Right, it’s back to business. We’ve had Sherlock to kick 2017 off in big, thrillery style and this week is jam-packed full of new crime dramas. But it’s not just this week that’s jam-packed with stuff, oh no. The whole bloody year looks as though it’ll be rammed with crime drama. So I’ve scoured the internet and asked some of my contacts for the lowdown on what we can expect. And what can we expect? Lots and lots and lots. You’ll find over 30 crime dramas over the jump, some with estimated transmission dates (don’t hold me to many of them, please) and the one thing you can say about 2017 is that there will be some HUGE – some of the genre’s real big hitters – making a return. Strap yourselves in because you may as well sack off family, friends any kind f social life you had planned.
American Crime Story
Series one of American Crime Story told the story of The People Vs OJ Simpson, and it was a goodie, just missing out on our top 15 crime dramas of the year. It was broadcast in the UK by BBC2, so we’re hoping the channel picks up series two, which is due this later year (potentially autumn). This time around creators Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobsen and Brad Simpson are using Hurricane Katrina as a backdrop to tell the real-life story of “a group of six to eight people in an attempt to examine all sides of the tragedy, from the Superdome to the hospital to those who were put on buses and dropped off with babies who were forced to wear trash bags for multiple days.”
Apple Tree Yard
This four-part thriller is based on Louise Doughty’s best-selling psychological thriller. Married with two grown-up children, Yvonne Carmichael (Emily Watson) lives a contented, conventional suburban life. But her world spirals into chaos, when a chance encounter leads to an impulsive and passionate affair with a charismatic stranger (Ben Chaplin). Here’s authour Lousie Doughty chatting about her phenomenally successful book…
Despite all her careful plans to keep her home life and career safe and separate from her affair, fantasy and reality soon begin to overlap and everything she values is put at risk, as a life-changing act of violence leads to a Crown Court trial. Yvonne’s downward trajectory is searingly realised; hers is a life ripped apart as the consequence of one, single, spur-of-the-moment decision.
It’s likely that this will be the first foreign-language fare we’ll see on Walter Presents this year. Acquitted – or Frikjent in its native Norway – tells the story of Aksel Borgen (Cleve Broch) who, after 20 years in exile, is summoned back to recover a business that is on the verge of bankruptcy. I could only find this trailer, in Norwegian, but it should give you a flavour of what to expect…
Accused for a murder he did not commit, Aksel is confronted with all the people of a past life that can’t and won’t forgive him – including his family.
One of the biggies of UK crime drama, Broadchurch is back for a third and final series. There’s not a huge amount of information out there, but what we do know is that series three explores the consequences of a serious sexual assault and looks at the emotional cost to all of those involved and the irreparable damage to friendships and relationships. Not much to go on but here’s a short teaser…
Pretty much all the main cast are back in play, but joining them are Julie Hesmondhalgh, Georgina Campbell, Sarah Parish, Charlie Higson, Mark Bazeley, Lenny Henry and Roy Hudd.
Our latest Icelandic series fix could well be this – a nine-part series that certainly looks promising. It stars Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir (she played Aldís Eiríksdóttir in Trapped), who won a FIPA-Best Actress award for her role as detective Gabriella. It’s set in Reykjavik, where the body of a promising young ballerina is found hanged on the main stage of the National Theatre. But what at first appears to be a simple case of suicide, soon spirals into a twisted web of manipulation, betrayal and murder. For Logi (Magnús Jónsson), a washed-up lawyer, uncovering the truth behind the girl’s death is his last chance at redemption. For Brynhildur, Logi’s one remaining friend and fellow lawyer, the death falls even closer to home, as an event from her own past ties her inextricably to the victim’s troubled family. And for the dedicated but destructive detective Gabriella, it becomes an obsessive hunt for a killer that puts her at odds not only with her superiors but her partner as well. One by one the paths of these three troubled souls will converge deep in the cold heart of Iceland’s capital city, where unknown but powerful forces will stop at nothing to ensure a horrific truth stays buried; that there are some crimes far darker than murder.
