So you’ve seen every episode of Law & Order (especially SVU – Elliott! Olivia!) and you’ve made your way through Luther, now what.
Fans of cop shows and police investigation themed entertainment can rest assured that there is no shortage of good quality cop shows currently streaming on Netflix.
Of the scores of options currently available, we think that these 15 are the best of the best. Let the binge-watching begin!
A Netflix Original series is about a wealthy family that runs a successful beachside hotel in the Florida Keys, but he black sheep of the family threatens to spill a dark secret that could throw all of their lives into chaos. While the police are not the protagonists of this show, the way they insert themselves into the lives of the family is fascinating. Starring Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, and Linda Cardellini.
This British crime drama follows the detectives on the tail of a number of murder crimes in small-town England. David Tennant and Olivia Coleman lead as our detectives, but there is an excellent ensemble cast that creates the drama. These are more stories about people affected by crime, than about the crime themselves, but that makes them all the more compelling.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013)
This show takes the classic police procedural and turns it on its head for high comedic value. It focusses on Jake Peralta, played by Andy Samberg, an immature but talented NYPD detective. We follow his perspective to see the absurdity of the world that surrounds him. Also starring Stephanie Beatriz and Terry Crews.
Carey Mulligan takes to the small screen in this short series about a detective investigating the murder of a pizza delivery driver shot in London. But what might seem like a simple case starts to unravel a web of connections and a case much larger and more interesting than it seems. Also starring Nathaniel Martello-White and Jeany Park.
Michael C. Hall stars as Dexter, a blood spatter specialist working with the police, who leaves a double like as a serial killer, and often assists the police (including his sister) on his own cases. It is great to see crimes from both sides of the action, and Dexter’s steps to stay one step ahead of the police means that there is always a good level of tension.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (2016)
Inspired by the novel series by Douglas Adams and reimagined for the screen by Max Landis, the series stars Samuel Bennet as the detective and Elijah Wood as his reluctant sidekick. Gently is a modern-day Sherlock Holmes as he solves cases by looking at the interconnectedness of all things. He is also an ex-CIA experiment, and the agency is on his tail.
The Good Cop (2018)
Based on an Israeli show of the same name, Tony Danza and Josh Groban play the odd couple father and son. Danza is a street-wise ex-cop and ex-felon recently released, while his son is a by the book police lieutenant. While Danza’s character is forbidden from being any part of any police investigation, he has a driving need to show that he still has what it takes to catch the killer.
Not entirely dissimilar from Dexter, this show brings our favorite character Hannibal Lecter back to the screen, where he often consults for the police in his role as a forensic psychiatrist, while also playing the role of master criminal. Mad Mikkelsen stars as Hannibal, and Hugh Dancy as his FBI investigator friends, patsy, partner, it depends on the episode.
Jack Taylor (2010)
Ian Glen built quite a fan base during his stint of Game of Thrones as Jorah Mormont, so it is no surprise that Netflix has picked up this series with the actor in the titular role. He is an ex-cop turned private investigator in Galway that people call on to solve the cases that the police have given up on, which is of course a source of additional tension for the show.
Manhunt: Unabomber (2017)
This excellent series follows the FBI team on the hunt for the Unabomber, perhaps the most expensive manhunt ever. Sam Worthington stars at the analyst who dives into the killer’s letters to try and identify him, and Paul Bettany as the mastermind himself. It is a sensitive portrayal that looks at both the challenges of finding a needle in a haystack, and of living on the edges of society.
This series follows the FBI team that basically created the behavioral science unit and changes the way that the BI solved crimes. Their task included interviewing serial killers to develop a profile of what makes them tick. Jonathan Groff is the prodigy profiler, Hold McCallany his institutional minder, and Anna Torv the consulting psychiatrist.
Paradise PD (2018)
Animated TV series about a small-town police department in a corner of the US where crime is rampant, and the police are incompetent. The characters satirize archetypes for comedic value. It misses some of the heart of other adult cartoons, but is still laugh out loud funny.
Seven Seconds (2018)
Based on the Russian film The Major, the limited series starts with a white cop who accidentally it’s a young black boy with his car, and then tries to work with his partner to cover up what they assume was a murder. What follows is the investigation of the crime from the perspective of the investigators, the criminals, and the family of the unfortunate youth.
While Holmes and Watson may be PIs rather than cops, this Steven Moffat series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman is too good not to be on the list. The two do a masterful job of reimaging the classic characters for the modern-day, and the storylines are clever – sometimes too clever for their own good.
This South Korean series follows a Prosecutor who loses his sense of empathy after undergoing an operation. While working on a murder case he meets a police lieutenant who helps him solve the case, and at the same time discover a ring of corruption determined to cover up the crime. Starring Cho Seung-woo and Bae Doona.