I hate watching reruns of mystery and crime TV shows I’ve already seen—it’s not much fun to tune in when you already know who did it. And, while the networks offer plenty of summer replacements, this season, none captured my attention as much as the shows I enjoy the most.
So, while I’ve been longing for new episodes of Longmire, and imagining what fall’s Masterpiece Mystery will bring, I’ve turned to Netflix streaming video to get my fix of murder and mayhem with crime programs from across the ocean.
My digital tour of Europe’s popular mystery programing includes several satisfying entries from four countries: Broadchurch from England, Witnesses from France, Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter from Sweden and Dicte from Denmark.
I’d never seen or heard of any of these programs before. While each of them is very different, they have several things in common. The plots in all four series are very complicated and revolve around children—the killing, abuse, abandonment and revenge of children who deserved better. The other common factor is the excellent actors in each show. Whether a policeman, policewoman, or crime reporter, they all feel real. While they may go off on their own to check out a hunch or gather information, for the most part they don’t seem to hesitate to call for help or back up when they need it. I also found the most striking difference to be physical. These crime solvers look more like regular people than the stars we’re used to seeing on American television, even the actress who plays Annika Bengtzon and is stunning. They’re all good looking, but not perfect, which I feel makes them more like the rest of us, complete with idiosyncratic habits. It also makes each show more believable.