Happy Valley and Endeavour may have ended for good last year, but there’s no shortage of top British TV crime drama coming to fill the gap they left behind. From complex true crime to cosy village-set murder mysteries and bonkers grisly thrillers, fans of British TV crime drama will eat well in 2024.
A few picks from the 30+ series below to get on your radar: spy thriller Black Doves, from the creator of The Lazarus Project and Giri/Haji, starring Keira Knightley and Ben Whishaw, is coming to Netflix this year. Being Human creator Toby Whithouse has a new folk horror crime mystery staring Anjli Mohindra that’s on its way to Alibi. Stephen Butchard, the writer behind The Last Kingdom’s TV adaptation, is going back to the history books for a new Tudor-set murder mystery in Shardlake. And Andrew Scott will be taking on the title role in Netflix’s Ripley, an arty new adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s crime classic novel series.
All that, plus a brand new series of the best British thriller around – Apple TV+’s Slow Horses starring Gary Oldman, the return of excellent BBC One police thriller debuts The Responder, Blue Lights and much, much more.
We’ll keep this post updated with release dates and more information as it’s confirmed.
CONFIRMED AIR DATES
ITVX (January 24)
Sophie Turner, best known for playing Game of Thrones’ Queen in the North Sansa Stark, stars as real-life jewel thief Joan Hannington in this six-part ITV drama. Written by The Essex Serpent and Mrs Wilson’s screenwriter Anna Symon, it’s the story of how Hannington escaped domestic abuse to become “the Godmother” of jewel theft crime. The series will follow in the footsteps of Litvinenko and A Spy Among Friends by debuting on streaming service ITVX before airing on ITV’s terrestrial channel later in the year.
Netflix (March 2024)
Guy Ritchie’s 2019 gangster flick gets an eight-episode Netflix series follow-up starring The Time Traveler’s Wife’s Theo James as a former soldier who winds up inheriting his wealthy father’s estate – and his weed farm with it. Gangster shenanigans ensue, presided over by recently announced cast member Ray Winstone, who plays the father of Kaya Scodelario’s criminal kingpin. The Crown’s Daniel Ings, and Vinnie Jones also star.
Netflix (April 4)
Originally developed for Showtime, which has since been folded in with Paramount+, new Patricia Highsmith adaptation Ripley has now landed on its feet at Netflix. The eight-episode drama released this arty teaser in January 2024, and will arrive on the streamer in April. It stars Andrew Scott in the role of conman Tom Ripley, a chameleon who embeds himself in high society, and who is hired to befriend a wealthy dilettante by the man’s parents. Lovesick and Beast’s Johnny Flynn co-stars.
UNCONFIRMED AIR DATES
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Holly Jackson’s “TikTok made me buy it!” young adult crime mystery hit novel has been adapted into a six-part series for BBC Three. It’s the Adnan Syed-alike story of a murdered schoolgirl whose boyfriend Sal Singh is charged with the crime, but whose guilt is questioned by teenager Pip, who’s determined to uncover the truth. There’s a solid cast attached, with Wednesday’s Enid – Emma Myers – playing Pip, and newcomer Zain Iqbal as Sal’s brother Ravi, plus Motherland’s Anna Maxwell Martin, Ghosts’ Mathew Baynton and more.
A Matter of Blood
It’s very early days on this one, so 2025 would be a more realistic release date expectation. Novelist Sarah Pinborough (Behind Her Eyes) is adapting the first of her supernatural crime thriller Dog Faced Gods trilogy into a six-part series. It’s the story of DI Cass Jones’ search for a taunting serial killer nicknamed “The Man of Flies”. The option on the book, taken out by the production company behind Death in Paradise, Sanditon, was only announced in late 2023, so there’s obviously no cast or channel confirmed as yet, but we’ll update as soon as there’s news.
