We started our run-down of our favourite crime dramas of the year yesterday, and today we continue that chart with more choices from a packed year. As ever, it’s worth bearing in mind that this selection is entirely subjective and we’d love to know what you think and what your favourites are. In the meantime, here are choices 10 to six…
10. Hannibal, Sky Living
The surreal, trippy serial killer prequel series bowed out with more characteristically nightmarish scenarios, including the emergence of Red Dragon, a formidable new foe. This third series might have been uneven but we experienced everything from artistic tableaux of supernatural beauty to scenes of grotesque sadistic torture; and we’ve been expected to show sympathy for the unforgiveable, to empathise with the intolerable, to endure the unendurable. Certain elements of the series have reached levels of achievement rarely seen on television; the photography, the staging, the music. The acting has been at times superb; the scripts intelligent, if pretentious, the themes disturbing and avant garde. It’s not to everyone’s, ahem, taste, but let’s hope it comes back in some form.
For all our news and reviews on Hannibal, go here
9. Ripper Street, Amazon Prime/BBC1
Saved from the chop by Amazon Prime, this now co-produced series had a point to prove. It always flickered and provided moments of brilliance, but in series three there was a sense that it really hit its stride and got the balance just right. And this was without, for the most part, its main character Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfadyen) who lay in a coma for most of the series. It was down to Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn) and Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg) to form an entertaining double act. However, what was different about this series was the strong underlying story arcs – the re-emergence of Reid’s long-lost daughter, as well as Susan’s involvement in the train disaster. All in all, very satisfying stuff.
For all our Ripper Street review, go here
8. Hinterland, S4C
We enjoyed the first series of Hinterland – or Y Gwyll in its native Welsh tongue – last year, but this second series was better. For the early adopters, S4C and its online catch-up service was the place to see this first and it will be on BBC4 very soon. To those who haven’t seen it, I won’t go too heavily into it, suffice to say that Hinterland was once again another exquisite portrait of life in the Ceredigion region and the broken, fractured lives its rugged, cruel landscape hosts. And you can count DCI Tom Mothias as one of those lives, too – we delve deeper into his back and meet his wife and daughter. Plus, there was episode four – one of the more stunning and moving hours of crime drama I’ve seen this year.
For all our Hinterland news and reviews, go here
7. Unforgotten, ITV
This six-part series was a real critical darling, and there’s no doubt that as a whodunit and procedural it was as about as solid and riveting as you could get. Nicola Walker – we’ll be seeing more of her later – led a fantastic cast (including Tom Courtenay, Bernard Hill, Cherie Lunghi, Trevor Eve, Sanjeev Bhaskar et al) in this cold case story. When some bones are discovered beneath a demolished house, DCI Cassie Stuart (Walker) is brought onto the case and soon discovers that the remains are that of Jimmy Sullivan, who went missing in 1976. A diary found in his old car reveals names and addresses, and the rest of the series explores these characters and relationships with Sullivan and each other. There are surprises, as you would expect in a whodunit, but there’s also believable and incrediblly moving characterisation and interaction, giving this whole series real depth and nuance. Tom Courtenay, especially, take a bow.
For all our Unforgotten reviews, go here
6. And Then There Were None, BBC1
It was a big year for Agatha Christie fans. Not only was it the 125th anniversary of her birth but we also got to see the first fruits from the new accord between Christie’s estate and the BBC. Sadly, Partners In Crime (executively produced by and starring David Walliams) caused much consternation, but the Sarah Phelps-adapted And Then There Were None was just terrific – tense, taut, intriguing and classic Christie, with a top-notch ensemble cast and an emphasis on what really made Agatha Christie great: her understanding of human behaviour and interaction in supremely pressurised situations is unsurpassed, while her ideas on crime and punishment can be discussed until the cows come home. This was a delicious, almost faultless Christmas thriller treat.
For all our And Then There Were None reviews, go here
For The Killing Times’ Top 15 Crime Dramas Of 2015: Part One, 15-11, go here