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!
Note: Full episode streaming is only available within the United States.
Van der Valk, Season 1 | Watch Now
In three gripping 90-minute episodes, Van der Valk and his colleagues face a trio of challenging cases set in Amsterdam, a city of bikes, boats…and bodies.
Investigator: Steely-eyed, street-smart, and unapologetic, detective Piet Van der Valk (Marc Warren, Beecham House) investigates high profile cases and gritty murders
Crime Scene: Amsterdam’s canals, galleries, bars, and industrial areas, where the city’s stylishness and toleration go hand in hand with murder.
Time of Death: This is decidedly 21st-century Amsterdam: more prosperous, cosmopolitan, and crime-prone than ever!
DNA: Van der Valk reboots the wildly popular series original series, which ran on British television from 1972 to 1992, and was based on author Nicolas Freeling’s legendary crime thrillers.
Baptiste, Season 1 | Watch Now
The case of a missing person is not what it seems in this gripping, plot-twisting procedural that brings French detective Julien Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo) to Amsterdam for one last case.
Investigator: Retired detective Julien Baptiste, recovered from a brain tumor and walking with a limp, claims he’s “not the man I used to be.” But will his transformation hinder—or help—him to find the truth?
Crime Scene: The seedy criminal underbelly of Amsterdam’s Red Light district.
Time of Death: With society’s maladies like drug and human trafficking thrown in sharp relief, this mystery couldn’t be more contemporary.
DNA: Baptiste is a spinoff of The Missing, in which Julien Baptiste worked to find a missing child. The Missing‘s many loyal fans will relish seeing the stubborn, stolid detective return, but new viewers need not have watched a single minute of The Missing to fully appreciate the intense experience of Baptiste.
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.
Grantchester, Seasons 1-5 | Watch Now
Amateur sleuth and vicar Sidney Chambers, and later, his successor, Will Davenport, solve murders alongside Inspector Geordie Keating in the bucolic village of Grantchester.
Investigators: 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. After Sidney’s (Season 4) departure from Grantchester, his successor, Will Davenport (Tom Brittney), arrives via motorcycle, ready don the “dog collar” but keep his leather jacket—and his vows of celibacy—as he reluctantly finds himself helping Geordie unravel yet another mystery!
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 4-7 | 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.