With T-minus three days until season 2 of HBO’s crime anthology True Detective premieres, the hype has never been higher.
True Detective was a runaway success with its dark storyline, stunning cinematography and contribution to the McConaissance.
But there are plenty more spellbinding murder mysteries out there. Here are five TV shows, all available on Netflix, prime for binging while you wait for True Detective. Plus, they all feature a new addition the HBO series: a strong female lead.
Top of the Lake
This seven-episode miniseries tells the story of Police Inspector Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss), who returns to her small New Zealand hometown and investigates the disappearance of Tui (Jacqueline Joe), a 12-year-old girl who became pregnant before she vanished. Moss’s performance is quietly breathtaking, and the final twist will leave you absolutely gutted. Pro tip: Turn the subtitles on. They’re speaking English, but the accents are thick and the slang can be confusing.
The murder of an 11-year-old boy in a small English village forces local Detective Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) to team up with disgraced DI Alec Hardy (David Tennant). She’s entrenched in the tight-knit community; he’s a blunt but brilliant outsider searching for absolution. Just watching season 1 is enough to make you realize just how ill-advised Fox’s failed American reboot Gracepoint was. The Brits always do it better.
And you thought Christian Grey was creepy. In this BBC/Netflix drama – which got greenlit for a third season – Jamie Dornan plays a doting father by day and sadistic serial killer by night. The mesmerizing cat-and-mouse game between him and Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) grounds the show, and Anderson’s cool, steely portrayal of a complicated but righteous woman truly deserves an Emmy.
Yes, its four-season run was infamously uneven and frustratingly reliant on red herrings. But The Killing‘s three separate mysteries are all captivatingly complex, and you’ll come to adore its flawed heroes, cops Sarah Linden (Mirielle Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnamen). Look out for Peter Sarsgaard‘s season 3 turn as a death row inmate who may have been wrongfully convicted … or not.
The Bletchley Circle
Picture this: A group of bad-ass women (Anna Maxwell Martin, Rachael Stirling, Sophie Rundle, Julie Graham and Hattie Morahan) worked as secret intelligence officials at the real-life Bletchley Park during World War II, cracking German codes to protect the English troops. In peacetime they returned to their mundane lives, forbidden from telling even their husbands about their heroic pasts. But when they read about a string of murders in the local paper, the gang gets back together, trying to predict the killer’s pattern. The police laugh them off as bored housewives, but they totally save the day – twice! It’s like The Imitation Game meets Jack the Ripper.
True Detective season 2 airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.