Best whodunit murder-mystery TV shows and movies to stream
“Knives Out” on YouTube, Vudu & Amazon Prime Video
Who doesn’t love a good murder mystery?! The genre is one of our favorites here at Wonderwall.com, so we’re taking a look at our top murder-mystery films and television shows to stream! We couldn’t get enough of this recent murder-mystery film and its incredibly star-studded cast: 2019’s “Knives Out” chronicles private detective Benoit Blanc’s (Daniel Craig) investigation into the sudden and peculiar death of writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). While he may not have all the answers, there’s one thing Benoit is sure of — that all members of the Thrombey family should be considered murder suspects. Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Michael Shannon and Don Johnson also star in this movie written and directed by Rian Johnson, who earned an Academy Award nod for best original screenplay in 2020. Keep reading for more murder-mystery series and films to add to your watchlist…
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“The Usual Suspects” on iTunes and Vudu
Among the most notable murder mysteries? 1995’s “The Usual Suspects.” The thriller starring Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak and Pete Postlethwaite revolves around one Roger “Verbal” Kint, a con man who’s one of two survivors of a mass murder at a shipping dock. The audience — by way of the interrogator — are taken on a seriously convoluted roller coaster in an attempt to figure out who was behind the mysterious crime. And who could forget about the film’s iconic twist?! The movie’s writer, Christopher McQuarrie, won a best original screenplay Oscar for the project in 1996. “The Usual Suspects” is available to watch on iTunes and Vudu.
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“Twin Peaks” on Netflix & Hulu
It’s the show that started it all: David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks.” The original iteration of the horror-drama, which featured elements of the supernatural, aired in 1990 and 1991 over the course of 30 episodes in two seasons on ABC and earned nearly 20 Emmy nominations. Kyle MacLachlan starred as Dale Cooper, an FBI agent investigating the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer in the titular Washington town. The short-lived series, which has influenced countless other shows over the years, won a legion of loyal fans who helped bring it back in 2017 for an 18-episode revival on Showtime.
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“Zodiac” on YouTube & Amazon Prime Video
Some moviegoers take solace in knowing that whatever they’re watching — regardless of how terrifying or bone chilling it may be — is at least purely fiction. This, however, is not the case for “Zodiac.” The 2007 David Fincher-directed thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr. and Anthony Edwards is based on the 1986 non-fiction novel of the same name by Robert Graysmith. “Zodiac” chronicles the search for the notorious real-life serial murderer known as the Zodiac Killer, who terrorized the San Francisco Bay Area in the ’60s and ’70s. As he taunts police departments with indecipherable ciphers and bloodstained articles of clothing, the film’s investigators are left wondering — like most of America still is — who was behind the infamous string of murders.
“Big Little Lies” on HBO Max
Awards rolled in for the first season of “Big Little Lies,” the HBO adaptation of the novel of the same name, which premiered in 2017 and scored a 94 percent fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley and Reese Witherspoon headlined the star-studded series, which teases a murder in its first episode but doesn’t reveal the identities of the deceased or his/her killer until much later. The show won eight Emmys — including outstanding limited series and acting awards for Nicole, Alexander Skarsgard and Laura Dern — and four Golden Globes in the same categories. Nicole and Alexander also took home SAG Awards for their performances.
“Top of the Lake: China Girl” on Hulu & Amazon Prime Video
Elisabeth Moss returned to the role of Sydney-based detective Robin Griffin on “Top of the Lake: China Girl,” the sequel to 2013’s “Top of the Lake,” which aired on BBC Two and the Sundance Channel in 2017. Unlike the first installment, which centered around the disappearance of a pregnant pre-teen in a small New Zealand town, the follow-up centered around Robin’s investigation into the murder of a pregnant prostitute who illegally immigrated to Australia. Also unlike the first installment, for which Elisabeth won a Golden Globe and earned an Emmy nomination, the second chapter wasn’t especially good, starting strong and falling apart toward the end of its six-episode run.
“Luther” on HBO Max & Hulu
The British crime series “Luther” features titular character John Luther, played by the impossibly handsome Idris Elba, as a detective chief inspector working in the Serious Crime Unit. The show, which has aired five seasons, deals with John’s investigations of murders committed by psychopaths — one of whom he befriends (Alice Morgan, played by Ruth Wilson). It’s no surprise the show has been an award show staple over the years, with Idris picking up a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for his portrayal of John. It’s simply an impeccably done British series that we’re happy has been imported.
