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  • I found this series called Indian Summers Season 1 (Season 2 scheduled to air this year) at the library and thought of you, especially since I’ve run out of most Masterpiece Theater productions.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/programs/series/indian-summers-s1/

    • I started watching the lava field last night. It is a 3 hr.+ miniseries and it seems promising. it takes place in iceland, with stunning scenery (subtitles).

      imdb says: When Reykjavik crime detective Helgi Marvin Runarsson is called in to investigate a suicide case on Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the case turns out to be far from simple. Pulled into a sinister trail of evidence, Helgi’s own deeply hidden secrets are unearthed. Will Helgi turn a blind eye to murder in order to save the life of his daughter?
      – Written by Thorisson

      • I endorse your recommendation of The Lava Field (currently on Netflix) – I’m half way through and there has already been a lopapeysa sighting!!! It made me want don my Stopover – but it’s 94F today, so I came to my senses.

      • I have also started to watch the Lava Field. I love it but have a hard time watching foreign language shows with subtitles and also knitting/needlepointing. I need the British shows to accompany my knitting/needlepoint.

  • I have experienced that same fear. Also, loved River and Nicola. I’ll be watching the comments for lots of tips.

    ps, here’s my tip: podcasts. Try Longform. Excellent for when you have to actually look at what’s on your lap.

  • LOL…I just subscribed to Acorn TV and I am positively wallowing in knitting and British detective programs 🙂

    • Acorn is the best. I have it as an add on to Amazon Prime.

      Two new favorites are Raised By Wolves and Cradle to Grave. These are British comedies, not mysteries.

  • Any idea where one could find a kit like that? Asking for a friend… 😉

  • I’d love to hear the list of suggestions for British shows. I’m always on the lookout for new ones. Thanks!

  • Idris Elba as Luther! Brilliantly played, although I did have to turn on the closed captioning so I could understand what was being said.

    We’re also watching The Tunnel. Dark and confusing, but who doesn’t love an autistic French detective paired with a philandering English detective.

    • I’m currently catching up on The Bridge, which The Tunnel copies. It’s on Netflix in Europe, but I could only find it on Amazon Video here in the states. It’s all in subtitles, because the action begins on the Oresund Bridge linking Denmark and Sweden. There’s an autistic Danish detective (absolutely terrific) and a philandering Swedish one. Hard to watch and knit at the same time, but it can be done….

  • I loved loved loved Ruth in Spooks. She was the only character who remained likable!

  • Watched the clip. Gee, thanks for giving me an earworm, Kay. Now I’ve got to go listen to bubblegum pop from the 60s or the 80s, or old TV themes to get rid of it…wonder if the themes from “Perry Mason” or “Get Smart” will do the trick…;-)

  • I really really really hope I can find River on Netflix. I haven’t enjoyed any detective series since Broadchurch, and that was months ago. I am an underacheiving TV series watcher, but still. A girl needs a series to knit to late at night.

  • I’ve been binging on Midsomer Murders with John Nettles

    • Me too. Our library carries all the episodes.

    • I have finished the John Nettle Midsomer Murder series. I was so sad when I finished them! It felt like I had lost a member of the family! The new Midsomer Murders series is not as good.

      • OH No I hate to hear that – I’m loving the Nettle Midsomer Murder series. . . was thrilled there were so many seasons – but not as many if the later ones are not as good 🙁

        • No no, stick with Midsomer Murders! Granted the post-Nettles seasons are not as ironic and witty, but they’re still good.

        • Thanks I will Beth! I’m definitely addicted 🙂

  • You have watched Luther, right? If not for the plot, at least to stare at Idris Elba for hours on end. Hinterland is another favorite, and The Fall is good too. And Jack Taylor. And Inspector Lewis, and not just to stare at “the delectable Sargent Hathaway”.

    If you like the occasional cozy murder, Midsommer Murders goes on for years and years and years, and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is good as well.

    • I’m loving the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. The costumes are fabulous.

  • Try “The Killing”. It’s on Netflicks in Canada. Very good.

