TV Shows Like the British Mystery Series Vera

In some cases, we earn commissions from affiliate links in our posts.

TV Shows Like the British Mystery Series Vera 1

After 9 series, Vera has become incredibly popular among fans of British mystery shows. Unfortunately, because it's a British TV show (and British shows generally produce fewer episodes per series), there just aren't enough episodes to satisfy the enormous appetite for dark and atmospheric crime-solving. So, if you're here because you want more TV shows like Vera, we've got a few alternatives for you.

Side note: I've included Amazon streaming links for most shows below. If the show is on Acorn or BritBox, Amazon will have it listed on the page (since you can subscribe to either through Amazon). Since availability changes from time to time, this is the easiest way to keep the listings current for a long time.

Dark & Atmospheric British Mysteries

If you love Vera for the dark and atmospheric feel of the episodes, you may want to consider the shows below. There's nothing quite like Vera, of course, but many of these have a similar mood and style of cinematography.

TV Shows Like the British Mystery Series Vera 2

Shetland – Given that it was written by Vera author Ann Cleeves, this might be the closest approximation to the Vera experience. Though it lacks the strong female protagonist, Shetland features plenty of murder in the often dark and dreary Shetland Islands of Northern Scotland. Streaming HERE

The Loch / Loch Ness – This small-town crime drama is set along the banks of Scotland's famous Loch Ness. You won't see Nessie, but you WILL see Monarch of the Glen's Alastair Mackenzie in a very different light. Streaming HERE

Hinterland – Hinterland is every bit as dark and atmospheric as Vera, but this one's set in the small towns and villages around Aberystwyth, Wales. Tip: If you want to save money on this one, try Amazon UK for the S1-3 DVD set (often at a reduced price to buying them separately here). Streaming HERE | S1 DVD | S2 DVD | S3 DVD | Netflix

Happy Valley – Sarah Lancashire stars as a policewoman in a small Yorkshire town. When the man she believes to be responsible for her daughter's death is released from prison, her life changes. Also stars Grantchester and McMafia lead James Norton. Streaming HERE | Netflix

Wallander –  This BBC-produced adaptation of Henning Mankell's Wallander novels gives us Kenneth Brannagh as the deeply introspective and empathetic Inspector Wallander. Though set in Sweden, this adaptation is in English.  Streaming HERE | Netflix


TV Shows Like the British Mystery Series Vera 3

Broadchurch – A small coastal village is shaken after the death of a local boy. Olivia Colman and David Tennant star as the investigators who unravel the case. Streaming HERE | Netflix

Black Work – After her husband is killed in an abandoned warehouse during an undercover operation, a police constable must figure out whether she ever really knew her husband. Streaming HERE

Chasing Shadows – More of a miniseries than an actual show, this 4-part police drama is set in a missing persons unit that tracks down serial killers. At the time of release, some considered the show a bit controversial for using the “trendy” device of having a detective likely to be placed somewhere on the autism spectrum. Streaming HERE

The Fall – Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan star in this dark police thriller wherein DI Stella Gibson is sent to Belfast to track down a serial killer. Unlike most similar shows, we know who the murderer is at the very beginning. Streaming HERE | Netflix

River – River is a detective with voices in his head, though not in the traditional sense. Netflix | DVD

Stonemouth – Based on the Iain Banks novel of the same name, Stonemouth sees Stewart Gilmour returning home to his village for the funeral of his best friend. While investigating his friend's apparent suicide, he's forced to come to terms with his own dark past. Streaming HERE | DVD


British Mysteries with Older Female Leads

One of the fantastic things about Vera is that it's not just a good show. It's a good show with a very capable older woman in the lead role. Not only that, but instead of requiring the lead actress to be nipped and tucked into a completely unnatural creature, they've gone to great effort to make the lovely Brenda Blethyn a little *less* attractive.


