For the past seven weeks, the nation’s eyes have been glued to one of the year’s biggest TV events: the sixth series of Line of Duty.
Jed Mercurio’s hit BBC One drama has regaled viewers with the usual smattering of red herrings, twist-filled interrogations and armed convoy attacks.
Introducing Kelly Macdonald as the seemingly corrupt DCI Joanna Davidson, the season focused on the investigation into the murder of Gail Vella (Andi Osho), a prominent journalist.
But with the series coming to an end (albeit in “disappointing fashion, according to viewers), many fans may be wondering what exactly is going to fill the AC-12-sized hole in their viewing schedule.
Here are 10 TV programmes that might just fit the bill…
Executive produced by Jed Mercurio, Bloodlands stars James Nesbitt as Northern Irish police officer Tom Brannick, a single father whose wife disappeared years ago, seemingly murdered at the hands of a killer known as Goliath. The first season of Bloodlands was just four episodes long, but packed in plenty of twists; the BBC has confirmed another season is already on its way. Bloodlands can be watched on BBC iPlayer
Also created by Mercurio, Bodyguard told the story of PS David Budd (Richard Madden), a troubled army veteran working as a bodyguard for the Met Police. Assigned to the formidable Home Secretary Julia Montague, played by Keeley Hawes, Budd finds himself torn between duty and politics, in an adrenaline-fuelled story that constantly keeps you guessing. Bodyguard can be watched now on Netflix.
Noah Hawley’s adaptation of the Coen brothers’ classic 1996 movie had no right to be as good as it is. An anthology series built around violent crimes, interpersonal feuds and sprawling police investigations, Fargo is eccentric and exciting, featuring stellar performances from heavyweight actors including David Thewlis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ewan McGregor, Carrie Coon, Jesse Plemmons and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The first three seasons can be streamed on Netflix and All 4.
Line of Duty’s Kelly Macdonald stars in this British-Japanese co-production about a Tokyo detective (played by Takehiro Hira) who travels to London to search for his brother, who had been presumed dead. A crime thriller with an interesting cultural angle, Giri/Hagi can be streamed on Netflix.
Sally Wainwright’s Yorkshire-set crime drama Happy Valley was a hit for BBC One when it debuted in 2014. Centring around a kidnapping, the show was heavy-going at times, with some graphic violence and sensitive subject matter, but viewers loved it. The series is available to watch now on BritBox.
If Scandinavian crime shows are more your style, there’s no better place to start than with The Killing, the investigative drama which had a huge hand in popularising Scandi thillers in the UK. Like Line of Duty, it devotes entire seasons to single investigations, and isn’t afraid of a few red herrings. Unfortunately, the series isn’t streaming anywhere in the UK at the moment, though can still be purchased on DVD or digitally.
There’s no show that’s ever done “bent coppers” quite like The Shield. Michael Chiklis is a force of nature as the corrupt LA cop Vic Mackey, who spends seven seasons conniving his way out of the clutches of justice, while running an anti-gang task force in one of the city’s most crime-struck districts. Sharply written, brilliantly acted and as gripping as they come, The Shield also features great season-long guest performances from Glenn Close and Forest Whitaker. The series can be streamed now on Amazon Prime Video.
Often (and perhaps unfairly) compared to and contrasted with The Wire, French series Spiral has become that rare French-language TV show that has found an audience in the UK. A superlative police procedural and legal drama, Spiral has now run for eight series, and can be seen on BBC iPlayer.
HBO’s cerebral police drama began with a scintillating first season, starring a never-better Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as two quarrelsome police detectives hunting a serial killer in split time periods. The over-maligned second season and under-ambitious third failed to reach the same heights, but all three offer a slick, exhilarating spin on the police drama format. The first two seasons can be streamed on Sky Go and Now.
Unforgotten aired its fourth series in March, concluding with a dramatic season-ending twist that any Line of Duty fan can appreciate. For four seasons, viewers have relished the chemistry between Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar), two London detectives who investigate cold murder and missing persons cases. With another series already in the pipeline, Unforgotten is slowly consolidating its reputation as one of the best British crime dramas in recent years. It can be streamed now on BritBox and Netflix.
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