Expect to hear a lot about this thriller – it has all the ingredients of a big streaming hit. First ingredient: Netflix. Second: a starry cast led by Keira Knightley and Ben Whishaw with Happy Valley’s Sarah Lancashire. Third: an excellent writer in The Lazarus Project and Giri/Haji’s Joe Barton. And fourth: it’s set at Christmas, which is when we might expect to see this espionage story about a spy (Knightley) whose secret identity is threatened when she starts an extra-marital affair.
Code of Silence
Not to be confused with the ropey 2021 Kray Twins movie or the similarly ropey 2021 Maine-set redemption feature of the same name, Code of Silence will be a six-part ITV thriller starring EastEnders actor, Strictly Come Dancing champion and deaf activist Rose Ayling-Ellis. It’s the story of Alison, a deaf caterer hired by the police to work as a forensic lip reader, and who develops feelings for one of the main suspects. Filming is due to begin in spring 2024, so don’t expect to see this one until much later in the year or early 2025.
We’re jumping the gun again, but this one has some power behind it in the form of Caryn Mandabach Productions, whose switch from comedy to crime drama with Peaky Blinders, paid off so handsomely that they’re planning to bring a detective series to screen. A modern update of PD James’ Cordelia Gray books An Unsuitable Job for a Woman and The Skull Beneath the Skin is being written by Eve Hedderwick Turner, the screenwriter of historical drama Anne Boleyn. It’s too early for any cast, channel or streamer news yet, but we’ll keep you posted.
An impressive acting duo front this true crime drama: Endeavour’s Shaun Evans will play the murderer John Sweeney, and BAFTA-winning Anna Maxwell Martin (Motherland, Line of Duty) will play Delia Balmer, the woman who survived a near-fatal relationship with him in the 1990s.
Delia Balmer is the working title of this four-part ITV series, which will be based on Balmer’s book Living with a Serial Killer, and will cover the extraordinary story of the horrific violence she survived, how a catastrophic error by the courts put her life at risk again, and her subsequent courageous fight to bring Sweeney to justice.
Bad Wolf, the Wales-based producers of His Dark Materials, A Discovery of Witches and now, Doctor Who, are currently filming a new 1920s-set crime drama. Pitched as a spiritual successor to Peaky Blinders, it’s about the female gangs who operated in London’s Soho after World War One, and was inspired by Marek Kohn’s 1992 non-fiction book of the same name, subtitled The Birth of the British Drug Underground. Mare of Easttown’s Julianne Nicholson and Little Women’s Eliza Scanlen star.
Fans of crime dramas on the weirder end of the scale should look out for Netflix series Eric, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a father in 1980s New York on a desperate search for his missing nine-year-old son. Cumberbatch plays Vincent, a puppeteer behind a popular children’s TV show Good Day Sunshine, whose increasingly volatile state leads him to become convinced he can bring his son home with the help of a blue monster puppet called Eric. This dark, emotional six-part series also stars Transparent’s Gaby Hoffman as Vincent’s wife Cassie, and Ozark’s McKinley Belcher III as Detective Michael Ledroit, and is scheduled to arrive in early 2024.
True-crime dramas featuring recent events can be problematic, but this example – depicting the 2017 kidnap of model Chloe Ayling, and the subsequent media storm where she was accused of faking her ordeal – has the support and backing of Ayling herself. This six-part BBC series is based on Ayling’s book, Kidnapped, as well as detailed research and interviews, and will explore the kidnapping, the court case that jailed her captors (brothers Lukasz and Michal Herba), and Ayling’s infuriating experience at the hands of the press.
The writer of Dawn French comedy-drama The Trouble With Maggie Cole is behind the BBC’s newest David Mitchell-starring series Ludwig. In it, Mitchell plays a reclusive crossword setter who’s forced to solve crimes instead of puzzles when his identical twin brother – a top police DCI – goes missing. By assuming his brother’s identity, can ‘Ludwig’ close the case? Filming is taking place now in Cambridge, so don’t expect this light-hearted, cosy crime hoot to air for a good while yet.
