Best Crime Shows On Netflix - GameRant

Netflix’s selection of top-tier crime shows has something for everyone, from Breaking Bad to Money Heist, and Peaky Blinders.
Television today doesn’t have a shortage of crime shows, especially on Netflix that holds perhaps the largest collection of hit shows from the genre. However, fans who don’t have a lot of time to explore Netflix might find that a lot of its crime shows are hit-or-miss, especially when it comes to appeal and consistency, and this can waste the time of any hopeful fan who just wants a good caper or crime thriller.
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Thankfully, there are some Netflix shows that are standouts when it comes to their offerings in the crime show genre. Be it crime thriller, capers, or even action-comedy, Netflix has some must-watch crime shows that will help viewers explore parts of the genre they may have never encountered before.
In Ozark, financial advisor Marty Byrde tries to game the system by becoming a money launderer for the Mexican drug cartel. However, a transaction gone wrong forces Byrde to make ends meet by proposing a crazier idea to his Mexican friends: set up an even bigger, more illegal laundering operation in Lake of the Ozarks, in Missouri.
As one might expect, Byrde’s family becomes quite surprised when they discover the sudden relocation to the summer community of Osage Beach, Missouri. And for Marty that’s become a frequent visitor of the seedy underbelly of the States, this meant introducing himself to local criminals in Ozark – including the Snell and Langmore families, alongside the Kansas City Mafia. Fans who want a family-oriented (insofar as the subgenre goes) spin to the crime drama concept will love Ozark, as reflected with accolades such as a whopping 32 Primetime Emmy nominations.
It’s not often that a crime novel becomes the perfect material for a television adaptation, but that’s exactly what happened to Arturo Perez-Reverte and his “La Reina del Sur.” Adapted first as the telenovela of the same name back in 2011, the 2016 adaptation adds a modern twist to the story, this time named Queen of the South.
As with the novel, the series explores the life of Teresa Mendoza, an impoverished Mexican woman who strives to rise above poverty and falls in love with a drug cartel member. However, when her boyfriend’s murder forces her to flee Mexico and go to the United States, Mendoza makes unexpected allies to survive against her boyfriend’s drug cartel that is chasing her. And to finally put a stop to this madness, Mendoza herself starts her own drug cartel – which brings its own slate of problems. This unique take of a rags-to-riches story, alongside sweet revenge, makes Queen of the South something to rewatch.
Translated as “Duty/Shame,” Giri/Haji is a short-lived crime drama series that lasted for one season prior to its cancellation. However, its narrative was a unique take on criminal dramas, particularly for its setting. Centering around the life of detective Kenzo Mori, he ends up in London from his Tokyo office to search for Yuto, his brother who everyone thought was dead. Apparently, Yuto was accused of murdering a Yakuza member’s nephew, a feud that almost started a gang war in Tokyo.
Kenzo’s journey in London would hopefully shed light on what happened to his brother. And he makes steady progress through new friends and faces he would meet. Unfortunately, Kenzo’s actions in London would inevitably bring him to the clutches of the London criminal underworld – an entirely new enterprise compared to Japan’s.
Sometimes, it’s much more dangerous to dabble into the criminal underworld as a double agent instead of being an actual criminal, and this is exactly what Bob Lemmens and Kim de Rooij are doing in Undercover. In this crime drama, inspired by real events, the two agents are tasked to infiltrate a drug syndicate’s operations in Limburg, Netherlands.
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The two agents pose as a couple in the campgrounds where the syndicate’s leader loves spending his weekends – but things get far more complicated than just simple infiltration. Soon, both their lives are on the line when personal lives come in the way of their mission. And being immersed in both the criminal underworld and police work definitely adds a unique weight to Undercover that other shows just don’t have.
Critically-acclaimed Breaking Bad is easily a must-watch when it comes to any crime drama. Despite ending almost a decade ago, Breaking Bad cemented a place in the hearts of viewers with its stellar writing and unique plot points, with the story exploring the lives of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. Things get crazy real fast when White, a talented but underpaid chemistry teacher, gets diagnosed with stage-three lung cancer and decides to turn to a life of crime.
