Dragnet episodes to Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes adaptations, mystery shows and police procedurals are two of the oldest forms of TV. HBO tapped into that popularity by crossing the genre with the new form of prestige TV, first with True Detective and now with Mare of Easttown. The finale of the latter was so popular it crashed the HBO Max app, the first time a non- Game of Thrones show could claim the honor. But now that Erin’s killer has been revealed, what should you watch next? Luckily, there are plenty of shows like Mare Of Easttown that will fill that Mare-sized hole in your heart.
Most lists of this type would kick off with what seems the most obvious choice: HBO’s
True Detective. But although the two are alike in form — hiring Academy Award-winning actors to play small-town detectives in particular regional areas — Mare is wholly different. True Detective was a meditation on manhood and masculinity, both toxic and non. Mare of Easttown was about the women in these communities, from Mare and Lori’s relationship to Mare’s daughter Siobhan’s warring desire to stay close and yet escape. Even the cases Mare took on were all about how women are taken advantage of and abused, from the disappearances of Katie and Missy to the secret paternity of Erin’s baby, DJ.
When trying to fill the void Mare has left behind, fans’ best bet is to dig into shows that feature women detectives and their struggles to hold together their communities. Here are some that do just that:
Unforgotten was a sleeper hit when it initially premiered in the U.S. on Masterpiece in 2018. The series stars Nicola Walker as DCI Cassie Stuart, head of a new cold case department in London, dedicated to bringing justice to those whose deaths have been forgotten. Like Mare, she’s a single mom of a teenager, living with an elderly parent who is more dependent on her than he’d like to admit. And her partner, DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar), is just a touch smitten with her.
The series has already aired three seasons on PBS, which are available to
stream via Amazon Prime. The fourth season is scheduled to premiere on Masterpiece on Sundays starting in mid-July and will be available via PBS Passport for members of their local public television stations.
Broadchurch initially premiered, the marketing focused on David Tennant. Fresh off his turn on Doctor Who, Tennant played DI Alec Hardy, a brash young detective who'd recently solved a high-profile case. He's sent to the titular small town to team up with an older detective from the community, DS Ellie Miller, played by an actor then relatively unknown in the states, Olivia Colman.
Fast forward a decade, an Oscar win, and two seasons of
The Crown, and Broadchurch suddenly looks very much like Mare of Easttown. The case in question, the death of local 11-year-old Danny Latimer, is a little different from Erin's, but the community's grief and small-town gossip focusing suspicion on one another will feel very recognizable. Also, the accents are killer. All three seasons are streaming on Netflix.
Fans of Netflix’s
Bodyguard have probably heard about Line of Duty. The series, written and created by Bodyguard’s Jed Mercurio, preceded the Netflix hit and has become one of the BBC’s most-watched programs. Set in the office of AC-12, police internal investigations, this is the story of a team who begin by rooting out what seems like unrelated cases of police corruption, only for them to realize it is all connected. Kate Fleming stars as Vicky McClure, the undercover specialist who embeds in a different office each season as the cases unfold.
The seasons also guest-star some famous U.K. actors, including
Bodyguard’s Keeley Hawes, Westworld’s Thandiwe Newton, and No Country For Old Men’s Kelly Macdonald. Seasons 1-5 are streaming on AMC’s Acorn TV, but the series recently moved house for Season 6 to Britbox, which will be Line of Duty’s home from now on.
For those who love both
Mare and U.K. national treasure Dame Helen Mirren, please go directly to watching Prime Suspect, the 1990s series that made her the household name she is today. Mirren plays DCI Jane Tennison, who has just become one of the first women to break through the Greater London's Metropolitan Police Service’s glass ceiling. Prime Suspect was a series ahead of its time, confronting institutionalized sexism head-on and digging into the PTSD Tennison experiences from both the rigors of her job and the system that refuses to help her, demanding she “prove herself” tough enough. On top of that, it’s also a ripping set of limited series mysteries, with each of the show’s seven seasons only running two installments. All seven seasons are streaming on Hulu.
Most of this list focuses on female-starring cop shows, but
Luther is the exception. Starring Idris Elba as one of the few Black detectives in London’s Greater Metropolitan Police Force, this was the series that made him a household name.
The series’ five seasons dive into serial killer cases and police corruption while the titular Luther battles systemic racism and colleagues who would happily take him down at every turn. Various partners come and go throughout the seasons, including a star-making turn by Wunmi Mosaku in the show’s final run of episodes. However, the one constant is Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson), the brilliant psychopath Luther can’t ever seem to put away. All five seasons are
streaming on HBO Max.
