Top 5 International Crime Shows to Watch on Netflix and Amazon Prime
It’s never been easier to find quality international crime series programming when you want it. So when you’re sitting around wondering?what to watch, why not choose one of the following non-English imports.
1. Money Heist
Country of Origin: Spain | Where to Watch: Netflix
This crime drama is one of Netflix’s most popular shows worldwide, including in the United States, and is the most popular show not in English on the service. It’s such a phenomenon that the most recent season was accompanied by a documentary about how it’s such a phenomenon called Money Heist: The Phenomenon. Known in Spanish as?La Casa de Papel, this thriller follows a thief named Tokyo (?rsula Corber?), who joins the enigmatic Professor (?lvaro Morte) as he assembles and trains a team of criminals ? who use the names of cities as codenames to preserve their identities ? to take over the Royal Mint of Madrid, print billions of Euros, and walk out. It’s a heist via seizing the means of production. Of course, things don’t go according to plan, because the criminals who were supposed to suppress their emotions all fall in love with each other. It’s a thrilling, stylish, and romantic Robin Hood story that’s as popular as it is for a very good reason: it’s good as hell.
2. Babylon Berlin
Country of Origin: Germany | Where to Watch: Netflix
Set in 1929, during the Golden Years of the Weimar Republic,?Babylon Berlin?is a hypnotizing, multi-layered series that mixes crime, sex, drugs, politics, and entertainment into an intoxicating cocktail that calls to mind the hard-boiled noir of Raymond Chandler. The series, based on the novels of Volker Kutscher, follows Gereon Rath (Volker Bruch), a young detective and veteran suffering from both PTSD and a big helping of survivor’s guilt. Initially part of Berlin’s vice squad, he slowly uncovers the sinister secrets of Berlin’s seedy underworld with the help of an unlikely partner, Charlotte Ritter (Liv Lisa Fries), a clever and resourceful flapper from the slums who dreams of becoming the first female homicide detective. Across three exhilarating seasons,?Babylon Berlin?highlights how fragile democracy was on the eve of the Nazis’ rise to power as it weaves a captivating story about a world populated by dangerous gangsters, corrupt policemen, powerful businessmen, and numerous fighting political factions. If you think period dramas aren’t your style, think again.
3. Black Spot
Country of Origin: France | Where to Watch: Netflix
Known in France as?Zone Blanche, which refers to the fact the isolated small town at the center of the series is a cellular dead zone, the suspenseful and atmospheric thriller?Black Spot?mixes elements of the mythological with the tension of the best crime dramas to create an eerie but highly bingeable series. The show kicks off when a prosecutor arrives to investigate why the town has such a high murder rate. The forest that surrounds said town is full of dark secrets, and as the series progresses and the head of the local police digs into her own past and area’s past, a clear-ish picture begins to take shape, and what is revealed is likely crazier than anything you could possibly dream up yourself.
Country of Origin: Italy | Where to Watch: Netflix
Premiering overseas in 2014 and making its U.S. debut in 2016, Italy’s brutal crime drama Gomorrah has been compared to American shows like The Wire or The Sopranos. It’s easy to see why such comparisons have been given, but Gomorrah is an exceptionally well-made series ? its cinematography is some of the best you’ll see ? that is too good to live in the shadows of its American brethren. Based on journalist Roberto Saviano’s nonfiction book of the same name, Gomorrah carefully depicts the far-reaching corruption of a new ? but fictional ? Neapolitan crime syndicate as told through its leader’s right-hand man. It’s heavy and bleak, but oh so worth it.
Country of Origin: Iceland | Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
If you’re looking for a Nordic crime drama, check out Iceland’s Trapped, which follows Andri (Olafur Darri Olafsson), a local cop whose job has taken its toll on his family. During the show’s first season, Andri investigates a case involving a headless corpse that has turned up in the local port, while Season 2 tackles a far-right nationalist group, a power plant’s expansion, and a family with so many secrets the twists and turns never seem to stop coming. But what sets the show apart from the rest of the crime dramas out of Iceland and Scandinavia, is how it skillfully uses its location to its advantage. In Season 1, an avalanche ups the dramatic stakes and leaves the remote town and its citizens vulnerable while Andri and his coworkers attempt to find a murderer, while the second season, which is slightly less claustrophobic thanks to a change in seasons, brings earthquakes into the mix. In both cases, the drama never stops and no one is safe. There are a lot of excellent dramas to come out of the region, but Trapped is definitely one of the best.