Cormoran Strike Series
This could be a biggie. Tom Burke was announced as the lead in the adaptation of Robert Galbraith’s (JK Rowling) novels. Filming has either wrapped or continuing in and around the UK as I write this, so I would expect to see something at the end of the year. We can look forward to The Cuckoo’s Calling (a three-parter), The Silkworm (a two-parter) and Career Of Evil (another two-part), so hold tight. Holliday Grainger also stars.
Another good-looking French drama, Elite Squad is a four-part series that provides “an uncompromising look at the hidden face of law enforcement through professionals caught up in a spiral of blood, violence and death.” Episode one goes something like this: At Police HQ in Paris, Captain Yachvili heads the BRI (Search and Intervention Brigade) while his great rival, Captain Constantine, runs the Criminal Investigation Brigade, aka “La Crim”. Clearly, something happened in the past that brought their careers together and made them hate each other ever since.
Two young interns arrive. Marie van Sant is assigned to the BRI and Anne Rossi to La Crim. Both units are on the trail of gangster boss Serge Oriou, whose gang has been attacking armed cash trucks. At the same time, they investigate the death of Pascal, the driver of Police Chief Léa Legrand. The investigation leads them to a prostitution ring organised by a nasty Albanian crook, Vlad.
Yachvili succeeds in arresting Oriou and the net closes in on Vlad.
Channel 4 (TBC)
One of the best out there – and certainly one of my favourites – is this Noah Hawley slice of brilliance loosely based on the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winning film. With two superb series already in the can, series three sounds like a belter. We’re back into the modern day (or at least ear to modern day), where Ewan McGregor takes on two roles – that of brothers Emit and Ray Stussy. Also joining the cast are Carrie Coon, David Thewlis and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Hawley himself said of the series: “Emmit Stussy is the Parking Lot King of Minnesota. A handsome, self-made, real estate mogul and family man, Emmit sees himself as an American success story. His slightly younger brother, Ray Stussy, on the other hand is more of a cautionary tale. Balding, pot-bellied, Ray is the kind of guy who peaked in high school. Now a parole officer, Ray has a huge chip on his shoulder about the hand he’s been dealt, and he blames his brother, Emmit, for his misfortunes.” I honestly cannot wait. Expect it at the end of the year.
This six-part thriller has got a very starry cast, including Sir Michael Gambon and Peaky Blinders’ Helen McCrory. Actor and comedian John Bishop also joins the cast, along with Robin Weigert, Jonathan Forbes, Wunmi Mosaku and Jamie Bamber. It follows Emma Banville (McCrory), a solicitor known for defending lost causes, as she investigates the killing of a schoolgirl in East Anglia and tries to free the man she thinks was wrongly convicted of the girl’s murder. However, as she digs ever deeper into the case, she begins to sense powerful forces, in the police and the intelligence services at home and abroad, who want to stop her uncovering the truth.
Fortitude was one of those series a few years ago that successfully mashed-up the crime and horror genres, setting itself in a remote Norwegian town infested with an ancient, unholy virus. Now it’s back for a second series. Here’s a trailer…
Nine weeks after the horrific events of the last season, the Arctic town and prospective tourist destination has settled to a state of normality, but has been irrevocably changed. While the contamination has been contained, many of the residents have left out of fear. Only Governor Hildur Odegard (Sofie Gråbøl), crab fisherman Michael Lennox (Dennis Quaid) and a handful of others remain, each with their own reason for doing so. And when the town is rocked by another murder, it’s clear that Fortitude is still a place to be feared. Look out for Parminder Nagra and others joining the cast.
Incoming: 27th January
The cosy crime series – based on the books by James Runcie – will return for a third series, with James Norton and Robson Green once again in situ. Vicar Sidney Chambers and Police Inspector Geordie Keating have to contend with new Archdeacon Gabriel Atubo, who reminds Sidney that as clergyman he must put duty above his own needs and lead by example. Fat chance of that.
In The Dark
Danny Brocklehurst has adapted Mark Billingham’s stand-alone story into a four-parter, starring MyAnna Buring as Helen Weeks. In the first two-parter, Helen discovers she is pregnant but before she can confront her tricky issue of whether the child is her partner Paul’s or the result of an affair, she is compelled to go back to her hometown when her best friend from school is drawn into the centre of a media storm – her husband has been arrested for the abduction of two young girls and in a world of 24-hour news and trial by media, the local cops are under enormous pressure to get their man. But is he the right man? Helen must solve the case by confronting both her present and her past – digging deep into the secrets of her childhood, just as she’s contemplating bringing a new life into the world.