One of the few American series that captures the
Mare spirit is AMC’s The Killing. A remake of the Danish series Forbrydelsen (literally, The Crime), the U.S. version was set in Seattle, starring Mireille Enos as grizzled homicide detective Sarah Linden and Joel Kinnaman as her hot-shot younger partner, Stephen Holder.
An early entry into the prestige TV game on AMC,
The Killing ran for four seasons, starting as a 13-installment series. However, it had a more Mare-like six-episode length by the show's final year. All four seasons are streaming on Hulu.
When most people think of K-dramas, they think of romance or family stories. But there’s a growing subset of Korean detective series that have also gained popularity thanks to Netflix.
Vagabond is one of the more recent releases to arrive. The 2019 series stars K-pop darling Bae Suzy as N.I.S. (National Intelligence Service) agent Go Hae-ri, whose family believes her to be a civil servant, unaware she’s actually a covert operative.
Lee Seung-gi co-stars as Cha Dal-gun, a stuntman whose nephew, Cha Hoon, dies in an unexplained plane crash. Working with Hae-ri, the two attempt to learn the truth and uncover a ring of terrorists and their governmental conspirators. All sixteen episodes are
streaming on Netflix.
Elisabeth Moss fans who would like to see her solve a few crimes instead of endlessly fighting Gilead should check out
Top of The Lake. The New Zealand-set series stars Moss as a Sydney-based detective, Robin Griffin, who returns to the small town where she grew up to investigate the suspicious death of a pregnant 12-year-old girl named Tui Mitcham and face the truths of her own past.
The second season is set with Griffin back home in Australia. It also adds Gwendoline Christie as her newly assigned partner, DS Miranda Hilmarson. The new case involves the death of an unidentified girl found at Bondi Beach. Both seasons are
available to stream on Hulu.
One of the most
Mare-like mysteries in this category is Happy Valley, whose name belies a series about a mother’s grief. The series stars Sarah Lancashire as West Yorkshire’s PS Catherine Cawood, who’s still trying to process the suicide of her teenage daughter Becky. At the same time, she and her sister Clare (Siobhan Finneran) are left raising Ryan, the child Becky left behind. Season 1 finds Cawood obsessed with the recently-out-of-prison Tommy Lee Royce, who raped Becky and drove her to her death, not knowing that Royce is also the man behind an unsolved kidnapping.
Season 2 continues the story of Cawood and Royce. In the new season, the tides are turned as she finds herself is accused of killing his mother, along with an entire string of murders. Now Cawood must uncover a serial killer while clearing herself too. Both seasons are
streaming on Netflix. 10 Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is a period set mystery series about a fictionalized private detective in Melbourne, Australia. Essie Davis stars as the titular Miss Fisher and Nathan Page as her could-be, would-be lover, DI Jack Robinson. Although the series gives off a lighthearted “roaring ‘20s and all that jazz” vibe, underneath, it’s quite a dark story, with Phryne Fisher having lived a brutal life that she’s trying to consign to her past. Too bad both it and the con-artist father who abandoned her won’t stay there. Miss Fisher ran three seasons in Australia, with a capper movie that arrived in early 2020. All episodes and the movie are streaming on Acorn TV, along with the new spinoff series, , starring Geraldine Halliwell as Phryne’s 1960s-era niece solving an all-new set of crimes. Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries 11 Frankie Drake Mysteries
For those looking for something set on the North American continent, there’s the
Frankie Drake Mysteries. Set in 1920s Toronto, this CBC series stars Lauren Lee Smith as the titular Frankie, Toronto’s first female private detective, and Chantel Riley as her partner-in-crime-solving, Trudy Clarke.
The series is a touch more traditional, with a “crime of the week” per episode, but there’s also an overarching story of Frankie and Trudy’s fight to be taken seriously. Moreover, the series functions as a semi-prequel to the popular Canadian
Murdoch Mysteries; series creators Carol Hay and Michelle Ricci wrote on both shows. The first three seasons of Frankie Drake are streaming via PBS Passport; Season 4 only recently finished airing on the CBC. It is expected to premiere in the fall in the U.S. 12 Miss Scarlet & The Duke
Another period piece along the lines of
Miss Fisher, Miss Scarlet & The Duke is the fictionalized story of London’s first female detective. Set in the era of Sherlock Holmes and the early years of the suffragette movement, it might look like a fluffy murder-of-the-week story, but Eliza Scarlet is stuck being a woman of her time and neighborhood, struggling to pay her landlady, with maids quitting right and left because of her shocking behavior and distracting herself rather than dealing with the untimely death of her father.
Also, the “Duke” is no
Hastings coming to sweep her off her feet, but the nickname of the Scotland Yard detective who finds himself working with her — when he’s not attempting to have her locked up for meddling in police business. The show’s first season is streaming free without a subscription on Amazon.