Ready to binge on hundreds of hours of cops, criminals, mysteries, and suspense? Netflix is a treasure trove of the best crime thriller shows available. Whether you want some true crime drama, or the best of British crime, we’ve got the must-watch crime thrillers on Netflix now.
Crime thrillers have always made for a fascinating viewing, and Netflix has jumped on the bandwagon. Netflix’s crime category has seen tremendous success, particularly in their original content production. If you can’t decide which series you need to binge-watch first, we’ve compiled a list of the best crime TV shows on Netflix.
Cast: Wagner Moura, Pedro Pascal, Boyd Holbrook, Alberto Ammann, Damián Alcázar, Francisco Denis
If you’re interested in the history of drug cartels, this one’s for you. Narcos became Netflix’s breakout show when it first appeared on the streaming site in 2015. The true crime story follows the infamous Pablo Escobar’s drug empire, and the DEA agents who took it down in seasons 1 and 2. Season 3 traced the rise and fall of the Cali Cartel.
The drugs, money, and violence have made Narcos an enticing watch. Its mass appeal is pretty obvious now that Netflix gave green-lit season 4.
Steve Murphy and Javier Pena (portrayed by Boyd Holbrook and Pedro Pascal respectively) are the original DEA agents who chased Escobar, and were consultants on the show. So you can expect this show to be as historically accurate as possible (but don’t be surprised if you notice that some creative liberties were made).
Cast: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Hannah Gross, Anna Torv, Cotter Smith
Produced by Charlize Theron, this enthralling crime series stars Jonathan Groff of Glee and Frozen fame. This character drama takes you back in time to when criminal psychology was still a fledgling science.
A young FBI agent and his partner try to delve into the minds of the deadliest criminals in history to make sense out of senseless crimes. As they interview psychopaths, however, their conscience gnaws at them.
The series is based on the book, Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by former FBI agent John E. Douglas. He is one of the first criminal profilers in the history of the field, and inspired characters from Criminal Minds and Hannibal.
#3. “Making a Murderer”
Making a Murderer premiered on Netflix, and turned out to be a real game-changer in the true crime genre. This show was filmed over 10 years to capture every gripping detail of Steven Avery’s life and conviction.
Avery, an exonerated man who spent two decades in prison for a crime he did not commit, sued the county for his arrest. He soon found himself behind bars again after being framed for murder. The show traces Avery and his family’s attempts to get to the bottom of his false conviction.
Avery and his nephew are still in jail fighting for their innocence. A second season is reportedly in development to cover Avery’s ongoing story. But before that, law enforcement will present their side of the story in another docuseries.
Cast: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Sofia Hublitz, Skylar Gaertner, Julia Garner, Jordana Spiro, Jason Butler Harner, Esai Morales, Peter Mullan
Jason Bateman, from Arrested Development fame, stars in this dark crime series which he also directed and produced.
He plays Marty Byrde, a character who reminds us of Breaking Bad’s Walter White; he relocates his family to the resort town of Ozarks. Marty owes a big debt to a deadly cartel after a money-laundering scheme went awry.
Netflix already renewed Ozark for season 2, and Bateman revealed that the upcoming season will be a “sequel” to the first.
#5. “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson”
Cast: Cuba Gooding Jr., Sterling K. Brown, Sarah Paulson, David Schwimmer, John Travolta, Courtney B. Vance, Kenneth Choi
Rarely is a courtroom drama as thrilling as the dramatization of the most sensational murder trial in history. The O.J. Simpson trial, recreated by Ryan Murphy in American Crime Story, boasts a phenomenal cast, and a resonance with social justice today.
It goes into the inner workings of the justice system, and the consequences of Simpson’s verdict at the time.
O.J. Simpson was never convicted for double homicide, but he did spend time in jail for a robbery over 10 years later. As ACS found a streaming home, the real O.J. Simpson is now out on parole.
#6. “Peaky Blinders”
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson, Sam Neill, Annabelle Wallis, Sophie Rundle, Tom Hardy, Adrien Brody, Aidan Gillen
This gritty British crime series set in World War 1 has been making waves in the U.S. since Netflix acquired the show’s exclusive distribution rights across the pond.
The eponymous Peaky Blinders are a deadly criminal gang in Birmingham in 1919. Then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (portrayed by Andy Nyman in season 1, before being replaced by Richard McCabe) tasks an inspector to “clean up” Birmingham. The series follows the Peaky Blinders’ attempts to expand their crime business, social classes, and corruption during the war.
The Weinstein Company (yes, that Weinstein Company) originally owned U.S. distribution rights of Peaky Blinders. Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the show has erased the TWC logo from its credits.
#7. “The Keepers”
Taking a cue from Making a Murderer, this gripping docuseries unravels a five-decade-old murder mystery and church cover-up.
The series tackles the cold case of Sister Cathy Cesnik’s murder in 1969 Baltimore. Cesnik allegedly discovered a child abuse ring within the church, and was killed for it. Decades later, the victims came forward with sexual abuse allegations, hoping to solve the beloved nun’s murder.
The Keepers earned a phenomenal response for the courage displayed by the abuse victim who came forward. The series was a strong contender for the Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series award at the 2017 Emmy Awards.