My computer has been on the fritz for the past few days and therefore I wasn’t able to blog. I know all seven of my subscribers have been waiting on pins and needles to hear my ramblings so, without further ado, here is my comprehensive list of the BEST crime shows including miniseries on television, Netflix, and HBO. Included in the list are fictional shows, true-crime series, and documentaries. Call me macabre if you must, but crime lovers and amateur sleuths, read on!
I shall be using an emoji rating system with these: 🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪. What? It’s a crime show post. I looked for a bloody knife emoji, but no such thing exists…yet. 😉
- Criminal Minds (2005)
Okay, so there’s a 60/40 split on why I watch this show. 60% of the reason is because of the amazing storylines the writers are able to come up with. They’re genuinely terrifying and each week I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next. They do their research well, and up until season 12 or 13 they stayed away from what I would call “soapy” or “campy” plotlines within the main cast. They kind of went off the rails a little bit in season 13, but they’ve gotten back on board and things seem to be normalizing. Each episode is a different case of murder, kidnapping, or some other heinous crime, and the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI (glorified on the show, of course) is tasked with finding out who the unsub (unidentified subject) is. It’s a thrill ride, I tell you! The other 40% of the reason I watch the show is because of the ineffable Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler).
Yes, I am in love with him. No I am not ashamed. Yes, I’m almost 35 and should be over girlish celebrity crushes. Deal with it.
Overall, this show gets a rating of: 🔪🔪🔪🔪
Why only 4 (bloody) knives when I love it so much, you ask? Well, there has been a TON of turnover with the casting over the years and, as mentioned earlier, the later seasons have gotten a little, well, hokey. They have saved themselves and are coming back around so DON’T GIVE UP hope yet! I wouldn’t recommend this if I didn’t love it and think it was worth your while. Just go hole up in your room for a week and binge watch the series already. Trust me, it’s a good investment. You may be a little more paranoid for the rest of your life, but I prefer the term “cautious”.
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000)
One of the saddest moments in TV history, next to that horrible Fresh Prince of Bel-Air scene and that heart wrenching Sesame Street episode, was when CSI was canceled. Many of you probably vehemently disagree with me right now, and I understand. It wasn’t canceled in its heyday and the cast had changed many times. The reason I loved this show so much was because it was so predictable and procedural. There was some atrocious homicide that had always been committed on the streets of Las Vegas and Gil Grissom and his team were on the case. They would solve it within what seemed like an amazingly short amount of time with SCIENCE! Nerd power!!! The writers were incredibly creative with how the murders had happened and it usually would require a strong stomach. I dig it. Occasionally, there would be a show where the plotline was somewhat lacking and the way the case was solved was a bit of a stretch, but it really was a great show. Let’s hear it for reruns!
This show gets a rating of: 🔪🔪🔪 for predictability, cast turnover, and corny jokes. However, it is a great show so watch it anyway.
- The X Files (1993)
This is my favorite television show of all time. Hands down. No hate, no shame. One of the best days of my life was when I met Gillian Anderson at Comic Con: Fan Days and we had a 5 minute conversation. I was floating on air for at least week after that. Still waiting for Duchovny…😏
Now, I know some of you are thinking, “This isn’t a CRIME show!! This is sci-fi!” Hold up though! I submit to you this reasoning (no matter how flawed it may be): Mulder and Scully are FBI agents thus fulfilling the law enforcement required for such a show, there are crimes committed in each episode, some just more against, say “humanity” rather than traditional crimes, and it’s a procedural tv show. Boom. Crime show.
The X-Files was created in the 90’s so the special-effects are somewhat lacking and as far as fashion goes, you can’t really count off for that. I LOVE the writing on this show. You could have a really cerebral, mind-altering episode on deep conspiracy theory within the government one week, and then the next week it’s some goofy episode where Luke Wilson is playing a dopey Sheriff and wearing bubba teeth in a small village of vampires. I appreciate the variety, the creativity, and the twists and turns.
This one, obviously, gets 5 knives: 🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪
- Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017)
This HBO documentary that was nominated for two 2017 SXSW awards is one of the most unsettling true crime stories I’ve ever heard. It’s a twisted tale woven into an even more disturbing tale that will really stick with you and make you question good deeds, and who people are and why it’s so hard to trust people in today’s society. The documentary chronicles the events that led up to the murder of DeeDee Blanchard by her daughter, Gypsy Rose, in 2015. Gypsy and Dee Dee’s intricate relationship is revealed and it is so dysfunctional and strange that you just really can’t see how it’s real. I’ve linked the preview below. Borrow someone’s HBO Now password to watch this, it’s that good! Then, binge Game of Thrones and Westworld.
This gets a rating of 🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪
- Forensic Files (1996)
I know, I know. This one seems a little dry…and it is, but bear with me. There’s nothing like a good, straightforward, scientific procedural television show to draw you in and make you forget anything productive for the next 6 hours. Here’s the layout: there is a crime (typically rape or murder), there are the clues, evidence, and facts, and then there are the real people that use actual forensics in REAL LIVE labs that bring the criminal to justice. No, it’s not flashy, and usually there is someone who’s voice is distorted and they’re sitting in the shadows (what effect!), but it’s addictive and a good, solid true crime show. Also, if you’re on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, it’s ALWAYS on one of the channels! 😃
This one gets a rating of : 🔪🔪
It’s great, it’s just kinda boring.
