Itâ€™s the final countdown to the New Year, and while some may have glamorous party plans to ring in 2019, there is a large majority who are probably going to binge on comfort food and their favourite shows and movies on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
So, if this year has not been the greatest and has left you feeling brooding, or you find watching murders most foul a deeply cathartic experience, or are just in for the thrills, here are our recommendations of crime and thriller shows to binge watch online as 2018 ends. Happy New Year!
Money Heist: If there is one show that is guaranteed to keep you at the edge of your seats, it's Money Heist on Netflix. A Spanish show originally titled La Casa de Papel, Money Heist tells the story of a mysterious man known to us as The Professor, who has meticulously planned a heist in the Royal Mint of Spain located in Madrid. He recruits a team of eight people, each with a special skill and nothing to lose. The plan is to capture the mint for a period of 11 days, print 2.4 billion Euros, fend off the cops and manage to hold 67 hostages inside the bank.
A cop determined to crack the case and a mastermind who canâ€™t watch his years of work fail are caught in a dangerous cat and mouse game as the show hurtles to a nail-biting fight to the finish. The best news? Expect the third season in 2019.
Line of Duty: This show is a classic that should be revisited if you have seen it before or has to be watched immediately if you have not seen it already. Broadcast on BBC 2 originally, the British police procedural follows police officers DS Steve Arnott and DS Kate Fleming from the Anti-Corruption unit AC 12. The unit investigates crimes and the possible involvement of corrupt officers within the police force.
A far cry from the more melodramatic American crime shows, this British crime drama on Netflix relies on a taut, well-researched script with plenty of suspense and underplayed realistic performances by its lead actors. There are just 5-6 episodes per season which only adds to its binge-worthiness.
Sacred Games: If something closer home is your cup of tea, then watch Sacred Games, Netflix Indiaâ€™s first original TV series. Based on a novel by Vikram Chandra, Sacred Games is an intriguing thriller that tells the story of beleaguered cop Sartaj Singh who gets sucked into a vortex of crime and intrigue after he receives a mysterious phone call one night from missing gangster Ganesh Gaitonde.
There is a terrorist attack being planned and Sartaj has 25 days to prevent the crime. Will he be able to save Mumbai from annihilation? Starring well-known movie stars Saif Ali Khan, Nawazzuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte, Sacred Games is a gripping watch. Catch up on Season 1 before Season 2 streams next year.
Bodyguard: A BBC potboiler whose finale achieved the highest ratings since Downton Abbey in 2011, Bodyguard is now streaming on Netflix. Over 6 episodes, Bodyguard tells the story of David Budd (Richard Madden aka Robb Stark from Game of Thrones), a war veteran suffering from PTSD. When Budd manages to talk a suicide bomber out of denoting the bomb and saves all the passengers on a train, it puts him in the spotlight and gets him a promotion as a specialist protection officer to ambitious Home Secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes).
But is this post recognition of his capability or a deliberate set-up with more sinister intentions? A pulpy but enjoyable psychological thriller, Bodyguard should keep you suitably engaged.
Happy Valley: This British crime drama follows the life and career of Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire), a strong-willed police sergeant in West Yorkshire. She is still coming to terms with the suicide of her teenage daughter, Becky, who kills herself after being brutally raped and forced to deliver a child whom Catherine is now raising with the help of her sister.
When Catherine hears that her daughterâ€™s rapist Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) is out of prison, she becomes obsessed with finding him, not realising that he is involved in another tragic crime she is investigating. The second season of the show is set eighteen months later - Cawoodâ€™s life is thrown into turmoil again when she finds out that Royce is influencing his son Ryan through a prison groupie who is the boy's school teacher to get revenge on Catherine. Will he succeed in turning his son against a grandmother who has protected him all these years or will Catherine manage to quell the storms brewing at home and work? Binge watch on Netflix to know.
Mindhunter: â€śHow do we get ahead of crazy if we donâ€™t know how crazy thinks,â€ť says an important character in the show Mindhunter, in a line that brilliantly summarises the central theme of the show. Itâ€™s the late 1970s but still early days for the criminal profiling at the FBIâ€™s Behavioral Science Unit. Based on true events, Mindhunter follows FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), along with psychologist Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), who set out to study the minds of imprisoned serial killers, hoping to apply their insights to ongoing and new cases.
While the characters of Ford and Tench are based on real FBI agents, the characters of the serial killers were also modelled on real convicted criminals with excerpts of actual recorded interviews being used in the dialogues. The show is engrossing and entertaining while offering terrific insights into the human psyche. Streaming on Netflix and highly recommended.
The Fall: Rarely has a show explored the male gaze and its most terrifying consequences in such visceral detail. The Fall, a BBC series now available on Netflix, hooks you immediately by setting up a charismatic and brilliant investigator Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) against Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), an attractive young father who moonlights as a serial killer targeting brunettes in their 30s, stalking and then slowly torturing them to death.
As is often seen in this genre, the cop and the killer are both similarly calm, brilliant, methodical and in the habit of maintaining journals. Anderson and Dornan bring tremendous heft to their performances and itâ€™s impossible to take your eyes off them whenever they are on screen. Brilliantly written and well-paced, The Fall is a must watch that should be put on your New Year resolutions list if watching it earlier seems tough.
Hannibal: Based on characters from the best-selling Thomas Harris novels, Hannibal, now streaming on Prime video, is a psychological thriller that follows FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) who is struggling to catch serial killers while coping with his own mental health issues. In a brilliant twist, his own therapist Dr Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelson), is a serial killer with sinister plans for Will.
While the episodes are some of the goriest you will see on television, the cinematography, set design and brilliant direction transform the macabre into art. Perhaps not for the faint-hearted, but this Hannibal refresh is certainly worth a watch for fans of the book and the character.
Making a Murderer: Winner of four prime-time Emmy awards, Making a Murderer is perhaps the first of its kind binge-worthy documentary series on Netflix that chronicles the story of Steven Avery who served 18 years in prison for the wrongful conviction of sexual assault and attempted murder.
The first season was filmed over ten years and records the events that took place between 1985 and 2007 related to Averyâ€™s case and the controversial case involving Brendan Dassey, Averyâ€™s nephew. The second season which released this year explores the impact of Avery and Dasseyâ€™s convictions on their families, and the findings of his new attorney which only strengthen Averyâ€™s claims of innocence. While the cases are not open and shut crimes, the show, without passing judgement, highlights the possible coercion of Dassey and an inefficient legal system that possibly, literally made him a murderer.
The Man in the High Castle: If you like dystopian world thrillers and what if scenarios like the Handmaidâ€™s Tale are your preference, then The Man in the High Castle, streaming on Amazon Prime, should be your pick. Set in an alternative 1962 and based loosely on Philip K Dickâ€™s novel of the same name, the story imagines what the world would be like if the Axis powers had won World War II. The United States of America is divided into three zones, with an area each controlled by the Japanese and German forces and a neutral zone in between.
A mysterious film reel turns up that offers the hope of a different world. The show follows a few central characters who are struggling to live under occupation, while also trying to find out the truth about the reel and whether it can give them the freedom they have long desired.
These shows may not have made the list but are also all brilliant and highly recommended. Catch up on the hugely successful Homecoming, Sherlock or its equally good contemporary Elementary. Do a Narcos marathon including the latest Narcos Mexico, revisit old classics like Manhunt Una bomber, Boardwalk Empire, American Crime Story -People vs OJ Simpson, or catch the British crime dramas Broadchurch, Collateral and Luther.