Put the Old Bill on me...
December 19, 2012 4:14 AM   Subscribe

[UKMediaFilter]I really enjoy police/detective procedural dramas (series and "movies") from the UK (BBC, ITV, etc). Seen thus far: Luther, Whitechapel, Thorne movies, Inside Men, Sherlock, etc. Recommend me!

These shows can be procured through ill-gotten gains, if need be...

Caveat: I do not like Law & Order UK.
posted by kuanes to Media & Arts (33 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Messiah 1-4 are excellent, can't remember if I've seen 5
Morse and spin-off Lewis
A Touch of Frost
Murder City

Most of those are old but still good.
posted by missmagenta at 4:22 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Waking the Dead early series are good.
New Tricks if you want something a bit lighter in tone.
Dalziel and Pascoe
posted by crocomancer at 4:29 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

New Tricks - lighthearted, cute.
Murphy's Law - first season sorta light, the rest are brutal and grim, but good.

Something that is not a police procedural but might scratch a similar itch:
Hope Springs

If you'd like to step over into Canadian mystery, I can also recommend
Da Vinci's Inquest - dark, but not as dark as Murphy's Law
Intelligence - shows the perspective on the other side as well
Rookie Blue - kind of soapy
posted by thelastcamel at 4:33 AM on December 19, 2012

Also Forbrydelsen is gripping, if you're interested in branching out to other countries. I suggest you get the original Danish version and watch it subtitled. Subtitles are available in a bunch of places.
posted by thelastcamel at 4:35 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

In answer to this question, I always recommend Vera with Brenda Blethyn, who is pretty much at the height of her illustrious and long-honed powers in this series. I am also a very huge fan of Inspector Lynley. If you're open to something older but not dated, Joan Hickson in Miss Marple is just brilliant. I think all three of those are outstanding.

If you're open to overlap with pathology procedurals, MeFi also likes Prime Suspect (Helen Mirren) but on balance I prefer Silent Witness (Amanda Burton).
posted by DarlingBri at 4:43 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Morse and spinoffs (Lewis and Endeavor) - Morse is still the 500lb gorilla of the genre and for good reason.

Wire In The Blood - Psychologist/profiler dips into his own darkness in order to help the police solve crimes.

A Touch of Frost - The first few series are much grittier than later ones.

Inspector Lynley - A literally noble detective. I admit a huge crush on Havers.

Prime Suspect - Ignore the be-hatted US remake and go for the original.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:46 AM on December 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

The original Edge of Darkness is incredible.
posted by oh pollo! at 4:52 AM on December 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

So it's a period piece (think Downton Abbey, but less soap-y) but Foyle's War is a great series about a detective along the south coast of England during WWII.
posted by gorbichov at 4:58 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

A lot of good suggestions already, I can add:

Inspector George Gently (set in the sixties),
Rebus (note that the lead actor changes after the first season

Edit: maybe not really a procedural, but you might like The Shadow Line as well.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 5:06 AM on December 19, 2012

Really has to be Prime Suspect
posted by tonylord at 5:08 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

There's also the 1998 series Ultraviolet, which is a mix of procedural and science!vampires*. Also stars Idris Elba.

*contains absolutely no sparkling.
posted by halcyonday at 5:10 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Single Handed is an Irish cop/mystery show; the first 2 series are on amazon prime and (I think) netflix streaming. I've only just started but it is very good so far.
posted by maryrussell at 5:13 AM on December 19, 2012

Wallander, starring Kenneth Branagh
posted by Thorzdad at 5:15 AM on December 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Prime Suspect and Cracker, definitely.
posted by runincircles at 5:22 AM on December 19, 2012

The six-episode series State of Play isn't a procedural (since it was a one-off), and it mainly features reporters and politicians rather than police officers, but it does involve crime investigation. Plus, it's really really well-done.
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:25 AM on December 19, 2012

Thank you all thus far. I have many hours of iPad/TV viewing ahead of me, I see.

Keep 'em coming, if you have 'em.
posted by kuanes at 5:26 AM on December 19, 2012

Identity starring Aiden Gillen (of the Wire and Queer as Folk).

Whatever you do, don't watch Midsomer Murders. That show is weird and awful.
posted by bluefly at 5:29 AM on December 19, 2012

Here's an outlier for you: Blackpool and Viva Blackpool, which are police drama musicals. Starring David Morrissey (the Governor on The Walking Dead) and David Tennant (Doctor Who). They tend to be love/hate, but I absolutely love them.
posted by jbickers at 5:39 AM on December 19, 2012

Line of Duty was good, particularly because it was very critical of the way that the police is run, which gives it much topical relevance.

Also, The Bridge is another good Scandinavian crime drama that was shown on BBC Four, and is shorter and lighter than The Killing (Forbrydelsen mentioned above).
posted by mattn at 5:40 AM on December 19, 2012

Without a shadow of a doubt, invest some time in the Red Riding trilogy.

