What other shows are there that you’d compare The Killing to?
Is there something about whodunnits and police procedurals that has such an appeal to us?
There have been a slew of shows over the years that have told the stories of the most relatable heroes and villains we can find—humans who stand on either the good or evil side—from Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty’s never-ending intellectual battles to The Wire’s brutal investigations.
Could it be that we are drawn to these crime dramas because we see ourselves, or at least our ideal selves, in them? Is it a constant reminder that all it takes is one wrong step in life to lead us down a dark path with no hope of returning that we watch a relatable villain serve? Regardless of what it is, the crime drama genre is one that we just can’t get enough of, as evidenced by the cult-like followings that shows like CSI, Bones, The Mentalist, and Law & Order have gathered around them.
AMC’s The Killing is one such title that has succeeded in capturing the interest of this mystery-seeking audience. In this story, a young girl dies, and her death has ramifications for everyone around her.
The Crime follows two homicide detectives, Sarah Linden (played by Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (played by Joel Kinnaman), in this American crime drama series based on a Danish television series of the same name (which translates to “The Crime”). Mother and cop Sarah wants a normal life, so she separates work and home life. However, the brutality of her job returns to her, and tough top Stephen must now adjust to his new life as a homicide detective after spending most of his career as an undercover narcotics cop.
A young girl named Rosie Larsen has been brutally murdered, and the plot revolves around an unlikely pair of detectives who team up to solve the case. A murder investigation that begins in the first two weeks of the season is followed by three main storylines: the investigation itself, Rosie’s family dealing with their grief and a political campaign that has somehow become involved in the case. The first season of the show begins with the murder investigation.
As a result of this development, The Killing becomes a compelling story that develops organically from its central characters. The second season picks up where the first left off, with the investigation taking unexpected turns and the Larsen family’s dark secrets and lies coming to light. This explains why the show has such a loyal fan base. It’s a brilliant piece of filmmaking.
The Walking Dead was AMC’s highest-rated original series premiere ever when the pilot aired, with an estimated 2.7 million viewers tuning in. Also, in 2011, the show was nominated for several awards, including five Primetime Emmys, four Saturn Awards, and a nomination from the Golden Globes, as well as the Directors Guild of America. It won the Best Supporting Actress in Television award at the Saturn Awards.
A fourth and final season of the series was picked up by Netflix after the third season was canceled, leaving fans of the franchise with an enormous hole in their hearts. If you’re one of those people, you may have a hard time finding a show that’s as good as The Killing. Don’t worry about it. Look through my selection of similar shows to The Killing.
1. True Detective
True Detective is a three-part television series created by Nic Pizzolatto. The series acts as an anthology of stories, employing a new cast each season and following a variety of new characters and plots. The first season features actors like Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.
First, there’s a story about two homicide detectives on the hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana that goes on for an incredible 17 years. Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, and Vince Vaughn join the cast in the second season. Finally, Mahershala Ali, Carmen Ejogo, and Scoot McNairy all make appearances in the third season, which is sure to please fans.
With an IMDB rating of 9/10 and a Rotten Tomatoes score above 75%, the show has received an incredible response. If you haven’t already, watch True Detective because it’s a masterpiece.
2. Happy Valley
This series is surprisingly dark for a show called Happy Valley. This British crime drama follows a police sergeant named Catherine Cawood as she investigates drug cases in the West Yorkshire town of Calder Valley while dealing with her own emotional wounds.
However, there are no plans to make a third season of Happy Valley, which has a perfect Rotten Tomatoes rating for its first season. The only complaint about Happy Valley is that there aren’t more episodes.
Happy Valley will not let you down if you’re a fan of shows like The Killing.
Luther, another show from the United Kingdom created by Neil Cross, makes this list. For the most part, this British crime drama is led by Idris Elba as John Luther, a shrewd but emotionally volatile detective who is tormented by his own personal demons.
By now, Luther has taken on many of the same characteristics as The Killing, with its dynamic between a police detective and a notorious serial killer that drives them to obsession. Idris Elba has received four Emmy nominations for his work on the show over the course of its five seasons. We can expect the story to become even more gut-wrenching as we learn more about Luther.
4. The Bridge
The Bridge continues the trend of more and more women playing the lead roles in crime dramas in recent years. Saga Norén, a Swedish police detective, is brought to life in The Bridge, a Swedish-Danish creative collaboration effort.
Audiences first meet Detective Norén when a dead body is discovered in the middle of a bridge connecting two countries, necessitating a joint investigation by detectives from both countries.
