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Now that we’re well into the 2020s, I figured I should start compiling a list of detectives shows from this decade in my TV Detective Database. However, once I got started, I was surprised by the sheer number of new shows being produced each year. For that reason, rather than creating a single list for the entire decade, I decided it would be best to create separate lists for each year.
This post presents the mystery shows produced in the United Kingdom that premiered in the year 2020. Although I refer to this part of my website as the “TV Detective Database”, it is often difficult to draw a hard line between detective shows and crime dramas or thrillers. Therefore, not all of the shows below feature detectives, but they all do incorporate typical mystery elements.
Below, the shows are listed in alphabetical order, and are followed with a summary of the show’s premise that have been copied from their promotional blurbs. If possible, I have also included information about the channel that they were produced for and a link to where the show can be streamed in the USA.
Although 2020 is now several months behind us, I hope you discover some new shows that you may have missed hearing about.
Alex Rider (UK-USA co-production) [stream here]
“Alex Rider is an ordinary teenager enlisted to work on behalf of MI6, where he uses skills he didn’t know he had to become an extraordinary spy.” Based on the books by Anthony Horowitz.
Baghdad Central (Channel 4)
“Following the fall of Saddam Hussein, former police inspector Muhsin al-Khafaji has lost virtually everything. He searches for one of the few things remaining in his life, his missing estranged elder daughter.”
Code 404 (Sky)
“A British detective killed in action is brought back to life using experimental Artificial Intelligence.”
Deadwater Fell (Channel 4) (mini-series)
“When a seemingly perfect and happy family is murdered by someone they knew and trusted, cracks appear on the surface of a supposedly idyllic community.”
The Deceived (Ireland-UK co-production)
“Ophelia falls for her married lecturer Michael. When he mysteriously disappears, she tracks him down and discovers that his wife has died in a fire.”
Des (ITV) (mini-series)
“In 1983 Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen was arrested after the discovery of human remains which had blocked a drain near his London home.”
Devils (Sky) [stream here]
“A worldwide financial conspiracy is discovered by a group of traders of a large investment bank.”
Devs (UK-USA co-production) [stream here]
“A computer engineer investigates the secretive development division in her company, which she believes is behind the disappearance of her boyfriend.”
Flesh and Blood (ITV) (mini-series) [stream here]
“Lives of three siblings are disrupted when their recently widowed mother declares she’s in love with a new man. Tangled web of secrets, lies, rivalries and betrayals eventually leads to a murder.”
Gangs of London (Sky) [stream here]
“Finn Wallace was the most powerful criminal in London. But now he’s dead – and nobody knows who ordered the hit. It’s up to Sean Wallace, with the help of the Dumani family and Elliot Finch, to take his father’s place.”
Get Even (BBC & Netflix)
“Follows four teenage girls at private elite school who form their own secret society to expose bullies.”
Hitmen (sitcom) (Sky & Peacock)
“Fran and Jamie are best friends and business partners – they just happen to kill people for a living. Having stumbled into a career in contract killing, the misfit duo are definitely not your typical killers for hire.”
Honour (mini-series) (ITV & BritBox) [stream here]
“DCI Caroline Goode vows to bring justice for a young girl, murdered by her family for falling in love with the wrong man.”
Intelligence (comedy) (Sky & Peacock)
“An NSA agent teams up with a computer analyst to form a new cyber crimes unit in the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters.”
The Luminaries (UK-New Zealand co-production) [stream here]
“Adventure mystery set in the midst of New Zealand’s 1860’s gold rush period. It has all the stuff that makes a good drama: murder, love and revenge, as men and women travel the world making their fortunes.” Based on the book by Eleanor Catton.
McDonald & Dodds (ITV & BritBox) [stream here]
“A shy and enigmatic Detective Sergeant is partnered with a wildly ambitious Detective Chief Inspector to solve crimes in the historic city of Bath.”
The Pale Horse (BBC) [stream here]
“Is a trio of witches responsible for a series of sudden deaths or is there a rational explanation?” Adaptation of the book by Agatha Christie.
Quiz (ITV & AMC) (mini-series) [stream here]
“Quiz tells the story of Charles Ingram, a former British army major, who caused a major scandal after being caught cheating his way to winning £1 million on the game show ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?'”
Roadkill (BBC) (mini-series) [stream here]
“Politician Peter Laurence’s private life is falling apart. Shamelessly untroubled by guilt or remorse, he seeks to further his own agenda whilst others plot to bring him down. Can he out-run his own secrets to win the ultimate prize?”
Run (Sky & HBO) (romance) [stream here]
“Two ex-lovers, a married American woman and an aspiring British writer, activate a long-planned escape plan and disappear together for a week. They soon get into trouble and a female cop goes after them.”
Tehran (Israel/USA/UK/Greece co-production)
“A Mossad agent embarks on her first mission as a computer hacker in her home town of Tehran.”
The Salisbury Poisonings (BBC) (mini-series) [stream here]
“Fact based drama about the Novichok poisoning crisis in Salisbury in 2018.”
The Sister a.k.a. Because the Night (USA-UK co-production) (mini-series)
“Almost a decade into his new devoted married life Nathan is rocked to the core when Bob, an unwelcome face from the past, turns up on his doorstep with shocking news, triggering a series of catastrophic decisions.”
The Stranger (Netflix) (mini-series)
“Follows the lives of suburban families whose secrets and lies are made public by the appearance of a stranger.” Based on the novel by Harlan Coben.
The Third Day (Sky & HBO) (UK-USA co-production) (mini-series) [stream here]
“A man and a woman make separate journeys to a mysterious island off the British coast.”
Truth Seekers (UK-USA co-production) (Amazon Studios) (comedy) [stream here]
“A team of part-time paranormal investigators use homemade gizmos to track the supernatural, sharing their adventures online. As their haunted stake outs become more terrifying they begin to uncover an unimaginable, apocalyptic conspiracy.”
Two Weeks to Live (Sky & HBO)
“A woman sets out on a secret mission to honour her father, who died under mysterious circumstances when she was a young girl.”
Van der Valk [stream here]
“A Dutch detective takes on criminal cases in Amsterdam using insightful human observation and his natural street smarts.” Reboot of the 1970s show of the same name. Inspired by the novels by Nicholas Freeling.
The Watch (UK-USA co-production) (BBC) [stream here]
“Based on the characters from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, A group of misfit cops rise up from decades of helplessness to save their corrupt city from catastrophe.”
We Hunt Together (BBC) [stream here]
“A gripping twist on a classic cat-and-mouse story, this British drama series explores the intoxication of sexual attraction and the dangerous power of emotional manipulation as two conflicted detectives track down a pair of deadly killers.”
White House Farm (ITV & HBO) (mini-series)
“Revolves around the true story of a fateful night in August 1985 when five members of the same family are murdered at an Essex farmhouse, and the ensuing police investigation and court case that follows.”
White Lines (UK-Spain co-production) (Netflix)
“A woman tries to solve the mysterious death of her brother, a famous DJ who disappeared from Ibiza many years ago.”
Young Wallander (Netflix)
If you know of a show that is missing from the list above, or if you have any other additions or corrections, please let me know in the comments!
If you’re looking for more British detective shows, check out my TV Detective Database.