The majority of British crime TV shows focus on solving crimes, not creating vivid bloody imagery for shock value. Yes, there are bombs, murders, and violence, but the camera doesn’t focus on the gore. Instead, British TV detectives entertain fans by using their intellect to uncover the vile secrets and lies of criminals. For the audience that is a little tired of the flash and gore, here are some great detective stories:
‘Midsomer Murders’ (1997)
DCI (Detective Chief Inspector) Barnaby and his partner catch murderers in idyllic English villages. To find the murderer’s motives, Barnaby exposes the village residents by revealing their darkest secrets. In Season 14, Neil Dudgeon (“Life of Riley”) replaced John Nettles (“The Hound of the Baskervilles”) as Barnaby and the show’s popularity continued. Now, for Season 16, Gwilydm Lee (“Land Girls”) stars as Barnaby’s newest partner. According to IMDB the series is based on books by Caroline Graham.
‘Wire in the Blood’ (2002)
A brilliant, but strange psychology professor and a serious detective combine their talents to solve brutal crimes. Based on a series of books by Val McDermid, it’s the most violent of the mysteries on this list. The actor Robson Green (“Strikeback” ) stars as the dark and edgy professor, struggling with his own demons.
A slow unfolding of dark secrets help solve this murder. The small community of Broadchuch is a strong part of the storyline. According to IMDB, “Broadchurch”, isn’t based on a crime novel, but on a true story. Chris Chibnell, the TV show’s creator and crime author Erin Kelly are collaborating on writing the book. The Telegraph reported that Little, Brown Book Group will publish the novel in 2014. The “Broadchurch” star David Tennant (“Dr. Who”) will also star in the US remake by FOX network.
Mystery fans go back in time with this prequel to the popular “Inspector Morse” TV series. In the pilot movie, a young and vibrant Inspector Morse, portrayed by Shaun Evans (“Whitechapel”), meets his mentor, Inspector Thursday. He is just starting his career, but Inspector Morse begins making his mark as a brilliant crime solver. Author Colin Dexter wrote the original Inspector Morse book series.
The author of the original books, Ann Cleeves, created a vibrant and secure woman detective. The actor, Brenda Blethlyn (“War and Peace”), uses her enormous talent to create the delightful, compassionate, and damaged detective in the TV series. Outrageous and annoying, the character Vera feels no shame in her emotions, including her anger.
Crime and detective television shows from the UK are entertaining mysteries. The stories don’t focus on gory special effects that distract from good acting and well-written scripts. To watch many of these series, see “Masterpiece Mystery” on PBS. Hulu Plus also shows many great British mysteries.
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