British Mystery Series to Watch Right Now
Need a new mystery to start watching now? Whether you’re in the mood for gritty crime, political thrillers, or period murder; Benedict Cumberbatch or James Norton; forensics, rotary phones, or corsets, MASTERPIECE has murder and mayhem all queued up.
You can watch all the mysteries below with PBS Passport, an added member benefit when you join your local PBS station. PBS Passport gives you extended access to an on-demand library of select MASTERPIECE shows and other PBS favorites. Find your next binge-watch show below, categorized by Contemporary, Post War, or Period Drama. After that, your only question—besides whodunit—will be what to watch next!
Is PBS Passport still a mystery? Find out more today!
Unforgotten, Seasons 1-3 | Watch Now
Can anyone escape the past, or can it resurface to engulf you at any time? In this totally unique, slow burner mystery, DCI Stuart and DI Khan investigate core suspects whose lives have—until now—moved on from the sins of the past.
Investigators: Detective duo DCI Cassie Stuart and DI Sunil “Sunny” Khan are determined and, for the most part, demon-free. She’s clever and canny, but it’s Cassie’s stillness and deep dedication to solving cold cases that make her an archeologist of the buried secret and human heart.
Crime Scene: The investigation unravels in locations as diverse as the suspects themselves, from the cellar of a demolished building to the halls of Westminster.
Time of Death: This contemporary whodunit has all the current forensics and technology, but flashbacks take you back to a gritty ’70s counterculture and the coke-fueled hedonism of the ’80s, with gangsters, skinheads, and IRA plots stirring up suspects’ and victims’ lives.
DNA: Unforgotten shares DNA with Cold Case in its reopening of old murders, but has more in common with mysteries like Broadchurch and Happy Valley in their exploration of the lives of suspects with secrets…although detectives Stuart and Khan are, happily, dysfunction-free.
Sherlock, Season 4 | Watch Now
The thrilling, funny, and terrifying adventures of the world’s only consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his war veteran friend, Dr. John Watson, as reimagined for the 21st Century.
Investigators: “High-functioning sociopath” Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) teams up with his long-suffering, faithful friend, Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman) to solve a dizzying array of crimes and battle diabolical villains with his signature deductive reasoning and his stunning lack of social grace.
Crime Scene: Villains new and old wreak havoc everywhere from 221b Baker Street to far-flung parts unknown in Season 4 of Sherlock.
Time of Death: Text messages fly through a hyper-contemporary landscape saturated by globalism, terrorism, and media.
DNA: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes reimagined by Doctor Who co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.
Lewis, Season 8 | Watch Now
Murder and mayhem stalk the seemingly-perfect academic haven of Oxford, and it’s up to Inspector Lewis and his partner DS Hathaway to untangle lies, unearth secrets, and solve grisly—and always inventive—crimes. See Laurence Fox in Inspector Lewis before he joins the cast of Victoria for Season 3!
Investigators: Inspector Robbie Lewis (Kevin Whately), a cop of instinct and experience, teams up with his cool, cerebral partner Detective Sergeant Hathaway (Laurence Fox). Together, they struggle with procedural dilemmas and existential questions about their futures—on the force and in their personal lives.
Crime Scene: The dreaming spires of Oxford, the iconic Bodleian Library, punts along the river Thames…and pubs.
Time of Death: Contemporary
DNA: Like Inspector Morse, Inspector Lewis was inspired by a series of books by Colin Dexter. Sergeant Lewis was the working-class, family man foil to the erudite Detective Inspector Morse; in Inspector Lewis, he returns to Oxford widowed and promoted to DI with a sidekick of his own.
Grantchester, Seasons 1-3 | Watch Now
Amateur sleuth and vicar Sidney Chambers and Inspector Geordie Keating solve murders in the bucolic village of Grantchester.
Investigators: The handsome, jazz-loving Reverend Sidney Chambers (James Norton) can’t help but fall into more worldly habits as he assists friend and actual detective Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Greene) in solving murders, all the while searching for justice, spiritual fulfillment, love, and a really hip jazz club.
Crime Scene: Grantchester, the picturesque village on the river Cam.
Time of Death: The series is soaked in the 1950s, from the fabulous clothes to the swinging jazz to challenges of adjusting to life post war.
DNA: Grantchester is based on The Grantchester Mysteries, a series of acclaimed novels by James Runcie.
Endeavour, Seasons 3-6 | Watch Now
Before his signature red Jaguar, before Inspector Morse, there was Detective Constable Endeavour Morse, conducting his dogged, incorruptible pursuit of justice from the shadows of Oxford and the fringes of the police force.
Investigator: The cerebral, solitary DC Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) solves crossword puzzles and grisly murders in an unlikely partnership with DI Fred Thursday (Roger Allum).
Crime Scene: Oxford’s spires and grassy quads, often its pubs, and all too often, its morgues.
Time of Death: The 1960s, replete with miniskirts, trippy parties, counter-culture demonstrations, and an anachronistic, straight-laced police force.
DNA: Twenty-five years after the debut of Inspector Morse, writer Russell Davies (also the screenwriter behind the Morse spinoff Inspector Lewis) penned the prequel Endeavour, with the input and blessing of Morse creator Colin Dexter. So strong is the Morse DNA in this show that Oxford’s intrepid journalist Dorothea Frazil is played by Abigail Thaw, daughter of the original Morse actor John Thaw; plus, every episode has a hidden Colin Dexter Easter egg, for fans who, like their favorite detectives, miss nothing.
Prime Suspect: Tennison | Watch Now
Behind every great detective is a backstory. Prime Suspect: Tennison‘s Jane Tennison is a rookie cop on her way to becoming the savvy, single-minded crime fighter immortalized by Helen Mirren and beloved by Prime Suspect viewers.
Investigator: 22-year-old Rookie policewoman Jane Tennison (Stephanie Martini) is a smart and ambitious fledgling police constable expected to make tea and let the men hunt down the killers.
Crime Scene: The east London borough of Hackney, pre-gentrification.
Time of Death: 1973, as evidenced by the decade’s avocado and gold palettes, gas-guzzler cars, afros, sideburns, and institutional sexism.
DNA: Based on the book Tennison by Prime Suspect creator and writer Lynda La Plante, the prequel offers a backstory to Helen Mirren’s hard-drinking, overworked, and iconic DCI.
Dark Angel | Watch Now
Dark Angel, starring Downton Abbey‘s Joanne Froggatt, tells the story of Mary Ann Cotton: loving wife, mother, and notorious serial murderer.
Period: The Victorian era, when poverty was especially brutal for women, policing was in its infancy, and arsenic was readily available.
Drama: Mary Ann is ruthlessly determined to escape her life of abject poverty, squalor, death, and successive pregnancies. So she takes out an insurance policy on her husband and kicks off a poisonous tea killing spree.