The sheer amount of crime dramas this year has, occasionally, been overwhelming (honestly, if you know anyone who wants to write reviews for the site, please get in touch – it’d be good to share the load), and it could be argued that there has been more quantity than quality. However, it’s been another fun ride, and the fun is set to continue into the autumn and winter, traditionally when the big guns are wheeled out. So, with that in mind, here’s our great, big, enormo autumn/winter preview. All transmission dates are very much TBC, and there will no doubt be a few more that sneak into the schedules after this has been published. Be warned: you may never leave your house again.
The three-part series stars Kit Harington, Peter Mullan, Mark Gatiss and Liv Tyler, and tells the story of the famous Guy Fawkes. Every year on 5th November the English mark the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot in London in 1605 with bonfires and fireworks. It is often called Guy Fawkes Day because many people believe – erroneously – that the plot was devised by Guy Fawkes. However, while Fawkes played a pivotal role, the man who dreamed up the plot and was its driving force was Robert Catesby (Harington), a 30-year old Warwickshire gentleman. We’re promised derring-do, conspiracy, networks of spies and well… you know the rest of the story.
Incoming: November [TBC]
The Woman In White
Often thought of as the original psychological novel, this new version of Wilkie Collins’ The Woman In White will star Ben Hardy, Jessie Buckley, Marian Halcombe, Charles Dance, Dougray Scott, Art Malik and Joanna Scanlon. The five-part, gothic tale tells of a pair of half sisters whose lives end up caught in a grand conspiracy revolving around a mentally ill woman dressed in white. As the story unfolds, murder, love, marriage and greed stand between the two women and happy lives. Their only hope is the secret the woman in white waits to tell them.
Incoming: October/November [TBC]
This could be the one to watch. From Harry and Jack Williams (of The Missing fame) Rellik (killer spelled backwards, palindrome watchers) is a structural conceit that turns the serial killer story on its head. The perpetrator is caught before the drama moves backwards in time to the very beginning – the crime itself and ultimately the killer. The search for the killer provides the backbone of the story but the damaged and disfigured Met detective, Gabriel Markham, played by Richard Dormer, is at its centre. Enigmatic, unrelenting and charismatic, Gabriel is propelled in an obsessive hunt for a serial killer who left a mark on him both physically and mentally. Gabriel’s partner is Elaine, played by Jodi Balfour.
Incoming: UPDATE: all signs point to September
Ordeal By Innocence
The third Sarah Phelps-adapted Agatha Christie novel transports us back to Christmas 1954. Wealthy philanthropist Rachel Argyll is murdered at her family estate, Sunny Point. Her adopted son Jack Argyll, a young delinquent, is arrested for her murder. He vehemently protests his innocence. Eighteen months later, Dr Arthur Calgary, a scientist, walks onto the velvety lawns of Sunny Point claiming to have just returned from an expedition to the Arctic. Even more extraordinary is his claim to hold the alibi that can prove Jack’s innocence. But Jack died in prison before the case could come to trial, and the Argyll family is reluctant to dig up the secrets of the past. Rachel’s widower Leo is about to remarry his secretary Gwenda and none of Rachel’s other adopted children Mary, Mickey, Tina or Hester, nor long-standing housekeeper Kirsten, is willing to reopen that most horrendous chapter of their lives. However, the shattering implications of Calgary’s story are too big to avoid; if he is telling the truth then the wrong person was arrested for Rachel’s murder. And if Jack was not the killer, then it must have been somebody else at Sunny Point. Look at this cast: Bill Nighy, Catherine Keener, Matthew Goode, Eleanor Thompson, Luke Treadaway, Morven Christie and Alice Eve.
Stephen Knight’s high-profile gangster drama returns. When he receives a mysterious letter on Christmas Eve, Thomas Shelby realises that the Peaky Blinders are in danger of annihilation. As the enemy closes in, Shelby flees his country house and returns to the streets of Small Heath, Birmingham, where a desperate fight for survival begins. Not only that but Tom Hardy reprises his role as Alfie Solomons, and new members of the cast include Adrien Brody and Aidan Gillen.
