In the fast-paced world of streaming entertainment, crime shows have consistently captured the hearts and minds of viewers.
The allure of solving complex mysteries and delving into the intricacies of the criminal underworld has been a constant fascination for audiences, dating back to the early days of television. Today, we’ll take you on a journey through the best crime shows on Netflix, exploring a range of gripping series that have left an indelible mark on the genre.
1. Breaking Bad: Where It All Began (2008-2013)
We begin our journey with the undisputed kingpin of crime dramas, “Breaking Bad.” This iconic series, created by Vince Gilligan, tells the compelling story of Walter White, a high-school chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine manufacturer.
As he grapples with a life-altering cancer diagnosis, Walter takes a treacherous path into the criminal underworld. “Breaking Bad” is a masterclass in storytelling, characterized by its intricate character development and beautifully shot scenes.
With Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul leading the charge, it’s no surprise that this series stands as the highest-rated show of all time. If you haven’t watched it yet, now is the time to embark on this unforgettable journey into the moral abyss.
2. Better Call Saul: The Lawyer’s Descent (2015-2020)
Before Saul Goodman became the shrewd lawyer defending the likes of Walter White, we met him as the earnest and morally flexible Jimmy McGill in “Better Call Saul.” This prequel to “Breaking Bad” follows Jimmy’s transformation into the infamous Saul Goodman.
Developed by Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan, the series seamlessly blends elements of crime with legal drama, delivering a poignant narrative laced with humor. Bob Odenkirk’s portrayal of Jimmy McGill deserves every accolade it has received. “Better Call Saul” has carved its own niche in the crime drama genre and is equally exceptional as its predecessor.
3. Peaky Blinders: A Gritty Historical Saga (2013-2022)
Venturing into a historical crime drama, we find “Peaky Blinders.” Loosely based on a real English gang, this series follows the Shelby family’s return to Birmingham after serving in World War I. Led by Thomas Shelby, they’re drawn into dangerous conflicts that extend far beyond the streets of Birmingham.
“Peaky Blinders” seamlessly blends historical events with fictional storytelling, creating a unique and immersive narrative. The complex characters elicit both pity and admiration from the audience, making it a standout in the crime drama genre.
4. Narcos: The Rise of the Cartels (2015-2017)
The allure of crime extends beyond borders, and “Narcos” takes us into the heart of the Colombian drug trade. This gripping series chronicles the criminal exploits of Pablo Escobar and the emergence of other drug kingpins.
It also delves into the relentless efforts of the US DEA to dismantle these powerful cartels. “Narcos” stands tall with its gritty and realistic portrayal of the drug trade, complemented by stellar performances from the cast. Wagner Moura and Pedro Pascal shine in their roles, making this show a must-watch for crime drama enthusiasts.
5. Top Boy: A Gritty Look at London’s Underbelly (2011-2023)
“Top Boy” invites us into the dark and dangerous world of London’s drug trade and gangster lifestyle. The series revolves around two central characters, Dushane and Sully, as they navigate the treacherous path to the top of the East London drug trade.
Praised for its authenticity and social commentary, “Top Boy” offers compelling storytelling and well-developed characters. Fans of gritty crime dramas will be delighted to know that the fifth and final season is set to make its triumphant return in September.
6. Ozark: Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Crimes (2017-2022)
There’s an undeniable appeal in witnessing ordinary individuals thrust into the criminal world, and “Ozark” encapsulates this premise brilliantly. Jason Bateman and Laura Linney star as Marty and Wendy Byrde, a regular family entangled with a deadly drug cartel.
When Marty’s money laundering scheme goes awry, they find themselves on a perilous path to protect their family and expand their operations in the Ozarks. Much like “Breaking Bad,” “Ozark” is intense and well-written, making it a must-watch for those who crave the tension of the criminal underworld.
7. Mindhunter: Profiling the Minds of Serial Killers (2017-2019)
For fans of police procedural series and a deep dive into the human psyche, “Mindhunter” is a tantalizing treat. The story revolves around two FBI agents who delve into the minds of serial killers to understand their motivations.
