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.
Premiered: 2015Trapped (Viceland, 2015) is an Icelandic mystery television series created by Baltasar... more on Wikipedia
The KillingSofie Gråbøl, Søren Malling
Forbrydelsen (2007) is a Danish and Norwegian crime television drama. Police detective Sarah Lund investigates difficult cases with personal and political consequences.
Premiered: 2011The Bridge (FX, 2013) is an American drama television series developed by Meredith Stiehm and... more on Wikipedia
Premiered: 2018Deadwind (Yle TV2, 2018) is a Finnish crime drama and Nordic noir television series directed... more on Wikipedia
Premiered: 2016Bordertown (Yle TV1, 2016), also called Sorjonen, is a Finnish television crime drama and... more on Wikipedia
Premiered: 2019The Valhalla Murders (Netflix, 2019) is an Icelandic drama crime thriller television series.... more on Wikipedia
Premiered: 2016Marcella is a British crime noir detective series produced, written and directed by Hans... more on Wikipedia
Pagan PeakJulia Jentsch, Nicholas Ofczarek
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.
AcquittedNicolai Cleve Broch, Lena Endre
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.
Before We DieMarie Richardson, Adam Pålsson
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.
WallanderKenneth Branagh, Richard McCabe
Premiered: 2008Wallander is a British television series adapted from the Swedish novelist Henning Mankell's... more on Wikipedia
CaseSteinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir, Magnús Jónsson
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.
Arctic CircleIina Kuustonen, Maximilian Brückner
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.
All the SinsMatti Ristinen, Johannes Holopainen
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.
Premiered: 2020Young Wallander (Netflix, 2020) is a British crime drama television series based on The... more on Wikipedia
CaliphateAliette Opheim, Nora Rios
Premiered: 2020Caliphate (Netflix, 2020) is a Swedish thriller drama TV series based on the real life case of... more on Wikipedia
AallonmurtajaMaria Ylipää, Turkka Mastomäki
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.
HookedMatleena Kuusniemi, Tommi Eronen
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.
WistingSven Nordin, Thea Green Lundberg
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.
Deliver UsClaus Riis Østergaard, Anders Juul
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.
DNAAnders W. Berthelsen, Nicolas Bro
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.
BulletsKrista Kosonen, Sibel Kekilli
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 SurfaceJohannes Lassen, Paprika Steen
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.
MonsterIngvild Holthe Bygdnes, Jakob Oftebro
Monster is a Norwegian mystery television thriller. A young girl is missing, and her boyfriend dead. Police inspector Hedda Hersoug is back in her birthplace to live a quiet life, but is forced to work with the solitaire superintendent Joel Dreyer hunting down a serial killer.
Premiered: 2017Borderliner (Netflix, 2018) is a Norwegian noir crime drama series that involves a police... more on Wikipedia