Line Of Duty
Another of the biggies, we got our first glimpses of series four – making the jump to BBC1 – in the BBC’s New For 2017 teaser trailer. See if you can spot it in among all this:
So, what do we know so far? Thandie Newton will take on the role of new AC-12 antagonist DCI Roz Huntley, and series four begins with Roz and her team in the thick of a career-defining case, Operation Trapdoor. Under intense pressure to catch the culprit and prove herself to her superiors, and facing conflict with her colleague, Forensic Coordinator Tim Ifield (Jason Watkins), it’s not long before AC-12 decide to probe her handling of the investigation. A mother of two and wife to husband Nick (Lee Ingleby), Roz will do anything to stop her life unravelling. Determined to uncover the truth, Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), Detective Sergeant Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) and Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) must work together to tackle their most devious opponent yet. They are aided by PC Maneet Bindra (Maya Sondhi) and newcomer Detective Constable Jamie Desford (Royce Pierreson).
Little Boy Blue
This four-part drama based on a true stor stars Stephen Graham and recreates the story of Rhys Jones who was tragically murdered in August 2007 with Sinead Keenan and Brian F. O’Byrne playing Melanie and Steve Jones, Rhys’s parents. Graham plays SIO Dave Kelly, who led the investigation into Rhys’s murder on behalf of Merseyside Police.
The Sky channel’s most popular ever drama, James Nesbitt returns as the gambling-addicted DI Clayton. Not much is know about the plot, but it’s coming soon so watch this space.
One of the most anticipated Nordic dramas of the year, Sky Atlantic picked this one up. It features French police officer, Kahina Zadi, dispatched from Paris to Kiruna, a small mining community in Arctic Sweden, to lead the investigation of the gruesome murder of a French citizen. Here’s a trailer:
From the first two episodes, seen at April’s Series Mania, we know that Zadi and her investigating partner, local Swedish DA, Anders Harnesk, initially connect the crimes to Sami ritual. The word is that this is GOOD, and looks like something not to be missed.
Priyanka Chopra returns in the hit thriller, back for a second series. A thrill-seeking photojournalist, Leon Velez, may spell trouble for Alex (Chopra) and Ryan Booth (Jake McLaughlin). Plus, Alex is left with the lingering job offer of leaving the FBI and moving to the Central Intelligence Agency. Look out for a guest appearance by British actor, Russel Tovey, who plays CIA recruit Harry Doyle, described as ‘part Thomas Crown, part grown-up Artful Dodger’.
It’s time to say goodbye to the solid, hugely-enjoyable Victorian crime drama. Those with access to Amazon will have seen it last autumn, but for the rest of us it’s a chance to see how Reid, Drake and Jackson fare in what has always been a series that has never shied away from the dramatic or heart-breaking.
From Neil Jordan, no less, and starring the brilliant Julia Stiles, Riviera is a glossy thriller set in the opulent playground of the French Riviera, home to the world’s filthy rich. Stiles plays Georgina, a Midwestern US girl turned smart, resourceful wife of the billionaire Constantine Clios. After just a year of marriage, Georgina’s immaculate new life is blown apart when her art collector husband Constantine is killed in an explosion aboard the yacht of a Russian oligarch and arms dealer. Believing there to be more to the tragedy, she sets out to uncover what happened. Dark truths about Constantine’s dealings emerge and, as she begins to realise who she was really married to, Georgina enters a spiral of moral descent as she becomes immersed in a world of lies, double-dealing and criminality. Also starring Adrian Lester, Lena Olin and Game Of Thrones’ Iwan Rheon.
