Who doesn’t enjoy unwinding to the mellow sounds of bloodshed, mayhem, and the agonising tension of a gripping mystery? The answer is “nobody,” given the appeal of true-crime documentaries and police procedural shows.
Nowadays, everyone enjoys a good mystery TV show, and Amazon Prime has a tonne of them to choose from in addition to its many other top-notch films and TV episodes. The most compelling choices to start with on Amazon right now when you feel like watching a murder or crime-solving show are listed below.
1. Absentia (2017–2020)
This gripping thriller is an Amazon original that takes a terrifying missing-person story and transforms it. Emily Byrne, an FBI agent who went missing and was presumed dead for six years, is played by Stana Katic, although she’s not.
She is still alive! When she comes back, there are a tonne of questions! The protagonist of the story struggles to remember what occurred, but she is determined to confront her horrific history and find her abductor, and an ominous mystery begins to take shape.
2. Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders (2018)
This 1930s-era mystery series, which is based on the classic Agatha Christie crime novel, stars John Malkovich as Hercule Poirot, a detective who receives letters from someone with the initials “A.B.C.” threatening to kill him.
When killings begin to proliferate in London, the retired detective is obliged to join the case and piece together the clues the murderer leaves behind. It’s a classic mystery tale, and Malkovich gives the part a fascinating dynamic to create a spooky period piece.
3. Alias (2001–2006)
Alias by J. J. Abrams was the ideal action show for the new millennium and is still a gripping spy story today. It’s your standard world-trotting, fancy-gadget-using spy series as Sydney Bristow works for the CIA and tries to bring down the risky, global agency SD-6 from the inside out, fronted by the mesmerising performance of Jennifer Garner (and her numerous, trendy wigs).
The show is not just meant to impress you with Garner’s exploits and exciting combat scenes, though; it is also the kind of suspense thriller that puts you through the wringer emotionally and gives its female action heroine far more depth than the standard genre star. It’s time to stop binge-watching Bond films since Bristow is the real focus here.
4. Bones (2005–2017)
Bones, a Fox procedural about the clinical team-up of FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) and forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel), did not scream “comfort television,” but it did give viewers the cosy feeling of a by-the-book thriller series like NCIS and CSI with AP credit for 12 seasons.
Bones is solidly rooted in the mystery-of-the-week genre of network primetime, but Hart Hanson, the show’s creator, never missed a chance to elevate the show’s gag-worthy stakes throughout its existence, and performers Zooey Deschanel and David Boreanaz delivered the biology and the chemistry. Although Brennan and Booth’s relationship seems doomed from the start, the “will they/won’t they” is just as realistic and in-depth as any of the grisly investigations.
5. Bosch (2014–2021)
This procedural series, which was created by Amazon, opens with Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver) facing legal repercussions for shooting a suspect two years prior—hotter (and more pertinent) water than his TV detective forebears.
As the series goes on, his inquiries into a vicious serial murderer serve as both an escape for the traumatised officer (who is also an Afghan War veteran and the son of a murdered sex worker) and a method of rehabilitation.
In the end, Bosch is reduced to a gritty neo-noir, a Miami Vice for True Detective fans, and this should be hailed as the pinnacle of airport book TV. It delivers complex puzzles that are taken directly from Michael Connelly, the author of the Bosch series, and is similarly incisive and dependable.
6. Carnival Row (2019– )
I have to give it to Carnival Row: The series, which stars Cara Delevingne as a winged fey named “Vignette Stonemoss” and Orlando Bloom as a human detective named “Rycroft Philostrate,” is set in an alternate urban fantasy universe where humans and fairies are constantly at war with one another.
They are trapped in a love-hate relationship in one of London’s seediest back alleys while being pursued by a magical Jack the Ripper. All things considered, the series definitely spends the majority of its time on its complex production design and world building, but the central plot revolves on a madman on the prowl for a serial killer, making it the ideal mystery for fantasy fans. Carnival Row can undoubtedly put a spell on you if you let it.
7. Counterpart (2017–2019)
What is superior to J.K. Simmons? J.K. Simmons twice. (Plus Harry Lloyd, the scene-stealer.) Simmons plays a career UN paper pusher who becomes involved in interdimensional intrigue when his “counterpart” from a parallel universe (also Simmons) jumps through a portal and sabotages diplomatic relations between the two worlds in this inventive sci-fi spy series from author Justin Marks (The Jungle Book). From then, it becomes more bizarre.
8. Detective Anna (2016–2017)
Nothing screams “mystery” like a TV show where the lead character discovers she has the capacity to converse with the dead and solve cold cases. In this one-season Russian drama set at the end of the 19th century, 19-year-old Anna uses her newly discovered supernatural abilities—appearing in dreams and visions—to aid in solving crimes that have stumped the local police.
