I Love Crime on TV

Here are my top ten favorite crime shows on TV. What are yours?

I love television.

But mainly, I love television about crime.

I want mystery, I want spy thrillers, and I want police procedurals.

Sometimes I love intellectual puzzles; other times, I want breezy dialogues. Frequently, I want something exciting and daring and surprising.

Many folks are turning to television during the quarantine. In this, my first post, I want to share with you my top 10 crime television shows. I love them.

My hope is that you will find something here that you haven’t watched before and that it will make you happy and intrigued and enmeshed in the story.

These are not in order of importance.

  1. Person of Interest (Netflix and Amazon)
  2. The Closer* (Hulu)
  3. Major Crimes* (Roku; Amazon)
  4. Quantico (Netflix; Amazon)
  5. Psych (Amazon)
  6. The Good Wife (Amazon $)
  7. Chuck (Amazon)
  8. Leverage (Sundance, Pluto TV among others)
  9. Castle (Amazon)
  10. Burn Notice (Amazon; Hulu)

*I urge you to watch The Closer first and then Major Crimes second.

I realize this doesn’t help you right now, but most of these are available in DvD from Cuyahoga County Public Library. The Closer is available from Cleveland Public Library.

It is quite possible you are looking at my list and thinking, but she didn’t include x, or wait, these aren’t all crime shows (I think they are—let’s debate!), or wow, in general, she doesn’t like things that are very dark. True.

Here’s how this part of the blog will work:

I love lists, and most of the time, each blog post will be a list of different television programs somehow related to crime programs. Sometimes they’ll be about the best first seasons, or the most surprising shows, or, the most melodramatic, or ones I couldn’t finish, or mini-series.

I’m hoping that people will read my blog and contribute. I would love for folks to list their top 5 or top 10 crime shows. I’m sure that there are many shows I’m not even aware of. Enlighten me!

My next blog post discusses these favored 10 including tone, subgenre, whether you can watch with kids, number of seasons….

I look forward to hearing what you think.

Which show did I miss?

Which show wouldn’t you have included?

What show have you eagerly consumed while during this pandemic?

Share please so we can enjoy the wealth!

Crime TV: Part 2

What is great about my ten favorite crime shows on TV.

In my first post, I shared my 10 favorite crime shows. In this post, I am going to explain why these 10, and hopefully give you a little information to help you figure out if you want to watch them.

