9 authors pick their top bingeable boxsets
Looking to lose yourself in an absorbing crime boxset? We asked some top crime and thriller writers to share their best bingeable TV shows perfect for when you’ve got a few extra hours, days or weeks to fill.
How many have you added to your list?
Paula Daly, author of Clear My Name:
I bought the first series of Breaking Bad as a Christmas present for my husband back in 2013. We started watching on Christmas morning and apart from a break to make lunch didn’t move from the sofa until it was finished – pretty much ignoring the kids all day. It’s the only box set I’ve watched twice and I’m still surprised when people say they haven’t seen it or didn’t stick with it. For me, no other show comes close.
Cara Hunter, author of All the Rage:
My new obsession is The Innocence Files on Netflix. Eight harrowing true-crime stories of men convicted on faulty science and unreliable testimony who spent decades behind bars, sometimes on Death Row, before the Innocence Project were able to prove they weren’t guilty. The courage of these men, and their determination to move on and make their lives count for something, is incredibly moving.
Karen Cleveland, author of Keep You Close:
When it comes to a bingeable TV series, I would recommend The Americans. For those unfamiliar, it’s about two KGB agents posing as a married couple in suburban Washington, DC, carrying out covert operations for the Soviet Union while raising kids and juggling a complex relationship, all with an FBI spy hunter living right next door. I think it’s the perfect blend of espionage thriller and family drama. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys put in amazing acting performances, and it’s fun to watch a show set in the 80s. Plus, there are six seasons, so plenty to watch while we’re spending extra time at home!
You can’t beat that feeling when you hit upon a bingeable boxset. That adrenaline of new characters and a story that ‘clicks’ with you. The ‘just one more episode’ that you know you’ll pay for when morning comes. One of the most addictive boxsets for me has to be Hannibal. The electric dynamic between FBI special investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Dr Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), a forensic psychiatrist, is fabulous. Will meets the psychiatrist to explore his uncanny ability to sympathise with serial killers and the affliction of seeing murder scenes through their eyes. Hannibal seems to be the only one who understands him, but little does Will know that the renowned psychiatrist is a cannibal. It is genius, addictive viewing watching the truth unfold between them. I admit to being pretty devastated when it only went to three series!
Heidi Perks, author of Three Perfect Liars:
Where do I start? My husband and I crack through a number of boxsets – often we have more than one on the go at the same time, mixing it up with a bit of crime or comedy depending on our mood! Most recently I have watched and loved Sex Education, which is lighthearted and very funny. But for something a bit more gritty I have been obsessed by Ozark and Unforgotten.
Jessica Barry, author of Don’t Turn Around:
I’ve mainly been seeking out lighter fare during lockdown – RuPaul’s Drag Race and reruns of the American version of The Office – but the one crime series I’ve been bingeing is Bosch on Amazon Prime. In many ways, the show is a hotbed of clichés. The titular character is a gravel-voiced, rule-breaking, inherently-violent homicide detective who kicks ass first and takes names later. In his world, there are good guys and bad guys, and sometimes, in order to get the bad guys, good guys have to do bad things. He’s a stereotype, yes, but one we can’t help but root for. And then there’s the show’s depiction of LA. This isn’t the LA of Sunset Boulevard and the Walk of Fame. This is the LA of dive bars and taco joints, laid out in all its gritty glory. Watching it is like being guided through the city by a local who knows where all the bodies are buried but loves the place anyway. It will make you love it, too. Bosch is tense, hardboiled, occasionally funny, always absorbing. Yes, it can sometimes veer into the absurd, but I’ve found that there’s comfort to be found in knowing that, for the next fifty minutes, you’re going to be purely entertained.
Belinda Bauer, author of Snap:
I was late to the Homeland party but just bingewatched the first seven series and have never seen better writing on TV. Absolutely gripping, and with standout performances from all the British leads.
H A Linskey, author of Alice Teale is Missing:
Bingeable boxsets? Oh, there are so many and I have probably watched them all. Crime fiction fans have not completed their education until they have watched the entire Breaking Bad and The Wire. If you like a bit of compelling Scandi Noir, there is The Killing and you can follow that by spending time with the complex Saga Noren in The Bridge but the all-time most bingeable box set for crime fans? It has to be The Sopranos. There are 86 lockdown-defying episodes, featuring mafia boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and his crew, his family and even his psychiatrist, as he struggles to survive as a New Jersey Capo in the modern mafia era. It’s not all introspection though, with 92 killings – more than one per episode – to keep you… er… entertained. Bada Bing!
Lisa Jewell, author of The Family Upstairs:
Like comfort reads, I really just want to watch things that don’t give me space to think, where the episode ends and I haven’t thought about Covid-19 for even a millisecond. Ozark has fitted the bill perfectly in this respect, as has Better Call Saul.
What are your favourite bingeable TV shows? Let us know in the comments below!