We are so excited about our new 2022 guide: for this edition, we have updated our definitive guide for the best crime drama and thriller shows on Netflix to include some of the most exciting new releases.
Note: You can find our 2021 and 2020 edition of best Netflix shows here and here respectively. For older coverage, see our 2017 edition of the 40 best crime drama and thriller shows here and The 50 Best Crime Drama and Thriller Shows On Netflix: 2018 Edition here. Our last year’s list of best show’s on Netflix (2019) is also available here.
In a similar fashion to what we did last year, for 2022 we have incorporated the feedback and comments of our readers on what shows they have loved. Additionally, we have removed some of the older shows in which many viewers have already seen.
The latter change has created room for some exciting international titles including Australian, French, and Scandinavian shows. But if you’re a fan of classics and want to explore more those shows, our earlier years’ editions are a good place to start.
Freshly updated and now in an expanded list, our new selections are highly addictive and intriguing.
For 2022 holiday season and beyond, if you are having difficulty working your way through Netflix shows and want to be entertained in a big way, here is your go-to guide. Hopefully our list will make the life easier for you. Without further ado, here’s a round up of the best crime drama and thriller shows on Netflix that you can watch right now (the numbering is for referencing purposes only).
For the September-October period, we have added the following bonus shows:
Diary of a Gigolo
A male escort’s life begins to unravel after he gets involved in a client’s family affairs.
Flower of Evil
Baek Hee Sung changes his identity and hides his past from his detective wife, until she discovers he has secrets while investigating a series of unexplained murders.
Devil in Ohio
A psychiatrist takes in a young patient who escaped from a cult, putting her family and life in danger.
62. True Story
A tour stop becomes a matter of life and death for a famous comic when the fallout from a night with his brother threatens to destroy everything he’s built.
Unearthly beings deliver condemnations, sending individuals to hell and giving rise to a religious group founded on the idea of divine justice.
When family man Nick Brewer is abducted in a crime with a sinister online twist, those closest to him race to uncover who is behind it and why.
59. Cocaine Cowboys
The true story of two childhood friends who go from being high school dropouts to being the most powerful drug kingpins in Miami.
When his niece comes into contact with a powerful drug lord, Mehdi and his team of experienced robbers find themselves embroiled in a violent and deadly turf war.
57. Black Spot
A police inspector investigates a string of murders in a town where the murder rate is six times higher than the rest of the country.
56. Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon a Crime
A great Netflix Documentary: Elize Matsunaga breaks her silence about murdering and dismembering her husband, Marcos Matsunaga, in 2012.
55. The Sinner
Detective Harry Ambrose returns to his hometown in rural New York to assess an unsettling and heart-wrenching crime — parents murdered by their 11-year-old son with no apparent motive. As Ambrose realizes there’s nothing ordinary about the boy or where he came from, the investigation pulls him into the hidden darkness of his hometown. He’s pitted against those who will stop at nothing to protect its secrets — and the mysterious Vera, who proves to be a complicated, enigmatic piece to this haunting puzzle.
A rogue detective with unorthodox means leads an investigation into a massacre committed by unicorn mask-wearing assassins at a high school.
`Paranoid’, written by Bill Gallagher, features an all-star cast including Indira Varma, Robert Glenister, Neil Stuke and Lesley Sharp. The drama follows the mystery behind the murder of a local female GP, Angela Benton. When the incident takes place in a rural children’s playground in front of several eyewitnesses, it appears to be a straightforward murder case. However detectives Bobby Day, Nina Suresh and Alec Wayfield discover there is more evidence to uncover as they are taken on a journey across Europe in an investigation to reveal the dark truth.
52. Ad Vitam
Ad Vitam is a 2018 French-language TV series starring Yvan Attal, Garance Marillier and Niels Schneider. The plot revolves around a world where death has been conquered through a breakthrough medicine called ‘Regeneration’ and people can live forever. A cop, Darius Asram (Yvan Attal), and a rebellious young woman, Christa Novak (Garance Marillier), are investigating the suicides of seven teenagers.
51. Inspector Koo
A reclusive ex-cop reenters the game as an insurance investigator, searching for clues in crime scenes perfectly staged by a serial killer in her midst.
50. Criminal: France
Criminal: France is a 2019 police procedural anthology series consisting of twelve episodes, with three episodes set in each of four countries, filmed in local languages – France, Spain, Germany and the UK. Set within the confines of a police interrogation room, French investigators engage in intense games of psychological cat-and-mouse with their accused suspects to find the answers they need in order to solve their cases.
A retelling of the classic French story about Arsène Lupin, the world-famous gentleman thief and master of disguise.