  • Another early Nicola Walker series was the six episode The Last Train, a dystopian future drama.

  • Try acorn.tv This is the ‘home’ off all things British TV.

  • I will have to restart my Netflix subscription – Binger’s Special. Most recently watched all 7 seasons of West Wing – whee! Will check out River just to see Nicola Walker in something other than Tango. I thought she was fantastic in that but so painful to watch at times…”Nooooo! Don’t do eeet! This is your chance to turn this thing around….DAMN.”

  • I take every opportunity I can to be alone in the house with my surly UK Detectives. Hinterland! Have you seen that one? It’s Welsh and the accents have driven me to subtitles on many occasions.

    I’ve just started Midsommer Murders.

    I am gearing up for the final season of Inspector Lewis. There may be crying.

    • still have not watched or read the last Morse. same with Lewis, have not even watched the last season.

      sigh

  • Inspector Lewis
    Vera
    George Gently
    The Brokenwood Mysteries
    The Code
    Line of Duty
    DCI Banks
    Endeavour

    • I heartily endorse Vera! Also Line of Duty.

  • Who doesn’t love Inspector Lewis? Much as I also love all the haunted/depressed/angry/psychotic detectives, Lewis is so GOOD, and kind, he is refreshing. If I ever got arrested for a gruesome murder, I’d want him to do it.
    And for costumes, definitely Miss Fisher, and David Suchet as Hercule Poirot!

    • As for haunted/depressed, etc., detectives, it’s hard to do better than Helen Mirren in as Jane Tennison in the Prime Suspect series from the early 1990s. These are dark stories, but they are so very well-written and acted that they’re worth it.

  • If you run out, try Australian detective series! I just found Dr. Blake Mysteries at my library, and I am thoroughly enjoying them. The needlepoint is coming along famously.

  • I don’t see it on the list yet so: Happy Valley. The protagonist is a middle aged female cop in a small town. She has a complex personal life. Occasionally it is also funny, (the very first scene is)- but mostly the word I would use is “searing”. People from other shows (Downton, Grantchester) are in it, which really is a tribute to the British school of acting, they are completely different here. Two seasons.

    • Also-the fact that nobody has guns is very strange and thought provoking as you watch this show from a US vantage.

    • Happy Valley was amazing!! Loved it!

    • Happy Valley is riveting. The timing of each season’s release here in the USA is rough because it’s usually a week or two before the new season of Grantchester – it’s very jarring to get used to sweet Sidney after terrible Tommy 🙂

    • This is an outstanding show. 5 stars!!!!

      • And Sarah Lancashire (the lead in HAPPY VALLEY is one of the leads in LAST TANGO with … .yes Nicola Walker.

        And has her own early series called WHERE THE HEART IS (soap opera in the same setting as HV years later). with PAM FERRIS ! (of Rosemary and Thyme with Felecity Kendall)

        There is so much good British, French, Danish and Norwegian tv i have hardly watched primetime US tv in years… law and order and ncis and just now catching up on the good wife.

        ACORN TV and Hulu are good places to start

        Comedies – Miranda, The Good Life, Moone Boy for starters…

        I agree with Kay, I am looking forward to spending hours of knitting with all these goodies and more that are even listed here – i just need to figure out how to do that and get paid so i can quit working.. sigh.

    • Loved Happy Valley (after loving Broadchurch and Hinterland). Lead character is so human and so tough and so feminine in a real way.

      Thanks to everyone for all the reccies! I just started Midsomer Mysteries, which might just last me through my dotage 😉

  • I have a love for shows set during WWII:
    Land girls
    Bomb Girls
    The Bletchley Circle
    Foyles War

    Other great shows, not necessarily British:
    Sherlock
    Longmire

    And if you want a bellyful of laughs, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

    • We really liked Home Fires – but I haven’t heard whether /when the next season will air in US.

  • Not British, but oh so good…Bosch,,,set in LA.

    • I agree, Bosch is really good!

      • Dear brother has been camera operator on Bosch – said it was one of the most creative shows he’s ever worked. Currently he’s working alongside Pam Allen’s daughter, Caitlin Fitzgerald, on Masters of Sex.