Starring Douglas Henshall in the lead role of DI Jimmy Perez and adapted from Ann Cleeves celebrated novels, new cast who have joined Shetland for the fourth series include Neve McIntosh, Sean McGinley, Stephen Walters, Gerard Miller, Allison McKenzie and Michael Moreland. This new series is an original story, which sees Perez deal with murders from the past and present with unsettling similarities. When Shetlander, Thomas Malone (played by Stephen Walters), has his murder conviction overturned after 23 years behind bars, DI Perez has to reopen the investigation into the 1994 death of local teenager, Lizzie Kilmuir. As suspicion surrounds Malone, a local journalist is found murdered in similar circumstances and he finds himself firmly in the frame again. Has Malone fooled the system into releasing him only to murder again? Or was he a victim of a miscarriage of justice? As pressure mounts on Perez, he must look beyond the gossip and prejudice to get to the truth.
Incoming: October/November [TBC]
Announced today (see the story here), Snowfall is director John Singleton’s first foray into television drama, and takes a look at the early days of the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles during the beginning of the 1980s.
I Know Who You Are
In its wisdom the BBC decided, after 10 rip-snorting episodes, to break up this fabulously twisty-turny Spanish crime drama into two series. So, we’re getting the final six episodes – badged as series two – later this year.
Another firm favourite of our readers, the hope is that Spiral will be back for its sixth series before Christmas on BBC Four, although it’s nowhere near confirmed. Not much is known yet about the plot, but here’s a (French-language) trailer. Let’s hope we see it soon.
Joanne Froggatt and Ioan Gruffudd star in this six-part series, created by The Missing’s Harry and Jack Williams (another busy year for them), which tells the story of a night that changes the lives of Laura Newell and Andrew Ellis forever. Laura is a smart and dedicated teacher, not long out of a relationship and unsure about getting back on the dating scene. Andrew is a renowned surgeon whose son is a pupil at Laura’s school. An initial attraction leads to a date, but neither fully realises the far-reaching consequences that their meeting will have on each other or their families. Truth and consequences go hand in hand in a tense and gripping thriller that examines both sides of a relationship and both sides of the truth. Are there really two sides to every story?
This rebooted series – now written by Ed Whitmore and Rillington Place’s Tracey Malone – has drafted in True Blood’s Stephen Moyer and Zoe Tapper. Moyer stars as ex-police officer Tom Brook who runs this season’s police safe house, which stands at the edge of the sea on the rugged coastline of Anglesey, a wild and beautiful sanctuary.
Incoming: 7th September
The Frankenstein Chronicles
I was a big fan of this grimy, grim pre-Victorian horror/crime mash-up. In series one, we got Sean Bean’s haggard, disease-ridden policeman John Marlott. No longer a mere mortal, Marlott’s purpose is to seek revenge on Lord Daniel Hervey for taking his life, and to redeem his soul after being wrongly convicted and hanged for murder. Set in 1830s London, Marlott must operate outside the law as he comes up against dark forces in high society and in the dangerous slums of the over-crowded capital. In his pursuit of Hervey, Marlott takes on the establishment in the form of Robert Peel’s newly formed Police force and the Church. In the darkest corners of Georgian London, Marlott acts as defender of the poor and destitute as he fights to clear his name and bring Hervey to justice. Laurence Fox and Maeve Dermody join the likes of Tom Ward and The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby.
The End Of The F***ing World
A darkly comic road trip tale based on the award-winning series of comic books by Charles Forsman, The End of the F***king World features teen outsiders James (Alex Lawther) and Alyssa (Jessica Barden) as they embark on a road trip to find Alyssa’s father, who left home when she was a child. When things come to a head at home between Alyssa, her mother and stepdad, she leaves and persuades James to join her in search of her real father. And so begins a journey of discovery that becomes progressively ominous as James’s urge to act on his sociopathic and violent inclinations increase while Alyssa, blinded by young love, remains wilfully ignorant of the consequences that lie at the end of the road. One night, however, the pair find themselves caught up in events that lead them down an ever more menacing and surreal path. Also featuring Gemma Whelan and Wunmi Mosaku.