This one has had more drama off-screen than it has onscreen. The first series, starring Christopher Eccleston, is long gone and it has been totally rebooted. In comes Stephen Moyer as the lead, playing charismatic yet impulsive ex-police officer Tom Brook who runs a police safe house, which stands by the edge of the sea on the rugged coastline of Anglesey, a wild and beautiful sanctuary. Zoe Tapper plays his partner Sam. Tom and Sam’s world is turned upside down when news of a shocking crime breaks. Years previously Tom investigated a series of abductions perpetrated by an assailant known as ‘The Crow’, who took wives away from husbands as they helplessly watched. On hearing breaking news of a crime bearing the same hallmarks Tom immediately goes to the crime scene, revealing to the police that terrifyingly he believes ‘The Crow’ is active again. Safe House also stars Dervla Kirwan, Jason Watkins, Sunetra Sarker, Ashley Walters, Sacha Parkinson and Joel MacCormack.
One of the most solid, watchable British crime dramas is back for a fourth series. Douglas Henshall returns as DI Jimmy Perez, and while we don’t know too much about the plot or which Ann Cleeves novel the six-parter will be based on, we’re looking forward to it.
Bryan Cranston and Giovani Ribisi star in this good-looking crime drama. The series – on Amazon – follows Marius, a con man played by Ribisi. Upon his release from prison, Marius assumes the identity of his cellmate, Pete, in order to escape his nefarious past. Here’s a trailer…
Incoming: 13th January
One of the heavyweights when it comes to European crime drama, the sixth series of Spiral is due to return. We know it has finished filming, so I’m going to take a guess and say that it will be with us by autumn. We don’t know anything about the plot, as yet, but if past series of Spiral are anything to go by it’ll be a relentless, gritty story set in Paris.
This could be enormous. Based on Gillian ‘Gone Girl’ Flynn’s novel, it’s not only on HBO (guaranteed badge of quality) but also boasts a VERY starry cast, including the fabulous Amy Adams. The eight-parter centres on reporter Camille Preaker (Adams) who, fresh from a brief stay at a psychiatric hospital, must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. Trying to put together a psychological puzzle from her past, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims a bit too closely.
Stranger Things 2
Not much is known about the second series of this Netflix word-of-mouth cult mash-up of horror and crime, but such was the success of the first series, this second series is bound to be huge. The only thing we do know is that Eleven will be back, and Netflix released a cryptic teaser just before Christmas…
Prime Suspect: 1973
Adapted from the bestselling novel Tennison by Lynda La Plante, Stefanie Martini takes the role of the young Jane Tennison, while Sam Reid and Blake Harrison also feature in this much-anticipated six-parter. We meet Jane as an ambitious, single-minded 22-year-old probationary officer, starting out as a WPC in a world where chauvinism and rule-bending are the norm. Jane’s dedicated, instinctive approach is evident from the start as she is thrown into a brutal murder enquiry, witnessing first-hand the devastating effects of violent crime, as well as experiencing tragic ramifications herself. Alun Armstrong, Ruth Sheen, Lex Shrapnel and Jay Taylor are also in the cast. This could be a biggie.
The shores of Scotland’s most iconic loch is the stunning backdrop for this new six-parter. Laura Fraser, Siobhan Finneran and John Sessions take the leading roles. The story? In a community nourished and sustained by myth and bordered by untamed nature, the search for a serial killer becomes a matter of life and death for local detective Annie Cathro who is trying to cope with her first murder case. When the body of local man Niall Swift is found at the foot of Carn Mohr Mountain and an isolated human heart on the loch shore, the town’s normality is shattered and the nightmare begins.
Yes, I know, I know, but I can’t help putting The Bridge on this list because I have a sneaky suspicion that the final and fourth part of the stellar Swedish crime drama WILL be back this year, albeit right at the end of 2017. We know it’s just about wrapped up filming and we know that all the main players – except YOUKNOWHO – are back onboard, with creator Hans Rosenfeldt stating it could be the darkest yet.
The Brokenwood Mysteries
This Kiwi crime drama looks pretty good. Detective Inspector Mike Shepherd arrives on assignment in Brokenwood, a small town where memories-and animosities–run deep. He’s an experienced cop with a 1971 classic car, a collection of country music cassettes, and an indeterminate number of ex-wives. The new woman in his life is his assistant, Detective Constable Kristin Sims (Fern Sutherland, The Almighty Johnsons), a by-the-book investigator 15 years younger than her boss’s car.