Absolutely amazing.
posted by metaxa at 5:43 AM on December 19, 2012

Man, people are getting all the really good ones. I envy you for getting to see some of this stuff for the first time.

I'll just add seconds to ALL of the above, and note that if Miss Marple's on the table, so too should be Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie's other major detective, who was a Belgian Detective before he evacuated to England during the Great War. Marple came along later, and her career spanned WWII. You might think you'll get tired if Poirot's idiosyncracies-- but David Suchet, the actor, sells them to you every time.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:48 AM on December 19, 2012

Falcón is quite good, a new British production of a Spanish detective that is pitched as a sexier version of Morse.

A gentler version of Falcón is arguably the Italian (produced and language) Inspector Montalbano.

France's Engrenages (Eng: Spiral) is a clever political procedural that has been hampered in the UK by very late night scheduling but definitely worth watching.

You haven't mentioned watching either Life on Mars or its sequel Ashes to Ashes.

After she wrote Prime Suspect, Lynda La Plante went onto write Above Suspicion. It's not as good, but worth a look.

On a lighter/gentler note:

Jonathan Creek, particularly the earlier ones, is a funnier and alternative take on the police procedural.

A couple from the archives. The longrunning, once very popular but now quite dated Bergerac. The later Wycliffe was in a similar vein. Foyle's War (mentioned upthread) is a more recent occupant of the Sunday night slot.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:55 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Scott & Bailey is another one (two series have aired to date and there’s a third on the way).
posted by misteraitch at 6:05 AM on December 19, 2012

Ah, the mention of the foreign series reminds me - the BBC adaptation of Zen was pretty good (fairly light I would say). If you want to watch Wallander I would definitely go back to the original version (with Krister Henriksson).

Also just to add to what Sunburnt said, the David Suchet Poirot's are great, and the recent ones - particularly the adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express - bring out a surprisingly dark and subtle interpretation of the character.
posted by crocomancer at 7:16 AM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Edge of Darkness and State of Play are the equivalents of The Wire and Breaking Bad from when UK telly ruled the (air)waves. They're the usual one tenth the duration of US shows but the quality is breathtaking.

Red Riding is the only thing which has come close since.
posted by fullerine at 7:45 AM on December 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Came in here to recommend Wallander, which was already mentioned. It's worth specifying, though, that the Kenneth Branagh version is an adaptation, and the Swedish original is also excellent (if you're willing to deal with subtitles). Season 2 of the Swedish version is currently streaming on Netflix.
posted by dizziest at 8:00 AM on December 19, 2012

Also, I haven't watched it, but was recently having basically this conversation with a friend from the UK, and she recommended Midsomer Murders, which is also streaming on Netflix right now.
posted by dizziest at 8:03 AM on December 19, 2012

So many good suggestions, I loved A Touch of Frost and Prime Suspect, well, nothing compares to Helen Mirren. MI-5 (Spooks) is not police, but still falls into the genre.
posted by nanook at 8:51 AM on December 19, 2012

Blue Murder is worth a go .
posted by SueDenim at 4:48 PM on December 19, 2012

Oh, and let's not forget "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," the original 19...79? miniseries starring Alec Guinness as George Smiley, a former senior officer of "The Circus," as they called SIS (what most people call MI-6), brought out of retirement to find a mole on the inside.

According to a friend who married a Brit, TTSS was a Christmastime staple for British TV-- the whole family shut up while watching it. It's a spy story, but it's a mystery set among the top men of British Intelligence, in a story that spans some 20 years.

The recent movie (with an astonishing cast) does, IMO, do the story plenty of justice, but the miniseries had so much more room to maneuver.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:00 PM on December 19, 2012

Australian, but similar in tone and very good - try the two Jack Irish telemovies.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 9:42 PM on December 19, 2012

A relative newcomer, this one - Rastamouse is a powerful, allegorical exploration of the key themes of crime, redemption, and reggae.

And cheese.

The show's bright and breezy style belies its serious social commentary, as we watch Rastamouse and his cohorts - Scratchy and Zoomer ("Da Easy Crew") - journey ever deeper into the dark, seedy underbelly of a seemingly innocent society.

Dogged in their pursuit of justice, Da Easy Crew are repeatedly forced to confront the grim reality of life in Mouseland: Thieves, counterfeiters, cheats and impostors abound. Barely a day goes by without some dread misdeed interrupting their usual irie routine and forcing them - once again - out onto the streets in order to "make a bad ting good".

And still, the deeper questions remain: Why are there so many orphans on the island? What does the "cheese" really symbolise? And is Mouseland's avuncular president, Wensley Dale, really as benevolent as he seems?

All 52 episodes are thrill-a-minute television that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Highly recommended!
posted by ZipRibbons at 2:00 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Forgot to say, Endgame isn't British and isn't cop-oriented, but I think it might tickle your fancy. Give it a go. Eccentric Russian chess master solves mysteries. Canadian in vintage, I believe.
posted by thelastcamel at 1:42 PM on December 25, 2012

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