Uncovering the Best Crime Drama TV Series: From Mare of Easttown to Ozark

The world of crime dramas is a captivating and thrilling one, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats with every twist and turn. From gripping investigations to complex characters, these shows have become a staple in the television industry. With a wide range of options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which crime drama series to invest your time in. To make your selection a little easier, we have compiled a list of the best crime drama TV series. From the gritty streets of Easttown to the iconic serial killer investigations of Dexter, these shows are sure to satisfy your craving for thrilling storytelling and gripping suspense. So, grab your popcorn and get ready for a thrilling journey through some of the most compelling crime dramas on the small screen.


Mare of Easttown (2021)


Kate Winslet in Mare of Easttown Warner Bros.

Mare of Easttown, a remarkable TV mini-series consisting of seven episodes, debuts with a captivating mystery that gradually unfolds, immersing the audience in its world. Set in a quaint Pennsylvania town, the show revolves around Mare Sheehan, a seasoned detective who is grappling with her own personal loss while investigating the death of a local teenager. The role of Mare, played brilliantly by Kate Winslet, is portrayed with such depth and nuance that she becomes a conduit, connecting past tragedies, buried secrets, and relationships that are far more intricate than meets the eye. As each episode progresses, the tension builds, revealing emotional truths that keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

Winslet's chemistry with her best friend Lori adds another layer to her character, and her complicated relationship with her ex-husband Frank further enriches the narrative. Despite the limited number of episodes, by the time the finale arrives, viewers will feel intimately acquainted with these characters, making for a truly gratifying viewing experience.


Broadchurch (2013 - 2017)


Olivia Colman in Broadchurch ITV

Broadchurch takes viewers to a picturesque seaside town in the UK and thrusts them into the heart of complex crime mysteries and poignant revelations. The tranquility of this town is shattered when the body of a bloodied child is discovered on the beach. Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, an out-of-town detective portrayed by David Tennant, and Detective Sgt. Ellie Miller, played by Olivia Colman, are forced to team up and unravel the truth. Together, they navigate a web of stirring secrets and personal dynamics. Tennant and Colman deliver performances that captivate, surprising viewers with their compelling chemistry.

The show is a testament to sharp dialogue and deep character study, exploring themes of grief, innocence, and suspicion. Each element pulls viewers deeper into the beautifully balanced drama, ensuring an addictive and satisfying binge-watching experience.


Quantico (2015 - 2018)


Priyanka Chopra in Quantico ABC

Quantico stands apart from other television shows with its ingenious blend of genres, offering viewers a thrilling and dramatic experience rooted in procedural elements. Set in the training halls of the Quantico base in Virginia, the show follows a group of fifty young FBI agents, one of whom is Alex Parrish. When Alex is wrongly accused of orchestrating a terrorist attack, she fights to clear her name while uncovering a larger conspiracy. Priyanka Chopra delivers a truly outstanding performance as the embattled agent, captivating viewers with each episode.

Throughout the show, new plot twists are revealed, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats and engaged in the lightning-speed character arcs. The haunting and binge-worthy experience that Quantico offers is one that will leave a lasting impression.


Dexter (2006 - 2013)


Dexter CBS Television Distribution

In Dexter, Michael C. Hall delivers a masterful performance as the titular character, a seemingly ordinary forensic expert by day and a meticulous psychopathic serial killer by night. This crime-drama wonder spans eight seasons and fearlessly delves into the complexities of Dexter Morgan's condition, expertly balancing chilling precision with a guileless and charming facade. Dexter is far from the traditional hero, and each season presents a new path for him, pushing the boundaries of his morals.

Michael C. Hall's portrayal showcases the inner demons of a killer with a conscience, captivating viewers as they watch him navigate the threats presented by the menacing Trinity, the gut-wrenching schemes of Doomsday, and the captivating manipulations of Vogel. Dexter is an enthralling story that keeps viewers invested from the beginning until the very end.


