Mad for TV Murder Mysteries


We don't get the Hallmark Mystery channel, but my husband and I are convinced that when we're sick, injured or recuperating, PBS and Acorn mysteries are as important as chicken soup. They're like a warm hug. Most episodes turn out okay in the end, so they're not worrisome. 

Here are some of our favorites: 

Death in Paradise

George Gently

Midsomer Murders

Death comes to Pemberly

Inspector Morse

Inspector Lewis (please let there be a "Hathaway" series next!) 




800 words (not a mystery, but with the same comfort value)

Doctor Blake

DCI Banks

The Last Detective

The Singing Detective

Sherlock (except the last season and maybe the next to last, which were too weird)



The Heart Guy (not a mystery, but still good) 

Father Brown


Foyle's War

Call the Midwife (not a mystery, but still good)

Bletchley Circle

Hetty Wainthropp



Lord Peter Whimsey



Dalziel & Pascoe

Jonathan Creek

Rosemary & Thyme

River (This one has an unusual but endearing plot device. It's on the line between charming and chilling.) 

Here are some that we love, but that are rougher, so don't fit into the "chicken soup" category. 

Witnesses (It's in French with subtitles. Adds fun if you took French in high school)

Wire in the Blood


Waking the Dead


Deep Water

Chasing Shadows

Broadchurch (both the US and UK versions) 


Crossing Lines

The Tunnel (both the UK and Netherlands versions. Didn't like the American version, The Bridge)

The Level


The Escape Artist (very good, but very disturbing) 

Prime Suspect (We love this originally, but had to stop watching when we had little kids and they handled a child abuse case. Now that our children are grown, we've revisited them, and eagerly await The Young Jane Tennison)

Here are some that fell short of the mark for me, but that you might like:

The Fall (too disturbing for comfort)

Miss Fisher (The books are better. These can get too silly) 

Vera (We watched these, but Vera might be too flawed)

Agatha Raisin (Too silly for us)

Murdoch Mysteries (Seemed to be trying too hard)

Jack Irish (Too dark)

Newest Agatha Christie remakes (of COURSE we watched them, but they take a much darker turn than earlier versions, though they are true to the books.) 

New Tricks (I liked them, but my husband didn't. I can't remember why.) 

Lovejoy (We didn't like it, but it's very popular)

Still Life (I love Louise Penny's books, and might have enjoyed this if my expectations weren't so high.) 

Mr & Mrs Murder (My husband nixed this one. Too silly.) 

Thorne (too gritty)

Vexed (too silly)

Partners in Crime (too silly. Or maybe just not as I pictured my beloved T&T)

Cracker (Too dated -- my husband cares about production value, and this one doesn't have writing strong enough to overcome old-fashioned resolution.)

True Detective - this one is well worth watching, particularly the first season. But it had some down sides I can't reveal (without revealing plot) that prevent me from claiming it as a complete success. It has some great "guys talking in cars" scenes.