10 Best Mystery Shows Of All Time, According To Ranker

The release of stranger things 4 May 27, 2022 sparked renewed interest in the mystery genre. These range from TV shows about murder mysteries and fantasy horror to “thriller” plots centered on deductive reasoning. With so much content, it’s best to know which ones to watch first.

Fans on private soldier voted for the TV shows they think are above others in that genre. Whether it’s a recent series like the scary stranger things or a detective show like Colombothe fact that there are hundreds of votes leaves no doubt that this is the definitive ranking of how audiences perceive the best mystery shows.


ten Broadchurch (2013-17) – Stream on the PBS masterpiece

Set in the fictional town of Broadchurch, this show focuses on the town’s detectives investigating puzzling cases. The first two series focus on the mystery behind the death of a young boy, while the third is the hunt to find the person who assaulted a woman.

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Unlike most shows, Broadchurch has a largely unlikable cast of characters, making it easy to suspect everyone of being the culprit. Even the victims are hard to like due to their own past indiscretions, which adds a layer of uncertainty as to the true nature of the crimes and the events leading up to them.

9 Murder, She Wrote (1984-96) – Stream On Peacock

The Murder She Wrote Angela Lansbury

The title is derived from one of Agatha Christie’s best adaptations known as Murder, she said, but this show is arguably more popular. Angela Lansbury starred as mystery writer Jessica Fletcher who routinely solved murders in the town of Cabot Cove, Maine. The Murder She Wrote has a master plan where a murder confuses the police and it’s up to Jessica to solve it.

Despite the series’ repetitive styling, it turned out to be a major hit for how the cases were so creatively designed. Jessica Fletcher has a certain charm that makes the character a great protagonist from a fan perspective to follow as she solves many crimes.

8 Agatha Christie’s Poirot (1989-2013) – Stream on Acorn TV

David Suchet as Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie's Poirot

There are many episodes to enjoy in Poirot by Agatha Christie, as he adapted every story the titular character wrote. The series follows Poirot in his crime-solving pursuits, reaching new places and more dangerous cases as his reputation grows.

Classics like five little pigs and Murder on the Orient Express are available to fans, with the TV series putting its own spin on certain aspects to surprise Agatha Christie readers as well. Additionally, David Suchet’s portrayal of Poirot was overwhelmingly praised.

7 Columbo (1971-2003) – Stream on Fubo TV

Peter Falk as Detective Columbo in the show Columbo

In a change from the norm, Colombo generally shows the audience who the author is, leaving aside the premise of the “thriller”. The main hook is for viewers to see how the titular character will catch the culprit instead. It’s about the many exploits of homicide detective Frank Columbo, and much of the show’s appeal rests with him.

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Columbo is depicted with drawling manners, unassuming demeanor, his signature beige raincoat, and relentless detective skills. The protagonist is interesting and likeable, which encourages audiences to put up with his unorthodox attitude to see how he’ll handle the villain.

6 Midsomer Murders (1997-) – Stream on Acorn TV

midsomer murders season 20 poster

One of the oldest detective series still on the air, Midsomer Murders is set in the titular English countryside region where a senior police detective and his partner travel to solve mysteries. The series is different from most as it often features dark humor and focuses on the dynamic between the partners.

The action is limited to various villages in the county, providing a contrast to the scenic surroundings. It’s one of the most consistent UK shows, as fans can catch Midsomer Murders each year with a few breaks, with the series now comprising 132 episodes and counting.

5 The Twilight Zone (1959-64) – Stream on Paramount+

twilight zone the alien gift

Most Associated The twilight zone with scary material as there are many episodes of the horror genre. However, it’s more of a sci-fi mystery, as each episode features inexplicable and unusual events culminating in a twisted ending.

An anthology series, viewers can get episodes that vary in style depending on the nature of the plot and the characters present. There’s always the underlying mystery of where things are headed, with the final narration summing up the episode to relay the moral of the story.

4 Psych (2006-14) – Stream on Amazon Prime Video

Part of the police procedural genre but also a comedy, Psych is about a young crime consultant who has such incredible observational skills that he manages to convince people that he solves cases with psychic abilities. He also features his best friend as a partner, as the two are a quirky pair.

Episodes of the series begin with flashbacks to the protagonists’ childhoods, where a lesson they learned back then is factored into a case they are working on in the present. Although it has interesting mysteries, Psych fans largely stick around for the hilarious banter between the protagonists.

3 Stranger Things (2016-) – Stream on Netflix

The children of Stranger Things in season 4.

Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, stranger things focuses on the growing mystery behind a kingdom near the city known as the Upside Down, whose evil and violent entities threaten the people. The arrival of a girl with powers known as Eleven further complicates matters.

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Although there is no murder mystery to be solved here, stranger things still keeps viewers guessing by introducing creepy monsters that bribe the townspeople to do their bidding. It’s easily the biggest hit of the last generation and has been hailed for the ’80s aesthetic, character development, and genuine scares.

2 House of Anubis (2011-13) – Stream on Paramount+

In an English boarding school, the arrival of an American scholarship student shakes things up when a student disappears the same day. With no real clues besides the new student, she and the others band together to solve the mystery of their classmate’s disappearance.

house of anubis was important for being a different series from the usual sitcoms produced by Nickelodeon, quickly becoming one of its most popular shows. While its high ranking may come as a surprise, it seems Ranker fans enjoyed the mix of fantasy and mystery that house of anubis provides.

1 Sherlock (2010-17) – Stream On Crackle

Sherlock & Watson stand outside the door in Sherlock

Arguably no mystery series has taken the world by storm so sherlock lately. The series is a modern take on the classic detective, featuring the adventures of Sherlock and John Watson as they go up against masterminds like Jim Moriarty.

sherlock remained so popular because of the chemistry between Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, which makes the relationship between Sherlock and John feel like a true brotherhood. Plus, Sherlock’s ingenious mind and deductive reasoning are presented in such a way that it’s impossible not to be captivated.

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