“Mindhunter” on Netflix
Netflix brought us the gritty, addictive “Mindhunter” in 2017. The show, set in the late ’70s, follows FBI agents Holden Ford (played by Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (played by Holt McCallany) as they start the agency’s Behavioral Science Unit. Their research? Interviewing serial killers in an attempt to figure out what goes on in the minds of some of the most terrifying psychopaths behind bars. Though it’s sometimes hard to watch, the show is compelling and an interesting twist on the typical murder mystery. Time magazine ranked “Mindhunter” among the best TV shows of 2017 — and we couldn’t agree more.
“And Then There Were None” on Amazon Prime Video
Who could forget this classic? Based on the 1939 Agatha Christie novel of the same name, 1945’s “And Then There Were None” tells the story of eight strangers who are invited to stay at a mansion on an isolated island off the coast of England. What they soon come to realize, however, is that a grim fate awaits each member of the group — slowly but surely, they begin to disappear one by one.
“Gracepoint” on YouTube & Amazon Prime Video
Next up? The FOX series “Gracepoint”! Fans of the British series “Broadchurch” were more than a little disappointed with this American remake, which aired on the network in late 2014. David Tennant, who also starred on the UK version, and “Breaking Bad” actress Anna Gunn portrayed police detectives investigating the murder of a young boy in a small coastal town. The 10-episode drama featured a strong performance from its leading lady but ultimately ventured too far into melodrama territory.
“Taboo” on Hulu
Tom Hardy’s divisive early-1800s-set drama, “Taboo,” which he co-created and in which he also stars as the vicious James Delaney, is about much more than unraveling the mystery of who murdered James’ father. (His death is what prompts the former Navy cadet to return to London from Africa, where he was presumed dead.) The first season of the series, a co-production between FX and BBC One, aired in early 2017 and centered primarily around the tensions between James and the corrupt East India Company. If you ask us, the first eight episodes are criminally underrated!
“A Perfect Getaway” on Google Play & Amazon Prime Video
Picture this: You and your spouse travel to Hawaii for what’s supposed to be a relaxing tropical vacation… only to realize there’s a killer on the loose. 2009’s “A Perfect Getaway” brings this terrifying scenario to the big screen. The thriller starring Timothy Olyphant, Milla Jovovich, Kiele Sanchez and Steve Zahn explores the paranoia and increasing suspicion that mounts when couples on vacation begin to turn up dead.
“The Bridge” on YouTube & Amazon Prime Video
Diane Kruger and Demián Bichir starred as an American detective and a Mexican detective who team up to solve the murder of an American judge whose body was left directly on the border between Texas and Chihuahua — the work of a serial killer — on the first season of the FX drama “The Bridge,” which aired in 2013 and performed well with critics but ultimately failed to find an audience. FX cancelled the series following its second season in 2014.
“The Night Of” on HBO Max & Hulu
Riz Ahmed starred as Nasir “Naz” Khan, a college kid accused of murdering a girl in New York City, on HBO’s eight-episode miniseries “The Night Of,” which aired in mid-2016. The lauded did-he-or-didn’t-he drama, which has a 94 percent fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes, won five Emmys — including best lead actor in a limited series or movie for its star — and earned another eight nominations.
“A Simple Favor” on Hulu & Amazon Prime Video
While this black comedy doesn’t necessarily include murder, it does revolve around a sudden disappearance. 2018’s “A Simple Favor,” which stars Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, tells the story of a young vlogger who takes it upon herself to investigate the vanishing of her luxury-loving friend. Henry Golding, Andrew Rannells, Rupert Friend, Jean Smart and Linda Cardellini also appear in the film, which critics loved for its engaging and twisted plot.
“True Detective” Season 1 on HBO Max & Hulu
Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey both earned Emmy nominations for their work as homicide detectives investigating the ritualistic murder of a prostitute in rural Louisiana on the first season of HBO’s lauded anthology series “True Detective,” which aired in early 2014. The murder-mystery ultimately took home five Emmys including outstanding directing for a drama series. It also has a 97 percent fresh rating with audiences on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Remington Steele” on Amazon Prime Video
Remember this ’80s classic? “Remington Steele” featured a very young Pierce Brosnan playing a former con artist who teams up with private investigator Laura Holt (played by Stephanie Zimbalist) to solve crimes including murder-mysteries. The show utilized a format that was a hybrid of detective-procedural and drama with an infusion of comedy. Pierce’s character assumed the identity of the fictitious titular character, invented by Laura when clients were hesitant to hire a female P.I. The series, though lighter than some others on this list, was certainly groundbreaking for the genre. It gets bonus points for being one of the first to show the mysteries unraveling through a woman’s eyes.
“Riverdale” on Netflix & YouTube
The well-reviewed first season of the pulpy teen drama “Riverdale,” which is based on the Archie Comics and debuted on The CW in 2017, centered around the murder of high school quarterback Jason Blossom in the titular small town. KJ Apa (seen here) stars as Archie Andrews, one of the local teens unofficially investigating the murder.