48. High Seas
High Seas is a Spanish mystery series released on Netflix in May 2019. Its plot surrounds mysterious deaths on a luxurious ship travelling from Spain to Rio de Janeiro in the 1940s that uncover secrets surrounding two sisters who are travelling together.
47. Bangkok Breaking
Newly arrived in Bangkok, Wanchai joins the road rescue service and unravels a city-wide conspiracy with the help of a journalist.
This is a Netflix original series and an exciting one: Filmmaker Errol Morris documents a man’s 60-year quest to identify the circumstances of his father’s mysterious death as he uncovers some of the United States’ darkest secrets. This is a genre-bending tale and is increasingly becoming popular among thriller series fans.
45. Designated Survivor
As a lower-level cabinet member, Tom Kirkman never imagined something would happen that would catapult him to the oval office. When a devastating attack on the night of the State of the Union address claims the lives of the president and most of the Cabinet, the Housing and Urban Development secretary — who was named the designated survivor in case of such an event — finds himself promoted to leader of the free world.
Suddenly thrust into his new position of power, Kirkman struggles to keep the country from dissolving into chaos and must adjust to his new normal, unaware of what fresh horrors may await the United States.
44. Dirty John
Debra Newell has a perfect life — from the outside — she’s successful, beautiful and lives in Newport Beach, one of California’s most desirable coastal cities. The only thing missing from her life is love, so when she meets the charismatic, handsome and charming Dr. John Meehan, she is swept off her feet in a whirlwind romance.
Her daughters, Terra and Veronic, set out to prove that he’s just a conman after they are displeased at the fast-tracked relationship and decide to investigate their mother’s new beau for themselves. As Debra gets drawn deeper into his lies, the psychological manipulation has consequences for the entire family.
43. Vendetta: Truth, Lies and The Mafia
Sicily boasts a bold “Anti-Mafia” coalition. But what happens when those trying to bring down organized crime are accused of being criminals themselves?
Just in time for the holiday season comes the heartwarming story of “Perfume,” which follows a half-dozen friends so obsessed with the possibilities of smell that the death of one of them dredges up some extremely unpleasant things about their pasts.
The new series is based on the 1985 Patrick Süskind novel “Perfume,” which was previously adapted into the 2006 Tom Tykwer film “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer,” starring a pre-Bond Ben Whishaw, Alan Rickman, and Dustin Hoffman. This new TV venture brings the original story into a modern context, rather than the 18th-century French environs of the novel.
When a woman is found murdered with scent glands excised from her body, a detective probes a group of friends who attended boarding school with her.
41. Babylon Berlin
This is a great new Netflix original for the fans of historical mysteries and crime dramas. Police commissioner Gereon Rath is transferred from Cologne to Berlin, the epicenter of political and social change in the Golden Twenties.
Shellshocked from his service during World War I, he uncovers a dangerous web of intrigue while investigating one of Berlin’s biggest pornography rings. There’s an even bigger conspiracy unfolding, though, when Soviet rebels hijack a train as part of a mission hatched by Trotsky supporters in the city.
40. The One
Rebecca is the ambitious and impulsive founding CEO of MatchDNA, a company that can pair people with their perfect partner based solely on their DNA samples.
39. Sweet Home
As humans turn into savage monsters, one troubled teenager and his neighbours fight to survive and to hold onto their humanity.
A CIA officer investigates a charismatic figure whose followers believe he can perform miracles; he may be a divine entity or a dangerous con artist.
37. Gone For Good
36. Seven Seconds
Seven Seconds is an American crime drama web television series, based on the Russian film The Major written and directed by Yuri Bykov, that premiered on February 23, 2018, on Netflix. The series, created, executive produced, and showrun by Veena Sud, follows the people involved in investigating the death of a young black boy and the boy’s family as they reel after the loss.
When 15-year-old black cyclist Brenton Butler dies in a hit-and-run accident — with a white police officer behind the wheel of the vehicle — Jersey City explodes with racial tension. This crime drama explores the aftermath of the accident, which includes an attempted cover-up by the police department and a volatile trial.
Assistant prosecutor KJ wants to prosecute the hit-and-run as a hate crime, in addition to a negligent homicide. The longer the case drags on without a resolution, the more tense the situation becomes. Emmy winner Regina King stars as Brenton’s churchgoing mother, Latrice.
35. Dogs of Berlin
Two cops investigate the murder of a famous Turkish-German soccer player, but one of them has underworld connections that mire the case in controversy.
Marcella is a British crime noir detective series produced, written and directed by Hans Rosenfeldt: Former London detective Marcella Backland is devastated when her husband leaves her and their two children. He is head of Legal Affairs at DTG Construction, property developers effectively controlled by the Gibson family.
