series, Ranked
Patricia Routledge, Dominic Monaghan, Derek Benfield Hetty Wainthropp Investigates is a gentle British crime/comedy drama television programme that aired from 1996 to 1998 on BBC One. Patricia Routledge starred as the titular character, Derek ...more