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The Best Nordic Noir TV Shows, Ranked

Updated February 22, 2021 561 votes 71 voters 2.4k views28 items

List RulesVote up the best series about Scandinavian detectives with big noir vibes.

The best Nordic Noir shows take a great deal from the novels that inspired the genre. They are often filled with morally complex characters and bleak landscapes. They deal heavily with the contrasts of the seemingly boring surface world and the twisted world of crime that is wound beneath that calm veneer. These TV shows have found audiences outside of the Scandinavian countries where they originated and have introduced a mass audience to a compelling new form of storytelling that builds on classic noir series

There are so many great Nordic Noir TV shows out there that it can be hard to rank them all. Forbrydelsen, which translates to The Killing, proved to be so popular that it received an American remake in 2011. There's also Deadwind, a Netflix series about a detective trying to get over her husband's death when she discovers the body of a young woman buried at a construction site. Nordic Noir is not afraid to dive deep into the seedy underbelly of society. It may not be for everyone, but if you have a taste for dark detective stories, then Nordic Noir is an excellent place to find your new binge-worthy series. 

For the purposes of this list, we'll use the English translations where possible. All fans of Nordic Noir are encouraged to vote for their favorite TV shows in the genre on this list. If you love The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, then you'll want to see what you should check out next. 

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  • Trapped1
    48
    4

    Trapped

    Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir

    Premiered2015

    Trapped (Viceland, 2015) is an Icelandic mystery television series created by Baltasar...  more
  • The Killing2
    45
    4

    The Killing

    Sofie Gråbøl, Søren Malling

    Premiered2007

    Forbrydelsen (2007) is a Danish and Norwegian crime television drama. Police detective Sarah Lund investigates difficult cases with personal and political consequences.

  • The Bridge3
    52
    11

    The Bridge

    Sofia Helin, Kim Bodnia

    Premiered2011

    The Bridge (FX, 2013) is an American drama television series developed by Meredith Stiehm and...  more
  • Deadwind4
    42
    10

    Deadwind

    Pihla Viitala, Lauri Tilkanen

    Premiered2018

    Deadwind (Yle TV2, 2018) is a Finnish crime drama and Nordic noir television series directed...  more
  • Bordertown5
    47
    14

    Bordertown

    Ville Virtanen, Matleena Kuusniemi

    Premiered2016

    Bordertown (Yle TV1, 2016), also called Sorjonen, is a Finnish television crime drama and...  more
  • The Valhalla Murders6
    34
    5

    The Valhalla Murders

    Aldís Amah Hamilton, Bergur Ebbi Benediktsson

    Premiered2019

    The Valhalla Murders (Netflix, 2019) is an Icelandic drama crime thriller television series....  more
  • Pagan Peak7
    21
    5

    Pagan Peak

    Julia Jentsch, Nicholas Ofczarek

    Premiered2018

    Pagan Peak is a German crime television drama. When a gruesomely staged body is found, propped up on a mountain pass in the Alps close to the German-Austrian border, two detectives are sent to investigate.

  • Marcella8
    20
    5

    Marcella

    Anna Friel, Nicholas Pinnock

    Premiered2016

    Marcella is a British crime noir detective series produced, written and directed by Hans...  more
  • Case9
    15
    5

    Case

    Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir, Magnús Jónsson

    Premiered2015

    Case is an Icelandic crime television drama. Set in Reykjavik, the story follows the events that ensue after the death of a young talented ballerina, who is found hanged on the National Theatre's main stage.

  • Before We Die10
    10
    0

    Before We Die

    Marie Richardson, Adam Pålsson

    Premiered2017

    Before We Die is a Swedish television drama. Police Officer Hanna Svensson has her morals tested when her colleague Sven disappears. Upon looking for her partner, it is revealed that he had been involved in an investigation by a criminal MC club.

  • Arctic Circle11
    17
    10

    Arctic Circle

    Iina Kuustonen, Maximilian Brückner

    Premiered2020

    Arctic Circle is a Finish-German crime television thriller. Set in the unforgiving polar region, amidst the icy landscapes of Finnish Lapland, Nina Kautsalo, a Finnish police officer, is caught in a criminal investigation takes a surprise twist when a deadly virus is discovered.

