Television

  • Murder, She Wrote Amateur Sleuth * ran for 12 seasons on CBS (1984 – 1996) * Jessica Fletcher, a retired English teacher, investigates mysteries in both her small town of Cabot Cove and across the world
  • Murdoch Mysteries (also called The Artful Detective in the US) Police Procedural * Canadian drama currently still airing on CBC (2013 – ) and previously airing on Citytv (2008 – 2012) * preceded by 3 TV films (2004, 2005) * Intelligent and inventive police detective tackles baffling cases in turn of the century Toronto * based on novels by Maureen Jennings
  • Death in Paradise Police Procedural * UK drama currently still airing on BBC (2011 – present) * Police detectives on an island in the Caribbean investigate murders * Beginning with season 3, there are significant character changes, but the general plot (cops on an beautiful Caribbean island rich with culture and allure) remains
  • Pushing Daisies Amateur Sleuth * ran for 2 seasons on ABC (2007 – 2009) * A pie maker with the unusual ability to (briefly) reanimate the dead joins forces with a PI to crack murder cases for the reward money, although the limited amount of time he has to reanimate a body usually hinders there investigation rather than quickly resolving it
  • Columbo Police Procedural * ran for 10 seasons on NBC (1971 – 1978) and intermittently on ABC as specials (1989 – 2003) * preceded by 2 pilots (1968 and 1971) * Clever but quiet detective uses his unassuming persona to trip up criminals in Los Angeles * unique in that the killer was revealed to the television viewer at the beginning of the episode, lacking the whodunit element prevalent in many mystery series
  • Agatha Raisin Amateur Sleuth * UK drama that ran for 1 season on Sky 1 (2016) * preceded by the TV film Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (2014) * A public relations agent relocates from London to the quaint village of Carsley, only to discover that her new home is a hotbed for murderous activity * based on novels by M. C. Beaton
  • Signal (시그널Police Procedural * South Korean drama that ran for 16 episodes on KST (January thru March 2016) * two police officers, one from the past and one from the present, use a walkie talkie to solve cases in both time periods * inspired by the infamous and unsolved Hwaseong murders that occurred in South Korea between 1986 and 1991
  • Ellery Queen Amateur Sleuth * ran for 1 season on NBC (1975 – 1976) * mystery novelist Ellery Queen uses his keen skills of observation to unmask killers in post-WWII New York * based on novels by Ellery Queen (pseudonym of cousins Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee)unique in that Ellery would break the fourth wall to challenge the television viewer to solve the case right before he revealed the culprit
  • Higashino Keigo Mysteries 東野圭吾ミステリーズ (2012) Anthology * suspenseful stories from Japan’s master of Mystery
  • Nero Wolfe PI * ran for 2 seasons on A&E (2001 – 2002) * eccentric detective Nero Wolfe and his right man, Archie Goodwin, uncover crime in mid-century New York * based on novels by Rex Stout * unique in that is reuses stock actors in non-recurring roles throughout the series
  • Sherlock! PI * UK drama currently still airing on BBC (2010 – ) * The iconic detective and his good friend, John Watson, solve baffling puzzles in modern-day London *based on novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle * unique in the way it incorporates recent technologies, such as social media platforms, into Doyle’s classic stories
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes PI * ran for 9 seasons (1984 – 1994) on ITV * notable for starring Jeremy Brett in one of the most highly regarded portrayals of the famous detective
  • Tunnel Police Procedural * South Korean drama that ran for 16 episodes on OCN (March thru May 2017) * While chasing a suspect through an old tunnel, a police detective investigating a series of murders in 1986 is transported to 2017, where he must reign in his culture shock and assume the identity of a missing policeman to figure out how to return to his own time
  • Riverdale Ensemble Sleuth * currently still airing on The CW (2017 – ) * the apparent drowning of Riverdale’s golden boy exposes sinister secrets and brings chaos to the idyllic small town when new evidence reveals he was actually murdered * based on the long-running Archie comics * unique in the way a darker and grittier side of Riverdale is presented, while still maintaining many characteristics from the beloved comics
  • Life On Mars Police Procedural * ran for 1 season on ABC (2008 – 2009) * A police detective from 2008 is knocked unconscious in a car accident and wakes up in 1973, where he grapples with unresolved childhood issues (even coming across his childhood self occasionally) and searches for clues to find out why he was thrust 33 years into the past * US remake of UK series that ran on BBC (2006 – 2007)
