Soaps, chat shows, sitcoms… There’s always plenty on the box to fill up our evenings and keep us occupied. But we’re guessing, because you’re sat there reading this, that for you there’s nothing’s quite as thrilling or satisfying to you as a brilliantly-made crime drama.
We’re at a point in entertainment history where television is no longer the less successful little brother to Hollywood. Films still have huge appeal and there are plenty of great crime movies being made as you read this. But for our money? TV currently offers more than its big screen sibling. More depth, more characterisation, more patience and more options.
If you thought that 2017 was a stellar year for crime on telly, then you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. 2018 looks all set to knock its predecessor out of the park.
Here are our seven TV crime drama highlights of the coming year…
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
The makers of American Horror Story brought us The People Vs. O J Simpson two years ago and it was a runaway success with both critics and viewers alike. So it’s been decided that American Crime Story should be an anthology like Horror Story. Next up is the nine-episode story of how Gianni Versace was killed, based on Maureen Orth’s book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in US History.
Édgar Ramírez stars as the slain fashion designer, while Ricky Martin takes on his first big acting job playing Versace’s model boyfriend Antonio D’Amico. Watch out too for what’s said to be a remarkable turn from Penélope Cruz as Gianni’s sister, Donatella Versace.
Where? BBC Two
Doctor Foster’s Suranne Jones and The Walking Dead star Lennie James play estranged lovers and parents to a 13-year-old child. James’ character doesn’t see the teenage girl and tries to forget about her until she goes missing. And he’s arrested on suspicion of kidnapping her.
Is he guilty? If he’s not, then who is? From the people behind Line of Duty and with support from the likes of This is England thesp Stephen Graham, Save Me is definitely one to watch.
Where? Sky Atlantic
Part of the appeal of the first season of True Detective was the classy direction of Cary Fukunaga. Fans of his work will be pleased to learn that he’s the man behind this adaptation of The Alienist books by Caleb Carr.
Set in late 19th century New York City, Daniel Brühl stars as Dr Laszlo Kreizler, a criminal psychologist and the ‘alienist’ of the title. He attempts to solve a string of brutal child murders using a wide array of emerging methods including some madcap new technique known as ‘fingerprinting’.
Luke Evans, Dakota Fanning and Ted Levine bulk out a cast that features a fair smattering of real-life characters as well as fictional ones.
Lee Ingleby of Line of Duty and Inspector George Gently fame fronts this upcoming four-part crime series about a man sent to prison for almost a decade after murdering his wife. Written by Chris Lang (Unforgotten) and Matt Arlidge (Silent Witness), this month-long series should keep even the smartest viewers guessing as to what’s really going on…
He’s released on a technicality and back into the community where he attempts to assimilate back into normal life. Will he manage it? Was he in fact innocent of the crime? Or is letting him out going to spell danger for some other unsuspecting woman?
Where? ITV 1
TV series are now capable of recruiting the biggest names in acting to appear in them. It wasn’t long ago that a movie star on their game wouldn’t touch the small screen. Now? Even A-listers are keen to sign up to intriguing long-run premises. The latest? Amy Adams.
The Arrival star takes the lead role in HBO’s new miniseries adaptation of Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn’s work Sharp Objects. She plays Camille Preaker, a reporter who discharges herself from a psychiatric hospital in order to look into the murders of two young girls in her old hometown. Expect plenty of cupboard-dwelling skeletons and ghosts from the past for poor ol’ Camille to deal with.
Where? HBO/Sky Atlantic
The Barking Murders
Between 2014 and 2015, Stephen Port date-raped and murdered four men in Barking, East London. Such shocking, visceral and recent crimes aren’t usually fertile ground for dramatisations. If for no other reason than taste alone. But in the hands of the man behind The Moorside, Appropriate Adult and Little Boy Blue, viewers can rest assured that The Barking Murders will be handled with care.
The three-part drama will focus on the families and how they coped, rather than drill down into the crimes and psychology of Port himself.
Writer and executive producer Neil McKay says this about the project: “Four young men with their entire future ahead of them lost their lives in a brutal and tragic way. This is a story not only of the consequences of that loss but also of the extraordinary courage and resilience shown by those who loved them as they sought truth and justice.”
The 51-day siege of the Branch Davidians compound in 1993 is etched into the memories of most people of a certain age. Whether David Koresh was an evil cult leader or merely a religious figure bullied by an aggressive federal government, that’s open to some speculation. What’s not up for debate is just how crazy the siege ended.
Starring Oscar nominee Michael Shannon, Andrea Riseborough, Shea Whigham, John Leguizamo and Taylor Kitsch as Koresh, Waco looks set to be one of the early TV highlights of the year. Hopefully we’ll be treated to a fair account of the incident, what with several different perspectives of the siege and subsequent blaze being shown.
Where? The Paramount Network (formerly Spike TV)
And those are just the brand new crime dramas heading our way. 2018 also welcomes back some firm televisual favourites. Bob Odenkirk returns as Jimmy McGill for the third season of Netflix’s Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul. Also coming back onto our screen is Idris Elba in the BBC’s incomparable Luther. There’s also another run for the HBO and Sky Atlantic’s occult-tinged US crimer True Detective, this time starring Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff.
We’ll be covering some of these upcoming new crime dramas, so don’t forget to keep checking in for the latest crime drama news, views and reviews.
Which of our picks are you most excited to watch? Let us know in the comments below…