Ten Foreign Series To Binge Watch Instead of the Usual Holiday Schmaltz

~posted by Grace V.

Bletchley Circlebletchley circle: Did you know there were secret female code breakers during WWII?  Well, there were! This is a fascinating period drama featuring feisty British women in nontraditional roles.

The HourThe Hour: Another engrossing piece of historical fiction set in London. This time it’s the BBC during the Cold War. Reportage is under fire by politicians and unseen communist forces with journalists in the crosshairs.  Soaked in sexy fifties atmosphere, this series is full of intrigue.

The BridgeThe Bridge: A body is found cut exactly in half and placed in the middle of the bridge between Sweden and Denmark. Police forces from both countries must collaborate to solve the murder. This is a raw and disturbing story, but so compelling you can’t look away.

RiverRiver (not currently available on DVD):  A detective watches his partner get gunned down. He doggedly pursues all avenues to find the killer while struggling with a long untreated mental illness. But his condition allows him to see and converse with dead people, including his partner. Will he solve her murder before he completely unravels? This series is currently airing its first season on Netflix.

Doc MartinDoc Martin: A blood-averse doctor moves his London practice to Cornwall having left his spectacular career and a failed marriage in his wake.  Little does he know, the sleepy village is full of colorful characters so needy as to challenge anyone’s patience.  Martin Clunes is hilarious as the doctor with less than zero bedside manner.

The FallThe Fall: This tense crime series set in Belfast follows a troubled female chief inspector on the trail of a serial killer. We get to see both lives up close and personal as the two approach a confrontation. Psychological studies at their best.

BroadchurchBroadchurch:  A Scottish detective with a checkered past is thrust upon a small seaside town searching for the murderer of an 11 year old boy. He and the local cop assigned to the case have an uneasy relationship which only adds fuel to the grief and anger of the townspeople. Heart wrenching.

LutherLuther: John Luther is a disgraced policeman looking for redemption.  A brilliant criminal with designs on Luther, keeps meddling with his cases which only further complicates his situation. Idris Elba is major eye candy who does tortured really well.

The KillingThe Killing: Okay, so strictly speaking, this series is set in Seattle, but as often happens, Vancouver is clearly the city on film. I count that as foreign. Anyway, a serial killer is wrecking havoc in the Emerald City. Go figure. Detectives Linden and Holder have little in common except contempt for authority which may be the key to solving the crimes. If you can get past the ridiculous monsoons and bleak darkness that seem to plague Seattle by day this is an unsettling thriller not to be missed.

Last Tango in HalifaxLast Tango in Halifax: At first glance, this show seems like an evening soap opera at which the BBC is so adept. However, the storylines of a modern mixed family are compellingly complicated.  Alcoholism, sexual identity crisis, mortality and murder are just a few topics tackled in this clever drama.

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