A white woman being escorted out of a court in chains with a white man in a suit behind her.
(USA Network)

The 10 Best Detective Series on Netflix

I detect that you’re looking for detective stories. Just a hunch. An instinct, honed to knifepoint sharpness by my many years on the force. If you’re looking for crime, criminals, and the people who catch them, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the ten best detective shows on Netflix.

Recommended Videos

The Sinner

A white woman being escorted out of a court in chains with a white man in a suit behind her.
(USA Network)

The Catholics will love this one for the title alone. The Sinner is a dark, gritty detective series about not one mystery, but multiple. A different criminal caper every season! A cornucopia of crime! But the mystery at play is not the method, but the motive. The Sinner seeks to uncover why people kill, not how. And the reasons why people kill are just as multifaceted as the methods they use to do so. Sadly for the dogmatically inclined, The Sinner doesn’t feature many religious themes. You’ll have to look a little further down the list for that.

Mindhunter

Holden Ford, wearing a shirt and tie, speaks to a felon across a table in Mindhunter.
(Netflix)

Let’s go back in time, shall we? Back to the swinging ’70s! A time of disco! Heavy metal! And murder! Mindhunter seeks to understand the most dangerous sort of killer: the serial killer. Featuring dramatized interviews with people who fit the dark description, Mindhunter goes into the history of modern day criminal psychology and investigation techniques developed to profile and capture the most nefarious sort of criminal.

Yu Yu Hakusho

The cast of YuYu Hakasho look serene in front of a blue sky
(Viz Media)

Why watch boring real people uncover boring real crimes in the boring real world when you could watch undead people uncover fantastical crimes in the spirit world! Yu Yu Hakusho is a landmark ’90s anime about Yusuke Urameshi, a dead teen delinquent who is reincarnated as a spiritual detective in the afterlife as a reward for his good deeds in the real world. Now listen, mystery does indeed abound in Yu Yu Hakusho, but it also spends quite a bit of time as a knockdown, drag-out tournament battle-style anime too. But maybe that’s a good thing, get out of your genre comfort zone, why don’t you? Anime not your style? The series also got a live-action adaptation treatment. Enter at your own risk.

The Chestnut Man

Two detectives investigate a body hanging from a rope in the woods in "The Chestnut Man"
(Netflix)

A young woman’s mangled body is discovered on a playground in Copenhagen, and the clue left at the crime scene is a small figurine made of chestnuts. How adorably macabre! Now a group of detectives are hunting for the missing daughter of a politician, who they believe was kidnapped by the elusive killer now dubbed the “Chestnut Man.” It’s a dark, unforgiving series, like pretty much every Danish crime caper. Let’s hope that good guys introduce the Chestnut Man to an open fire and roast him.

Lucifer

Tom Ellis as Lucifer in Lucifer season 6.
(Netflix)

After falling from heaven and getting bored with hell, former archangel Lucifer is living his best life as a nightclub owner in Los Angeles. What does he do? He spends his time drinking, shagging, and continuing his backslide into moral turpitude—that is until a detective with a moral compass pointed toward the true north of goodness shows up asking for help to solve a murder. Lucifer decides that maybe his life of debauchery is not all it’s cracked up to be, and he should try being a good guy for a minute. His former angelic friends don’t believe that the devil himself is capable of change, and he’s going to have to contend with authority figures from this world and the next.

Unbelievable

Series art for "Unbelievable" featuring two women, one young one middle aged against a blurred background
(Netflix)

This gem of a series was based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning article about a real-life young woman who was charged with a crime after she reported that she was raped. Unbelievable follows the story of the young woman attempting to gain clemency and find justice, as well as the two police detectives responsible for leading the investigation to catch the man who raped her—and multiple other women. This true crime series also draws inspiration from the book A False Report, which was written by the authors of the award-winning article about the same case. It goes without saying that this series is dark, and the real-life details of the case add to the grim nature of the show. I can’t say that it ends happily, but it does end with justice being served.

What Jennifer Did

A young woman stands stonefaced in front of a bare wall in "What Jennifer Did"
(Netflix)

This real-life story revolves around a 24-year-old woman who arranged the murder of her parents in Toronto, Canada. What Jennifer Did is a roller coaster ride of emotions. Investigators originally viewed the young woman as a tragic victim whose family was targeted in a home invasion. This quiet, sweet girl couldn’t hurt a fly … or so they thought. That’s why she hired a trio of assailants to … I don’t wanna give too much away you just gotta watch the thing.

Catching Killers

Images of killers on TV screens appear behind caution tape in "Catching Killers"
(Netflix)

Sick of fake TV crime? Why not spend time with real investigators who track down real criminals who do real bad things. Catching Killers follows police and prosecutors alike as they attempt to bring down the ball-peen hammer called “justice” upon the heads of high-profile killers. The DC Sniper, the BTK killer, and more each make a grisly appearance.

Homicide New York

A woman sits for an interview in a brightly lit room in "Homicide New York"
(Netflix)

Homicide New York ain’t about murder, it’s about moidah! The true crime series that Law and Order wishes it could be, Homicide New York is about the Big Apple’s rotten criminal core. Follow NYPD detectives around solving some of NYC’s nastiest crimes. Along with the rising rent prices and smell of hot garbage cooking in the summer sun, this series will give you another reason to never move there!

Detective Forst

A man and a woman standing outside in the evening in "Detective Forst"
(Netflix)

Forst of all, Detective Forst is a Polish-language crime drama. Move over Sweden, Norway, and England, there’s another European country mastering the detective drama! After the resort town of Zakopane is rocked by a series of murders, Detective Wiktor Forst is the Forst responder on the scene. With the help of journalist Olga Szrebska, he’s going to track down the killer before they can strike again! He’ll do everything to get there Forst. Now let me be the Forst to tell you, Detective Forst is a seven-episode miniseries, so don’t go into it expecting any more than that. What can you expect instead? Murder, in the Forst degree.


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Author
Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.