After the success of 2019 and 2021 true crime series Manhunt, actor Martin Clunes is back with its creators Marc Evans and Ed Whitmore on an original six-part drama. Out There is about the real-life county lines drug dealing gangs who prey on children in rural parts of the UK. In the Welsh-set series, Clunes will play the widowed father of a teenager caught up in county lines dealing, opposite Gangs of London’s Mark Lewis Jones and 1917’s Gerran Howell. The drama will stream on ITVX before airing on ITV1 later in the year.
Broadchurch actor Andrew Buchan is the first-time scriptwriter behind Passenger, which is being billed as a darkly comedic thriller for ITV. Starring Loki’s Wunmi Mosaku as a former Met police officer dragged back into investigations when a series of horrific crimes happen in her village, it’s a six-part drama that will stream first on ITVX before airing on ITV1 later this year.
From the producer of Netflix’s massively popular Harlan Coben thrillers, this five-part Disney+ series is a child-abduction story with a top cast including Strike and The Capture’s Holliday Grainger, This is Going to Hurt and One Day’s Ambika Mod. It’s about a mother who realises her daughter has been taken when she goes to collect her from a sleepover at a friend’s house, and comes adapted from Alex Dahl’s bestselling novel of the same name.
Another ITV crime drama here, this one focusing on the world of witness protection. Inspired by the real-life experience of a witness protection officer, it’s the story of a detective inspector caught up in police corruption and forced to protect individuals who are far from innocent. Even if all that sounds pretty generic, there’s a top cast involved that should excite matters, including Happy Valley’s Siobhan Finneran, Peaky Blinders’ Charlotte Riley, The Long Shadow’s Katherine Kelly and Champion’s Nadine Marshall. This is another ITVX streaming drama that’ll arrive on the terrestrial channel at a later date.
There’ve been seven new Rebus novels since the last time we got a TV adaptation of Sir Ian Rankin’s famed fictional detective, John Rebus. The original TV adaptation – starring Ken Stott – ended after four series in 2007, and Viaplay’s brand-new adaptation will put Outlander’s Richard Rankin in the detective’s shoes.
The series will see Detective Rebus reach a crossroads in his life, fighting against corporate technocrats in his career, involved in a toxic affair, and having his relationship with his daughter threatened by his ex-wife’s new husband. The series will also star Brian Ferguson (The Ipcress File), Lucie Shorthouse (Line of Duty) and Stuart Bowman (Guilt).
Return to Paradise
When it works, it works, and BBC One’s Death in Paradise works to such an extent that its murder-and-mojitos combo is now a Christmas TV fixture with multiple spin-offs. The first of those was Cornwall-set Beyond Paradise, and the next will be the Australia-set Return to Paradise, about an Aussie ex-pat back home from London to solve a murder. There aren’t any more details officially out yet, but filming is taking place this year so watch this space.
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?’ Lucy Boynton will play Ruth Ellis, the last woman to have been hanged by the state in England in this four-part ITV true-life drama, also starring Mr Bates vs. the Post Office’s Toby Jones. Ellis was a nightclub manager in a violent relationship with a man she killed, and her 1955 sentencing was subject to a legal battle aiming for her release. It’s written by Des, The Long Call and Baptiste writer Kelly Jones, and will play out over two timelines.
Something a little different from your average whodunnit here – a whodunnit set in the Tudor period, about the dissolution of England’s monasteries. It’s a battle of the Cromwells on TV in 2024, with Sean Bean playing Henry VIII’s erstwhile right-hand-man Thomas Cromwell in Shardlake, and Mark Rylance playing him in the BBC’s return to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. Adapted by The Last Kingdom’s Stephen Butchard from the mystery novel series of the same name by CJ Sansom, this one’s the story of a murder and the young lawyer tasked with solving it while sussing out dodgy monks and a potential mole.
Suspect: The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes
True crime veteran screenwriter Jeff Pope (The Walk-In, The Reckoning, Four Lives) is bringing the London 2005 shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes to the small screen for Disney+. The shooting of an innocent Brazilian national who was wrongly suspected of being a terror suspect was the event that inspired Jed Mercurio to create Line of Duty, and now will receive the Jeff Pope treatment in this drama, which has the co-operation of the Menezes family.