TV Shows Like the British Mystery Series Vera 4
Hetty Wainthropp Investigates

Hetty Wainthropp Investigates – Dame Patricia Routledge stars as a nosy and hard-headed but deeply kind pensioner in this charming mystery series. Streaming HERE

Agatha Christie's Marple – One of the original female sleuths, Marple shows us that brains and cleverness will often triumph over youth, brawn, and the best laid plans for murder. Streaming HERE

Scott & Bailey – This crime drama revolves around the lives of Scott and Bailey, two female Manchester homicide detectives at different life and career stages. Streaming HERE

Agatha Raisin – This Cotswold cozy mystery series is infinitely lighter than Vera, but the lead character is another older woman – a single, newly-retired PR executive from London. Like Vera, it's based on a series of novels (by the delightful M.C. Beaton). Streaming HERE

Prime Suspect – Helen Mirren stars in this 1990s classic about a female DCI dealing with the challenges of being a successful, competent female in a traditionally male field. Streaming HERE | DVD

TV Shows Like the British Mystery Series Vera 5
Rosemary & Thyme

Rosemary & Thyme – Although the premise is a bit silly if you think about it, this cozy mystery series about Pam Ferris and Felicity Kendall solving murders on various gardening jobs is actually quite lovely. Streaming HERE

From Darkness – This psychological crime drama shows former police officer Claire Church struggling to come to terms with her past as a long-dormant serial killer starts to kill again. Streaming HERE


Non-British European Mysteries with a Dark & Atmospheric Feel

TV Shows Like the British Mystery Series Vera 6
Follow the Money

Follow the Money (Danish) – Bad things happen inside Energreen, a mysterious energy company led by charismatic CEO Alexander Sodergren. This title is Region 2 encoded and requires a region-free DVD player for North American playback.  S1 DVD | S2 DVD

Thicker Than Water (Swedish) – When B&B owner Anna Lisa is found dead one morning, her siblings learn that her will requires them to run her B&B together for a year in order to inherit it. Doing so risks unearthing long-buried family secrets. This title is Region 2 encoded and requires a region-free DVD player for North American playback. S1 DVD | Streaming

Maria Wern (Swedish) – After the death of her husband, police inspector Maria Wern moves to a picturesque island to start over with her 2 children. There, she does her best to hunt down killers while battling against a male-dominated team. Streaming

Inspector Winter (Swedish) – Dedicated but troubled Inspector Winter investigates murders in Sweden. Streaming

Inspector Falke (German) – Brooding and determined Inspector Falke has traded family and love for the pursuit of justice in Hamburg, Germany. Streaming

Spiral (French) – This unique series follows investigations around Paris from every point of view. Streaming

Vanished by the Lake (French) – When a homicide detective returns to her hometown for the first time in many years since a tragedy, a similar tragedy occurs almost immediately. Convinced of a connection, she must do everything in her power to get answers. Streaming

Thou Shalt Not Kill (Italian) – Chief Inspector Valeria Ferro works to untangle some of Turin's toughest cases while grappling with her mother's recent release from prison. Streaming


A Little Bit of Brenda…

TV Shows Like the British Mystery Series Vera 7
Brenda Blethyn and Simon Callow in Chance in a Million

While Vera is the role that brought Brenda Blethyn to the attention of many, she's an accomplished actress who shined in a number of roles before she became Vera Stanhope. In addition to being great as a detective, she's also a brilliant comedic actress. 

Chance in a Million – This is where I first saw Ms. Blethyn, and while the settings and outfits will feel dated, it's still very enjoyable.  DVD

Dead Man Running – I don't think many people would expect to see Brenda Blethyn sharing the screen with Danny Dyer and American rapper 50 Cent, but that's exactly what happens in Dead Man Running. She plays the mother role in this film about a man desperate to raise the cash to pay off a loan shark. Streaming HERE

Belonging – Blethyn stars alongside Kevin Whately (Inspector Lewis) in this drama about a married couple caring for elderly relatives together – until the  husband leaves. Streaming HERE 

TV Shows Like the British Mystery Series Vera 8
Brenda Blethyn in Introducing the Dwights

Introducing the Dwights – Blethyn is hilarious in this comedy film about a young man falling in love – and his very colorful mother. Streaming HERE 

Undertaking Betty – Stuck in a bad marriage, Blethyn's character decides to fake her own death. This movie offers another great comedic performance by Blethyn. Streaming HERE

 Remember Me? – This fun movie is part comedy, part drama, and Blethyn doesn't disappoint. Imelda Staunton also appears in this film about a quirky but typical middle-class suburban family. Streaming HERE

Mary & Martha – Hilary Swank stars alongside Blethyn in this emotional drama about two women bonded by tragedy. Streaming HERE