Incoming: 24th February
The Moorside Project
Sheridan Smith takes the lead role in this drama, based on the Shannon Matthews case. The Moorside Project examines how a group of women brought their community together in their attempt to find a child who disappeared in their midst. The focus of the drama is on the spirit and determination of the women at the forefront of the campaign and the impact on them when the truth about Shannon’s disappearance was finally revealed. Smith plays the role of Julie, chair of the Moorside residents and tenants association and prominent in the desperate search to find Shannon. She will be joined by Sian Brooke as friend and neighbour Natalie, Siobhan Finneran (Happy Valley) who will be playing Christine Freeman, and Gemma Whelan as Karen Matthews. This drama will give a fresh perspective on a front page story we all remember, focusing not on the crime itself but on the community that lived through it.
The Frankenstein Chronicles
ITV Encore’s Sean Bean-starring Georgian/early Victorian horror/crime mash-up was one of our favourite things in 2015, and it’s back this year with a continuing riff on the Frankenstein story. It has started filming this month, so expect it at the end of the year.
Tim Roth and Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks take the lead role in this fancy-looking 10-part, American-based crime thriller. Tin Star tells the story of Jim Worth, an ex-Metropolitan police detective who has moved with his family to the Rocky Mountains to start a new life as a local police chief in an idyllic rural community. When his small town is overrun by migrant workers from a massive new oil refinery – the wave of drugs, prostitution and organised crime that follows them threatens to sweep away everything in its wake. When Jim makes a stand, his act appears to prompt mysterious assassins to unleash sudden and violent retribution on Jim and his family; the resulting tragedy irrevocably shattering the peace they had found in this once perfect mountain idyll and transforming their remote sanctuary into a hellish and inescapable prison. Who was behind the attack? Did the oil company- fronted by urbane corporate liaison, Mrs Bradshaw (Hendricks) – hire the assassins to thwart Jim’s discovery of a shocking cover-up? Or is the police chief’s violent, alcoholic past as an undercover cop finally catching up with him?
Top Of The Lake: China Girl
One of the best crime dramas of the decade (and all time?) is back for an eagerly-anticipated second series this year. Top of the Lake: China Girl (to give the second series its full name) begins four years on from the explosive ending of series one. Five years after the shocking events that rocked her hometown in New Zealand, Robin, recently returned to Sydney, is trying to rebuild her life. When the body of an Asian girl washes up on Bondi Beach, there appears little hope of finding the killer, until Robin realises “China Girl” didn’t die alone. Robin’s search to discover “China Girl’s” identity takes her into the city’s criminal underbelly and closer than she could have imagined to the secrets of her own heart. Jane Campion’s award-winner once again stars Elisabeth Moss, but also Nicole Kidman.
Much anticipation about this one – that cult hit from the 1990s resurrected by David Lynch and Mark Frost. No one knows anything about the plot, although it will feature all the main players from the original, reprising many of the roles we came to know and love. Expect it in the summer, so stay tuned for more details, especially the plot.
Based on the bestselling Inspector Stanhope books by award-winning writer Ann Cleeves, Vera and her team are drawn are back for four more compelling mysteries, including the death of a wildlife ranger, left alone overnight on a remote and inaccessible island. Set around Newcastle and the stunning Northumberland countryside.
Ordeal By Innocence
The past two Sarah Phelps Agatha Christie adaptations have been a huge success, and Phelps looks to be working on her next one – Ordeal By Innocence. No cast has been announced yet, but here’s the story: The Argyle family is far from pleased to discover one of its number has been posthumously pardoned for murder – if Jacko Argyle didn’t kill his mother, who did? Dr Arthur Calgary takes a ferry across the Rubicon River to Sunny Point, the home of the Argyle family. A year before, the matriarch of the family was murdered and a son, Jack, was convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. Throughout the trial Jack had maintained his innocence, claiming he was hitchhiking on the night of the murder and he had been picked up by a middle-aged man in a dark car. Unable to locate this mystery man the police viewed Jack’s as a lie. Calgary was the stranger in question, but he arrives to late for Jack – who succumbs to pneumonia after serving just six months of his sentence. Feeling a sense of duty to the Argyles, Calgary is surprised when his revelation has a disturbing effect on the family – it means one of the family is a murderer.