        Thanks for the suggestion of River. Right now, I am hooked on Peaky Blinders – not exactly detective but sorta – best music ever, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, etc.

  • I’m waiting for the debut of a knitting detective some time some place. All that time in the car staking out criminal activity and no knitting anywhere to be seen!

    • Miss Marple sometimes took out her needles. But you’re right, all that time in the car ….

    • It could be called “As Soon As I Finish This Row”

  • And the Australian series Janet King on Acorn.

  • I love Skarsgard, he is good in everything he does. He plays a Russian mafioso in the new Ewan McGregor thriller and steals the show. And his kids are emerging as actors now. One of his sons stars as the new Tarzan, which is a surprisingly entertaining movie. Course, he is drop dead gorgeous so that doesn’t hurt.
    Thanks for the recommendation, can’t wait to tune into it!

  • I so wish that MI-5 was on Netflix or Amazon ….
    WLIW never did manage to finish all the seasons, think ..

    Saw Nicola Walker in “View from a Bridge” with bonus Mark Strong and Russell Torvey. Arthur Miller = depressing, but acting = so good.

    Putting some of these suggestions on my “list”.

    the Original Forsythe Saga – still holds up
    The House of Elliot
    the original Upstairs, Downstairs (especially the WW1 episodes)

    for laughs: Vicar of Dibley, Miranda, Fawlty Towers, Blackadder

    I do more costume drama than detective, but oh, MI-5. Ruth. Harry. Tom.

    • agree with your choices

      about SPOOKS. i need to get back to it. the early eps in the first season turned me off with the violence (not as prevalent those years as now – esp GOT) but i love NW and all the actors who revolved thru the series.

      another one on the list… which is so long now…

  • I love Stellan Skarsgard, although I have trouble spelling his name and I have to admit, I was a little surprised to see him in Mamma Mia. His son, who is currently starring in Tarzan and was in True Blood, is equally talented, and, shall we say, not unattractive…..

  • I loved House of Elliot (not a mystery, but excellent…you can watch it just for the clothes). But Kya, you never told us which other Netflixable series she gave you for your list. Do share!

  • A fellow knitter recommended River knowing my tv preferences and I just finished it last weekend. Ding, ding, ding “hit all my benchmarks” for sure. It still haunts me (in a good way).

  • If you like the BBC version of Wallender, you will lurve! the original Swedish version of the series. I found it at my local library.

    • I preferred the Swedish Wallander — everyone is much more likable.

  • I think we have watched almost all the mysteries mentioned above and we are hoping we bump into another one by accident……. I don’t think we can get Acorn TV in Quebec but we’ll try again. Love Nicola Walker!!! Did anyone mention Last Tango in Halifax??

  • Best thing about MI5: they didn’t hesitate to kill off a major character so the suspense was great because you could never think “well, he won’t die because he’s the lead”.

    Best recommendation I can give that I haven’t seen listed:. NEW TRICKS!!! Sweet in London, the characters are several older detectives who have been put out to pasture and who have been called back to work on the cheap so saving the police budget. The leader is a woman who was a high flyer, advancing up the police career ladder rapidly until during a raid she accidentally shoots a dog. This so enraged the public that she is demoted and given this very difficult crew to wrangle. It’s sharply written and is one of those sites that can be very funny and also felt moving and serious. I especially enjoyed the female lead. Sorry I don’t remember her name. Apart from great acting, she’s a woman her 40s who is neither impossibly gorgeous nor frumpy. She also has been scars on her arms, visible because she often wears sleeveless tops. It made me think about how we never really see physical imperfections like that in the lead player in the states. Great show in every respect.

    • Ha Ha. Never knew the backstory about the dog murder. Warning; the last season or two had a new cast so not quite the same. I couldn’t get over the loss of my favorite TV marriage— the long-suffering Esther and her hilariously impossible husband, Brian (Alun Armstrong).