Yellowjackets’ Ella Purnell plays the lead in this eight-part darkly comedic thriller, adapted from the novel of the same name by CJ Skuse. It’s the story of Rhiannon, a young woman who largely goes unnoticed in life, which enables her to get away with some terrible acts… It’s been adapted by Pure’s Kirstie Swain, and the cast also includes Nicôle Lecky, Calam Lynch, Jeremy Swift and Dustin Demi-Burns.
Channel 4’s six-part whodunit The Gathering centres on the violent attack of a teenage girl at a rave in Merseyside and the cast of characters suspected of committing the crime. The victim, Kelly, straddles two very different friendship groups, encompassing teens from disparate backgrounds, any of whom could be guilty of the attack – and so could their parents. The Gathering explores class structures, social media and how parents impose their own agendas and worldviews on their children.
Attn: Jenna Coleman fans, the former Doctor Who actor is the star of a new four-part thriller coming to BBC One this year from Harlots and Wolfe screenwriter Cat Jones. Coleman plays Ember Manning, a detective investigating a serious fire in the picturesque lakeside Lancashire village where she grew up. There, she discovers a conspiracy involving an unsolved missing persons case, and a skeevy abuse scandal involving underage girls.
The Marlow Murder Club
A bit of cosy crime on its way from Death in Paradise creator Robert Thorogood. The Marlow Murder Club is about a trio of women who team up to solve a local shooting when they’re dismissed by the local police. It stars Samantha Bond (Downton Abbey), Jo Martin (Doctor Who) and Cara Horgan (The Sandman) and all plays out against the charming backdrop of idyllic Thameside town Marlow. Hence the name. US fans will be able to see it on PBS at some point after its UK debut.
The Red King
From Being Human creator and Doctor Who writer Toby Whithouse comes a six-part folk horror mystery about a creepy British island with a history of Paganism. Sign us up! The Lazarus Project’s Anjli Mohindra gets posted to the fictional isle of St Jory for her sins, where she investigates a missing persons cold case that leads her into spooky Wicker Man-esque territory. Also starring are Bridgerton’s Adjoa Andoh and Van der Valk’s Marc Warren.
The trend for adapting international shows for a UK audience shows no sign of slowing down, and the latest is Train, a remake of a popular Korean sci-fi crime drama. When a detective discovers the woman he loves has been murdered, his investigation leads him to a world divided into two parallel universes, and while his love is dead in one world, she’s very much alive in the other. He has to find out the truth behind her death and discover the connection between the two worlds. Train is still in the early stages so a broadcast channel in the UK is yet to be confirmed.
Will Dean’s Dark Pines – the first in his crime series about deaf investigative journalist Tuva Moodyson – was published in 2018, and is currently being adapted into a six-part TV series that relocates the action from Sweden to the UK. Rose Ayling-Ellis (see Code of Silence above) is attached to play the lead role of Tuva, who investigates a local serial killer poised to strike again. As this one’s still being developed, it’s unlikely to air before 2025, but when it does, it’s being planned as a returning series.
Amit Dhand is the novelist behind the Bradford-based DI Harry Virdee detective series, and he’s currently working on a screen adaptation for BBC One. Doctor Who and Wolf’s Sacha Dhawan is set to star in the six-episode drama’s title role, playing a detective inspector investigating the kidnap of a local MP’s daughter. We don’t know much more about this one, but with Dhawan as its star, it’s on our radar.
Returning British Crime TV Series
Also due to arrive in 2024 or shortly afterwards are these returning British crime TV series:
– Beyond Paradise series two
– Blue Lights series two
– Death in Paradise series 13
– Gangs of London series three
– Grace series four
– Karen Pirie series two
– Ridley series two
– Sherwood series two
– Showtrial series two
– Slow Horses series four
– Suspect series two
– The Bay series five
– The Gold series two
– The Night Manager series two
– The Tower series three
– The Responder series two
– Trigger Point series two (starting on ITV on Sunday January 28 at 9 p.m.)
– Unforgotten series six
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