Netflix is packed with an infinite catalog of thrilling, racy, and some of the best crime dramas. And a subset of these action-packed shows deals predominantly with police procedurals. If you want to check out some edgy, engaging, and gritty titles that specifically belong to this genre, then you have come to the right place.
15. The Valhalla Murders (2019 – 2020)
Starring Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir, Björn Thors, Bergur Ebbi Benediktsson, and Sigurður Skúlason, ‘The Valhalla Murders’ is a police procedural television series created by Thordur Palsson. The series follows Arnar, a police investigator from Norway who must race against the clock to stop Iceland’s first serial killer along with the head investigator of the case, Kata. The search for the maniacal murderer, which initially has begun as a trail of unrelated crimes, eventually leads them to an abandoned boys’ home named Valhalla that was witness to some horrific incident more than three decades ago. The investigators must find the connection between the present-day crimes and the events that transpired 35 years ago to find the culprit before it’s too late.
14. Mindhunter (2017-2019)
‘Mindhunter‘, a Netflix Original series, adopts a unique, one-of-its-kind approach to the genre of FBI shows. It is about the psychological analysis of criminals’ minds, in an attempt to understand their twisted psyches. Based on real-time events and FBI agents, ‘Mindhunter‘ is set in the 1970s. It follows two team members from FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit, who interview various offenders and tries to change the conventional investigative methods for serial killers. It tells us the story of how the FBI introduced psychology into their criminal cases. Combining facts with fiction, this show makes for a stellar, mind-blowing watch.
13. Aranyak (2021-)
Featuring stand-out performances by Raveena Tandon, Parambrata Chatterjee, and Ashutosh Rana, ‘Aranyak‘ is a crime thriller series created by Rohan Sippy. The show centers upon Sirona, a sleepy town nestled between the majestic hills of the Himalayas. Although it is a peaceful place known to offer tourists a break from the hustle-bustle of big cities, when a foreign traveler goes missing, things soon spiral out of control. The responsibility of solving the case falls on the shoulder of a veteran local cop named Kasturi, who has always wanted to work on a high-profile case. But will things go her way once she takes her up the case?
12. Jamtara – Sabka Number Ayega (2020 -)
Created and directed by Soumendra Padhi, Jamtara – Sabka Number Ayega is a crime drama streaming television series that features Amit Sial, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Aksha Pardasany, and Aasif Khan. The show primarily focuses on a thriving phishing racket run by some small-town criminals who manage to earn so much money that even a corrupt politician eventually wants a piece of the pie. Just when it seems that the young guns will continue to run their illegal business without ever getting into trouble, a newly appointed Police superintendent vows to stop them.
11. Sacred Games (2018-2019)
An Indian thriller drama, ‘Sacred Games‘ revolves around police officer Sartaj Singh, after he gets a call tipping him about the whereabouts of the underground overlord Ganesh Gaitonde. Considering this turn of events to be a chance to lift his failing career, Singh embarks on a cat and mouse chase across the streets to Mumbai to catch Gaitonde. In this chase, we get to know of several secrets buried within the shady lanes of the city. Racy, sweaty, and full of twists and turns, ‘Sacred Games‘ (a Netflix Original) definitely deserves a mention on our list.
10. Young Wallander (2020-)
Inspired by novels by Henning Mankell, ‘Young Wallander’ is a crime drama thriller show developed and co-written by Ben Harris. The series follows the titular protagonist as he tries to solve his first cast- a grisly hate crime in his own neighborhood that he himself witnessed. As he embarks on a quest to find the murderer, the controversy started by the case fuels anti-immigration anger that can spiral out of control if the culprit is not brought to justice.
9. Narcos (2015-2017)
As you must already know, ‘Narcos‘ is about the rise of the drug empire in Colombia. It takes us to the 1980s when powerful drug kingpins ruled the cocaine trade. Raw, gritty and completely original, ‘Narcos’ brings to you the notorious criminals and the crimes committed by them. Now, why we have included this show on our list is because it also focuses on the law enforcement officers who struggle to catch these powerful criminals, including drug overlords like Pablo Escobar. In this battle, many forces, such as legal, political, police, military and civilian, combine and find themselves at conflict while trying to bring stability amidst this chaos.
8. The Blacklist (2013-2023)
‘The Blacklist‘ introduces us to Raymond “Red” Reddington, who was previously a US Naval Intelligence officer, but then vanished for 20 years to transform into one among the ten most wanted fugitives on FBI’s list. Red surrenders one day to Harold Cooper (assistant director of the FBI) and offers his help to track down and apprehend criminals with whom he had spent the last two decades. However, his help comes with two conditions: he wants immunity and he will work only with rookie profiler Elizabeth Keen aka Liz.