The Wire (2002 - 2008)


The Wire Bunk and McNulty HBO

The Wire redefines the crime drama genre by capturing not just the city of Baltimore, but also the nuanced and multi-layered humanity that underlies its fractured facets. Through the eyes of Detective James McNulty, viewers are taken on a journey as he navigates the challenges of solving crimes that constantly shift focus, from the streets to the seaport, newspaper offices, and political stage. The ensemble cast, which includes Dominic West, Michael B. Jordan, and Idris Elba, brings each character to life with nuance and a touch of comedic levity.

The show can be described as a novel for television - dense, lyrical, smooth, and alive with purpose in every frame. The Wire is an immersive experience that explores the deepest psychological complexities of the human mind, making it a must-watch for fans of the genre.


How to Get Away With Murder (2014 - 2020)


Viola Davis in How to Get Away With Murder Disney - ABC Domestic Television

If you're looking to become addicted to a show that not only keeps you on your toes but also provides absolute delight, How to Get Away With Murder is the perfect choice. Led by the remarkable Viola Davis, this twisted legal thriller delves deep into the complexities of relationships - intricate and codependent.

The show follows a group of students handpicked by their law school professor, Annalise Keating, to exclusively work with her law firm and learn the ins and outs of the profession. However, their lives take a dark turn when they become entangled in a murder. Over the course of six seasons, lies and betrayals build, leading to a sinister and surprising ending. To uncover the secrets and twists that await, you'll have to watch for yourself.


The Mentalist (2008 - 2015)


The Mentalist CBS

The Mentalist puts a twist on the conventional procedural drama by diving into the mind games of a master manipulator. Simon Baker portrays Patrick Jane, an independent consultant who aids the CBI in cracking cases. Behind his charm and brilliant mind lies a motive known only to him.

Each season of the show unravels a new angle in the Red John mystery, with Jane provoking those around him for information that will help him exact his decade-long, slow-playing revenge. Alongside Robin Tunney as Agent Lisbon, Baker brings a lightness to the show's tense atmosphere, forming a complex will-they-won't-they relationship that adds another layer of intrigue. The Mentalist culminates in a shocking end that will leave viewers astounded.


Magnum, P.I. (1980 - 1988)


Tom Selleck as Tom Magnum in a scene from Magnum P.I. NBCUniversalCBS Studios

Celebrated as one of the most phenomenal shows, Magnum, P.I. is a crime classic that introduced audiences to the endearing slouches of Tom Selleck's mustache-wearing private investigator, Thomas Magnum. Set in O'ahu, Hawaii, the show takes viewers on crime-solving adventures filled with wit and wry humor. Magnum navigates complicated relationships with his coworkers, military buddies T.C. and Rick, as well as the enigmatic British burglar Higgins. Together, they uncover dangerous mysteries that range from helping old friends to infiltrating a cult. Magnum, P.I. offers eight seasons of thrilling adventures, crime, and an infectious aloha spirit that makes it a perfect choice for any night.


Mindhunter (2017 - 2019)


Jonathan Groff in Mindhunter Netflix

Mindhunter follows FBI agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench as they interview imprisoned serial killers and dangerous criminals, aiming to understand their motives and tortured psyches. Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany deliver immaculate performances as they delve into the depths of societal decline. The show shines a light on the darkest corners of humanity, illuminated by an exceptional ensemble cast. David Fincher's direction and script amplify the haunting nature of the show, as Mindhunter explores the profound psychological damages of the human mind, creating a crime saga unlike anything seen before. While the show may have only two seasons, the gripping and unforgettable experience it provides is unparalleled.


Sacred Games (2018 - 2019)


Woman sits with man in mirror Phantom Films

Sacred Games presents a harrowing vision of Mumbai's underworld drama. This neo-noir crime thriller follows Sikh police officer Sartaj Singh as he attempts to stop a colossal threat looming over the city. After receiving an anonymous tip about the location of criminal overlord Ganesh Gaitonde, Sartaj unravels the truth about his own corrupted superiors, placing himself in grave danger. The show features captivating performances from Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Kubra Sait, and Radhika Apte, and is filled with plot twists and political intrigue. Its unique take on India's grim realities sets it apart as a must-watch in the genre.


