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7 cliffhanging British crime dramas that are perfect for a weekend binge watch

Taut plotlines, unexpected twists and some incredible acting make these shows a standout

Chandreyee Chatterjee Calcutta Published 18.08.22, 01:29 PM

You have watched Sherlock too many times and need a break. They have taken Broadchurch off Netflix and you can’t rewatch David Tennant and Olivia Coleman’s acting masterclass. The Fall is nowhere to be found, so logging in to drool over Gillian Anderson is not an option either. What do you turn to if you are a fan of British crime shows and are craving a binge of taut storylines, good acting and guaranteed entertainment? While we wish shows like Shetland, Happy Valley, Midsomer Murders and Prime Suspect were available to stream, there are plenty of other good ones to choose from.

Line of Duty


Easily one of the best crime shows to come out of the UK, this police drama has everything you could wish for – interesting lead characters, lots of drama, oodles of suspense and unexpected twists and turns. The show follows cops in the anti-corruption unit who go after “bent coppers”. Cops going after cops can be a tense affair with a lot of politics and red tape, and when you have to go undercover, the constant stress of being made adds an extra edge to the tale.

Five seasons of the show are available for streaming, season six is not yet available in India.

Number of seasons: 5

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video, AMC+ /AcornTV add on


Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio nails it again in this tense political drama that sees Richard Madden play David Budd, a war veteran with PTSD who is assigned as principal protection officer for Home Secretary Julia Montague (played by Keeley Hawes). Madden is great as the PTSD-affected soldier who is torn between his beliefs and the politics of the person he is supposed to protect; no wonder he picked up a Golden Globe for the role. A taught eight-part series with intriguing twists that is great for a binge watch. In fact, there is no other way to watch this since you will want to get to the end of it. We hope there is a second season coming sometime.

Number of seasons: 1

Where to watch it: Netflix

Criminal UK

There are no investigations. There is no action. There is a cast of just six regulars and two or three new faces every episode. The whole series happens across the interrogation room, the viewing room behind the one-way window and the common space outside the two rooms. Tightly written scripts with unexpected twists and incredible acting make this three-episode, two-season series just right for a binge. David Tennant sets the tone with an incredible performance in the first episode that actors like Kit Harington, Hayley Atwell and Kunal Nayyar take forward subsequently.

Number of seasons: 2

Where to watch it: Netflix

Killing Eve

What happens when a British intelligence officer crosses paths with a psychopathic assassin who leaves behind a trail of bodies? In a bloody, funny, intimate show that cuts across genre, Sandra Oh is at her best as the MI5 analyst Eve, who becomes preoccupied with the assassin Villanelle (played by Jodie Comer), and the chemistry between the two leads is, ahem, killer. The first season had Phoebe Waller-Bridge of Fleabag fame as head writer, so expect a dark comedy-meets-crime-drama-meets-thriller that goes from strength to strength, picking up accolades and awards from Primetime Emmys to Golden Globes.

Number of seasons: 4

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video


If psychological thrillers are your jam and you don’t mind a serial killer hunt, then try this series about a former London Metropolitan Police Service detective, Marcella Blackland (Anna Friel), who returns to her job after her husband leaves her and has to deal with her deteriorating personal life, violent blackouts and attempts to catch serial killers. The fact that often the audience cannot differentiate between the reality and what is happening in Marcella’s mind adds an additional layer of intrigue.

Number of seasons: 3

Where to watch it: Netflix

Inspector George Gently

If you are one of those people who likes old school procedural dramas like Midsomer Murders and Father Brown, then this show, based on the Inspector Gently book series by Alan Hunter is a perfect watch. The show stars Martin Shaw as Chief Inspector George Gently, who was considering retirement after his wife is murdered by a gangster till there is another similar murder that brings him back, and Lee Ingleby as Sergeant (later Detective Inspector) John Bacchus, Gently’s much younger, whippersnapper partner. There is nothing surprising about the series, just the familiarity of police procedurals with some great acting.

Number of seasons: 8

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video, AMC+ / AcornTV add on

The Stranger

Richard Armitage stars in this adaptation of Harlan Coben’s book of the same name. A limited series where every episode ends on a cliffhanger that will make it difficult for you to resist binge watching it. A whodunnit that has at its centre a suburban dad whose world unravels when a stranger tells him a secret about his wife. With some great acting, this chaotic series that keeps packing surprises right till the end is really addictive.

Number of seasons: 1

Where to watch it: Netflix

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