9. Dexter (2006–2013)
During its eight-season run, everyone’s favourite moral serial killer was a ratings and critical hit for Showtime. The television series about a blood-spatter analyst by day and a psychopath who uses his impulses for justice at night reads a little bit like a cultural artefact from a time when American audiences tended to enjoy stories with antiheroes that featured people who descended further into amorality (Breaking Bad, Weeds, The Sopranos, etc).
However, there is enough mystery, suspense, and intrigue to keep you interested and binge-watching. It’s bloody addictive, at least for the first few seasons.
10. The Expanse (2015–2021)
The Expanse’s un-mystery-like hook is that it’s Game of Thrones and Battlestar Galactica combined. The ambitious series fuses the expansive, story-based approach of the latter with the dramatic, close-quarters naval space opera of the former.
Simple enough. Then you understand that this is actually an interplanetary neo-noir when you see Thomas Jane, who is portraying a worn-out investigator who won’t give up, with a fedora over a stringy Macklemore haircut. Imagine Isaac Asimov with a dash of Raymond Chandler. You’ll be intrigued by the visual effects, but the story of the gumshoe wearing anti-gravity boots will have you going back for more.
11. The Fall (2013–2016)
The Fall is less of a whodunit and more of a terrifying game of cat and mouse. It does not follow the conventional procedural MO’s of looking for answers after a mystery. In fact, the opening episode introduces you to Belfast-based serial murderer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), who has been violently assaulting women.
The show then closely tracks both his acts and the pursuit of him. The outstanding Gillian Anderson plays Stella Gibson, an officer enlisted by Northern Ireland to aid in the investigation after the case has been open for about a month, and she is on the other side of the narrative. It qualifies as a thriller in every aspect.
12. Forensic Files (1996–2011)
One of those programmes that is just always on is Forensic Files. While residing in a hotel, are you changing the channel? It’s on. Any extended holiday? There most likely is a marathon. Given its length, there is still a lot to watch, and every account of how DNA analysis has been used to solve horrific murders and bring their perpetrators to justice is fascinating and intriguing.
OG true crime enthusiasts know this is one to watch, or at the very least toss on when you’re desperate to play detective, because the show ran for years before true crime had even necessarily even established its own, prominent genre.
13. Homecoming (2018– )
Homecoming, a movie based on the well-known podcast of the same name, follows Heidi Bergman (Julia Roberts) as she tries to piece together her work as a therapist at a facility for PTSD-affected veterans. In the first season’s ten action-packed episodes, the mystery surrounding what a government contractor really plans to do with the veterans develops concurrently with Bergman’s own investigation into the disappearance of memories from her prior employment.
It’s an unique streaming programme that doesn’t feel bloated and provides plenty of opportunity for Janelle Monáe’s Season 2 to introduce fresh plotlines about other people working at the top-secret facility.
14. House (2004–2012)
House, the venerable medical mystery that launched Hugh Laurie to fame in the United States, is a refreshing change of pace if you’re sick of police procedurals and real crime docuseries.
This eight-season drama concentrates on the most puzzling medical riddles, which are always resolved by Dr. Gregory House, a jerk of a doctor who gets away with abusing his residents and treating his patients like chopped liver thanks to his well-deserved reputation for solving impossible cases. House is a classic anti-hero who you both root for and against. He is an addict with a terrible attitude. Just keep in mind, at the end of the day: Lupus is never the cause.
15. Lost (2004–2010)
There was a show called Lost before Damon Lindelof’s The Leftovers pounded viewers with its harsh emotional intensity or J.J. Abrams rose to the top of Wookieepedia. While it has become fashionable to criticise the show’s final seasons for a variety of flaws, from clumsy sentimentality to an excessive reliance on quirky sci-fi cliches to gooey dialogue, The show itself keeps all of its dazzling intensity when seen in a streaming hatch, free of recaps, fan theories, and criticism.
It is touched by an angelic spirituality. There is never a better time to immerse yourself in its intricacies if you haven’t seen it. And if you have, we must go back, as Jack would say!
16. Monk (2002–2009)
Monk is the mystery programme for you if you like humour better than drama. Despite being an obsessive-compulsive, multi-phobic former police detective who had a nervous breakdown that left him hardly able to function in everyday life, the brilliant main character Adrian Monk, with the help of a private nurse, starts to lend his detective services to the San Francisco Police Department.
Of course, given the 312 phobias that prevent him from performing many common jobs, this can be difficult. A fresh criminal investigation is delivered up with humour in every episode.