Happy Valley (2014 - 2023)


Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood in Happy Valley BBC Studios

Happy Valley initially presents itself as a subtle blend of dark comedy and bleak tragedy, but as the show progresses, it reveals a gem that encapsulates poetry and heartache in every frame. The series follows Sergeant Catherine Cawood, a police officer haunted by the suicide of her teenage daughter, as she searches for the truth behind heinous crimes alongside her dedicated team of police officers.

Sarah Lancashire delivers a powerful and emotionally charged performance as Catherine throughout the three seasons, pulling at old wounds and unraveling forbidden secrets. Happy Valley goes beyond a simple murder mystery, delving into the pain without glorifying it, and encouraging viewers to find moments of grace even in the darkest places.


Better Call Saul (2015 - 2022)


Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn in Better Call Saul AMC

Better Call Saul emerged as a phenomenal show in its own right, born out of the success of Breaking Bad. While its predecessor tackled more sincere themes, this spin-off delves into quirky humor, heart, and, of course, the law. The show follows down-on-his-luck lawyer Jimmy McGill, who gradually transforms into the tragically egoistic Saul Goodman, while taking note of the moral decay surrounding him.

Created by Vince Gilligan, Better Call Saul immerses viewers in a world teeming with plot twists and enchanting characters. Bob Odenkirk brings a certain humor to the character of Saul Goodman, making him simultaneously likable and terrifying. Above all, it is the central story that grips viewers to the very end, tying up all loose ends and leaving them utterly satisfied.


Fargo (2014 - 2023)


A still from the show Fargo MGM TelevisionDisney ABC - Domestic

Inspired by the Coen brothers' celebrated thriller, Fargo is a black comedy crime drama that brings together an eccentric group of characters, each embarking on their own crime-solving journeys in different time periods, all tied together by their shared love for the Midwest. With its seemingly simple approach, the show captivates with a collection of crimes interlaced with humor and heartfelt moments. Utilizing a kaleidoscopic style of storytelling, Fargo showcases ordinary people swept into extraordinary circumstances. The show's ensemble cast delivers shockingly good performances, elevating the fresh material and making it a true crime series worth watching.


Money Heist (2017 - 2021)


money heist Netflix

Money Heist offers abundant binge-worthy material throughout its five-season run. What started as a gorgeously executed heist drama swiftly became a phenomenon in the slick action genre. The story follows a team of thieves who take hostages inside the Royal Mint of Spain to print their own money. As the seasons progress, viewers are treated to spectacular heists, flawed yet likable characters, mind-bending plot twists, an inspector-turned-part-of-the-gang, and the infectious rhythm of 'Bella Ciao'. Episode after episode, the show evolves into a poetic examination of tricks and modern skepticism, offering a perfect delight for binge-watching.


Ozark (2017 - 2022)


Ozark Netflix

Ozark follows the journey of Marty Byrde, a financial advisor who makes a grave mistake and is compelled to relocate his family from Chicago to the Ozarks. In order to repay his debt and keep himself and his family alive, Marty enters the dangerous world of money laundering through a motel business tied to a drug kingpin. Along the way, Marty and his family become entangled in the corrupt web of capitalism, experiencing a cascade of moral compromises.

With outstanding performances from Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner, and Felix Solis, Ozark delves into complex characters and the struggles they face. The show explores themes of power while highlighting the bitter struggles endured by those crushed under its weight. Ultimately, Ozark is a riveting crime thriller that stays with viewers long after it ends.

With gripping storylines, complex characters, and nail-biting suspense, these crime drama TV series have kept audiences on the edge of their seats. From the small town secrets of "Mare of Easttown" to the twisted mind games of "Dexter" and the intense investigations of "The Wire," these shows have proven time and time again why they belong on the list of the best. Whether you're a fan of mystery, psychological thrillers, or heist dramas, there's something for everyone in this captivating genre. So grab your popcorn, dim the lights, and prepare for a thrilling binge-watching experience that will leave you craving more.

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