Murder Mysteries: Television's Comfort Food

Golden Retriever in Armchair.jpg

When you're under the weather or feeling glum, there's nothing like your favorite comfort food—cinnamon toast, macaroni and cheese, and grilled cheese are favorites. Likewise, my husband and I are convinced that when we're sick, injured or recuperating, curling up with a television murder mystery is as healing 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 favorite TV Murder Mysteries: 

  • Death in Paradise
  • George Gently
  • Midsomer Murders
  • Death comes to Pemberly
  • Inspector Morse
  • Inspector Lewis (please let there be a "Hathaway" series next!) 
  • Endeavor
  • Shetland
  • Brokenwood
  • 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)
  • Elementary
  • Forever
  • The Heart Guy (not a mystery, but still good) 
  • Father Brown
  • Grantchester
  • Foyle's War
  • Call the Midwife (not a mystery, but still good)
  • Bletchley Circle
  • Hetty Wainthropp
  • Silk
  • Maigret
  • Lord Peter Whimsey
  • Zen
  • Cadfael
  • 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
  • Bosch
  • Waking the Dead
  • Hinterland 
  • Deep Water 
  • Chasing Shadows 
  • Broadchurch (both the US and UK versions) 
  • Luther 
  • Crossing Lines 
  • The Tunnel (both the UK and Netherlands versions. Didn't like the American version, The Bridge)
  • The Level
  • Wallender
  • 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.

If you've got a favorite you think I've missed, please head to the Contact page and shoot an email to me. I'm always looking for new ideas. 

Thank you for visiting my blog. When I'm not blogging, I'm writing the Maggie McDonald Mystery series about a Professional Organizerand her Golden Retriever. Learn more about me and my cozy mystery series, including upcoming sales, appearances, and books here.
Mary Feliz