‘A Nearly Normal Family’ is a Netflix Swedish show centering around a family’s complicated association with a murder case. The engrossing narrative commences in the suburbs of Lund, where 19-year-old Stella Sandell lives with her parents, Adam, a priest, and Urikia, a lawyer. However, the family’s picturesque life tilts on its axis when the brutal murder of Christoffer Olsen leads to Stella’s arrest. Thus, Stella stands accused of a horrible crime. Now, her future remains in Adam and Urikia’s hands, who must do everything in their power to clear their kid’s name while quietly questioning everything about their family dynamic.
The show explores how Stella’s overwhelming legal trouble stretches the fabric of her family, forcing her parents to scrutinize the interpersonal building blocks of the Sandells. Simultaneously focusing on Christoffer’s mysterious murder, the show ends up charting a compelling tale about proving one’s innocence while delving into the complexities of familial relationships. Therefore, if you’ve found yourself captivated by these themes and are looking for shows with similar storylines, here are some stories that might be worth your time.
8. Thursday’s Widows (2023)
The Spanish show ‘Thursday’s Widows,’ an on-screen adaptation of Claudia Piñero’s similarly titled novel, delves into a high-class society and examines multiple families and their connection to one shared crime scene. On the night of December 26, Tere Scaglia finds three dead bodies in her pool, including her husband, Tano. The men who seemed to have died in a freak accident all leave their families behind, marking a dark day in Los Altos de las Cascadas’ history. However, heavy secrets brew beneath the surface that remain privy to real estate agent Mavi Guevera, who knows the ugly truth behind her gated community. If complicated family dynamics that lead to grave outcomes are your thing, this show will prove to be an enthralling watch after ‘A Nearly Normal Family.’
7. Truth Be Told (2019- 2023)
Helmed by Octavia Spencer, ‘Truth Be Told,’ is a mystery drama show following the adventures of protagonist Poppy Parnell, a true crime podcaster. The story finds its start after journalist Poppy returns to her roots and tries to solve the closed murder case of Chuck Buhrman. Even though Poppy helped convict Warren Cave of the crime years ago, new evidence surfaces and casts a doubtful shadow over the man’s guilt. Thus, Poppy peels back the layers and attempts to resolve a puzzle to prove the innocence of a previously incriminated man and find the truth behind Buhrman’s death.
The show’s first season sets up a fight for innocence, with similar thematic threads as ‘A Nearly Normal Family.’ Furthermore, future seasons continue to hold onto the crime mystery element of the genre, allowing fans of the latter show a peek into other thrilling instances of judicial complications.
6. The Twelve (2019-2023)
‘The Twelve,’ a Flemish show, puts its protagonist on the stand and delves into the world of the jurors who are chosen to pass their verdict on the former’s involvement in a harrowing murder trial. Frie Palmers stands accused of two separate murders distanced by years in time. As a result, Frie must fight to prove her innocence in both the murder of her friend Brechtje in 2000 and the more recent death of her own daughter. As new information comes out in the open, it is up to the jurors, each with their own baggage, to pass their judgment on Frie’s innocence or guilt.
The show does a compelling job of showcasing a charged trial against the accused and keeping the viewers on their toes regarding the truth. As such, if you enjoyed the similar aspect that Stella’s story explores in ‘A Nearly Normal Family,’ you should definitely give this show a try.
5. The Undoing (2020)
One fickle night that brings news of a horrifying murder and a missing husband changes everything for Grace Fraser, her son, Henry, and their picture-perfect lives. Safe in high society, Grace, a marriage therapist, couldn’t have asked for a better, more loving husband than Jonathan. That is until the man disappears without a trace on the heels of murder accusations. As such, left behind in the wind, Grace must figure out how to rebuild a safe life for herself and her son as Jonathan’s entanglement with the law casts a dark shadow over their lives.
‘The Undoing‘ shares prominent themes of family and crime with ‘A Nearly Normal Family’ but brings a riveting twist on the question of how far one is willing to go for their blood. Consequently, this show would make for the perfect watch for someone seeking a similar thrill as the latter show with unique narratives and twists.
4. The Perfect Mother (2021)
The French/German thriller show ‘The Perfect Mother’ (Originally titled ‘Une Mère Parfaite’) tells a story about a mother-daughter duo who becomes embroiled in a murder case with the latter as the prime suspect. One dreadful night, Anya Berg calls her mother, Hélène, in Berlin to share the horrifying news of the accusation against her for an individual’s murder. As such, the mother frantically leaves for Paris, where she employs the help of Vincent Duc, an old flame and a lawyer, to prove her daughter’s innocence.
Off the bat, the similarities between ‘A Nearly Normal Family’ and ‘The Perfect Mother’ are easy to spot. Both shows revolve around family members and their desperate attempts to exonerate their kids and save them from a cruel fate. Yet, the two stories still blanket their narratives with intrigue by acknowledging the lingering doubt that Stella and Anya’s predicament invites.
3. The Night of (2016)
The Emmy-winning show, ‘The Night of,’ starring Riz Ahmed in the lead role, unravels the details of a hazy night that ended with the death of a woman, leaving her companion as the lead suspect. The show follows Naz, a Pakistani-American student, who becomes beguiled by a charming woman and abandons a party invite to spend the night, indulging in drugs and each other’s company. However, the morning brings an unnerving revelation of the woman’s death, effectively framing Naz as untrustworthy in the eyes of the law. Worse yet, the man himself can’t remember the night’s details to prove his innocence even to himself.
The show proposes a peculiar case with a nuanced take on the idea of guilty vs. innocent, something fans of ‘A Nearly Normal Family’ will appreciate. As such, Naz’s legal battle is bound to remain reminiscent of Stella’s narrative while promising a new perspective for the viewers.
2. Your Honor (2020-2023)
Peter Moffat’s ‘Your Honor,’ a Bryan Cranston starrer, scrutinizes the moral line between a man’s duty to the law and his own family. Adam Desiato finds himself in hot waters due to his involvement in the death of a crime family head’s son in a hit-and-run accident. As a result, his father, Michel, a respected Judge in New Orleans, must betray his responsibilities to ensure his son’s safety from the grave consequences of his actions. Thus, the family spirals down a rabbit hole of lethal secrets and complications, making an enemy out of some very powerful people.
This show presents a thrilling study of the relationship between a father and his son, showcasing the lengths one is willing to go to for the sake of their loved ones. While it shares this attribute with ‘A Nearly Normal Family,’ the show also sets itself apart by leaning into the criminality aspect of the drama.
1. Defending Jacob (2020)
If you’re looking for all the elements that make ‘A Nearly Normal Family’ worthwhile, including its exploration of family within the framework of a criminal trial to beat, ‘Defending Jacob’ is the perfect watch for you. Assistant Defense Attorney Andy Barber’s life takes a crashing turn when his own son, Jacob, only 14 years old, faces accusations of his classmate’s murder. Jacob’s future looks bleaker by the second, with the entire world turned against the boy due to the unfavorable details surrounding the ordeal.
Thus, Andy and his wife Laurie, the only ones truly in the kid’s corner, must find a way to get to the truth and use it to save their son. The Barber family’s plight presents a near-mirror image of the situation that the Sandells face. Therefore, if the latter story has left an impact on you, you’re bound to enjoy ‘Defending Jacob.’