Hello everyone, and welcome once again to Mystery Appreciation Week! It wouldn’t be a *real* Appreciation Week without some kind of list, so today we bring you two: Thea’s list of recent Mystery/Thriller YA releases, On the Smugglers’ Radar-style AND a list of current/recent television shows that I have been watching.

When organising this Mystery Appreciation Week and trying to decide on a topic for a list, I realised – quite belatedly – that HOLY GUACAMOLE I seem to have a thing for Crime/Mystery TV shows? I do watch a lot of TV shows and out of those I have been watching lately/have watched in 2012, a great number are Crime shows – and I didn’t even count all the random episodes of Blue Bloods, Law and Order and CSI I often watch when I happen to stumble on them.

The list below shows my current favourites – some of them have already ended (The Killing and Cold Case) but most of them are ongoing and I highly recommend ALL.

Mystery Appreciation Week

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Scott and Bailey

ScottandBaileycast

Scott & Bailey is a police procedural on ITV (a British channel) featuring cop-partners and close friends Rachel Bailey and Janet Scott as well as show-stealer tough police chief Gill Murray. The show features these complex, good, competent (if fallible) cops, struggling with cop-life and personal-life. I love how engaging the show is not to mention how extremely refreshing it is to see one focusing 100% on female cops – let’s face it, Crime dramas are often so male-centric! Series 3 stars in May – HURRY UP MAY.

Sherlock

Sherlock 2

BBC’s Sherlock is one of those shows that are both EXTREMELY awesome (the acting, the writing, the fantastic transition from historical to contemporary storylines, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are so talented) as well as problematic (treatment of female and POC characters). Last series’ ending was so fabulous and I can’t wait to see how they go from there. Series 3 starts filming in March.

The Killing

The Killing

The Killing is a dark and gloomy Danish police procedural that just concluded its third and final (woe) series last year. It features the serious, extremely driven/workaholic and smart detective Sarah Lund. Each series featured only one crime and the plot was often twisterific with added storylines following the victim’s family’s struggles as well as the politics of the country (around the Prime Minister’s office) on top of the investigative work that the police was doing. It’s a very nail-biting, thought-provoking show and even if I was a little disappointed with how it ended (I thought it was very out-of-character), I still think it is well worth watching. And please, do not confuse with The Killing US because that is nowhere near as good as the original Danish.

The Bridge

The Bridge

The Bridge is another Danish drama, co-produced by Sweden. It begins with the discovery of a dead body on the bridge between Denmark and Sweden and it follows the investigation with two lead detectives – one from each side of the bright. Like The Killing it is another show full of twists and turns that follows not only the investigation but also the lives of the characters involved as well as the complex politics and social injustices in the countries it depicts. Bonus information: the main detective Saga Norén – is an extremely competent cop who also happens to have Aspergers Syndrome. Series 2 is coming this year.

Agatha Christie’s Poirot

hercule-poirot

I only found out about this ongoing British TV show (ITV) last year and check this out: it has aired since 1989 and it features the same actors playing the main cast of characters (including Japp, Miss Lemon and Hastings) and the EVER SO FABULOUS David Suchet as Poirot. I have no words to describe how good and perfect he is as Poirot. I do love Christie’s mysteries and I think these adaptations are incredible. Bonus points: the show also has amazing guest stars which include Emily Blunt and Michael Fassbender among others. The remaining Poirot stories will broadcast soon (hopefully this year) which means that Suchet will have filmed all the Poirot novels and short stories by the time the series is done. How awesome is that?

Agatha Christie’s Marple

Marple Marple 2

Another ITV series adapting Christie’s novels featuring Miss Marple. Running since 2009, it has two actresses playing the main character Geraldine McEwan and Julia McKenzie (from series 4 onward) and I can’t decide which one I like the most – both are equally good as Marple. This is definitely another comfort watching for me and I love the spot-the-superstar game I play (Benedict Cumberbatch!) when watching it. Series 6 is set to air this year.

Castle

Castle

I have been a brazen Nathan Fillion fangirl ever since Firefly and I luuurve him. Castle is a procedural show (now on its fifth series) with an outlandish premise: Crime novelist Richard Castle partners up with NYPD detective Becket, shadowing her around as “research” and helping solving crimes. As a crime show Castle it’s actually quite a run—of-the –mill procedural and a lot of the cases themselves are pretty boring (there, I said it) but what makes it so much fun is the geeky element with loads of inside jokes, the snappy dialogue and the will-they-won’t-they dynamics between Castle and Becket. Also: I love secondary character Esposito, he cracks me up so much.