When Marcella is visited by a senior detective on the murder squad seeking information regarding an unsolved, 11-year-old case of a serial killer who seems to have become active again, Marcella returns to the murder squad. She enters a world of online dating, prostitution, and the dubious dealings of her husband’s employers while trying to save her marriage.
33. Beyond Evil
As a killing resembling a cold case resurfaces in a small town, the chase for the truth falls on two policemen who each harbor secrets of their own.
A handsome secret agent and his team of LGBTQ+ superspies embark on extraordinary adventures.
31. La Casa De Papel
This is a new international title. La casa de papel (literally The House of Paper) is a single-season, 15-episode Spanish heist television series created by Álex Pina. It premiered on May 2, 2017 and stars, among others Úrsula Corberó, Paco Tous, and Alba Flores.
In the series, a mysterious man, who goes by the name of El Profesor (“The Professor”), is planning the biggest heist ever told. In order to carry out the ambitious plan, he recruits a gang of eight people with certain abilities who have nothing to lose. The goal is to enter the Royal Mint of Spain so that they can print 2.4 billion euros. In order to do this, they need eleven days of seclusion, during which they will have to deal with sixty-five hostages and the elite forces of the Police.
30. The Witcher
The witcher Geralt, a mutated monster hunter, struggles to find his place in a world in which people often prove more wicked than beasts.
29. Midnight Mass
The arrival of a charismatic priest brings miracles, mysteries and renewed religious fervour to a dying town.
28. Silent Sea
During a perilous 24-hour mission on the moon, space explorers try to retrieve samples from an abandoned research facility steeped in classified secrets.
We have covered this Finnish crime drama in the past (see here). The series, in a nutshell, is about a brilliant but overworked police detective. The series follows Detective Sorjonen (Ville Virtanen) as he relocates to the small town of Lappeenranta near the Russian border for a quiet life as his wife recovers from a brain tumor. But life is not very peaceful on the border between two worlds.
Created by Bill Dubuque (“The Accountant,” “The Judge”), this drama series stars Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde, a financial planner who relocates his family from Chicago to a summer resort community in the Ozarks.
With wife Wendy and their two kids in tow, Marty is on the move after a money-laundering scheme goes wrong, forcing him to pay off a substantial debt to a Mexican drug lord in order to keep his family safe. While the Byrdes’ fate hangs in the balance, the dire circumstances force the fractured family to reconnect.
After exacting revenge on the people responsible for the deaths of his wife and children, Frank Castle uncovers a conspiracy that runs deeper than New York’s criminal underworld. Now known as the Punisher, he must dig deep into the conspiracy to discover the truth about injustices that affect more than just him and his family.
Assisting the vigilante in his quest to fight criminals are best friend Billy Russo, who runs private military corporation Anvil, and former NSA analyst Micro, who shares common enemies with Castle and helps him as part of a so-called marriage of convenience.
24. The Chestnut Man
A figurine made of chestnuts is found at the scene of a grisly murder; from this creepy clue, two detectives hunt for a killer linked to a politician’s missing child.
23. Alias Grace
This is an interesting Candian-American miniseries for fans of historical mysteries. It is based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood (see here) and adapted by Sarah Polley. The series consists of six episodes and it premiered on CBC on September 25, 2017, and appeared on Netflix on November 3, 2017.
The series tells the story of young Grace Marks, a poor Irish immigrant and domestic servant in Upper Canada who is accused and convicted of the 1843 murder of her employer and his housekeeper. Stablehand James McDermott is also convicted of the crime. McDermott is hanged, but Grace is sentenced to life in prison, leading her to become one of the most notorious women of the period in Canada. The story is based on actual 19th-century events.
22. El Chapo
El Chapo is another popular Netflix series based on real events. The series covers the life of the famous druglord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. It premiered on April 23, 2017 at Univision before airing on Netflix worldwide. It stars Marco de la O as the titular character.
The story mostly recounts the beginnings of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán in 1985, when he was a low-level member of the Guadalajara Cartel, his rise to power as head of the Sinaloa Cartel, and his downfall.
The catastrophic eruption of sub-glacial volcano Katla turns a nearby community’s world upside down as mysteries begin to emerge from the ice.
Dark is a German science fiction thriller and the first German-language Netflix original series (the series is dubbed in English). It debuted on Netflix on December 1, 2017 and received mostly positive reviews from critics. In Dark, the disappearance of two young children in the German town of Winden brings light to the fractured relationships, double lives, and the dark past of four families living there, revealing a mystery that spans three generations.
19. Hit & Run
A man searching for the truth behind his wife’s death becomes caught up in a dangerous web of secrets and intrigue.
José Padilha’s thrilling series about the rise of notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Prepare yourself for reading a lot of sub-titles as there is a huge portion of the dialogues in Spanish (The show was filmed in Colombia). Having said that, make sure you add this mind-blowing series to your list as there is plenty of action in this drug-trafficking series and you will not be disappointed.