    • NEW TRICKS is so great. agree. writing excellent and a grand ensemble. Sandra Pullman played by Amanda Redman (she was burned as an infant with hot water she pulled off a pan from a stove).

      SPOILER the series is done. the last ep has aired.

      I actually didnt mind the newer guys – esp as Waterman (Standing) stayed on… (no spoilers to spoil the last season) and i really like Redman – she has an interesting personal story.

      I loved that personal lives were intertwined with the stories.

      AND to bring this back full circle. this weekends ep on on the NY metro PBS channels feature – yes Nicola Walker (we should have a drinking game for this post).

  • River is a fabulous show. You will enjoy it. Plus you get an earworm from her character’s favorite song!

  • Prey is a great British police drama that I recently watched on BBC America. Really, really good. Basically a mini-series each season, and they are on their second season.

    I’m looking up Acorn TV.

  • Love the Jim Jeffries comedy series Legit. Australian comedian living in LA. Some adult situations that make you think as well as laugh. A severely disabled main character is a major source of these. And at 21 minutes per episode, they make great laugh snacks between gory murders.

  • Marcella is a new one that just showed up on Netflix. Great acting, lots of suspense, about a female cop (Marcella) who returns to the force after several years as a stay-at-home mom. Set in London with lots of recognizable faces and locations. Dark and twisty.

  • I am a late comer to the Worricker series which first showed on PBS — 4 feature-length episodes, now streaming on Prime. Post-Cold-War evil doings of intelligence services. More political than suspenseful, but opinionated and brimming with sublime –yes! — actors: Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Christopher Walken.

    • I love Worricker. Just watched it again. Bill Nighy is such a wonderful actor.

  • I wanna knit something in those colors from the close up of Stellan Skarsgard…
    Also, not sure if someone has mentioned it, but the series “The Tunnel” showing right now on PBS is great.
    Also, on Netflix is “The Great Train Robbery” which tells the story from both the robbers and the cops POV.

  • Oh, yes! I love most all of the British detective series on TV. Scott and Bailey is my personal favorite, I think.

    I also love to play a game, while watching PBS and knitting called, “Where have I seen that actor before?” I give myself bonus points if I can come up with something while watching the current production. But sometimes when it doesn’t quite “ping,” I later look up actor resumes online and can be surprised by what they’ve been in. (Like Nicola Walker!) Sometimes I have to see them on the big screen before they really register, like Bill Nighy in Love, Actually, and Stellan Skarsgard in Mama Mia! Bill Nighy has been in everything. For years!

  • Stellan Skarsgård is a wonderful actor – but I’ve never forgiven him for the role he played in the movie Breaking the Waves. I still remember watching the video back in the late ’90s and screaming at Emily Watson as she was heading out to the ship. (Fortunately, I watched Gosford Park the other day, so have a refreshed memory of how good Emily Watson is in just about everything)
    As for other British detectives on TV:
    *John Thaw’s Morse,
    *the original Midsomer Murders,
    *Joan Hickson’s Miss Marple.
    *George Baker’s Inspector Wexford
    *****Wish someone would re-do P.D. James’s Dalgleish mysteries. Roy Marsden was awfully good, but the lighting in my old DVDs can be hard to watch.
    I’d also like to see the British Inspector Peter Diamond mysteries (written by Peter Lovesey) made into a series.
    Speaking of Worricker and Bill Nighy, though: if you like to listen to British mysteries, he’s wonderful as Charles Paris in the BBC Radio Crimes series. These are really lightweight mysteries, but – well – Bill Nighy!

    • yes to HICKSONS Miss Marple and George Baker!!! love those!

      agree about PD James – got used to Shaw but never really – and didnt really like Janie Dee as the love interest Kinda glad they didnt do Perfect Patient.

      Marsden has been running his own theatre all these years – and if you are a big fan he has another FABULOUS series called THE SANDBAGGERS about the MI6 before technology at the beginning of the cold war. Incredibly good. and then there is AIRLINE (very hard to find).

