4 seasons / 41 episodes (so far)
My favorite part about this excellent series from Noah Hawley is that it has nothing to do with the Coen Brothers movie of the same name…or does it? Everything about this show is cleverly done, from any mysterious connective tissue to the Oscar-winning film, to each season telling a whole new story, with a whole new cast of characters. The one thing they all have in common is a setting of Minnesota and stories involving a gallery of criminals, each one more devious, vicious and unique as the next. Seasons one and two are absolute GOLD, and seasons three and four are also very good—each season is better than most things on television. If you love crime dramas, interesting characters, great writing and clever mysteries, you owe it to yourself to love Fargo as much as I do. A new season is coming, we’ve been promised, and I’m waiting with bated breath.
THE KILLING (2011)
4 seasons / 44 episodes
Based on the Danish television series, this American version stars Mireille Enos and Joel Kinneman as oil-and-vinegar police detectives trying to solve a brutal murder in Seattle. Enos’s performance as a detective who is brilliant on the job but whose personal life is a mess came long before Kate Winslet did basically the same thing in Mare of Easttown, and she almost does it better. Oh, and for those of you who love moody, dark crime dramas, here’s your catnip.
THE PATIENT (2022)
1 season / 10 episodes (so far)
While I’m not about to recommend you watch Dahmer, I am recommending this show about a serial killer that is much better, and might cause you fewer nightmares. It’s still pretty gruesome and heavy, as Domnhall Gleason plays a serial murderer who kidnaps his therapist, played by Steve Carell, because he feels his therapy is not progressing fast enough. An intriguing premise, bolstered by a significantly dramatic and powerful performance from Carell makes for a tense and captivating watch.
THE BRIDGE (2013)
2 seasons / 26 episodes
In this American adaptation of the successful Scandanavian crime series of the same name, Diane Kruger and Demian Bichir play police detectives tasked with solving a string of murders that occur on both sides of the Texas/Mexico border. It’s pretty standard police drama fare, dark and twisted, but Kruger and Bichir elevate it beyond genre, especially Kruger, who delivers a complicated character battling undiagnosed Asperger’s.
UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN (2022)
1 season / 7 episodes
Based on a true story, Andrew Garfield plays a detective in Utah in the ‘70s who is investigating a gruesome murder of a fellow member of the Mormon church. When his investigation takes him to the underbelly of an extremist wing of the Mormons, it’s more than just his faith that is challenged. It gets a little slow and could be shortened by a couple of episodes, but Garfield is superb and it’s worth a viewing, especially if you are a fan of this genre.