- Midsomer Murders (1997)
I love British television, don’t you? This show is the BEST when it comes to good, old fashioned murder mystery. I like to think that if Law and Order and Agatha Christie’s novels had a love child, it would be Midsomer Murders. Each episode is about an hour and a half to two hours long, so you know you’re getting a great story. As the title suggests, each episode has at least one, if not more, murders in it. It’s excellent. The detectives in the county of Midsomer (a lovely countryside that I would visit in a heartbeat if it weren’t for the high homicide rate), set about to solve the murder, and the lead detective always has a keen, Sherlock-esque eye for detail. This is a great show if you’re wanting a good murder mystery with a little British whimsy added in. There’s a bit of cheesiness, but it’s not too terrible. The writing is well done, and there are some episodes that are legitimately messed up. Also, the scenery is gorgeous!
This gets a rating of: 🔪🔪🔪🔪
- Sherlock (2010)
Speaking of Sherlock, this show reboot is quite possibly one of the best ever. Benedict Cumberbatch is excellent as the slightly-on-the-spectrum Holmes, and Martin Freeman’s John Watson is my favorite version that has been done thus far. I love the modern day setting, use of technology, and fast-paced dialogue and it’s a great adaptation of the books. Sherlock’s “mind-palace” is visually stimulating and the way he goes about solving his conundrums and cases is genius, weird, and very entertaining.
The fact that John goes along with all of Sherlock’s shenanigans (alliteration is fun!) makes this show even better. Being a HUGE fan of the books, I really appreciate how well the show stays with the storylines while keeping the modern feel. The enormous following was just a bonus.
This show gets a rating of: 🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪
- Making a Murderer (2015)
If you’ve never questioned our justice system before and the way it’s run, watch this series and I guarantee you will afterward. This show literally had me steaming at the ears (like, cartoon style) and I swore I wouldn’t ever drive through Wisconsin for fear of being arrested and falsely accused of murder. Dramatic? Perhaps. However, when you see the life Steven Avery has lived and the manipulation of the detectives, District Attorney’s office, and media in his case, you will be questioning everything also. It’s brilliantly done.
Rating of 🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪
- Twin Peaks (1990)
This is another show that is a genre-bender and may get some backlash, but that’s ok. Again, FBI agent, murder, open-case: BOOM-Crime show. There is one blaring difference between this show and The X Files, however, and that is David Lynch. He adds an element of weird that no human can replicate. That is what adds to the charm of this cult classic, though. Dead teenage girl? Terrible, but there has to be a mind-altering, vision-quest element to it. Definitely a Lynch masterpiece…IF you like that sort of thing. If you like normal, stick to CSI. 😉
This gets a rating of: 🔪🔪🔪🔪
- The Killing (2011)
The beginning of this series seriously reminded me of Twin Peaks. Teenage girl missing, Seattle, dark and moody tone. However, the twists and turns of this show left me wanting much more and it delivered. Seasons one and two kept with the same storyline of the same murder. The very troubled Det. Linden (Mireille Enos) and her partner, Holder (Joel Kinnaman) are tasked with the homicide case and it really takes a toll on them as partners and people. Season 3 sees an entirely new case and asks even more of them. This show is dark, twisted, and is such an incredibly great show.
This gets a rating of: 🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪
- The Keepers (2017)
This docuseries is another excellent Netflix binge-worthy show. What I absolutely love about this show is that the biggest supporters of solving this crime aren’t the detectives who originally investigated the case, but Sister Cathy’s students who loved her so much that they have devoted years to solving this crime as amateur sleuths. To watch these home-detectives investigate, create communities, and persevere to find justice for their former teacher who was brutally murdered so long ago is inspiring and gives hope to those who don’t have closure over their lost loved ones.
Overall rating: 🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪
- True Detective (2014)
This show is creeptastic. It freaked me out in the best of ways. The murders were terrifying, twisted, and got in my brain. The way they affected the detectives and the way that was depicted in both seasons one and two, was so raw and real and perfectly executed. This show is not for the faint of heart. It’s violent, pretty gory, and will last with you, but it does show the depravity of what society has to offer. Some examples of this depravity has been shown in the true crime documentaries listed above.
Rating of: 🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪
- Mindhunter (2018)
This one is pretty new (obviously) and is also a pretty dark, twisted show that is worth the watch. What makes this show unique is that it’s based off real people and real investigators and their real cases. Icky. “Shelley, that’s not so bad, I’ve seen ‘Cops’!” Yeah, well, watch the show, then get back to me. These are the actual men and women (YEAH! GIRL POWER!) who interviewed serial killers and studied the psychological and behavioral reasons that they do what they do. It’s set in the 1970’s and at the time people thought they were nuts. They were, but thank God, otherwise we wouldn’t have the information we have now. Exemplary show. Go binge!
Rating of: 🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪
- Psych (2006)
Need I say more?
Rating of: 🔪🔪🔪
This show is great, but so hokey. I do have standards!!
So, get your popcorn, snacks, and let your loved ones know you’ll be in front of the TV for a while because you have some binge watching to do! I hope you have a great, safe, week!