“Whitechapel”

"Whitechapel" on Amazon Prime.

“Whitechapel” on Amazon Prime.

Premise: A Jack the Ripper-esque murderer haunts the streets of contemporary London. The police must comb through history to catch this killer, along with other criminals who draw from the city’s dark past.

Sum Up: The most horrific of the series on this list, this is for viewers who want a show that wallows in the particulars of a crime. If disgusting shots of slashed throats and the liberal use of gargling sounds are your thing (or you like the “Saw” franchise), then this may be for you. The show also has tons of high-octane action crammed in, so if nothing else, it doesn’t feel as formulaic as other British crime shows.

Heads Up: The director seems to be going for a David Fincher vibe, using a dark-green-and-brown color palette and other quirks of the “Fight Club” aesthetic. It doesn’t work. The dialogue is also pretty bad, so unless the gruesomeness appeals to you, maybe skip this one.

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“Arthur & George”

"Arthur & George" on Amazon Prime.

“Arthur & George” on Amazon Prime.

Premise: Detective fiction writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle suffers the loss of his wife in 1906. He mourns with his family, while also pursuing a new lover. Meanwhile, a disgraced solicitor gets out of jail as he works on proving his full innocence of a troubling crime. The two men team up to try and find the real criminal. Based on a Julian Barnes novel of the same name, rather than historical fact.

Sum Up: An elegant costume drama with a steady sense of narrative. This may be the crowd pleaser of the list. On the margins of the central mystery, the show also tackles weighty problems of fidelity, race and aging. And at only three episodes of 45 minutes, you can easily finish this one.

Heads Up: The series starts in a jolting place ― a close-up shot of a knife entering a horse, causing the animal to bleed to death. All these shows have crimes against humans, of course, but as many viewers have extra sensitivity to animal pain, this scene needs mentioning.

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“Endeavour”

"Endeavour" on Amazon Prime.

“Endeavour” on Amazon Prime.

Premise: A young detective constable in 1960s Oxford works with an older mentor on the force to solve cases. Since the younger man ― named Endeavour Morse ― went to Oxford University, he has more sources to draw from in the town than his colleagues do.

Sum Up: This has a super high level of production and much more nuanced directing choices than the other projects on this list. It looks and feels like a show with real money behind it, which certainly makes it more worth watching than the more formulaic stabs at the genre.

Heads Up: The maximalist directing approach throughout this can get a bit tiresome, with heavy-handed choices here and there. Also, there are many hours of this show, so if you’re a completist, that may fill you with anxiety.

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