Hidden Gem Crime Dramas on Netflix

TV

The public’s interest in both crime and drama isn’t confined to any one border or culture. Nowhere is that more evident than on Netflix. Thanks to its impressively deep roster of global titles, Netflix is home to an equally impressive list of crime drama series from the U.S., U.K., and beyond.

It’s such an impressive list, in fact, that it can be pretty daunting to anyone who is just looking for a decent show to stream past the first couple of clicks and scrollthroughs. To help those intrepid crime drama watchers out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the hidden gems you can find on Netflix.

Read on to discover the 11 titles – three of which hail from the U.S., three from the U.K., two from India, two from South Korea, and one from Finland. We told you this was a global operation!

Aranyak

Primarily a Hindi-language production, Aranyak is worth breaking out the subtitles for Western audiences. The 2021 series is set in the fictional Himachal Pradesh town of Sironah and follows Kasturi Dogra (Raveena Tandon) and Angad Malik (Parambrata Chatterjee), two police officers trying to find the person responsible for the rape and murder of a young woman, who just happens to be a foreign national.

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While it has some elements in common with other, more mainstream Indian crime dramas like Delhi Crime and Scoop, Aranyak is an under-the-radar gem waiting to be found by English-speaking Netflix subscribers. All eight episodes of the show’s first season are available to stream in both the U.S. and U.K. It looks like a season 2 isn’t in the cards so the show remains a one-season commitment.

Beyond Evil

Many modern South Korean crime drama series end up receiving the inevitable comparison to Bong Joon-ho’s 2003 thriller Memories of a Murder. Often times, the only similarities between these shows and the classic film is that they’re both Korean and crime dramas. In Beyond Evil, however, the Memories of a Murder comparisons are quite apt.

This acclaimed 2021 series, which was heavily nominated at the prestigious 57th Baeksang Arts Awards, follows detectives Lee Dong-sik (Shin Ha-kyun) and Han Joo-won (Yeo Jin-goo) as they use some questionable methods to catch a serial killer. Like many great detective-focused crime dramas, Beyond Evil examines the thin line between good and evil.

Collateral

Regrettably, Collateral is not a modern remake of the great 2004 Michael Mann film but it still puts that title to good use. This 2018 British series is about a murder. But it’s also about the rot at the core of society’s many institutions, particularly that of the police department.

Carey Mulligan stars as Detective Investigator Kip Glaspie, who is tasked with looking into the killing of a pizza delivery driver in southwest London. This relatively straightforward case eventually sprawls into a web of lies, incompetence, and politics that stretch Collateral‘s four-episode runtime to its very limit.

Deadwind

Some of the best crime dramas to come out in recent years all hail from Scandinavia, so much so that the new streaming service Viaplay is solely devoted to “Scandi” content. It turns out that a perpetual lack of sunlight fits pretty well with the crime drama format. And few series on Netflix put the region’s natural features to better use than 2018’s Deadwind.

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This Finnish show picks up with homicide detective Sofia Karppi (Pihla Viitala) as she begins an investigation over a routine disappearance that quickly spirals into grand murder conspiracy. For English-speakers who already know the genre through shows like The Killing and The Bridge, Deadwind represents a perfect next step into the world of Scandinavian crime dramas.

Good Girls

Good Girls occupies a unique position on this list as it’s both a crime drama and a crime comedy. This four-season NBC series explores both the humorous and terrifying aspects of three suburban women’s descent into a criminal underworld.

Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman star as Beth, Ruby, and Annie, respectively. When the trio has a hard time making financial ends meet in their otherwise quiet lives, they opt for something drastic by robbing a grocery store. That sets forward a chain of events that lead to entanglements with the FBI, crime bosses, and more. All in all, Good Girls is one of the better U.S. network crime dramas to come about in quite some time. Thankfully, it’s available to stream on Netflix in both the U.S. and U.K.

My Name

What crime drama list would be complete without a classic “we have a mole” tale? 2021’s My Name is one of the more intriguing crime titles on Netflix as its lead character lives out the stressful nightmare of becoming a double agent.

When Yoon Ji-woo’s (Han So-hee) father is murdered, she decides to do whatever it takes to enact revenge. That path leads her to ask a local crime boss for help, who in turn asks her to infiltrate the police department. What follows is a twisty eight-episode adventure that features big twists and complicated loyalties. Consider it a new Infernal Affairs or Departed for the streaming generation.

Paranoid

2016 series Paranoid highlights the international spirit of this list quite nicely. A collaboration between U.K. network ITV and American streamer Netflix, this British-set show also features several German characters.

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Set in the fictional town of Woodmere, Paranoid begins with the apparent murder of a well-like local physician. When a team of detectives led by DS Nina Suresh (Indira Varma) is brought in to investigate the case, they stumble on to an even bigger case that requires some assistance from their German counterparts. While the show wasn’t a major hit nor highly regarded, crime drama fans should find it to be their cuppa tea.

Scoop

Most crime dramas center around cops and detectives as characters. After all, if you’re going to be following a crime, you might as well be embedded with a character whose job it is to investigate it. Recent 2023 Indian hit Scoop, however, goes in a slightly different direction.

This six-episode series follows a crime reporter named Jagruti Pathak (Karishma Tanna). But Jagruthi isn’t looking into just any crime, she’s defending her innocence after being accused of murdering a journalistic rival. Scoop is based on the stranger-than-fiction real life story Jigna Vora. The show is both well-known and well-liked in the South Asian community and has a chance to catch on with non-Hindi speaking viewers.

The Sinner

We’ll admit that The Sinner is pushing it with regard to “hidden gem” status but we’re including it anyway in case people aren’t aware of its unique format or cable origins. Premiering in 2017 on USA Network, The Sinner works because of its unabashed love of the detective story format.

Originally designed as a limited series (and based on a German crime novel), The Sinner season 1 stars Bill Pullman as Detective Harry Ambrose as he investigates why a troubled woman (played by Jessica Biel) stabbed a man to death. From there, however, The Sinner goes full anthology with each of its subsequent three seasons featuring a new crime for Ambrose to get unhealthily engrossed in. All four seasons are on both U.S. and U.K. Netflix and they make for four varied, diverse, and ultimately compelling watches.

Top Boy

Top Boy occupies an interesting spot on Netflix’s servers. Actually, it occupies two spots. The first two seasons that originally aired on Channel 4 are on Netflix as Top Boy: Summerhouse. The subsequent two seasons that Netflix purchased and produced get to live under their own Top Boy label.

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Top Boy got two bites at the proverbial apple simply because it’s good (but having Drake as celebrity super fan certainly helped). Both the original Top Boy and its revival are set in the drug-dealing underworld of London borough of Hackney. Blessed with richly realized characters like Dushane (Ashley Walters) and Sully (Kane Robinson) and some truly remarkable production value, Top Boy is an under-appreciated favorite for many crime drama fans.

Unbelievable

Sometimes crime dramas based on real life cases have a hard time focusing their stories on the most important people within them: the victims. Netflix’s excellent 2019 miniseries Unbelievable has no such issue.

Based on a tragic real life case, Unbelievable follows a young woman named Marie Adler (Kaitlyn Dever) who reports her sexual assault to the police and is ultimately not believed by jaded investigators. Years later, empathetic detectives Grace Rasmussen (Toni Collette) and Karen Duvall (Merritt Wever) begin to look into another sexual assault that may have life-changing implications for Marie. Unbelievable is a challenging show but never a cruel one. It’s the kind of humane, yet compelling crime drama you’d love to see more of.

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