Cold Case

Cold Case

Cold Case is a US procedural show that ran for 7 series and ended in 2010. I’ve watched some episodes here and there when they showed on telly and always REALLY enjoyed them and recently decided to watch the whole thing from the start. I am completely hooked. The show follows Detective Lilly Rush as she and her co-workers in the Philadelphia Police Department investigate “cold cases”, i.e. older cases that have never been solved. The gimmick is that throughout the episode there are flashbacks to the particular time when the crimes were committed and this gives the change for the show to examine and portray loads of interesting issues of US history including racism, sexism, homophobia. It’s a catching premise and to top it all up, each episode also features songs from that particular time and at the end of the episodes there is always a montage in which the “spirit” of the dead person shows up and then disappears to rest in peace. I know it sounds cheesy as hell but the montages get me EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. Bonus Point: pretty diverse cast that shares the spotlight with Lilly.

The Bletchley Circle

The-Bletchley-Circle

I am fascinated by WWII and about all the important work that went on at Bletchley, the top- secret wartime code-breaking centre in the UK especially because none of the people that worked there could actually use that on their CVs (imagine that!) or talk about it to anyone for years and years afterwards. Needless to say, when I heard about this series featuring a quartet or women that worked as code-breakers at Bletchley but who after the War had to return to their regular lives only to reunite years later to catch a serial killer (it is about patterns!) , I just had to watch it. I loved it: the portrayals of all 4 female protagonists, all diversely complex characters, their daily struggles to adapt to circumstances and hope there will be a second series at some point!

Ripper Street

Drake Detective-Inspector-Edmund-Reid-ripper-street-33185980-1280-1920

Ripper Street is a brand-new BBC series set in London’s Whitechapel in 1889, a few months after Jack the Ripper ravaged the streets of London. It follows the coppers of the H Division in East London as they investigate murders around that area. The lovely Matthew Macfadyen plays main character, the troubled detective Reid. But even though I am enjoying his character, I love Jerome Flynn’s Drake (the hardened detective sergeant with a heart of gold) and Adam Rothenber’s Jackson (the cheeky American surgeon) the most. Plus, it’s Victorian London so yeah: I was bound to love it.

That said: I love it almost in spite of myself because the show is a veritable Fiesta de Dicks with the occasional female characters playing either whores or wives/mothers. It is just so incredibly male-centric, you look at the shots of London and you almost think women didn’t exist at all. The worst thing? The incredibly complex glimpses we get now and then of the female characters – like Reid’s wife and Jackson’s former lover and now brothel madam.

And on that note, I ask you: what are your favourites Crime shows? Do share!

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17 Responses to Mystery Appreciation Week: Recent TV Shows Roundup

  1. MarieC says:

    I love Castle and the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes, but I’m also loving Elementary, with Lucy Liu, Jonny Lee Miller, and Aidan Quinn. Thank goodness that many of these shows can be streamed; I’ve just started watching Rosemary and Thyme, and Wallender as well.

  2. Joanna says:

    Yaaaay I’m loving this week’s theme, I practically grew up on Agatha Christie/David Suchet’s Poirot and it sealed my love of crime fiction/procedurals forever.
    I love most of the shows you’ve mentioned here (and fingers crossed for season 2 of The Bletchley Circle!) but right now it’s Elementary and The Following that have my attention. The former is a (non-sarcastic) gift that keeps giving, catering both to my love of golden-age-of-crime tropes and to my diversity/cultural sensitivity/gender equality standards. And the character development of the recent episodes! Just wonderful. As for The Following, while it is perhaps too soon to tell how good it will actually turn out, the premise is exciting and James Purefoy oozes charisma.
    Lastly, while I’m hesitant to call it strictly a crime show, I have adored White Collar since episode one and it has yet to disappoint me!

  3. Dory says:

    I’m a huge fan of Inspector Morse and Lewis. Lewis is a hybrid spin-off/continuation from Morse, but has absolutely come into its own as a show. The character development is phenomenal, and I love the relationships between Morse/Lewis and Lewis/Hathaway.

  4. Do you watch Wallander? (either the British one or the Swedish one?) What about Veronica Mars?!?

    I loved Cold Case, I used to cry so much, lol. And I learned some interesting history watching as well.

    Also what do you think of the casting for The Tunnel?

