3 great British TV crime shows you need to watch in May 2024

Two men stand on a beach in The Long Call.

May doesn’t seem like the right time to watch mystery shows, which tend to be aided by cold weather or, at the very least, a storm or two. But the sun doesn’t shine everywhere, and besides, if the mystery is good enough, any time is the right time to watch them.

The following three selections are ideal to stream for anyone seeking compelling characters, twisty narratives, and a few climactic revelations you won’t soon forget. One show is set to premiere its third season this month, another is an underrated mystery set in the beautiful English seaside, and the other features an Oscar-winning actress in one of her best television roles.

Need more recommendations? Check out the best British shows on Netflix and the best British shows on Hulu.

Harry Wild (2022-)

Three people sit in a car in Harry Wild.

Harry Wild isn’t your typical murder-mystery hero. For starters, Harry is a she, and she’s played by Jane Seymour, the ex-Bond Girl (she was Solitaire in Live and Let Die) who has over 100 credits on her impressive resume. Secondly, Harry isn’t an official investigator; instead, she’s a retired English professor who won’t accept the boredom of post-work life and instead starts solving crimes.

As you can tell, Harry Wild is less serious than many of its counterparts in the overcrowded crime-drama genre, and that’s part of its appeal. It’s breezy and light, with a supporting cast full of great character actors and newcomers who assist Wild (like roguish high school student Fergus) or get in her way in forging her new life as a crime investigator (like her son). But the star of the show is Seymour, who shines as the titular character. Harry doesn’t always do the right thing, and Seymour lets her be a bit messy. There are two full seasons to binge, and the third season premieres on May 13.

Harry Wild is streaming on Acorn TV.

The Long Call (2021)

A man sits at a desk in The Long Call.

British crime dramas can function as unexpected avenues for escapism: Sure, there are gruesome murders to witness, but there are also beautiful coastal small towns to dream about, too. And certainly, The Long Call, a four-episode ITV crime series from 2021, provides plenty of both to satisfy anyone wanting a little mystery with their daydreams.

Knock at the Cabin actor Ben Aldridge stars as Detective Inspector Matthew Venn, who returns to his hometown of Devon to attend his father’s funeral. Once there, he’s drawn into a murder investigation that has ties to a local religious community, one that involves his mother and one that he escaped from years ago because of their oppressive views. The Long Call‘s central mystery is engaging, and Aldridge makes for a fine, brooding mystery protagonist, but it’s the stunning on-location cinematography of the Devon seaside that lingers in the memory.

The Long Call is streaming on Amazon Prime Video via BritBox.

Landscapers (2021)

A woman sits in bed in Landscapers.

Those for a taste of the unusual should try out Landscapers, a very British crime drama that blends true crime and pitch-black comedy into a sinister yet satisfying series. Told across four episodes, Landscapers recounts the real-life saga of Susan and Christopher Edwards, a mild-mannered couple who harbored a dark secret: murder.

But Landscapers isn’t interested in spinning a typical “whodunit?” narrative; instead, it focuses on the why, and manages to convey empathy for a couple who the police believe were driven to kill for bizarre reasons. As the accused murderers, Olivia Colman (Wonka) and David Thewlis (Naked) turn in a pair of great performances that are simultaneously sad and comic. Landscapers shows that sometimes delusion can be lethal, but it can also be the only thing worth living for.

Landscapers is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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