Set in the 1970s, the series explores the fictionalized origins of the FBI’s profiling program. “Mindhunter” is a well-constructed masterpiece, known for its exceptional directing, well-written script, and stellar performances. It may occasionally be slow-paced, but for those who appreciate a psychological thriller, it’s a delightful choice.
8. The Alienist: Unraveling Gruesome Mysteries (2018-2020)
Set against the backdrop of a hauntingly recreated historical New York City, “The Alienist” offers a gripping murder mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
The story follows early practitioners of psychology and psychiatry as they attempt to solve a series of gruesome crimes plaguing the city. With a talented cast, including Daniel Bruhl, Luke Evans, and Dakota Fanning, this show combines elements of psychological thriller, drama, and historical intrigue. Beware, though—the graphic content might not be for the faint of heart.
9. Good Girls: When Suburban Moms Turn Criminal (2018-2021)
Ever wondered what happens when suburban housewives dabble in the criminal world? “Good Girls” provides a thrilling answer. This series follows three ordinary women who, burdened by financial struggles, compromise their morals and find themselves entrenched in a life of crime.
While the characters feel relatable, the show occasionally ventures into the unbelievable. Nevertheless, “Good Girls” offers a blend of dark humor and intense drama that’s both addictive and appealing.
10. Who Killed Sara?: Unraveling a Vengeful Mystery (2021-2022)
If you relish melodramas with twists and turns, “Who Killed Sara?” is the crime series for you. This Mexican drama follows a young man wrongly accused and imprisoned for his sister’s death. Upon his release, he embarks on a mission to uncover the truth and exact revenge on the family responsible.
While the show’s explicit content and occasional unbelievability may not appeal to everyone, it’s undeniably binge-worthy for those who enjoy gripping and dramatic mysteries.
11. Babylon Berlin: Weimar Intrigue (2017-Present)
Our journey through crime shows on Netflix takes a historical turn with “Babylon Berlin.” Set in the late Weimar Republic era in Berlin, this series follows the ambitious police inspector Geron as he investigates a series of mysterious events.
“Babylon Berlin” delves into corruption, power, and the struggle for order in a city teetering on the edge of chaos. Known for its lavish production and captivating storytelling, it’s a must-watch for those who enjoy political intrigue, thriller elements, and a rich historical backdrop.
12. In From the Cold: Espionage Meets Family Drama (2022-Present)
Mixing espionage with family drama, “In From the Cold” follows a single mother whose seemingly ordinary life is upended when she’s exposed as an ex-Russian spy. Abducted by the CIA, she faces a stark choice: work for them or risk losing her family.
This series adds a sci-fi twist to the women assassin trope, offering compelling twists and surprises. Margarita Levieva delivers an outstanding performance, making it a must-watch for fans of strong female characters. With the promise of a second and third season, there’s more intrigue to come.
13. Blacklist: Unraveling Secrets (2013-2023)
“Blacklist” introduces us to a former government agent and notorious criminal who surrenders to the FBI with a condition: he’ll only cooperate if he gets to speak with Elizabeth Keen. James Spader’s exceptional portrayal of Raymond Reddington elevates the show to new heights. While it’s not without its flaws, “Blacklist” remains popular and entertaining even after ten seasons.
14. How to Get Away with Murder: Legal Intrigue (2014-2020)
Viola Davis shines in “How to Get Away with Murder” as Annalise Keating, a brilliant law professor whose life becomes entwined with murder mysteries involving her students.
This legal drama thriller garnered critical acclaim and even earned Davis the distinction of being the first Black woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. While the viewership declined in later seasons, it remains a beloved and popular show.
15. Who Makes the Cut?
Choosing the best crime shows on Netflix is a Herculean task, given the abundance of compelling series at your fingertips. Each of these shows brings its own unique flavor to the crime drama genre, whether through complex characters, gripping narratives, or historical intrigue.
Dive into these captivating worlds of mystery, intrigue, and moral ambiguity, and let the binge-watching begin.
As long as there is a thirst for solving crimes alongside compelling characters, the appeal of crime shows on Netflix shows no sign of waning. So, get ready to embark on thrilling journeys into the dark and enigmatic world of crime, where secrets are uncovered, mysteries are unraveled, and justice, in all its forms, is pursued. Happy streaming!