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The best crime drama series on Netflix (October 2020)

Netflix crime dramas
Better Call Saul and Money Heist are crime dramas on Netflix. Pic credit: AMC/Netflix

When it comes to supplying intense crime drama series, Netflix has risen to the top of the streaming services.

The streaming giant has secured several hit crime dramas from network and cable television, from serial killer dramas like Hannibal and Dexter to network procedurals like How to Get Away with Murder.

Even if it loses many of those titles, it shouldn’t slow down Netflix, since it has been making its own original drama series for years now and has a nice library of its own content that fans can enjoy anytime they want.

Whether it is more police crime dramas, foreign-language masterpieces, or murder mysteries, Netflix has something for everyone.

Here is a look at the best crime drama series on Netflix as of October 2020.

Updated on October 3, 2020: Every month, Netflix makes changes in its library. It removes certain shows and replaces them with others. Every month, we will go into the article and make the changes to ensure that the shows are updated and always available to view on Netflix.

We will also add shows as needed, growing the list, as noteworthy new crime drama series pop up on the streaming service.


liz keen raymond reddington on the blacklist
Megan Boone as Elizabeth Keen and James Spader as Reddington in The Blacklist. Pic credit: NBC

There are seven seasons of the hit crime drama Blacklist on Netflix for subscribers to enjoy.

The series stars James Spader as a high-profile criminal who surrenders to the FBI after he had been on the run for decades. However, he had a deal for the FBI.

Red had a list of the most dangerous criminals in the world and he agreed to help inform their operations in catching these criminals if he could avoid prosecution.

They team him with a rookie FBI profiler (Megan Boone) and the two work together to bring in some of the world’s worst criminals, although there is a hidden agenda for Red hidden under the surface.


Who is Nurse Ratched? All you need to know about character from new Netflix series
Sarah Paulson will star on the upcoming series Ratched. Pic credit: Netflix

This month on Netflix, prepare for a new drama series from the mind of Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, American Crime Story).

This show is called Ratched and premieres on Netflix on September 18.

The series is a prequel to the acclaimed movie/novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. For those unfamiliar with the film, it was a story of a man who pretended to be mentally unstable to a judge so he could serve his sentence in a mental asylum instead of a prison.

However, he met a strict and vindictive nurse there named Ratched so ruled with an iron fist and, eventually, lobotomized the man.

This series shows how Nurse Ratched became the woman that readers and movie fans got to know in the feature film.


Mads Mikkelsen on Hannibal. Pic credit: NBC

Hannibal is one of those rare crime drama series that puts the viewer in the shoes of the killer.

The series is a prequel to the iconic Oscar-winning horror movie Silence of the Lambs and tells the story of Dr. Hannibal Lecter as he works with FBI investigator Will Graham to solve cases.

However, the series leads the two into what fans know best from the movie Red Dragon, as they soon become mortal enemies when Graham realizes Hannibal is also a serial killer and cannibal.

All three seasons of Hannibal are now available on Netflix, with a total of 39 episodes.

How to Get Away with Murder

How to Get Away with Murder
The cast of How to Get Away with Murder. Pic credit: ABC

One of the most popular crime dramas on Netflix is How to Get Away with Murder.

That is likely because it was a network hit on ABC for six seasons and 90 total episodes. Unlike other procedurals on Netflix like NCIS, How to Get Away with Murder played with a dramatic timeline throughout the series.

Viola Daivs stars as a law professor at a university who becomes entangled in a murder plot with five of her students.

The crime drama series received a lot of critical praise, winning Viola Davis a Primetime Emmy Award in 2015 and a Screen Guild Actors Award in 2017.

Ripper Street

Ripper Street
Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn, and Adam Rothenberg on Ripper Street. Pic credit: BBC

Heading to the U.K., Ripper Street is a BBC series that also streams on Netflix taking place during the era of Jack the Ripper.

The crime drama starts up six months after Jack the Ripper’s murders. The story takes place in Whitechapel as new murders are taking place there.

The story focuses on two detectives (Matthew Macfadyen and Jermone Flynn) and a Pinkerton agent (Adam Rothenberg) investigating new murders of women under the belief that Ripper had returned.

There were five seasons and a total of 37 episodes for the crime drama series, starting in 2012 and wrapping up in 2016.


David Tennant and Olivia Colman on Broadchurch. Pic credit: ITV

While David Tennant might always be known as one of the Doctors in Doctor Who, he also had a great crime drama series that fans can watch on Netflix.

The series is Broadcurch, and he stars in the series as a police detective in the fictional town of Broadchurch. Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman plays his partner.

The first season dealt with the death of an 11-year-old boy and bringing the killer to justice. The second season brings back a case from the past. The third season deals with the rape of a woman at a party.

The series initially aired on ITV for three seasons, and all three are available to stream on Netflix, with a total of 24 episodes.

Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders
Cillian Murphy on Peaky Blinders. Pic credit: BBC

Based on the true story of the Shelby crime family in Birmingham following World War II, Peaky Blinders initially aired on BBC Two and played out for five seasons.