Although Keen and Cooper are suspicious of Red’s weird request, the latter still decides to test him by asking for his assistance in capturing a terrorist. When they successfully catch and kill the offender, Red confides to the duo that this man was only the first on his “blacklist” of international criminals — a catalog that he had compiled during his mysterious 20 years in exile. He also reveals that the FBI has a common interest with him in tracking down these offenders. As the series progresses, we also get to know why Red is so much interested in Liz. Each episode of the show features one global criminal and depicts the team’s efforts as they search for him and finally apprehend the criminal.
7. Unit 42 (2017-)
Primarily set in Brussels, ‘Unit 42’ is a French-language Belgian detective cyber police procedural series. The plot revolves around a team of investigators, led by Samuel Leroy (Patrick Ridremont), a calm and experience detective. Among Leroy’s teammates is rookie Billie Vebber (Constance Gay), who was a hacker before joining law enforcement. As they investigate the murder of a woman, their contrasting personalities inevitably come into conflict. Leroy has recently lost his wife and the mother of his three children (she somehow seems to be still in the mortal plane as a spirit.), and has to return home in the evening, while Billie is a night owl. What breaches the gap between them is that they both are exceptional at their job and their desire to find the woman’s murderer.
6. Peaky Blinders (2013-2022)
Set in England after World War I, ‘Peaky Blinders‘ is an English TV crime drama that transports us to the 1920s in Birmingham. Arriving from creator Steven Knight and produced by Caryn Mandabach Productions, Screen Yorkshire and Tiger Aspect Productions, the show is about the Shelby family. The notorious Tommy Shelby owns and runs his criminal gang Peaky Blinders, which operates on the streets of Birmingham. Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Chester Campbell is determined to nab him and put the gang behind bars.
5. Better Call Saul (2015-2022)
Have you watched ‘Breaking Bad‘? Then you must already know Saul Goodman — the unethical, resourceful lawyer, who always advises Walter White. Well, ‘Better Call Saul’ documents his rise from his days as a struggling lawyer in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Named during his birth as Jimmy, he starts his career by first defending petty criminals and representing his clients in civil liability claims. The show also introduces us to his brother Chuck, who is an established legal professional but has not been seen outside the house due to a weird illness. Jimmy supports him by working and helping him with groceries, shopping etc.
However, Jimmy comes with a dark past as a fraudster while working in Chicago and before returning to Albuquerque. Additionally, the show introduces us to ex-cop Mike Ehrmantraut, who is now employed as a toll booth attendant at the parking lot of Jimmy’s courthouse. As the episodes progress, we get to see how Jimmy’s story entwines with that of Mike’s, and how the former grows into Saul Goodman in ‘Breaking Bad’.
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4. Wentworth (2013-2021)
‘Wentworth’ is essentially a show about prisoners who are imprisoned at Wentworth Correctional Center. It revolves around Bea Smith and chronicles her life in prison after being charged with the attempted murder of her husband. Unaware about how the hierarchy works, she is forced to learn how to survive in prison. This gritty show introduces us to nasty politics, challenges, and struggles between women, trapped behind the razor line. Now, why we included this show here is because it also gives a deep insight into the day-to-day lives of the correctional officers employed there, both inside and outside the prison walls. You get to see the psychotic governor turned prisoner Joan Ferguson, the meek Vera Bennett, and the hot-headed Will Smith. One of the most popular series in Australian TV, ‘Wentworth’ is a must-watch, especially for fans of ‘Orange Is the New Black’
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3. Catching Killers (2021-)
In the era of extreme competition between the over-the-top subscription video-on-demand services, Netflix has managed to stay on top primarily through its content on serial killings. The true-crime documentary series ‘Catching Killers’ of these types of content, though instead of focusing on the killers, as some of these shows do, ‘Catching Killers’ revolves around the law enforcement officials pursuing them. The first episode is about the Green River killer, arguably the most prolific serial killer after the Zodiac killer, and follows the accounts of Detectives Dave Reichert, Fae Brooks, and Tom Jensen of what transpired during the investigation, and why the families of the victims had to wait two decades to get justice. The second episode focuses on Aileen Wuornos, a female serial killer and prostitute who killed seven of her male clients.
2. Terrorism Close Calls (2018-)
‘Terrorism Close Calls’ is a wonderful, thought-provoking documentary that explores deadly terrorist attacks, some of which were successful and some of which did not go as planned. Every episode takes up one case and features dedicated law enforcement officers who explain how these disasters were avoided at the nick of time, saving thousands of innocent to-be victims.
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1. The Chestnut Man (2021-)
Based on the 2019 namesake book by Søren Sveistrup, ‘The Chestnut Man’ or ‘Kastanjemanden’ is a Danish crime-drama series that tells the story of Detective Naia Thulin, as she investigates the murder of a young woman, whose body was found in a playground and one of her hands was missing. She and her partner, Mark Hess discover that the killer has left a tiny figurine made of chestnuts beside the body. As the investigation continues, the detectives find similarities between their case and the massacre of an entire family that took place on a remote farm in 1987. Thirty years later, Hess and Thulin’s investigation takes an unexpected turn following the discovery of the fingerprints on the chestnut figurine, belonging to the missing daughter of the minister of social affairs.
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