  • Agatha Christie’s Marple Amateur Sleuth * ran for 6 seasons intermittently on ITV (2004 – 2013) * Christie’s sharp-witted and elderly sleuth assists the authorities in sussing out crime * based on novels by Agatha Christie (some of which were not originally Miss Marple novels) *unique in that these are not faithful adaptations, the narratives of some episodes taking broad liberties with the original motives, means, and murders of Christie’s works
  • Bad Guys Police Procedural * South Korean drama that ran for 11 episodes on OCN (October thru December 2014) * a police detective with questionable morals and unstable anger issues gathers a team of hardened convicts and uses them to catch violent criminals
  • Monk PI * ran for 8 seasons on USA Network (2002 – 2009) * A former homicide detective with severe OCD solves cases for the San Francisco Police Department while trying to uncover clues tied to the murder of his wife, Trudy.
  • Vera Police Procedural * British drama still currently airing on ITV (2011 – ) * a grouchy but steadfast Detective Chief Inspector leads her team on the path to finding the truth behind bleak homicide cases disrupting the peace of a seaside village in England.
  • Arang and the Magistrate Historical Suspense * South Korean drama that ran for 20 episodes on MBC (August thru October 2012) * Arang, a ghost with amnesia, and Kim Eun Oh, an irritable nobleman with the ability to see her, reluctantly team up to find her murderer and his missing mother, all while avoiding the grim reapers charged with bringing Arang back to the underworld.
  • Suspicious Partner 수상한 파트너 (also called Love In Trouble) Lawyer Sleuths * South Korean drama that ran for 40 episodes on SBS (May – July 2017) * A lawyer, falsely accused of murder when she was a Prosecutor trainee, teams up with her boss to find the serial killer who framed her, her only clue being a tune the killer whistled as he passed her after committing the crime
  • The Dresden Files PI * ran for 1 season on Sci-Fi (2007) * a Chicago PI who is also a talented wizard works for clients with exceptionally unexplainable problems and has a side job helping out the local PD with bizarre cases * based on novels by Jim Butcher
  • Queen of Mystery 추리의 여왕 Amateur Sleuth * South Korean drama that ran for 16 episodes on KBS2 (April thru May 2017) and ran for another 16 episodes on KBS2 (February thru April 2018) under the title Queen of Mystery 2 * an insatiably curious housewife with dreams of one day joining the police force bumbles her way into assisting a police detective with his cases, usually finding the solution before he does
  • Lie To Me Scientific Sleuths * ran for 3 seasons on Fox (2009 – 2011) * An expert in body language with his own practice uses psychology and a team of trusted collegues to assist both law enforcement agencies and private clients in unraveling crimes
  • Psych PI * ran for 8 seasons on USA Network (2006 – 2014) and a holiday special (December 2017) * a fake psychic uses powerful observational skills and his photographic memory to help clients that show up at his detective agency (Psych) and act as a freelance consultant for the Santa Barbara Police Department * He’s accompanied on these cases by his childhood best friend, Gus, a pharmaceutical salesman with a highly sensitive nose
  • Moonlighting PI * ran for 5 seasons on ABC (1985 – 1989) * After her accountant embezzles all of her money, a former model discovers she owns several failing companies being used as tax write-offs; to make a living, she partners with the manager at one of these businesses, a detective agency, and renames it the Blue Moon detective agency.
  • The Master’s Sun 주군의 태양 Amateur Sleuth * South Korean drama that ran for 17 episodes on SBS (August thru October 2013) * A prickly department store CEO annoyedly forms a relationship with a woman that is constantly harassed by ghosts (except, for some reason, when she touches him) and works with her to help the spirits resolve their matters, while at the same time dealing with his own unresolved emotions from an unsolved kidnapping attempt when he was younger * not technically a traditional mystery show (the ghosts aren’t alway murder victims searching for justice) but the kidnapping storyline runs through the entire series, and is a juicy puzzle with several twists and turns
  • Veronica Mars PI * ran for 3 seasons on UPN (2004 – 2006) and The CW (2006 – 2007) * A perceptive young woman with a strong dose of moxie gets to the bottom of shocking crimes, first in her high school and later at her college, while occasionally assisting her PI father in straightening out his own cases

 

 

NOTE: This is by no means a comprehensive list of all mystery television shows out there. These are simply shows I’ve watched, enjoyed, and recommend.