      • the private patient

  • Ok, I’ve got one — The Detectorists. It’s a quirky group of people who use metal detectors in the English countryside, on a quest for treasure rumored to be buried in the area on a wreck of a Saxon ship from ages past. Lovable bunch of oddballs and very endearing, and there is a murder mystery as an aside. Just 6 half hour episodes so you can watch it all in one sitting. Hubby found it on Netflix.

    • I love The Detectorists! There is a second season now too.

  • I’d add Occupied, a Norwegian series that I believe we found on Netflix. Or Hulu or Amazon Prime (I can never remember.) It posits a Russian occupation of present -day Norway. Fantastic! Also, and this is Hulu, is Hatufim, the original Israeli series on which Homeland was loosely based. Absolutely riveting.

  • I also adore detective series. My husband and I are currently alternating between Hinterland, Lewis (having watched all of Morse, with Endeavor to follow), Pie in the Sky, Father Brown, and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. A recent favorite was Shetland – I think you’d like it even beyond the incredible setting. Partners in Crime was fun – more Agatha Christie, after we finished the original Miss Marple and Poirot.

    My husband, being English, is fantastic at recommending classic mysteries. He says A Mind to Kill is a great older Welsh show, and Hetty Wainthropp Investigates is also quite good.

  • Loved many of the series that have been mentioned! My additions would be Murdock Mysteries on Acorn and Montebano (Italian with sub titles – not so good for knitting but a great series) was on PBS but you can probably find them at the library.

    • I am chiming to put in yet another plug for Montalbano. And I agree, it is hard to knit with the subtitles, but oh so fun.

    • ALL – yes ALL including the new series just aired in Italy – of Montelbano is on MHZ Networks which no one has mentioned

      its all Foreign series so if you want to binge… its fabulous with a web app, roku, apple tv and mobile devices.

      very reasonably priced.

  • ADORE Midsomer Murders… probably the most dangerous place to live in England. Also Foyles War? sadly no more being made but awesomely well written.

  • Please look out for Happy Valley-turns out some valleys aren’t so great to hang out in. Acting outstanding, you won’t regret your time in the sofa with this one.

  • I’m also a devotee of British mysteries, and have watched most of those listed, I’ve added a couple to my list. I second the recommendation of acorn tv. I would add BLUE MURDERS and DCI BANKS. the last time I looked, blue was on acorn, but I can’t locate DCI BANKS

    LOve this topic!

    • DCI Banks is on Acorn TV

  • Dear Kay, I may or may not have told you on more than one occasion that I was not allowed to watch commercial tv as a child. It was PBS/BBC all the way. Masterpiece Theater and the like. So, as I am currently sharing my 91 year old father’s three bedroom home while I look for a new home of my own in the Bay Area, we spend our evenings watching things like Bleak House and Dr. Thorne. And I crochet, knit or stitch. I recently re-watched A Jewel in the Crown. I’m pretty sure the reel of BBC possibilities will never grow old. To us.

  • Have you seen the “Honourable Woman” with Maggie Gyllenhaal” and Stephen Rea. It’s about the Stein Family and the Middle East. A must watch. Layer upon layer.

  • Loved River — and yes, absolutely for the presence of Nicola Walker. Something in her eyes, especially. Just powered through season 1 of Brøn and must confess to a weak spot for Rake.

  • I didn’t see these in the comments – 3 “Department Q” movies, Danish, subtitled. Available on pay per view and iTunes. Crime thrillers that I loved. I think members of the coven might enjoy them also.

  • I was in London in early June and an acquaintance there recommended a BBC (I think) three part production of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”. I was able to watch the whole thing on the plane trip home. I had always thought of Christie as something lightweight, but this was anything but; wonderfully produced and acted, with at least one handsome actor from Downton in the cast. Very dark, suspenseful and even profound. Haven’t looked for it here because of the aforementioned find on the airline. But well worth it.

  • River! Nicola!

  • MhzChoice is a streaming site that has wonderful foreign mystery/spy/intrigue shows and a few comedies in a variety of languages (German, swedish, italian, french, Finnish etc.). There are English subtitles. Wonderful shows, too many to mention. Check it out http://www.mhzchoice.com. Worth the $7.99 a month subscription fee. You can browse the website to see what shows they have before you sign up for the service. ENJOY!!!