Saving Grace – After her husband's suicide, a woman realizes she's on much shakier financial footing than she'd previously thought. Streaming HERE

London River – When a woman doesn't hear from her daughter after terrorist bombings in London, she begins an investigation that shakes her to her core. Streaming HERE

TV Shows Like the British Mystery Series Vera 9
Brenda Blethyn in The Labours of Erica

The Labours of Erica – In this comedy, Blethyn stars as a woman trying to complete a list of her teenage goals by the time she turns 40.  DVD HERE (requires a region-free DVD player)

Outside Edge – Cricket may be a puzzling sport to many, but you don't need to understand it to appreciate this great cricket team comedy starring Brenda Blethyn, Robert Daws, and Timothy Spall. DVD HERE (requires a region-free DVD player). 

Your Recommendations?

We realize that nothing can fully replace a fresh series of Vera, but hopefully you enjoy some of these suggestions. If we've missed any good shows that are similar to Vera, let us know in the comments!



Get the Free British TV Newsletter
Stay up to Date on Your Favourite Shows and all things British TV

Get updates on new shows, premiere dates, new British TV lists, & more!


  1. I love Rosemary and Thyme, Midsummer Murders and Vera. I don’t like shows that are gory and bloody. I also don’t like gratuitous sex. When I watch these shows, what I really enjoy, is the story line and how they get to the ending. But I am probably in the minority. These days, we have enough violence in our lives, without being exposed to it nonstop on tv or streaming.

  2. My husband and I have watched it twice. We watched it many years ago when it first was shown and the second time early this year and enjoyed it as much if not more the second time around


  3. I do love to watch all the mysteries and I will sure try these out.I have one that I kinda liked and don’t know if its british but I kinda liked it.Its called{ a touch of frost} its kinda funny sometimes.I fond out that its hard to get some links to work cause its kinda old. Thanks again and I will enjoys you gave me.

      • My husband and I have watched it twice. We watched it many years ago when it first was shown and the second time early this year and enjoyed it as much if not more the second time around


  4. Under “Non-British European Mysteries”, I am surprised you did not include Bordertown (Finland). I went through a mystery binge last spring while my daughter was recovering from surgery, and this was one I came across and greatly enjoyed. Note that Bordertown is in Finnish but does have English subtitles.

  5. I like “Thicker than Water”, the series from Sweden,and am surprised than Vera has similar story line?
    I like the international mystery that we get thru PBS, there is hardly any cussing.

  6. I was liking Shetland until I realized that one of the episodes would feature the rape of one of the female officers. This seems extremely unnecessary and even the author, Ann Cleeves, notes that she never included this sort of crime in her books. Why is there a need to brutalize women to increase ratings?

    • I couldn’t agree more….in addition to that why in the last 15 years has it become almost mandatory to include the violent & meaningless murders of innocent beautiful children???? I will never understand the insistent of adding either of these 2 completely unnecessary and truly disturbing auxiliary plots to what are or would have already been amazing tv shows/movies without any of this extra “TRAUMA DRAMA”…AT LEAST THATS WHAT I’VE BEEM CALLING IT FOR THE LAST 2 DECADES!!!As a woman & a mother I hate both lines of writing. Use ur imaginations and earn ur paychecks Writers bc this is not cutting it!!!

      Carmen Barone

      • As a former rape crisis counselor, I thought the rape of the officer on Shetland was handled very respectfully and accurately. For example, the assault itself was not shown. That would have been totally unnecessary. Instead, we got one of the best realistic portrayals of what a victim goes through and the aftermath of an assault, and I love that the issue comes up in later seasons showing that survivors won’t necessarily be “over it” in the time it takes for a few episodes to air. I agree that often writers are exploitative in their handling of assaults, but I don’t think that was the case with Shetland. Sadly, rape is a part of life and I was glad to see a show deal with it in an intelligent, accurate, decent fashion. I actually found the earlier seasons episodes of the young man dying in the locked semi-truck trailer to be more disturbing because of how it was shot.

        • And the way that this was incorporated into Tosh’s character and her altered and mature way of dealing with other women in distress — she was more mature, more thoughtful and took her job more seriously after her trauma, but was also willing to openly share with other women who had suffered some kind of assault.

Comments are closed.