Incoming: October/November (available on Netflix globally)
Created by The Wwire’s David Simon, featuring a writers’ room that includes George Pelecanos, Megan Abbott and Lisa Lutz (wow), and boasting a fine ensemble cast that includes Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco, The Deuce chronicles the rise of the porn industry that began in New York City in 1971, driven by the gradual legalisation of porn and a politically motivated effort to ‘clean up’ Times Square.
Seizing the chance to cash in on the budding porn business are a vivid assortment of characters, including: Vincent Martino (Franco), a bartender with a vision and connections; Frankie Martino (Franco again), Vincent’s identical twin, a dangerously freewheeling counterpart to his brother; and Candy (Gyllenhaal), a self-made, on-the-street sex worker eyeing a new career in porn filmmaking.
Set in the majestic Canadian Rockies and starring Tim Roth and Christina Hendricks, Tin Star tells the story of Jim Worth, a former British detective now small town police chief, who brings his family to the tiny, tranquil town of Little Big Bear for a better life. When a vast industrial facility opens nearby and their new home is flooded with workers looking for drugs, gambling, and prostitution, Jim has to work hard to protect his family and the town from organised crime.
Then crime strikes back. And when Jim’s family suffers a shocking tragedy, old, dark and dangerous secrets surface. We discover that Jim is not the man we think he is but is in fact Jack – the professional name for his alcoholic alter-ego: an undercover cop with a violent past and a long list of enemies; a man more unpredictable, more charismatic and infinitely more menacing than Jim.
Incoming: 7th September
I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, and the hope is it will fully justify its rumoured £36million price tag. The 16-part series documents a metropolis in turmoil in the years leading up to World War II. From economy to culture, politics to the underworld – everything is in the grip of radical change. Speculation and inflation are already tearing away at the foundations of the still young Weimar Republic.
Growing poverty and unemployment stand in stark contrast to the excesses and indulgence of the city’s night life and its overflowing creative energy. Gereon Rath, a young police inspector from Cologne, is transferred to Berlin in order to solve a criminal case – a porno ring run by the Berlin Mafia. What at first glance appears to be simply a matter of extortion soon reveals itself to be a scandal that will forever change the lives of both Gereon and his closest associates. Together with steno-typist Charlotte Ritter and his partner Bruno Wolter, Rath is confronted with a tangled web of corruption, drug dealing, and weapons trafficking, forcing him into an existential conflict as he is torn between loyalty and uncovering the truth.
Incoming: 13th October (Babylon Berlin will be available on Netflix to US subscribers)
Series three of the Netflix juggernaut starts in earnest. Now that the bloody hunt for Pablo Escobar has ended, the DEA turns its attention to the richest drug trafficking organization in the world: the Cali Cartel. Led by four powerful godfathers, this cartel operates much differently than Escobar’s, preferring to bribe government officials and keep its violent actions out of the headlines.
Incoming: 1st September
Stranger Things II
Another huge Netflix series, the new second run of this supernatural/horror/crime mash-up finds Will suffering from images of the Upside Down while his mother Joyce (Winona Ryder) tries to bring some stability to their home and starts dating her old high school classmate Bob (Sean Astin). Meanwhile, Hopper (David Harewood) tries to keep the events of the first season under wraps, and siblings Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Mike (Finn Wolfhard) are mourning the deaths of Barb (Shannon Purser) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown).
Incoming: 31st October
This could be a corker. It’s based on John Douglas and Mark Olshaker’s nonfiction book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, which follows the FBI’s Investigative Support Unit as they try to get inside the heads of serial killers, in hopes of having an easier time identifying and catching them.
It stars Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany as 1970s FBI agents who interview psychopaths but are faced with scepticism and opposition from others in their department.
Incoming: 13th October
The Brokenwood Murders
It’s time for series three of this Kiwi drama, often cited as a New Zealand equivalent of Midsomer Murders. On the face of it, Brokenwood is another quiet, country town in New Zealand; the kind you might find just a few hours’ drive from any city. The people are nice and there’s a strong sense of community and provinciality. It has a golf club, a mother’s club and regular wine shows, everything you would expect… including buried secrets, treacherous lies and murder. DI Mike Shepherd (Neill Rea) and DC Kristin Simms (Fern Sutherland) are on hand to investigate more small-town crimes in big-sky country.
