My favorite TV mystery series

Top TenTop Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted at the Broke and the Bookish blog. Each week a different topic is introduced and it is fun to see what everyone writes each week. Check out their blog for more information.

In honor of Fall TV this week we do a TV-themed topic.

I’m choosing to talk about my favorite TV mystery series. I like some new and some old shows. I like TV shows where the violence isn’t too graphic or gory.

I also like to get to know the characters. (I think that’s why I usually like TV shows better than movies.) I think the one thing which ties these shows together (besides being mystery shows) is that they all have a great cast of characters whom I care about.

Current TV mystery shows


Longmire (2012 – )

  • United States
  • Network: Originally on A&E; Netflix picked up the show after season 3
  • A TV show I discovered on Netflix last year and I’ve really liked it. Netflix picked up the show after it was cancelled by A&E. I’m watching slowly (only in Season 3). Season 5 should start on September 23.
  • The TV series is based on mystery books by Craig Johnson.
  • I really like the way Robert Taylor portrays Walt Longmire. Walt is a no-nonsense, practical sheriff.
  • I love that the show takes place in Wyoming. I grew up in the western United States and I still love that part of the country.
  • Katee Sackhoff is Deputy Victoria “Vic” Morretti and is great in this series. I’ve liked her since she played Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009). Battlestar Galactica is one of my all-time favorite TV shows and Starbuck was one of my favorite actors in the series.

Sherlock (2010 – )

  • United Kingdom
  • Network: BBC, on PBS in the United States
  • A great series. The only problem is that there are usually only three episodes per season and about two years before new episodes show up.
  • The series stars Benedict Cumberbatch (as Sherlock Holmes) and Martin Freeman (as Dr. Watson). Both are excellent actors and so good in this series.
  • This is a modern take on Sherlock Holmes. Season 4 should show up sometime in 2017 in the United States. (I hope!)

Elementary (2012 – )

  • United States
  • Network: CBS
  • Another Sherlock Holmes series. And also a modern rendition.
  • It takes place mostly in New York City and features Johnny Lee Walker as Sherlock and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson.
  • This series also does a great job portraying Sherlock and I like that they’ve changed things a little and we have a female Dr. Watson.
  • I think Season 5 will start in October.

NCIS (2003 – )

  • United States
  • Network: CBS
  • Mark Harmon plays Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Gibbs is in charge of a Major Crimes Response Team (MCRT) based in Washington, DC. He’s a former Marine Gunnery Sergeant.
  • Special Agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service solve crimes which pertain to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Lots of great characters in this series. I especially enjoy the way the characters interact with each other. miss-fishers-murder-mysteries

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (2012 – )

  • Australian
  • Network: Australia ABC; PBS in the United States
  • Essie Davis plays Miss Fisher and the series are based on books by Kerry Greenwood.
  • The story takes place in 1920’s Australia. Phryne Fisher is a free spirit who also likes to investigate crimes.  The characters are great in this series and it’s so fun to see all the great clothes Phryne wears.
  • I’m not sure if there will be another season or not.

The older shows

Poirot (1989 – 2013)

  • United Kingdom
  • Network: ITV; PBS & A&E in the United States
  • David Suchet plays Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot
  • Suchet does such a great job as Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective. I don’t think any other actor could play Poirot now that Suchet has “worn” this role.

Rumpole of the Bailey  (1978 – 1992)rumpole-of-the-bailey

  • United Kingdom
  • Network: BBC; PBS in the United States (My husband and I own the complete DVD set and many of the books!)
  • Created and written by writer and barrister John Mortimer (short stories and books were written after Mortimer created the character for TV and Rumpole was also on the radio); Leo McKern stars as Horace Rumpole.
  • This isn’t a typical mystery series, but Rumpole must always figure out what really happened when he defends his clients (who often lie to him.)
  • Rumpole is an elderly London barrister who defends lots of different types of clients (often members of the Timson clan who are arrested for a variety of minor crimes). He calls his wife Hilda “She Who Must Be Obeyed.” The Bailey in the title refers to the Central Criminal Court also known as the “Old Bailey.” Rumpole believes in never pleading guilty and Judges in his cases are often as exasperated with him as he is with them!

Foyle’s War (2002 – 2015)

  • United Kingdom
  • Network: ITV; PBS in the United States
  • Foyle is played by Michael Kitchen
  • Set during WWII about Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle in Hastings, Sussex, England. His driver–Samantha “Sam” Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks)–is also a delightful character in the series.
  • The shows often revolve around what was happening in wartime England–bombings, espionage, profiteering. After the war Foyle works for MI-5 dealing with cold war problems.

Rockford Files (1974 – 1980)rockford-files

  • United States
  • Network: NBC; still available in syndication
  • James Garner plays Jim Rockford in this series. I always liked James Garner who almost always plays laid-back, affable characters on TV and in movies.
  • In the Rockford Files he plays a private detective who rarely carries a gun and tries to talk himself out of trouble with the “bad guys.”

The Inspector Lynley Murders (2001 -2008)

  • United Kingdom
  • Network: BBC; PBS in the United States
  • Detective Inspector Thomas “Tommy” Lynley (who is also an Earl) is played by Nathaniel Parker. Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is played by Sharon Small.
  • The series is based on books by Elizabeth George.
  • I always liked the interaction between the aristocratic Lynley and working-class Havers and was sad when the series was cancelled by the BBC.

What about you? Do you like mystery series on TV? What TV shows are your favorites?

(Note: my internet is working again. I didn’t realize when I posted my No wireless = Frustration post yesterday that it was already working. I don’t know why it stopped working or why it mysteriously started working again. Obviously, it must all be magic!)











Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

2 thoughts on “My favorite TV mystery series”

  1. I love Sherlock and Elementary but really need to watch Longmire. I’ve also heard great things about Foyle’s War. Glad to hear your internet is back up and running! Yay for magic fixes!


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