  1. Person of Interest: Wikipedia calls this a science fiction crime drama, and I guess I can go along with that. It is a show about corruption–of the government, of the police, and individual attempts to fight for justice and good. The show can be dark, but it has hope. Terrific character development. Great fighting scenes. Violence. Everything does not turn out for the best, and there are lots of surprises that are earned. Great for teens. Might be too dark for younger kids. 5 seasons.
  2. The Closer: female lead whose skill is in interrogation. Her strategy is fabulous. Not quite as dark a show as POI. Comedic touches in a wonderful cast. Good contrast between darkness and light. Great character development. Not sure kids would find this interesting. Sort of cerebral. Some of the violence is dark so OK for teens. 7 seasons
  3. Major Crimes: follows on The Closer. Similar cast. Continuing dark vs. light. In both shows, the puzzle is wonderful and not obvious. Sometimes ethical and moral dilemmas. Not sure kids would find this interesting. Sort of cerebral. Some of the violence is dark so OK for teens.5 seasons
  4. Quantico: First year of FBI training. Different people, different ages, religions, ethnicities, genders, political leanings, skill levels. Immediate undercurrent of something is wrong. Occasionally crosses the line into sensationalism, and melodrama and then back into a cold spy story. If you are sucked in like I was, you won’t want to stop watching. Probably not for kids. Teens might really like it, especially the first 2 seasons. 3 seasons
  5. Psych: Two detectives, one reluctant. One has a gift, the other is his dear friend. One of my favorite bromance shows.  One of the lighter shows on the list though as the seasons continue the show goes real dark and then comes out of it.  I love the character development and the fun mystery plots. Fine for kids and teens. 8 seasons
  6. The Good Wife: I avoided this show for years until I finally heard too many good things to let it go. I became obsessed with it.  It has been compared in some ways to Breaking Bad, but it isn’t how I see the program. The premise is a wife who stands by her philandering husband, the governor of a state and what happens when she decides she no longer wants to “support” him. The crime element comes in in that she returns to the practice of law, something she left behind many years earlier, and there is much courtroom drama and political intrigue. For the most part, intellectual and family drama level of emotion. Probably not for kids. Older teens OK. 7 seasons
  7. Chuck is a thrilling yet leaning on the comedy spy show. Lots of fighting and technology action. Great character development, a terrific arc (really, all the shows I mention except possibly Psych have terrific arcs), and heart warming to boot. This was another show that I couldn’t wait till the very next episode. Great show for kids as well, particularly teens. 5 seasons
  8. Leverage is about a group of criminals and one non-criminal who work together to help those who have been harmed. All five have skills: computer hacking, con artist skills, fighting with training in pretty much every weapon and martial art, and thievery. This is a feel good show. It is funny with some dark moments. It too has an arc, with an emphasis on character development. Another good one for teens as well. 5 seasons
  9. Castle is kind of the surprise, to me, on this list. I kind of liked it my first time watching it, but I resisted it. I actually stopped watching after second episode and it took a couple of years before I started watching it again. I am a huge Nathan Fillion fan (because Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and that’s what made me try again. Castle is a mystery writer who faces writer’s block. He teams up with a female cop, and together they solve crime. It was watching the series the second time that made me love it. I’m still not crazy about the key romance in the show, but I love Castle and his family (possibly my favorite grandmother, son, and granddaughter pairing ever) and I love the cops as their own unit. Good for teens and younger. Hopeful show. Never gets too dark. Lots of comedic touches. Good for whole family. 8 seasons
  10. Burn Notice is a fantastic spy show. I love the individual episodes and the arc that runs the show. Unlike Castle, I adore the romance in this show. I really love the friendships between the operatives. Our hero, Michael Weston, explains spy craft in every episode. This show, like all the ones on my list, makes it clear that women are as capable as men in doing this kind of work. Violence, action, things go boom nearly every episode. Justice show—good people being helped. Some moral ambiguity, some darkness, though there is hope…mostly sort of, but that’s really mainly in the last season. Until then, if you want a pick me up, this will almost always do it. Probably not for kids. Good show for teens. 7 seasons


Have you heard about #TolstoyTogether? Let’s do #AustenTogether!

Recently, I was listening to an NPR story about a Princeton professor who began a virtual book club with the goal of reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace. She expected to have a handful of readers, and was surprised that within a short period of time, it grew to over 3,000 members.

I’ve read War and Peace, over 30 years ago, and I liked it, but I have no interest in reading it again. I then wondered, what author do I love, and what author do I love that might be considered a touchstone for others? The beauty of #TolstoyTogether is that for many people it is a love affair with Tolstoy, and there is pleasure in reading a well-loved novel, but for many others, it is seen as an important and difficult read.  Some people might feel they need a group to help them with what they consider to be a difficult book.

My favorite author is Jane Austen, and I think she fits the bill nicely. Many adore her. We find her funny and incisive and brilliant. Others are afraid of her. They sometimes feel she is beyond them.

My friend Kirsten Komara and I would like to invite you to read Jane Austen’s six completed novels with us. We’ll begin with Northanger Abbey. We are in the constantly delighted by Austen group, and we would love to share our knowledge and joy in her works.

Austen’s chapters are quite short. Our plan is to read 3 chapters a day, and that works out to about 15 pages at a time. At this rate, with Northanger Abbey, we will finish within 2 weeks. Kirsten and I plan on asking each other questions or pointing out interesting passages. We are hoping that other readers will share their take and observations.

How it will work:

Beginning May 11, we will have read the first three chapters of Northanger Abbey.

For people in Cleveland, if you don’t have a copy of the book, it is available as an ebook from Cleveland Public Library. You could also order it from Mac’s Backs or Loganberry Books. And it’s on Project Gutenberg! Totally free!

If you are outside of Cleveland, like say, in Texas, how about supporting your independent bookstore by ordering from Bookshop?

Northanger Abbey is also available free through the Gutenberg Project online.

Questions and thoughts will be posted on Katherine’s Twitter Feed @MysteryPhD; look for hashtag #AustenTogether.

We have no idea if anyone will be interested in joining us—but if you do, and if you have read Northanger Abbey before, please don’t give any spoilers. We will work hard to stay within the parameters of the text we’ve read up to for that day.

We hope that you will join us. We are quite excited to dive back into Austen. She will lift us up and out of our Stay at Home world.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Katherine at kclark904@gmail.com.