Fall + Crime Dramas = Binge Time

October has arrived, and that means cooler weather, turning leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and… binge watching crime dramas! Whether you need to take a break from midterm studying or are looking for something to occupy your time over fall break, there are plenty of shows out there. Keep reading to see my recommendations that fit the fall aesthetic (and just so happen to be available on Netflix).

Broadchurch

David Tennant, Olivia Colman

24 episodes, 45 minutes each

Produced by ITV

Broadchurch is simply amazing. This series unfolds like an Agatha Christie mystery, in which every citizen of a small English town is under suspicion for murdering eleven year old Daniel Latimer. Every person has something to hide, and all must be unearthed to find the killer. D.I. Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and D.S. Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) tenaciously tackle this case… and their qualms with each other. Can the two overcome their differences to solve the murder of young Daniel Latimer? Watch series one to find out, series two to see the trial, and series three for a new case.

The Fall

Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan

17 episodes, 60 minutes each

Produced by Netflix

Warning: This show contains graphic images of murder victims who have been posed nude which may be disturbing for some viewers. It’s a central part of the plot and the images are in no way fleeting. 

Three words: Strong. Female. Lead. Gillian Anderson absolutely dominates this show as Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson. Though at the surface it may seem to be another old-fashioned serial killer drama, The Fall provides an insightful commentary on women in the crime genre. Oftentimes in cop shows female detectives are portrayed as masculine; they eschew traditionally feminine clothing, hair, makeup, etc. Stella, however, loves the pretty in life. This is evident in everything except the merciless tactics she uses to track down the Belfast Strangler, a brutal fetish serial killer who hunts professional women. The Fall transforms how crime drama portrays female victims and heroines not by dismissing the feminine, but by centering on it. This series is great for lovers of crime drama with some social commentary as the cherry on top!

Sherlock

Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman

13 episodes, 90 minutes each

Produced by Masterpiece Theater

This modern take on the classic works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has the life and vigor which many crime dramas often lack. Somehow creators Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss manage to masterfully mesh the humor of Holmes with gruesome murder and twisted villains. Plus, Sherlock’s fabulous upturned coat collar and John’s fisherman sweaters fit the declining fall temperatures so wonderfully, and the intricate plot lends the series to a serious fall break binge. 

Manhunt: Unabomber

Paul Bettany, Sam Worthington

8 episodes, 45 minutes each

Produced by Discovery Communications

Based on the true story of Agent Jim “Fitz” Fitzgerald (Sam Worthington) and his hunt for Ted Kaczynski (Paul Bettany), Manhunt: Unabomber is an engrossing watch. The show focuses on Fitz and the field he pioneered: forensic linguistics. Kaczynski’s high intelligence made him essentially untraceable via traditional methods, but Fitz knew he could find and stop the Unabomber through analyzing his lengthy manifesto. Fighting time, his fellow agents, and Kaczynski, Fitz must make large sacrifices and put everything on the line to apprehend this killer. This short series offers a fascinating view inside the operation to catch the Unabomber as well as Ted’s own life, offering an answer to the question of what went wrong.

Mindhunter

Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany

10 episodes, 50 minutes each

Produced by Netflix

Yet another series based on a true story, Mindhunter takes place during the early days of criminal profiling. Agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) do not investigate the crime scene, but the convicted serial killer. There is no premeditated end to their research, just a desire to sate their curiosity. Why would these men commit such atrocities? What drove them to this? The series explores the minds of the twisted by portraying serial killers who were actually interviewed by Ford and Tench. 

Death Comes to Pemberley

Anna Maxwell Martin, Matthew Rhys

3 episodes, 60 minutes each

Produced by BBC Drama Productions

Set after the close of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, this three-part series based on the novel by P.D. James offers a fun, murder mystery epilogue for the beloved classic. Elizabeth Darcy and Darcy… Darcy (who remembers his first name anyway?) are hosting a party at their estate. But when Lydia Wickham (who wasn’t invited, for obvious reasons) shows up traumatized after witnessing a murder, what are the Darcys to do? The brevity of this series lends itself nicely to a quick binge. Enjoy murder à la Austen!