The Killing Times Top 20 Crime Dramas Of The Year 2021: Part three, 10-6

Time for the top 10…

And just like that we’re into the top 10.

Over the past two days, we’ve celebrated some tremendous crime dramas, but now start to get into the business end of our list.

Tell us what you think – do you think some are too high, or too low? Drop us a comment!

10. Unforgotten (Series 4)
(ITV in the UK)
One of the most consistent and quietly brilliant British crime dramas of the decade was on great form yet again, telling another story of a cold case involving Cassie and Sunny having to identify a headless and handless body found in a freezer on a scrap heap. In true Unforgotten style, a group of friends connected to the deceased and now living very different lives were pinpointed, and the fun began from there. However, the main talking point in what many believed not to be the strongest series of Unforgotten was the sensational twist in episode five that no one saw coming. Can Unforgotten survive without Cassie going forward?

READ MORE: ALL OUR NEWS AND REVIEWS OF UNFORGOTTEN

9. Bosch (Series 7)
(Amazon Prime Video)
This superior modern noir – set in LA and adapted from the best-selling books by Michael Connolly – has arguably been the most consistent crime drama of the past decade. For this supposedly final series, Titus Welliver returns as the titular detective, and it was a return to form. In fact, now we say goodbye, we can look back and say that Bosch is a testament to the deceptive simplicity of how a good story can be elevated to greatness with a formula of bringing the right people together at the right time, and that formula arguably created the best modern police procedural of the last 20 years.

READ MORE: ALL OUR NEWS AND REVIEWS OF BOSCH

8. Landscapers
(Sky Atlantic in the UK)
Any series that brings together the prodigious talents of Olivia Colman and David Thewlis is well worth a watch, and so Landscapers proved. The tale of unassuming real-life murderers Christopher and Susan Edwards, it catapulted us into the strange and magical internal world of Susan, whose obsession with old Hollywood movies became a coping mechanism for both trauma and the guilt of killing her abusive mother and father. Landscapers was often dizzying in its invention, surreal in its mixture of media and while tonally it sometimes felt jarring, the performances from both Colman and Thewlis and the sheer visual bravado made it a must-watch.

READ MORE: OUR SERIES REVIEW OF LANDSCAPERS

7. The Serpent
(BBC One in the UK)
Right at the very start of 2021 came this intoxicating series that chronicled the enigmatic serial killer Charles Sobhraj and his incredible trail of destruction all over south-east Asia in the 1970s. And, as such for a show set in the 70s and south-east Asia, the colour palette was suitably grainy, the soundtrack vibrant and the cinematography full of period tricks. It really was a brilliant throwback to yesteryear. However, while the fashions and filters and music was fun, what wasn’t was Sobhraj himself – a nasty, controlling, deadly killer. The series did a great job in bringing us the freedom and abandon of the time, juxtaposed with the heartbreaking stories of those he killed and those he held in the palm of his hand, including his vulnerable partner Marie-Andrée (played by Jenna Coleman).

READ MORE: OUR REVIEWS OF THE SERPENT

6. Too Close
(ITV in the UK)
You could not take your eyes off this engrossing and fascinating three-parter, largely thanks to the central performances of Denise Gough and Emily Watson. Affluent mother Connie Mortenson (Gough) was being held in a psychiatric facility after she drove her car off a bridge, with her daughter and her friend’s child in the backseat. Sent to evaluate her was Dr Emma Roberston (Watson), but soon Mortensen – deeply traumatised, psychotic and vulnerable, but also whip-smart – gained the upper hand in a fascinating push-pull relationship, often exposing Robertson’s frailties. As the heartbreaking elements of the incident slowly came to light, so Mortensen and Robertson became closer, until the whole case became a healing exercise for both of them. Grimly fascinating, crackling with a strange energy and a central performance from Gough that was simply one of the best of the year, Too Close got under your skin.

READ MORE: OUR REVIEWS OF TOO CLOSE

READ MORE: THE KILLING TIMES TOP 20 CRIME DRAMAS OF THE YEAR 2021: PART ONE, 20-16

READ MORE: THE KILLING TIMES TOP 20 CRIME DRAMAS OF THE YEAR 2021: PART TWO, 15-11

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