The cast was terrific for a U.K. television series, with Cillian Murphy in the lead role as Tommy Shelby and Sam Neill as the Chief Inspector for the first two seasons. Tom Hardy also joined the cast in the second season.

All five seasons with a total of 30 episodes are available to stream right now on Netflix. The original music soundtrack from the BBC version is not available on the Netflix version.


The cast from the crime drama Narcos. Pic credit: Netflix

Produced by Netflix, Narcos is arguably the most successful drug lord crime drama on the streaming giant.

Based on a true story, the original Narcos told the story of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura) and the DEA Agents (Boyd Holbrook and Pedro Pascal) tasked with bringing him down.

That original crime drama series on Netflix lasted for three seasons and 30 episodes.

There was also a spin-off series called Narcos: Mexico that hit in 2018 and dealt with the illegal drug trade in Mexico. There have been two seasons and 20 episodes of that version.

Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul
Bob Odenkirk on Better Call Saul. Pic credit: AMC

Breaking Bad was one of the best crime dramas in the history of television, and there seemed to be no way that anything could match up to it if a spin-off were considered.

Amazingly, the spin-off, Better Call Saul, has done just that. This series was based on small-time lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) and starts with his career six years before he shows up in Breaking Bad.

This series shows how he transformed from the small-time lawyer into the criminal-for-hire Saul Goodman that fans got to know in Breaking Bad.

The first four seasons of Better Call Saul are available to stream on Netflix, and a fifth season will join them shortly.


Michael C. Hall on Dexter. Pic credit: Showtime

Dexter was a crime drama that initially aired on Showtime from 2006-2103.

Much like Hannibal, this series put you in the mind of the serial killer. However, the big difference here is that Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) only killed bad guys.

Dexter was a child when his mother was killed, and he was raised by a police officer who helped him focus his rage and sociopathic tendencies into only killing bad people who slipped through the cracks.

This crime drama ran for eight seasons and 96 total episodes and is available to stream in its entirety on Netflix.

Control Z

Control Z
The cast of crime drama Control Z. Pic credit: Netflix

Control Z is a very different crime drama on Netflix. Unlike almost every other series on this list, Control Z is not about a serial killer or a mysterious murder that needs to be solved.

This crime drama is about a group of teenagers at a high school in Mexico who are the victims of a hacker.

The hacker reveals their deepest darkest secrets to the entire school and watches as all the students, who are involved, turn on each other one by one. It is up to one introverted girl, Sofia, to uncover the identity of the hacker before her secrets are revealed.

Control Z had eight episodes in its first season and will get a second season, likely in 2021.


You on Netflix
You on Netflix. Pic credit: Beth Dubber/Netflix

You is another series in the slate of crime dramas where the viewers have to walk in the shoes of the serial killer. You aired its first season on Lifetime before moving over to Netflix for the second and third seasons.

The first season of You, based on the book You – Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, introduces viewers to a bookstore manager named Joe Goldberg, who also happens to be a serial killer.

He meets a girl named Guinevere and develops a strong obsession with her throughout the first season. Penn Badgley reprised his role as Joe, as he moved cross country to Los Angeles to start over, but soon realizes he can’t escape who he really is.

Netflix has greenlit a third season of You.

Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks
David Lynch’s crime drama Twin Peaks. Pic credit: ABC

Twin Peaks might be the most bizarre crime drama on this list because it is also an absurdist, almost fantasy-like series from the mind of David Lynch.

The naked corpse of homecoming queen Laura Palmer was found wrapped in plastic in Washington, and the entire town of Twin Peaks is sent into a frenzy when FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) arrives to investigate the murder.

The mystery of who killed Laura Palmer took a backseat to the strange happenings in Twin Peaks, and the first two seasons (which initially aired on ABC) were as twisted as anything that ever appeared on network television.


David Fincher’s crime drama Mindhunter. Pic credit: Netflix

For fans of shows like Criminal Minds and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Netflix has a crime drama based on the real-life organization that started it all.

Created by Joe Penhall, produced by David Fincher, and based on the book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, Mindhunter is about the creation of the FBI Behavioral Science Unit.

Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), along with psychologist Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), create a new way to catch serial killers, and the first season focuses on the group interviewing serial killers to learn how they tick.

The second season delves into the Atlanta murders of 1979-1981.

Money Heist

Money Heist
Crime drama Money Heist. Pic credit: Netflix

Arguably the most popular foreign language series in Netflix history, Money Heist, is a crime drama from Spain.

Now with four parts released (two seasons) and 31 total episodes, Money Heist has eight people recruited by The Professor to steal €2.4 billion from the Royal Mint of Spain.

The first season deals with them taking 67 people hostage and then escaping with the money. The second season has a similar story, as the group targets the Bank of Spain.

Money Heist won the Best Drama Series award at the 2018 International Emmy Awards, where the first season was the most-watched foreign language series that year on Netflix.

Shawn S. Lealos has been a freelance writer for 25 years, starting with magazines and newspapers before moving to the internet. He has been published... read more
Shawn S. Lealos

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