  • Ann, your needlepoint is beautiful! I hope you are able to finish it. I do both needlepoint and knitting and love all the British detective shows, too. Your post resonated with me. I watch them while knitting and needlepointing. I also watch foreign detective shows on MHZChoice, but those are harder for me to watch while knitting etc. because I have to read the subtitles!

  • You may not remember having seen Stellan Skarsgard before, but he was in The Avengers, Good Will Hunting, The Hunt for Red October, and — as many others have noted — Mamma Mia! I am sure next time you re-watch a movie he was in, you’ll go, oh, THAT guy!

  • I’m sure you already know that Stellan Skarsgård is father of Alexander Skarsgård who played vampire Eric Northman on the delightfully campy HBO series True Blood. Still, given a choice, I’d take father over son any day.

    Putting in my vote for “Shetland” — a Scottish crime drama starring Douglas Henshall, on whom I have a mad crush. There were 3 (regrettably short) seasons and I am not sure if there are more planned. I live in hope.

  • Last night the power went out, just on our end of the block. A handful of us were outside, all lamenting that we were 20 minutes in to Inspector Lewis on our local PBS. We had a brief discussion of who we thought did it (the old professor hired the boyfriend, right?), so now eagerly waiting for tonight when we can go back and see if we were right.

  • I have that panicky feeling when I worry that I will run out of British mystery series to read; I am so happy when I discover a new (to me) series and can binge on the books; recently I discovered James Craig and love his London-based police procedurals. Usually I can knit and read, or knit and watch, but sometimes I just get too caught up in the story and forget to knit. I know….it’s hard to believe!!

  • I also love British and Scandinavian TV. I don’t know if anyone mentioned Dicte, (Danish) which only had two seasons, unfortunately. Thanks for the new suggestions.

    Can anyone identify the Netflix show set in the American Revolutionary War…it was on earlier this year, but don’t see it now and can’t remember the name.

    If people can recommend podcasts, that would be super. I am trying to do more of that so my knitting production goes faster. But I do love to escape with British shows. Currently watching Luther. How can one cop get into so much trouble?

    • I think the Netflix show set during the Revolutionary War is Turn.

  • I’m not sure if it’s available anywhere now, but “Murder Call” is a really good Australian cop series from the late 90s or so. A local cable station here in Virginia used to show it. I really liked the police characters.

  • Acorn is the best kept secret on the net. It is the BBC online service and the cost is well worth it with my sadly low Canadian dollars. I have no idea how little American can get it for, but trust me, if you love British detective stuff, you want this. All British. All the time!

  • What is it about British television detectives and knitting? They go together like gin and tonic.

    Sorry to be late to the party, but I endorse the fabulosity of Nicola Walker and the comments about Vera and New Tricks. One more to suggest: Death in Paradise. I can’t recall NW as a guest star but everything else was fab!

  • I’m late to the part again but I have to say: River is THE BEST. If I read all the comments will I find out if there’s another season in the works? I fervently hope so.

  • I almost forgot–Tenko! British lady POWs. I got a lot of knitting done watching this on PBS. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081944/

  • A really lovely soft murder show on Netflix is ‘Rosemary & Thyme’ about two women horticulturists who solve murders. It has that wonderful quality of looking like it was made in the 1990s, even though it first aired in 2005, which many British shows had in the 2000s. The relationship between the two women is as much as a joy to watch as the cases themselves.

    • Yes I enjoyed watching that series! I wish there were more!

  • Another vote for Luther, which is so intense that I can only watch about one episode a week.

    I thought I recognized Stellan Skarsgard from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is partially true – I now know his face best after staring intently for long times at his oldest son, Alexander Skarsgard (hubba hubba).

  • Zen – track this one down! It only had one season (2011) but Rufus Sewell was perfectly cast. Brits playing Italians – witty and smart. Watch it!

  • Are we watching a British series called Paranoid?

  • I too love those detectives
    The Brits do it righto!