  • Wallander12
    14
    7

    Wallander

    Kenneth Branagh, Richard McCabe

    Premiered2008

    Wallander is a British television series adapted from the Swedish novelist Henning Mankell's...  more
  • Wisting13
    10
    2

    Wisting

    Sven Nordin, Thea Green Lundberg

    Premiered2019

    Wisting is a Norwegian police procedural television series. Homicide detective William Wisting is challenged by the two most difficult cases of his entire career, and his investigation into a serial killer crosses paths with his crime-writing daughter's news story.

  • Acquitted14
    18
    15

    Acquitted

    Nicolai Cleve Broch, Lena Endre

    Premiered2015

    Acquitted is a Norwegian crime television drama. After having success in Asia, businessman Aksel Borgen is asked back to his hometown in Norway to save an important local firm despite it being 20 years since he was sentenced and later acquitted for murdering his high school sweetheart.

  • All the Sins15
    4
    0

    All the Sins

    Matti Ristinen, Johannes Holopainen

    Premiered2019

    Kaikki synnit is a Finnish crime drama television series. A detective is forced to confront difficult home truths about his past, and his present, while on the trail of a serial killer in rural northern Finland.

  • Young Wallander16
    4
    1

    Young Wallander

    Adam Pålsson, Sara Seyed

    Premiered2020

    Young Wallander (Netflix, 2020) is a British crime drama television series based on The...  more
  • Caliphate17
    1
    1

    Caliphate

    Aliette Opheim, Nora Rios

    Premiered2020

    Caliphate (Netflix, 2020) is a Swedish thriller drama TV series based on the real life case of...  more
  • Hooked18
    1
    1

    Hooked

    Matleena Kuusniemi, Tommi Eronen

    Premiered2015

    Hooked is a Finnish crime thriller television series. Drug Crime Detective Oskari is the envy of his colleagues. His connections to underworld and informants is unrivaled, but they don't know how deep his connections go.

  • Beartown19
    0
    0

    Beartown

    Ulf Stenberg, Miriam Ingrid

    Premiered2021

    Beartown (HBO, 2021) is a Swedish drama series created by Linn Gottfridsson, Antonia Pyk,...  more
  • Deliver Us20
    0
    1

    Deliver Us

    Claus Riis Østergaard, Anders Juul

    Premiered2019

    Fred til lands is a Danish crime television drama. In a small town five people join forces and plan the perfect murder of the local town psycho only to realize that once you start playing God, it's easy to end up as the Devil.

  • DNA21
    10
    11

    DNA

    Anders W. Berthelsen, Nicolas Bro

    Premiered2018

    DNA is a Danish drama mystery television series. Five years after his daughter's disappearance, Danish police officer Rolf discovers a fatal flaw in the DNA database and might finally be able to find her.

  • Bullets22
    0
    1

    Bullets

    Krista Kosonen, Sibel Kekilli

    Premiered2018

    Bullets is a Finish and German crime television drama. An ex-terrorist, Madina Taburova, who was presumed dead, turns up in Helsinki seeking political asylum; using a fake identity, the Intelligence Agency officer Mari Saari has to befriend this ex-terrorist to find out why she's here.

  • Below the Surface23
    0
    1

    Below the Surface

    Johannes Lassen, Paprika Steen

    Premiered2017

    Below The Surface is a Danish hostage thriller drama television series. When a Danish metro train with 15 passengers aboard is taken hostage by three heavily armed men, police terror unit TTF is activated and the situation changes Denmark forever.

  • Aallonmurtaja 24
    0
    2

    Aallonmurtaja

    Maria Ylipää, Turkka Mastomäki

    Premiered2017

    Aallonmurtaja is a crime drama television series. A married couple leading a criminal organization specialized in smuggling ends up in the middle of the international crime business while trying to protect their family.

  • Tellus25
    4
    7

    Tellus

    Minka Kuustonen, Lauri Tilkanen

    Premiered2014

    Tellus is a Finnish crime television drama. Tellus, a Finnish environmental group led by Eevi Forsman, use increasingly radical means to "save the earth". They are pursued by Taneli Lokka, an experienced police detective, who tries to save the earth in his own personal way.