  5. de Pizan says:

    Some of my favorites:
    In Plain Sight–it sadly just ended after the 5th season
    Rizzoli & Isles–what’s this? a crime show with 2 women in the lead? who are also friends? everyone knows the rules of police procedurals don’t allow that.
    Haven–a crime/scifi hybrid
    Hawaii Five-O–while I love it for being so diverse and using local Hawaiian actors, of course it’s the 2 white dudes who are the main characters *sigh*
    The Closer–which recently ended after I think 7 seasons and has a new spinoff Major Crimes

    And then going back a ways: Due South, Homicide: Life on the Streets, and Cagney & Lacey (which surprisingly holds up very well, but for some stupid reason only the first season, part of season 2 and the later C&L movies are available on DVD)

  6. Ana says:

    @MarieC – I tried watching the first episode of Elementary but didn’t click with it I guess. But maybe I ought to give it another chance?

    @Joanna – I am intrigued by The Following so far. Will keep watching it for now.

    @Dory – I never watched either but I hear good things about them.

    @Amy – I tried the Brannagh’s Wallander but didn’t quite like it. WHAT IS THE TUNNEL?

    @de Pizan, haven’t tried ANY of these. *makes notes*

  7. Michelle says:

    Love Agatha Christie. Joan Hickson is Miss Marple to me. I agree with Due South, awesome, don’t forget the Canadian Mountie hero has a deaf wolf who reads lips.

  8. Linda W says:

    I think Sherlock is a great modern adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters. And I’m glad you discovered David Suchet as Poirot. He is perfection itself in the role.

  9. Keishon says:

    My favorites are the two you listed, Ana, The Killing (original) and The Bletchley Circle. Sarah Lund will be hard to replace. Loved her character. I didn’t care for The Bridge. Thought the lead female protagonist, despite her diagnosis, was just a rip off of Lisbeth Salander or some version of her character.

  10. Andrea says:

    I love Suchet’s Poirot, but hate many of the recent adaptations. They muck around with the original stories too much. And the portrayal of Miss Lemon is so PAINFULLY wrong.

  11. Ana says:

    @Andrea – really? That’s interesting, why do you find her portrayal wrong? I read the books such a long time ago (jaysus, it’s been over 20 years since I last read the books)

  12. MarieC says:

    @Ana – Regarding Elementary, I would give it another go. The first episode was kind of ‘meh’ for me, but as the series progressed, the characters gained some depth and lost some of the whiny-ness.

    On a side note, have you tried some of Agatha Christie short stories? I found that I enjoyed them more than her lengthier novels.

  13. oh sorry! The Tunnel is the French/British adaptation of The Bridge!

  14. Andrea says:

    The book Miss Lemon is a no-nonsense total professional who is completely disinterested in anything but improving on her intricate filing system. She works for Poirot with the maximum of efficiency and total disinterest. [I don't think she even likes him particularly.]

    The TV series Miss Lemon is…kind of a Care Bear.

  15. Mieneke says:

    I watch Crime shows almost exclusively, so here’s my list:

    1. Bones, I love the dynamics of this show, though in the season they’re on now in the Netherlands it’s flagging a bit.
    2. Flashpoint, a Canadian show about the Strategic Response Unit, which sadly just ended after five seasons, but was SO good. Plus one of the main characters is played by Enrico Colantoni, who also played Veronica Mars’ dad.
    3. Rizolli and Isles is just awesome!
    4. Body of Proof, is about an ME and solving crimes from that angle, but with super strong female leads, one of whom is Jeri Ryan a.k.a. Seven of Nine.
    5. We just started watching The Following. Only watched one ep so far (there have only been two shown here) but first impression is good.
    6. Criminal Minds. I just love it, plus I have a huge crush on Reid :-D
    7. Elementary. It really does get better the further in you get!
    8. The Mentalist. Another cool team and Simon Baker as Patrick Jane is genius.
    9. Also just started watching Grimm. Not sure about that one yet though!

    And of course, I watch Castle too! How can you not love Nathan Fillion? And I agree, Esposito is awesome (and hot ;-))

  16. I am obsessed with BBC’s Sherlock Holmes !! XD Sigh… I was actually so mad that The Hobbit delayed season 3. Gaaah !!!

  17. Kendra says:

    The Murder Club! It’s about a female detective, ME, and lawyer- they work together and are best friends. Kind of like Castle in that they show the fun relationships the characters have with each other, but less campy and more interesting crimes.

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