Murder In The First
The series starring Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson is back for its third series. At his birthday party in a darkened nightclub, pro footballer Normandy Parker is shot dead and the assailant escapes. The police identify his longtime friend Billy James as the one person who evaded the weapons check, but he is not immediately found. Parker’s celebrity girlfriend Alicia Barnes refuses to be questioned. At his own birthday party, D.A. Siletti has a tryst with Melissa Danson from the state Attorney General’s staff. Arguing with his wife on the drive home, he kills a pedestrian and is arraigned for vehicular homicide; Danson is put in charge of the prosecution. Mulligan is diagnosed with breast cancer and told to put her affairs in order. Worried about Louise’s future, she is badly distracted, but eventually confides in English who promises to support her.
Incoming: 12th September
This Brazilian crime series starts when André is released from prison. He has been imprisoned three years for kidnapping a child and while the sentence may be over, his record is forever Tainted. What’s more, it becomes apparent André is, in fact, innocent and the man behind the crime is none other than his very own father. Having used terminal cancer as a bargaining plea, André’s father blackmailed him into taking responsibility for the kidnapping so that he can live out his final months as a free man. Despite promising to leave a confession of his guilt, he dies without writing a word and André is condemned to being labeled guilty indefinitely. Believing him to be a criminal, upon release he is cruelly rejected by his family and everyone he held dear in his former life. Left with no other options, André adopts a new career that requires the investigative skills he had previously acquired as a policeman, without the clean record: bounty hunting.
Channel 4/Walter Presents
The first ever Chilean drama series to hit the UK, Fugitives opens with four men embarking on a high-risk operation, smuggling a petrol tanker of liquid cocaine from Bolivia to Chile. When the operation catastrophically unravels at the point of completion, these four men are forced to go on the run. Despite hardly knowing each other and having little in common, their only hope of survival is staying together as they escape frantic pursuit from every direction.
Channel 4/Walter Presents
Police investigator Tom Noack returns home to far-flung Norskov, an industrial port in northern Denmark, to clean up the town’s all-consuming drug problem. When he finds himself edging closer to unraveling a major international smuggling operation, Tom is torn between his professional and his personal commitments. Upon learning that the criminal activities are deeply rooted in the local community, he suddenly finds himself torn between his desire to reestablish old friendships and his need for professional detachment and secrecy. Norskov is a series that captures the raw complexity of human relationships and the desolation of a provincial town.
It’s been a while since we last saw this enjoyable Norwegian thriller, but it’s finally back for its secod series. A well-known pundit and journalist with Norway’s biggest newspaper is brutally murdered – a clear-cut attack on the freedom of speech. The murder fuels the flames of an already volatile conflict between the country’s prime minister and his minister of finance.
Flight Of The Storks
Flight of the Storks sounds interesting – and very different from the usual crime drama fare. It follows the intercontinental adventures of young English philosophy student, Jonathan Anselme (Harry Treadaway). Finding his mentor and old family friend, the famed ornithologist Max Böhm, murdered at his Swiss home, Jonathan sets out to complete their planned joint project: to trace the migratory routes of storks and investigate the mysterious dwindling return numbers of these majestic birds as they fly back from South Africa.
Heading through to Bulgaria, Turkey, the Middle East, and finally into the depths of the Congo, Anselme encounters a trail of gruesome murders, as well as facing deception and betrayal from all sides as he gradually uncovers the disturbing truth behind the reasons for the storks’ disappearances and, finally, the circumstances behind the tragic deaths of his own heart surgeon parents and younger twin brother over two decades before.
This one could be a winner. Created by the writer Virginie Brac and the director Gilles Bannier of Spiral, Paris takes place over 24 hours and starts at 5am. It’s divided into six hour-long episodes, each episode revolving around a specific part of the day (four-hour period): Dawn, Morning, Afternoon, Twilight, Night, Darkness. It follows different characters with different trajectories: a bus driver steals back his keys after being benched and holds his passengers hostage. A pregnant wife hides her husband’s gun in her bag, then loses it. A prosecutor with a gambling debt cracks a safe but leaves the money behind. And the prime minister’s son skips school to search for his mother — and, after being mugged, finds solace with a transgender nightclub chanteuse.