17. Mr. Robot (2015–2019)
The drug-addled, psychologically unstable hacker Elliot Alderson, played by Oscar winner Rami Malek, will have you taping over your webcam in no time if you weren’t already worried about the condition of contemporary cybersecurity. The fact that Elliot is essentially the least trustworthy narrator you’ve ever encountered on television makes viewing Mr. Robot an exercise in inspection and constant shocks.
18. The Night Manager (2016)
The Night Manager satisfies your peculiarly particular itch if you’ve ever pondered what it would be like to have Dr. House inserted into a John le Carré book. Tom Hiddleston plays a night manager in an expensive British hotel in Cairo, while Hugh Laurie portrays a successful businessman and “philanthropist” in the film.
Hiddleston’s character accidentally becomes involved in the Arab Spring’s covert espionage, and, like in most of le Carré’s works, the drama comes from the mundane bureaucratic and human aspects of the spy game. In other words, it’s less 007 and more Mad Men, and you can finish it in less than a workday with its six one-hour episodes.
19. Psych (2006–2014)
Half the intrigue of Psych lies in Shawn Spencer’s (James Roday) ability to deceive everyone around him into thinking he is psychic. This is another comic spin on the classic police procedural. Spencer has a keen eye for detail and can spot clues that the police miss, resolving crimes with style and a sense of humour.
You’ll have months’ worth of humorous series to help break up any inclination you may have for more serious mystery TV thanks to the eight seasons that are currently available to view on Amazon Prime.
20. Reacher (2022– )
Reacher makes up for its lack of ambition with sheer volume. A solid adaptation of author Lee Child’s long-running Jack Reacher novel series, this series is one of Amazon’s airport thriller adaptations, much like Bosch before it. This adaptation, by Prison Break author Nick Santora, extends the plot of the first Reacher book, The Killing Floor from 1997, into a full season’s worth of twists and turns and stars the fittingly massive Alan Ritchson as the turkey-handed protagonist.
The mystery can become complicated, especially as the programme tries to piece together its small-town plot, but Ritchson makes an excellent Reacher because he grasps the ideal balance of wit and stoicism for the macho dream. As he uses his fists to force the facts out, he keeps you interested.
21. Scream Queens (2015–2016)
It’s obvious that showrunner Ryan Murphy can mix horror and camp like no other because he specialises in American Horror Story. It’s what he brings—to the extreme—in his dedication to the scream queen, one of horror’s most recognisable, piercingly loud, and terrified survivors. It pays homage to co-ed slasher classics and is filled with dark humour. The story is set on a college campus where a serial killer terrorises students while hiding behind the school’s scary Red Devil mascot.
The cast is outrageous and includes stars like Ariana Grande, Keke Palmer, and original Halloween scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis, as well as Murphy regulars like Billie Lourd and Lea Michele as sorority mean girl Chanel Oberlin (who is terrible in her own right). You’re in for a truly compelling mystery if you can handle the gore (and absurdity).
22. Undone (2019– )
Outside of a few Richard Linklater films, Rotoscope animation is uncommon to see, and Amazon’s Undone is the first episodic TV series to make use of the bizarre and psychedelic method. The series, which was produced by Kate Purdy and Raphael Bob-Waksberg, is more than just a technical achievement; it also presents an incredibly gripping, heartwarming, and hilarious mystery-box story that challenges reality.
Alma Winograd-Diaz (Rosa Salazar), who was involved in a terrible car accident, awakens from her coma with the capacity to connect with her quantum physicist father, Jacob (Bob Odenkirk), who claims he was murdered because of his work on time travel.
Alma’s mother Camila (Constance Marie), her lover Sam (Siddharth Dhananjay), and her younger sister Becca (Angelique Cabral) all think she’s crazy as she works secretly with her father to bend time and space. The emotional range packed into each 20-minute episode of Undone is exhausting, yet the show is so wonderful that it’s difficult to quit until the very end.
23. Unforgotten (2015–2018
After reviving a worrisome cold case in Season 1 of this three-season drama, British investigators find themselves trying to sort through 40 years of falsehoods and cover-ups. The difficulty, of course, is in how much the people under investigation have changed over time and what lengths they will go to in order to keep their families and reputations safe. It’s the kind of show that, with six episodes every season, can keep you engrossed for the entire weekend, especially if you enjoy British crime dramas.
24. Unsolved Mysteries: Original Robert Stack Episodes (1988–2002)
It is the show that gave rise to a generation of mystery enthusiasts and contributed to the development of the true-crime and paranormal investigative television genres.
The first season of Unsolved Mysteries explored cold-case homicides, incidents involving missing persons, and supernatural occurrences like UFO and ghost sightings. On your Amazon Prime subscription, you can now watch all 12 of the original seasons, in all its “cheesy reenactment” 1980s glory and Lifetime reincarnation. You’re in luck once you’ve caught up because Netflix relaunched the programme in 2020.
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