5 Gritty Crime Dramas to Watch If You Can Stand the Suspense

There are some crime dramas that, if you say you haven’t seen them, will land you squarely on the “uninvited to future events until you’re up to speed” list. Breaking Bad, and its spinoff Better Call Saul, Ozark, The Wire and Narcos, are just a few that come to mind when thinking of this type of series. 

If you’ve watched the classics (maybe a few times) and are now looking for a gritty new drama to sink your teeth into, then check out one of these five series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. 


It’s somewhat rare to have two female leads in a crime drama, and that is just one of the elements that makes Unbelievable an exceptional crime drama. 

Based on a true story, the series examines a series of rapes that took place in Colorado and Washington between 2008 and 2011. The central character is Marie, a woman who comes from a traumatic background, who is essentially gaslit into admitting her claim of being raped was false. 

Toni Collette and Merritt Weaver star as the two detectives, who form a powerful bond despite their differences, who are determined to find justice for Marie and see the serial predator face the consequences of his actions. 

Unbelievable is a particularly pertinent series to watch given the current conversations taking place around violence against women and how imperative it is to believe victims of violent crime. 

Watch it on: Netflix

City on a Hill

Set in Boston in the 1990s, City on a Hill explores a time when the city ran rampant with criminals and corruption. The drama is a fictional account of what was called the “Boston Miracle”.

Starring Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge and executive produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, the drama centres around District Attorney Decourcy Ward (Hodge) who forms an unlikely alliance with Jackie Rohr (Bacon), a corrupt yet revered FBI veteran who is deeply invested in maintaining the status quo.

Together, they work to take down a family of armoured car thieves in a case that grows to encompass Boston’s citywide criminal justice system.

Watch it on: Stan

Your Honor

There are definitely some similarities between Bryan Cranston’s character in Your Honor, and Breaking Bad’s Walter White with both men starting out as seemingly good people who will do anything to protect their family. 

However, Your Honor is absolutely a 2020 drama, as it intertwines the themes of white privilege, police brutality against the African American community and the way in which entire communities are forgotten in various pockets of American society. Even the beginning of COVID-19 makes a guest appearance in one of the later episodes. 

Set in New Orleans, the plot revolves around a widowed high court judge Michael Desiato  (Cranston) whose son accidentally kills the son of a notorious mob boss in a gruesome hit and run. Suddenly, Desiato must do whatever he can to cover up his son’s mistake and to protect him, while countless innocent people get caught in the crosshairs.

Watch it on: Stan


Gangs of London 

A word of warning before you sit down to watch Gangs of London — it is very, very, very violent. The series begins with a lad being hung by his foot off of a building in the heart of London as he is pumped for what information he knows about a murder. When he is unable to provide any additional information, he is doused in gasoline before a flame is set to the rope he is attached to resulting in his burning body plummeting from the roof. 

If you wish to proceed with the series after that intro, then you can expect more of the same, delivered with increasingly clever cinematography that breaks the mould of how television is usually shot. 

The story revolves around the head of London’s most powerful crime family being assassinated and the ensuing chaos that erupts as the city finds itself in the grips of an epic power struggle between its international gangs. 

Watch it on: Stan


Netflix’s Lupin has been generating plenty of buzz, and for great reason. Aside from its incisive exploration of race and class in France, this is not your average heist story and Assane Diop (the brilliant Omar Sy) is not your average thief. 

Diop teams up with a bunch of small time criminals to steal a necklace from the Louvre, but the real target is the corrupt and powerful businessman Hubert Pellegrini, who ruined his family’s life with a lie about that very same necklace 25 years ago. 

Unfortunately for the detectives who are tasked with capturing the thief, Diop is exceedingly cunning and clever with the perfect skills — and friends — to evade capture. 

Season two of this wildly popular show will premiere later in 2021, but you can revisit the monumental cliffhanger from season one again and again until then.  

Watch it on: Netflix

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