The deceased king rises and a mysterious plague begins to spread; the prince must face a new breed of enemies to unveil the evil scheme and save his people.
When a teen reports being raped, then recants her story, two female detectives follow evidence that could reveal the truth; based on a true story.
Case premiered in Iceland in 2015 and has now made it to Netflix in 2016. Although the idea behind the series is not really out of the box, it’s an exciting series for those who love Scandinavian crime fiction. A smart lawyer whose drinking and recklessness send him on a path of self-destruction finds new purpose in investigating a teenager’s apparent suicide.
14. Mar de plástico
If you want to explore with some great Spanish drama, this is a great title: In a town in southern Spain where racial tensions run high among the workers in its many greenhouses, a cop investigates the murder of a young woman.
Another one of our favorite, this series is based on the Walt Longmire mystery novels by best-selling author Craig Johnson. In this contemporary crime drama, the Australian actor Robert Taylor stars in the title role, the charismatic and dedicated sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming.
Longmire patrols the county with a brave face and sense of humor, but deep inside he hides the pain of his wife’s recent death. With the urging of his daughter, Cady, and the help of Vic, a new female deputy, Longmire gains a new appreciation of his job and decides to run for re-election. He’s committed to putting his life back together, one piece at a time, and he often calls on best friend and confidant Henry Standing Bear for support.
12. Peaky Blinders
The series is primarily set in Birmingham, England, and follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family in the aftermath of the First World War. The fictional gang is loosely based on the Peaky Blinders, a real 19th century urban youth gang who were active in the city from the 1890s to the early twentieth century.
Three people’s fates are interwoven in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 A.D., during which Germanic warriors halt the spread of the Roman Empire.
10. Black Mirror
A series of stand-alone dramas — sharp, suspenseful, satirical tales that explore techno-paranoia — “Black Mirror” is a contemporary reworking of “The Twilight Zone” with stories that tap into the collective unease about the modern world, particularly regarding both intended and unintended consequences of new technologies and the effect they have on society and individuals.
Each story features its own cast of unique characters, including stars like Bryce Dallas Howard (“The Help”), Alice Eve, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Cullen and Jerome Flynn (“Game of Thrones”). Joe Wright, Dan Trachtenberg, and James Watkins are among the featured directors.
This is a new Australian release by Netflix. Tidelands is an Australian web television series. The eight-part series is written and created by Stephen M. Irwin and Leigh McGrath, and is produced by Hoodlum Entertainment.
Tidelands follows the story of a former criminal who returns home to the small fishing village of Orphelin Bay. When the body of a local fisherman washes ashore, she must uncover the town’s secrets while investigating its strange inhabitants, who are a group of dangerous half-sirens, half-humans called “Tidelanders”.
8. Watch The Girl from Oslo
When her daughter is abducted, a Norwegian diplomat travels to the Middle East, banking on old friends — and a deep secret — to help free her.
While investigating several disappearances and murders in Vienna, young Sigmund Freud and a psychic medium become entangled in an occult conspiracy.
6. The Writer
Al-Kateb series, listed as “The Writer” on Netflix, tells the story of a best-selling crime novelist whose real life begins to eerily imitating the plot of his own books.
5. Squid Game
Hundreds of cash-strapped contestants accept an invitation to compete in children’s games for a tempting prize, but the stakes are deadly.
4. The Frankenstein Chronicles
The Frankenstein Chronicles is a British television period crime drama series that is designed as a re-imagining of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein. Lead actor Sean Bean also acted as an associate producer on the first series. It follows Inspector John Marlott (Bean), a river police officer who uncovers a corpse made up of body parts from eight missing children and sets about to determine who is responsible.
3. The Break
This is a hidden gem: There is a high chance you have not heard of this series but it is the real deal: A police detective mourning a painful loss moves back to his peaceful hometown, only to be drawn into a murder case that dredges up dark secrets. So far one season of this original Netflix show is available for streaming.
2. The Forest
The Forest is a French crime drama television series, created by Delinda Jacobs and directed by Julius Berg. It debuted on Netflix internationally in July 2018 and is one of our favorite crime thrillers for this year.
In The Forest, when a teenaged girl disappears from a village near the Ardennes Forest, local police and a concerned teacher begin to uncover a web of unsettling secrets. As the case progresses, viewers find out more about how dark past connected to the seemingly innocent characters in the village.
1. Open Your Eyes
Julka ends up in an amnesia treatment center after she loses her family. When she begins to have strange dreams that will become too real for her, she wonders if the place where she is, is the one she thought it was so far.
This was our list: Let us know what you think of our picks and leave comments if you have other titles in mind.
Photo Credit: Netflix