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The Best British Detective Series, Ranked

Updated January 20, 2021 312.5k votes 35.5k voters 1.3m views76 items

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

 

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  • Foyle's War1
    6,718
    2,255

    Foyle's War

    Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks

    Premiered2002

    This series is a British detective drama television series set during and shortly after WWII,...  more
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  • Shetland2
    5,664
    1,844

    Shetland

    Douglas Henshall, Alison O'Donnell

    Premiered2013

    Shetland is a BBC Scotland crime drama television series starring Douglas Henshall as...  more
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  • Agatha Christie's Poirot3
    6,641
    2,430

    Agatha Christie's Poirot

    David Suchet, Hugh Fraser

    Premiered1989

    Agatha Christie's Poirot is a British television drama that aired on ITV from 8 January 1989...  more
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  • Endeavour4
    8,267
    2,578

    Endeavour

    Shaun Evans, Roger Allam

    Premiered2012

    Endeavour is a British television detective drama series. It is a prequel to the long-running...  more
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  • Father Brown5
    7,324
    3,335

    Father Brown

    Mark Williams, Sorcha Cusack

    Premiered2013

    Father Brown is a British television period drama which began airing on BBC One on 14 January...  more
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  • Vera6
    6,369
    2,054

    Vera

    Brenda Blethyn, Jon Morrison

    Premiered2011

    Vera is a British detective television series based on the works of crime author Ann Cleeves....  more
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  • Miss Marple7
    3,949
    1,782

    Miss Marple

    Joan Hickson, Gwen Watford

    Premiered1984

    Miss Marple is a British television series based on the Miss Marple murder mystery novels by...  more
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  • Inspector Morse8
    6,641
    2,553

    Inspector Morse

    John Thaw, Peter Woodthorpe

    Premiered1987

    Inspector Morse is a British detective drama television series based on a series of novels by...  more
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  • Broadchurch9
    7,209
    2,481

    Broadchurch

    David Tennant, Olivia Colman

    Premiered2013

    Broadchurch (ITV, 2013) is a British serial crime drama television series created by Chris...  more
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  • Inspector George Gently10
    4,524
    1,996

    Inspector George Gently

    Martin Shaw, Lee Ingleby

    Premiered2007

    Inspector George Gently is a British television series produced by Company Pictures for BBC...  more
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  • Inspector Lewis11
    7,096
    2,033

    Inspector Lewis

    Kevin Whately, Laurence Fox

    Premiered2006

    Lewis is a British television detective drama produced for ITV. A spin-off from Inspector...  more
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  • Sherlock Holmes12
    2,953
    1,344

    Sherlock Holmes

    Jeremy Brett, Charles Gray

    Premiered1984

    Sherlock Holmes is the name given to the TV series of Sherlock Holmes adaptations produced by...  more
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  • Sherlock13
    8,138
    3,788

    Sherlock

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman

    Premiered2010

    Sherlock (BBC One, 2010) is a British crime television series created by Steven Moffat and...  more
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  • Grantchester14
    5,499
    2,757

    Grantchester

    James Norton, Robson Green

    Premiered2014

    Grantchester is a British ITV detective drama, set in the 1950s Cambridgeshire village of the...  more
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  • The Bletchley Circle15
    3,532
    1,770

    The Bletchley Circle

    Anna Maxwell Martin, Rachael Stirling

    Premiered2012

    The Bletchley Circle is a television mystery drama miniseries, set in 1952–53, about four...  more
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  • Midsomer Murders16
    8,112
    2,901

    Midsomer Murders

    Suzi Quatro, John Nettles

    Premiered1997

    This is a British television detective drama that has aired on ITV since 1997. The show is...  more
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  • Happy Valley17
    4,603
    2,258

    Happy Valley

    Sarah Lancashire, Steve Pemberton

    Premiered2014

    Happy Valley (BBC One, 2014) is a British crime drama television series created by Sally...  more
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  • Agatha Christie's Marple18
    3,764
    2,059

    Agatha Christie's Marple

    Geraldine McEwan, Julia McKenzie

    Premiered2004

    Agatha Christie's Marple is a British ITV television series based on the books and short...  more
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  • Death in Paradise19
    4,789
    2,826

    Death in Paradise

    Kris Marshall, Danny John-Jules

    Premiered2011

    Death in Paradise (BBC One, 2011) is a British-French crime drama television series created by...  more
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  • DCI Banks20
    4,059
    2,011

    DCI Banks

    Stephen Tompkinson, Jack Deam

    Premiered2010

    DCI Banks is a British crime drama series produced by Left Bank Pictures for the ITV network....  more
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  • Unforgotten21
    2,973
    1,270

    Unforgotten

    Sanjeev Bhaskar, Trevor Eve

    Premiered2015

    Unforgotten is a British crime drama television series, which initially aired on ITV on 8...  more
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  • Rosemary & Thyme22
    3,181
    1,858

    Rosemary & Thyme

    Felicity Kendal, Pam Ferris

    Premiered2003

    Rosemary & Thyme is a British television mystery series starring Felicity Kendal and Pam...  more
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  • A Touch of Frost23
    3,199
    1,795

    A Touch of Frost

    David Jason, Bruce Alexander

    Premiered1992

    A Touch of Frost is a television detective series produced by Yorkshire Television for ITV...  more
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  • Line of Duty24
    3,298
    1,717

    Line of Duty

    Keeley Hawes, Lennie James

    Premiered2012

    Line of Duty is a British police drama, created by Jed Mercurio, which aired on BBC Two 26...  more
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  • The Inspector Lynley Mysteries25
    2,867
    1,897

    The Inspector Lynley Mysteries

    Nathaniel Parker, Sharon Small

    Premiered2001

    The Inspector Lynley Mysteries is a series of BBC television programmes about Detective...  more
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