The way we watch television has changed quite drastically over the past few years, hasn’t it? Years ago we had to rely on the gods of TV scheduling to provide us with something good to watch on just a few terrestrial channels. Then, in the 1990s, we were treated to Sky and cable and all the wonder of having hundreds of stations to skip through. And now? Well, a lot of us get our small screen entertainment as downloadable or streaming content.
If you’ve got a smart TV or a special stick that plugs into one of your telly’s USB ports, you can stream your favourite programmes using the internet. And with services like Amazon Prime just a yearly subscription away, it’s pretty darn tempting. Especially given the sheer weight of top drawer crime drama you can find on there.
Here’s our guide to some of the best crime TV shows currently available on Amazon Prime…
The best Amazon Prime shows:
Most TV crime fans will currently be a little sad about the always brilliant Line of Duty coming to an end of another series. If you can’t handle it and need more of Thandie Newton as a copper, then the San Jose-set Rogue is well worth seeking out. In case you’re wondering, yes Ms Newton does indeed go ‘rogue’ in it.
The Night Manager
This adaptation of the classic John le Carré spy thriller caused quite the stir when it aired on BBC One last year. If you missed this gripping and lush six-parter, here’s your chance to atone. Even if you did watch Olivia Colman recruiting Tom Hiddleston to take down crime lord Hugh Laurie the first time around, you’ll know that a repeat viewing will be more than worth your time.
This Mexican/American series was cancelled after just one series because it didn’t perform all that well outside of Central America. And it’s a bit of a shame. It’s a slightly offbeat idea, but it’s realised with a lot of energy and ends up a whole heap of fun. A footballer (Gabriel Luna) is recruited by the CIA to infiltrate an LA-based soccer franchise and bring down its shady crime boss owner, played by a snarling Alfred Molina.
Named after the call sign of the fictional ‘Poste 19’ of the Montreal Police Department that the show centres around, this French-Canadian police procedural might not be the classiest TV cop show ever made, but it’s one of the most action packed. Barely ten minutes go by without something pretty wild going on. Apparently, police officers from the city are huge fans of 19-2 and have praised its realism and attention to detail. And they should know, eh?
Emily Rose stars as FBI Special Agent Audrey Parker in this eerie supernatural crime series. The action takes place in the confines of the town of Haven, Maine and is based on a work of Stephen King’s called The Colorado Kid. Fans of the author will notice lots of deliberate nods to his work in the series too. If you’re a King fanboy or girl, it can be a little like playing along with one of those old I-Spy books you used to have as a kid.
You don’t get many German-French-Italian-American TV series, do you? But Crossing Lines is just that. It stars William Fichtner as a former NYPD detective recruited into a pan-global task force that fights criminal networks that cross borders called the International Criminal Court. Watch out too for Ray Stevenson, Goran Visnjic and even the legendary Donald Sutherland.
Liev Schriber’s titular character is a strong but silent type. A tough guy from Boston who moves his family to LA, he works as a ‘fixer’ for the rich and famous. The past, present and future all conspire to make life difficult for him and those around him and the spectre of his shady old estranged Irish gangster dad Mickey (played by a ludicrously on-form Jon Voight) certainly doesn’t help. Every week the Donovans find themselves mixed up with police, mobsters, crooked execs, feds and old rivals. And every week Ray has to make a deal. Or get out his trusted baseball bat…
The Escape Artist
This three-part miniseries first aired on BBC One back in 2013. It stars Broadchurch favourite David Tennant as a top barrister with a reputation for getting criminals off the hook. Events turn sour when he does just that, ensuring that a murderer played by the always impressive Toby Kebbel goes free. This one’s all about the former Doctor Who, though. Tennant’s energy and charisma really carry The Escape Artist. Don’t let it escape your plans.
A prequel to the Luc Besson-produced Liam Neeson action films, this TV version of Taken takes us back to the very beginning. We see how Bryan Mills got started in the CIA and just how he came by his ‘very particular set of skills’.
The Red Road
A small town sheriff played by Grey’s Anatomy’s Martin Henderson finds himself caught up in a storm when the disappearance of a local college student sees him dealing with a feared ex-convict from a Native American tribe (Jason Momoa). There’s some stunning scenery and a real feeling of dread and menace about The Red Road that makes it well worth travelling down.
No, not a programme about a firm that makes power tools. Instead, Bosch is about Harry Bosch – a tough LAPD type. This is one of the few shows on our list that was specifically developed for Amazon Prime and takes its inspiration from a trio of Michael Connolly novels (Echo Park, City of Bones and The Concrete Blonde).
We already recommended that you watch the original Australian movie version of Animal Kingdom before in our breakdown of what crime movies to watch on Amazon. So we kind of have to urge you to check out the TV version too, don’t we? Especially as it’s almost as good as its source material. This time around we see Ellen Barkin assume the role of the matriarch at the head of a feared crime family.
Hand of God
Hellboy’s Ron Perlman is on a mission from God in this vicious revenge drama. Also made just for Amazon, there’s little to like about the main character, but he’s enough of an antihero to keep you watching. It’s not your average crimer, this. And it’s more than a little bleak. But that kind of gives it its charm. Hand of God isn’t for everyone, but you might get a kick out of it.
So there you have it. Plenty to chew on. In fact, there’s a veritable feast of crime TV to get stuck into. Gorge away!