Entertainment

The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries  

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885 votes 268 voters 26.1k views 45 items

List Rules Shows and series must have elements of film noir.

The very best film noir shows on television, ranked from best to worst. The noir genre features "black" as night grimy-crimey dramas that follow grizzled hard-boiled detectives solving mysterious and perplexing murders. Popular film noir TV shows have been a staple of television for years, made popular by black-and-white series Dragnet and The Fugitive in the 1960s. Recent years have shown a revival in the genre—perhaps in the wake of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series—with so-called "Nordic noir" series such as The Killing (originally a Danish series that was later adapted in English),  Sweden's Wallander, and The Bridge. Likewise, noir is popular in Britain, where Broadchuch and Happy Valley are among the most-watched programs. On this side of the pond, Veronica Mars was a noir mystery masquerading as a teen show in the early 2000s, and True Detective and Fargo all incorporate elements of the genre into their gritty anthologies.

Use every item on this list for yours, from Cruel City to The Singing Detective.

This list answers the questions, "What is the best film noir show of all time?" and "What are the greatest film noir shows?"

1
Veronica Mars is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Kristen Bell, Percy Daggs III, Teddy Dunn
Veronica Mars (UPN, The CW, 2004) is an American teen noir mystery drama television series created by screenwriter Rob Thomas. After her best friend (Amanda Seyfried) is murdered, and her father ...more
2
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
shakawat.aman added Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan
True Detective (HBO, 2014) is an American anthology drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto. Each season focuses on detectives investigating violent offences.
3
The Fugitive is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
slaft added William Conrad, Richard Anderson, David Janssen
This film is an American drama series created by Roy Huggins and produced by QM Productions and United Artists Television that aired on ABC from 1963 to 1967. David Janssen stars as Richard ...more
4
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi
The X-Files is an American science fiction horror drama television series created by Chris Carter. The program originally aired from September 10, 1993 to May 19, 2002 on Fox, spanning nine ...more
5
Peter Gunn is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Nathan Yocum added Craig Stevens, Herschel Bernardi, Lola Albright
Peter Gunn is an American private eye television series which aired on the NBC and later ABC television networks from 1958 to 1961. The show's creator was Blake Edwards. It was also directed by ...more
6
Jessica Jones is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Rachael Taylor
Jessica Jones (Netflix, 2015) is an American web television series created by Melissa Rosenberg, based on the Marvel Comics character. Following the tragic end of her brief superhero career, ...more
7
Luther is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
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
8
Dragnet is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Nathan Yocum added Jack Webb, Harry Morgan, Don Ross
Dragnet is an American radio, television and motion picture series, enacting the cases of a dedicated Los Angeles police detective, Sergeant Joe Friday, and his partners. The show takes its name ...more
9
Mob City is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Nathan Yocum added Jon Bernthal, Milo Ventimiglia, Neal McDonough
Mob City is an American neo-noir crime drama television series created by Frank Darabont, based on real-life accounts of the L.A.P.D. and gangsters in 1940s Los Angeles as chronicled in John ...more
10
Boardwalk Empire is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Nathan Yocum added Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza
Boardwalk Empire is an American period drama television series created by Terence Winter. Airing on premium cable channel HBO, the series is set in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the ...more
11
Perry Mason is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Nathan Yocum added Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, William Hopper
Perry Mason is an American legal drama series originally broadcast on CBS television from September 21, 1957, to May 22, 1966. The title character, portrayed by Raymond Burr, is a fictional Los ...more
12
Wallander is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
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
13
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
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
14
The Killing is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman, Billy Campbell
This show is an American drama television series that premiered on April 3, 2011, on AMC, based on the Danish television series Forbrydelsen. The American version was developed by Veena Sud and ...more
15
I Am the Night is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Chris Pine, India Eisley, Jefferson Mays
I Am the Night (TNT, 2019) is a six-episode limited television series directed by Patty Jenkins, Victoria Mahoney, and Carl Franklin. Given away as an infant by her teenage mother to a black ...more
16
Naked City is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Nathan Yocum added Dustin Hoffman, Diahann Carroll, Lawrence Dobkin
Naked City is a police drama series which aired from 1958 to 1963 on the ABC television network. It was inspired by the 1948 motion picture The Naked City and mimics its dramatic ...more
17
The Untouchables is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
slaft added John Rhys-Davies, William Forsythe, David James Elliott
The Untouchables is an American crime drama series that aired for two seasons in syndication, from January 1993 to May 1994. The series portrayed work of the real life Untouchables federal ...more
18
Fargo Season 2: Luverne is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson, Jesse Plemons
Fargo: Luverne (FX, 2015) is the second season of the anthology black comedy– crime drama television series, and the prequel to the first season. In March 1979, young couple Peggy (Kirsten ...more
19
Gang Busters is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Nathan Yocum added Gang Busters Myrna Dell, Richard Crane, Myron Healey
Gang Busters was an American dramatic radio program heralded as "the only national program that brings you authentic police case histories." It premiered as G-Men, sponsored by ...more
20
Altered Carbon is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Joel Kinnaman, Renée Elise Goldsberry, James Purefoy
Altered Carbon is an American science fiction television series created by Laeta Kalogridis, based on the novel by Richard K. Morgan. In a future where human minds are digitized and downloaded ...more
21
Martin Kane, Private Eye is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Nathan Yocum added Martin Kane, Private Eye Frank M. Thomas, Lloyd Nolan, Lee Tracy
Martin Kane, Private Eye was an American radio series and television crime series sponsored by United States Tobacco Company. It aired as a radio series from 1949 to 1952 and was simultaneously ...more
22
The Bridge is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Sofia Helin, Rafael Pettersson, Dag Malmberg
The Bridge (FX, 2013) is an American drama television series developed by Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid. Two police detectives try to capture someone who is operating in both the US and Mexico ...more
23
77 Sunset Strip is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Nathan Yocum added Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Edd Byrnes, Roger Smith
77 Sunset Strip is an American television private detective series created by Roy Huggins and starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Roger Smith and Edd Byrnes. Each episode was one hour long. The show ...more
24
Rocky King, Inside Detective is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Nathan Yocum added Rocky King, Inside Detective Roscoe Karns
Rocky King, Inside Detective is an American television series broadcast on the DuMont Television Network on Sundays at 9pm ET from January 15, 1950 to December 26, 1954. This series was one of ...more
25
Man Against Crime is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Very Best Noir TV Shows and Miniseries
Nathan Yocum added Ralph Bellamy, Robert Preston, Frank Lovejoy
Man Against Crime starring Ralph Bellamy, one of the first television programs about private eyes, ran on CBS, the DuMont Television Network and NBC from October 7, 1949 to June 27, 1954. The ...more