White isn’t at it alone, though. Tagging along is Jesse, a former student that turned into an accomplice. Through Jesse’s help, White aims to produce and distribute meth to secure his family’s future after his passing. And unfortunately for White, his last few years dealing drugs will also become the wildest ride of his life.
Much in the vein of standalone Korean dramas, Vincenzo is a 20-episode crime drama revolving around Park Joo-hyung, who was adopted by an Italian family at the tender age of eight. Unlike other adopted children, Joo-hyung ends up joining the mafia, being adopted a second time by Don Fabio Cassano. Now Vincenzo Cassano, Joo-hyung rises to become Don Fabio’s consigliere on top of being a lawyer. Unfortunately for him, Don Fabio’s death would have his firstborn son, Paolo, attempt to kill Vincenzo.
Having fled back to Seoul, Vincenzo now works as a lawyer for the Jipuragi Law Firm, with his new coworkers having no idea he’s there to reclaim his fortune. And unfortunately for Vincenzo, his past inevitably catches back up to him. Albeit not entirely a crime-driven drama, Korean dramas don’t often feature the mafia prominently. And this unique spin on a slice-of-life slash crime drama tale is certainly a breath of fresh air for drama lovers.
Every big criminal starts somewhere, and for Oh Ji-Soo of Extracurricular, everything began when he started running illegal businesses to earn money as a side job from school. Soon, other people from school become inexplicably entangled in Ji-Soo’s business, such as Bae Gyu-ri who’s pressured by her rich family to take over the family business. While Gyu-ri pressures Ji-Soo to let her join the business after she discovers what he’s doing, things go haywire when another classmate joins and gets caught by the authorities.
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Although only lasting 10 episodes, Extracurricular was a wild ride that gives viewers quite a unique look of the school setting away from the conventional class format. Instead of the usual school drama, Extracurricular becomes a coming-of-age story in the craziest of ways.
Unlike other caper stories, Money Heist sets a mark in the heart of crime drama lovers for its intricate plot and narrative complexity, thanks in part to its storytelling method that fits right in the crime thriller subgenre. At its core, Money Heist explores two long cons involving the Bank of Spain and the Royal Mint of Spain. The famed Professor leads the heist alongside various robbers, one of which is Tokyo who serves as the series narrator.
While the ending of the show would reveal how the heists transpired in a linear fashion, Tokyo’s rather unreliable narration and the unique usage of time-jumps and flashbacks slowly reveal an intricate web of motivations, lies, and personal histories all tied neatly in a suspenseful drama.
Of all the famous crime dramas in Netflix, Narcos sets itself apart particularly due to its depiction of real-life events. Set around the story of Pablo Escobar, the famed drug kingpin, Narcos tells a behind-the-scenes look of Escobar’s story and explores how he became a billionaire through cocaine distribution, which was a relatively “new” part of the criminal underworld. Soon, Narcos explores not just Escobar’s inner circle, but also his relationships with the Drug Enforcement Administration as well as other rivals.
Fans of crime dramas who want a more realistic take on crime-related stories would appreciate the narrative take on Narcos, particularly for its blend of historical facts and the way the series got to highlight Escobar’s legendary tale up to his death.
Fans of crime dramas who want a deeper look into the gang culture as it began would look no further than Peaky Blinders. This crime drama follows the adventures of the Peaky Blinders gang after the First World War, as well as their interactions with rival entities, the police, and their personal histories. The Peaky Blinders gang is apparently based loosely on the actual Peaky Blinders gang, which was active in Birmingham, England, from the 1890s to the early 1900s.
At its core, the Peaky Blinders explores leader Tommy Shelby and the way he’s expanded the small gang into a country-spanning – and eventually, international – enterprise, with events from the series being interconnected to pivotal points in English history. Fans of historical dramas who want to explore the criminal underworld as they began would love the behind-the-scenes look with Peaky Blinders.
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Rhenn is a Manila-based content writer with a love for all things geek and pop culture, and science and technology. He has a BA Journalism degree, and has since then pursued making content about geek culture. Rhenn used to write for a couple of geek and gaming publications, and also served as editor-in-chief for Philippines-based What’s A Geek!. He constantly plays video games but also takes the time to try out older titles. If he’s not playing video games, he’s probably playing TTRPGs.

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