Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Favorite TV Mysteries

Since last Thursday's post about Angela Lansbury, I've been thinking of favorite TV mysteries. Cozy mysteries are favorites, both in book and show form (I'll be back with favorite books on Thursday). There's something oddly comforting about many of these amateur sleuths (or PIs, or even a police detective, when they don't show a lot of gore or graphic scenes) and the eventual justice that's meted out. (Oops! After writing this, I realized I forgot two old favorites. So, honorable mentions to Cadfael, starring Derek Jacobi as a mystery-solving monk in Norman England, and The Navajo Mysteries--Leaphorn and Chee, starring Adam Beach and Wes Studi--two shows worth watching!) Here are my favorite TV mystery shows:

Photo via IMDb

12. Frankie Drake Mysteries: Frankie Drake is a fun series (so far) that follows female PI Frankie and her associate Trudy as they solve mysteries in 1920s Toronto. Though it's not as polished as Miss Fisher, it's still enjoyable, and I especially like Trudy and her family. (Mild adult content)

11. Grantchester: Sidney Chambers, vicar of Grantchester, started it off in this series, but I love the supporting cast and the newest addition this past season. This series sometimes shows a bit more graphic and adult content (and can get a bit dark) than is comforting, but it's a solid series.

10. Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: Follow Phryne Fisher as she solves mysteries in 1920's Melbourne with style, wit, charisma, a pearl-handled pistol, and help from a strong group of friends. The costumes alone on this show are stunning, but it's the cast that keeps me riveted. (Some graphic and adult content)

9.  Shetland: This isn't a cozy mystery, and it gets dark, but it's a wonderful atmospheric mystery that will keep you guessing. The scenery (it's set in Scotland) is stunning, and the cast is wonderful. I like the ongoing relationships between Perez, his daughter, her biological father, and Perez's work crew. (Graphic and adult content)

8. Father Brown: I love Mark Williams (Mr. Weasley in Harry Potter) as priest and amateur sleuth Father Brown. He's compassionate, caring, and observant in the midst of an almost campy show. The supporting cast is also fun to watch, but it's Williams that keeps me returning to see each season. (Mild graphic and adult content)

7. Hetty Wainthrop Investigates: Patricia Routledge is a gem. I first saw her in Keeping Up Appearances, a British sitcom, but also love watching her as retiree turned PI Hetty Wainthrop . The show can get dark on occasion, but Routledge is a joy to watch, and her interactions with her husband, Robert, associate Geoffrey (played by a young Dominic Monaghan--Merry in Lord of the Rings), and DCI Adams show her smarts, empathy, and strength. (Some graphic and adult content)

Photo via IMDb

6. Rumpole of the Bailey: Crusty criminal law barrister Horace Rumpole (played perfectly by Leo McKern) stands for the defense in seven seasons of this witty mystery/courtroom drama/comedy of manners. Whenever I see anyone from the cast, it's for their roles on Rumpole that I best remember them. This show has been a reliable watch (and rewatch) since the 1980s. (Some mild adult content)

5. Murder, She Wrote: If you read my post last week on Angela Lansbury, you know why I love this show. Though (as with many long-running shows) the quality of episodes varies, I find watching Lansbury as mystery writer and sleuth Jessica Fletcher comforting and entertaining. (Mild adult content)

4. Columbo: Peter Falk as seemingly bumbling detective Columbo never gets old for me. We see the murder first (some graphic content), and the fun is watching Columbo figure it out. Amazing guest stars add to the appeal of this long-running movie-format show.

Photo via IMDb

3. Rosemary and Thyme: I surprise myself for placing this ahead of Columbo and Murder She Wrote, but I love this series about gardeners--and amateur sleuths--Rosemary Boxer (Felicity Kendal) and Laura Thyme (Pam Ferris). The quality of the show is great, and so are the gardens. Though I missed it on its first run in the early 2000s, I've since watched all three seasons several times. (Mild adult content)

2. Poirot: David Suchet is Poirot. This show never disappoints, and I've watched it many times, yet there's always something new to spot. Set mostly in the 1920s and 1930s, this long-running show is based on the books about eccentric, smart Belgian private detective Hercule Poirot, by Agatha Christie. (Some adult and graphic content)

1. Miss Marple: I love every iteration of Miss Marple on TV. Joan Hickson is particularly good, but I also like the two latest Marples. Based on the books by Agatha Christie, Miss Marple is a delight whose perception and wit rival a Jane Austen heroine, but she's as comforting as a good grandma or great-aunt. I've watched all the episodes many times; it's a companionable show. (Some adult content)

Photo via IMDb

Do you like mysteries? If so, what are your favorites?

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