“Murder on the Orient Express” on YouTube & Amazon Prime Video
2017’s “Murder on the Orient Express” — directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh — follows the eager Detective Hercule Poirot, who, in the wake of a mysterious murder aboard the titular train, appears to interrogate its passengers in hopes of identifying the killer before another person turns up dead. Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Leslie Odom Jr., Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, Penelope Cruz and Derek Jacobi also appear in the thriller based on the 1934 Agatha Christie novel of the same name.
“The Killing” on Hulu & Amazon Prime Video
The first season of “The Killing” — which aired on AMC from 2011 to 2013 before moving to Netflix for its fourth and final season in 2014 — scored a jaw-dropping 100 percent fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Mireille Enos starred as Sarah Linden, a troubled Seattle Police Detective investigating the murder of a teen girl on the first two seasons of the show, which earned six Emmy nominations for Season 1. Though reviews became increasingly negative in subsequent seasons, we’ll always love “The Killing” for the strong impact it made when it first debuted.
“True Detective” Season 2 on HBO Max & Hulu
The second season of HBO’s “True Detective,” which aired in 2015, may have failed to live up to the expectations set by its predecessor, but we liked it just fine. The California-set melodrama centered around a highway patrol officer (Taylor Kitsch), a police detective (Colin Farrell) and an agent from a county sheriff’s office (Rachel McAdams) who team up to investigate the murder of a corrupt city manager. Vince Vaughn starred as the deceased’s partner, an entrepreneur and career criminal.
“The Fall” on Peacock & Amazon Prime Video
The first two seasons of the British-Irish drama “The Fall” scored a 100 percent fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Like “The Sinner,” the question wasn’t “who?” but “why?” In this case: Why is a married bereavement counsellor with two small children moonlighting as the Belfast Strangler, a serial killer targeting young professional women? Gillian Anderson starred as Superintendent Stella Gibson, a senior police officer on the hunt for Jamie Dornan’s Paul Spector on the lauded psychological thriller, which aired from 2013 to 2016 on Netflix in the United States.
“Broadchurch” on Netflix
Critics and audiences alike adored the British series “Broadchurch,” which centered around two police detectives (David Tennant and Olivia Colman) investigating the murder of a young boy in a coastal town in England. The ITV drama, which aired as three eight-episode seasons between 2013 and 2017, has been remade in America (“Gracepoint”) and France (“Malaterra”). Olivia won a BAFTA Award in 2014 for her work on the murder-mystery.
“Pretty Little Liars” on HBO Max & YouTube
Though there were countless mysteries to unravel on “Pretty Little Liars” over the course of its seven-season run on ABC Family between 2010 and 2017, the whole thing started with the disappearance and alleged death of Alison DiLaurentis. Shay Mitchell, Lucy Hale, Troian Bellisario and Ashley Benson starred on the beloved teen thriller, which kept us guessing until its final episode.
“Clue” on Hulu & Amazon Prime Video
A beloved board game turned live-action film? Count us in! 1985’s “Clue” hilariously chronicles the drama at an extravagant dinner party. When one of its guests is murdered, all those in attendance are deemed suspects and must figure out who is responsible for committing the crime. Despite performing poorly at the box office — the dark comedy grossed just $14.6 million on a $15 million budget — “Clue” went on to become a cult classic.
“The Sinner” on Netflix & Hulu
On “The Sinner,” which aired on USA Network in mid-2017, the question wasn’t “who?” but “why?” Jessica Biel starred as Cora Tannetti, a young wife and mother who violently murders a stranger while she’s in a fugue state. (She earned a Golden Globe nomination for her efforts.) Over the course of the eight-episode series, a local police detective (Bill Pullman) helps Cora unravel the mystery of why she suddenly snapped. The series, which features Jessica’s best work yet, scored a 94 percent fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
“The Alienist” on HBO Max & Hulu
“The Alienist,” a 10-episode psychological thriller based on the Caleb Carr novel of the same name, centers around a criminal psychologist (known then as an “alienist”) investigating a serial killer targeting boy prostitutes in New York City in 1896. The drama — on which Dakota Fanning, Daniel Brühl and Luke Evans starred — debuted in 2018. The addictive, well-acted limited series picked up six Primetime Emmy nominations.
“Fargo” on Hulu & YouTube
FX’s “Fargo” might have been inspired by the 1996 film of the same name, but each season of the television version takes place in a different era. The ongoing series, which started back in 2014, is always giving viewers a fresh storyline that involves the investigations of fascinating murders. The cast rotation — stars like real-life couple Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst starred on Season 2 — and the small overlap in storylines keep fans coming back for more.
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