Whether it’s the news that the new Twin Peaks has a release date and episode count, or the debut of the CW’s Riverdale—essentially, teen Twin Peaks but with less smoking and more Archie characters — it’s been a week where murder has been on the mind. And not just any murder: the kind that happens on the small screen, and requires a lot of effort to solve it.
Thing is, television has historically been great for murder mysteries; there’s just something about the medium that invites the intimacy and time to really get into the whole whodunnit of it all. So, while you’re preparing to get your head around the game of Clue of it all (Who did what to whom in which room, and what did they do it with, again…?), here are some TV mysteries for you to stream and get some practice solving a killer crime or two… starting with the Daddy of them all.
TWIN PEAKS: SEASON 1 & 2 (1990/1991)
Who killed Laura Palmer? That was the question that launched David Lynch and Mark Frost’s contemporary noir, that ended up taking more than one left turn out of nowhere before it was finished. Whether what lies ahead in the revival will live up to the first incarnation of the show remains to be seen, so revisit now before it all goes wrong.
LUTHER: SERIES 1 (2010)
Perhaps there’s little mystery with the murders in this series, but that’s part of the twisted joy of it all — getting inside the head of Alice Morgan and watching how she ends up helping Idris Elba’s tortured cop in future cases.
THE KILLING: SEASONS 1 & 2 (2011/2012)
The question of just who killed Rosie Larsen ended up being such a complicated one that it spanned two seasons, much to the upset of an audience who expected it all to be wrapped up in a year. Watching it in as a Netflix binge, it all makes more sense — or, at least, isn’t as frustrating a wait.
THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE: SERIES 1 (2012)
An underrated classic, this series sounds like prime PBS in its high concept (Female code breakers from WWII help catch a serial killer in a country that doesn’t value their contributions after the war!), but it’s one of the most compelling series on this list. Just wait until the climactic episode; you’ll be jumping out your seat.
THE FALL: SERIES 1 & 2 (2013/2014)
Gillian Anderson brings a steely presence to this murder mystery that quickly spirals out of control, as one murder becomes… well, too many more, before the whole thing is over. For those who find 50 Shades of Gray creepy, this one will have even more appeal, with that movie’s Jamie Dornan showing up to out-creepy everyone else on screen.
BROADCHURCH: SEASON 1 (2013)
At times almost impossibly grim, Broadchurch is a weird mix of The Killing and a British soap opera, turning it into an especially watchable show that will have you confused as hell about just who killed Danny Latimer.
CASE: SEASON 1 (2015)
When is a murder mystery not a murder mystery? When the death in question is ruled a suicide, of course. In this Icelandic drama, that’s just the start of an unmistakably bleak drama centering around one lawyer who refuses to believe the official version of events. The truth will eventually appear, but not before you begin to suspect that every single human is a trash fire.
RIVER: SERIES 1 (2015)
Much like the little kid in The Sixth Sense, police detective John River sees dead people in this weird and wonderful drama, in which the always underrated Stellan Skarsgård just so happens to think that the dead appear before him as he tries to solve crimes. As to whether they actually do or not… Well, that’s complicated.
THE BREAK: SEASON 1 (2016)
Who knew that the old saying about never going home again referring to a police detective’s attempt to escape to his hometown only leading to being trapped investigating a murder case that undermines everything he thinks he knows about his surroundings? Wonderfully French, and another dark viewing experience.
MARCELA: SEASON 1 (2016)
You know what they always say: if everything in your personal life is going wrong, you can always try and lose yourself in your work — which is how Anna Friel’s dumped detective finds herself trying to catch a serial killer. I think you can guess how this is going to turn out.