10 Chilling British Mysteries On Netflix For Extra-Dark Winter Nights

Grab your coziest throw and wooliest socks because these TV shows will give you goose bumps.

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David Tenant sits at a table interrogating a suspect in the British mystery series 'Criminal UK'

David Tenant in 'Criminal UK.' (Photo, Jose Haro/Netflix)

You’ve watched The Fall and Happy Valley, and binged your way through Broadchurch and Collateral. Congratulations, you’re not done with the U.K. mystery/thriller genre—you’re just getting warmed up. Here are 10 British mysteries and thrillers currently streaming on Netflix—all guaranteed to satisfy the Anglophile with a hankering for murder and intrigue.

Criminal: UK


The gist: Detectives interrogate a suspect, breaking the suspect’s story down, bit by bit, until the truth emerges. Each episode in this anthology series takes place within the confines of an interview room—the air of which grows increasingly thick with psychological tension.
Why we love it: The conceit is a bit hokey, but the execution works. Each episode consists of a well plotted interrogation that strikes all the necessary dramatic beats. The acting is strong, too, especially from baddie guest stars David Tennant and Hayley Atwell. The series moves to a new country every three episodes, so after the U.K. episodes there’s Spain, France and Germany.
Thrills rating: 7/10

Traitors


The gist: Fiona “Feef” Symonds (played by Emma Appleton) is an ambitious-rich-girl-turned-British-civil-servant who is seduced by a U.S. intelligence officer into rooting out a Russian asset working within the British government post-WWII.
Why we love it: It’s dark and sexy with plenty of bad judgment and betrayals to keep things interesting. No one character is particularly heroic, but it’s enjoyable to watch where people choose to draw the line between moral compromise and villainy, if they do at all.
Thrills rating: 8/10

London Spy


The gist: Danny (played by Ben Whishaw) is an aimless young romantic who falls in love with Alex, a brilliant MI6 spy (played by Edward Holcroft). When Alex is suddenly found dead (and how!), a grieving Danny attempts to find out who killed him and why.
Why we love it: Because it’s really a love story wrapped in a spy thriller and Ben Whishaw’s performance—a remarkable combination of vulnerability and wisdom—will move you to tears. The supporting cast is great, too, and includes Jim Broadbent and an eerie Charlotte Rampling.
Thrills rating: 7.5/10

New Blood


The gist: This slick, limited series has been likened to what would happen if you turned a boy band into a police procedural and it’s not exactly an unfair comparison (or an unwelcome combination). The drama centres on two millennial investigators—novice detective Arrash Sayyad (played by Ben Tavassoli)–and Stefan Kowolski (Mark Strepan) an eager young fraud investigator.
Why we love it: Leads that could pass for male models is something of a rarity in the British procedural genre, which is traditionally the character actor’s natural environment. Call it a shameless bid for younger viewers, but the novelty casting works (and adds a little levity to the proceedings).
Thrills rating: 6/10

Scott & Bailey


The gist: Unhappily married DC Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) and unhappily single DC Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones) investigate Manchester’s grimmest homicides while simultaneously living out their own compelling personal dramas.
Why we love it: The relationship between the two leads, who argue and support one another more like sisters than colleagues, is the heart and soul of the series. It feels good to watch a crime drama that shows real-seeming women battling at work and in life—warts and all.
Thrills rating: 7.5/10

Hinterland


The gist: Troubled DCI Tom Mathias (Richard Harrington) and his partner DI Mared Rhys (Mali Harries) solve a series of bloody murders in the coastal town of Aberystwyth, Wales.
Why we love it: It’s dark and bleak—it always seems like it’s raining—and the drama builds at a leisurely but sure pace (episodes clock in around 90 minutes). It’s the perfect Sunday-on-the-sofa series.
Thrills rating: 7.5/10

The Bletchley Circle


The gist: Four whip-smart women, who acted as codebreakers at Bletchley Park during WWII, reunite post-war to apply their mystery-solving skills to a series of murders. (The series did inspire a spin-off—The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco—but you’d be wise to stick to the original.)
Why we love it: It’s got Sherlock Holmes-style mystery-solving vibes but multiplied by four women who are trying to work in a culture that would prefer they just made dinner.
Thrills rating: 6.5/10

Sherlock


The gist: A modern-day reimagining of the iconic detective story starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character and Martin Freeman as his tetchy Watson.
Why we love it: It’s pacy and fast-moving (if at times a little too fast), and rich with eccentric performances from solid U.K. actors.  Sherlock’s evil antagonist Moriarty, who is played by Andrew Scott, aka, Fleabag’s Hot Priest, is a series highlight. That’s right, he was a hot villain before donning a collar for Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Thrills rating: 7.5/10

The Honourable Woman


The gist: Nessa Stein (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is a philanthropist/baroness with a tragic family history steeped in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Her attempts to forge peaceful connections in the troubled region results in drama with a capital D and sees her caught up in a global battle for power between CIA, MI6, Mossad et al.
Why we love it: It’s a twisty spy thriller that burns slow but develops both complexity and heart as it goes on. Maggie Gyllenhaal quite rightly won a Golden Globe for her performance of the tormented idealist, Nessa Stein.
Thrills rating: 8/10

Father Brown


The gist: Father Brown (played by Mark Williams) is a kindly, bike-riding, soutane-wearing Catholic priest who plays amateur detective in a quaint Lake District English village circa 1950s.
Why we love it: It feels familiar and refreshing at the same time. A mix between Miss Marple and the game Clue, with a dash of moral simplicity that feels oddly bracing in the current climate. In short, it’s so benignly comforting it makes murder mysteries seem almost charming.
Thrills rating: 7/10