The series has already won two Golden Nymph Awards, one for Best European Drama Series and the other for Best Actor in a Drama Series, for its positive reception. Similarly to its British counterpart, the show spawned an American adaptation with the same name that ran for two seasons and was well received.
In the absence of Sarah Linden, Saga Norén is more than capable of taking her place. The Bridge is currently available on Netflix in both its original and remastered versions.
The British, it must be said, are masters of the dramatic tale, as demonstrated by the inclusion of Broadchurch in this list. Broadchurch, a fictional English town in Dorset, serves as the setting for this crime drama television series.
The show follows detectives DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller as they investigate the murder of a young girl and how the community reacts to the media attention and growing distrust that results as a result of it. Is there anything familiar about this?
Broadchurch, more than any other show on this list, has the same mix of gripping drama and suspense that The Killing does, so check it out.
6. Top of the Lake
Top of the Lake is a crime drama that stays with you long after the credits have rolled. This is a dark series, so proceed with caution. The first season of this Australian series tells the story of the disappearance of a twelve-year-old girl named Tui, who is five months pregnant, and is set in an isolated town in New Zealand.
The investigation has shifted to an inexperienced detective named Robin Griffin, played by Elisabeth Moss, who is under increasing pressure to come up with answers after being last seen standing in a freezing lake.
Besides trying to find Tui, she also has to confront her own demons, including the missing girl’s father, a drug lord in town, and the head of a women’s camp.
It’s clear that those hoping for a satisfying conclusion in the third season of this crime mystery drama series will have to wait a long time, as season two takes a very different turn.
7. The Missing
The Missing is a British crime drama anthology series that premiered in the UK in 2014. The first season follows a father’s desperate search for his son, and the second season deals with a returned missing girl whose abduction may hold clues to finding another missing girl. Both stories span over two seasons each.
The French detective who is in charge of both cases unites the two tales. The show has received a lot of positive feedback, with reviewers praising the acting and storytelling skills of the cast in particular.
Kurt Wallander, played by Kenneth Branagh, is a Swedish detective who is having an existential crisis as he investigates a string of murders all over his country. When it comes to great crime dramas, this one stands out because of the tortured angst that Wallander exhibits while solving his cases. It shows a compelling character who is also deeply flawed.
Series is based on Swedish author Henning Mankell’s novels and is hugely popular. It has won numerous awards including six British Academy Television Awards, two Royal Television Society Awards, and several Golden Globe nominations, including one for Best Mini-Series or Television Film from The Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
This series’ cinematography and visual style make it a must-see for any fan of crime dramas..
9. The Fall
The Fall is a British-Irish crime drama series set in Northern Ireland about Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson and a serial killer named Paul Spector, who is hiding in plain sight. This is another example of two countries working together.
It’s an unpredictable tale full of twists and turns as Stella tries to stop the increasing number of attacks on young women in the city with the help of a police force that’s less than pleased with her. For the first two seasons, critics have generally praised the show starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan, giving it a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Fall will conclude its story in a third season, without giving away too much. The Fall is a great choice if you’re looking for a smart, focused female detective drama.
Without sacrificing tension or mystery, Rectify offers a new take on the classic whodunnit. With Aden Young as Daniel Holden, Rectify follows a young man who spent nearly two decades on death row after being convicted of raping and killing a teenage girl, only to have his conviction overturned by DNA evidence.
When he returns home, the specter of his alleged crime hangs over his head, and he is not welcomed. As a result, Daniel is now forced to adjust to life after prison in a town that has abandoned him and a vengeful politician determined to use him to further his own ambitions.
A Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 96 percent and an IMDB rating of 8/10 make Rectify a crime drama that will keep your interest long after the buzz surrounding The Killing has died down.
Due to the nature of this tight series, Bosch has a distinct advantage over the other companies on this list. In Bosch, a Los Angeles police homicide detective tries to solve the murder of a thirteen-year-old boy while also on trial for the murder of a serial killer. The show centers on the procedural system that governs the police in the U.S.
There are currently plans for a fifth season of the show due to its overwhelming popularity. Before then, you might want to watch the entire first season of Bosch on Amazon Prime.
12. Murder in the First
With Taye Diggs as ex-marine Terry English and Kathleen Robertson as his partner, Hildy Mulligan, Murder in the First is an anthology series that follows two detectives’ stories as they try to solve gruesome murders in San Francisco.
The show lasted three seasons before it was cancelled in 2016, but not before it gained a devoted following of fans. If it hasn’t already been added to your watchlist, Murder in the First has a critical score of 68/100 on Metacritic and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 73 percent.