20 Best Crime TV Shows With Female Lead (2024)

20 Best Crime Tv Shows With Female Lead (2024)

For ages, there has been an obvious tendency that crime tv shows has largely portrayed men as central protagonists, yet, in recent years, that trend has been challenged by the emergence of both male and female leads in the genre, some of whom have been a source of great enjoyment for audiences. 

We have detectives, codebreakers, and even troubled, private investigators who are all complex characters with their own unique abilities as they move forth and through the crime solve-world. At the same time, they grapple with their personal issues as well as systemic challenges. In this article we will reviews the best crime tv shows, where the female leads are not just endowed with wits, fortitude and never-give-up spirit that can fly any challenges that way.

20 Best crime tv shows with female lead

1. Mare of Easttown (2021)

Mare Of Easttown (2021)
Mare of Easttown (2021)
  • Genre: Crime Drama, Mystery
  • Director: Craig Zobel
  • Cast: Kate Winslet, Julianne Moore, Evan Peters
  • IMDb Rating: 5/10

As a damaged and very difficult woman, busy with her hard professional life which suffers her heavy stress and emotional pressure, Detective Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) investigates a gruesome murder that recently occurred in a country town of Pennsylvania. However, as she immerses herself into the case, she eventually comes across unknown information and ancient grudges which desires to divide the community apart and push her to overcome her dark past in order to get benefit of her innocent soul.


2. Happy Valley (2014-2023)

Happy Valley (2014-2023)
Happy Valley (2014-2023)
  • Genre: Crime Drama, Thriller
  • Director: Sally Wainwright
  • Cast: Sarah Lancashire, James Norton, Siobhan Finneran
  • IMDb Rating: 3/10

Sgt. Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire), on the other hand, is a hard-working officer in the Calder Valley, a profoundly beauty-struck but a Catherine is even getting reeling again from her daughter’s unsolved disappearance, and then the whole story shakes her when she sees Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton), the man who she thinks is the criminal for the occurred event. 

While she unflinchingly hunts her prey that runs against the backdrop of institutional sexism, she herself is an imperfect slayer enduring her own demons as well, which form a thrilling and extraordinary cat and mouse chase in this gritty and riveting film.


3. The Fall (2013-2016)

The Fall
The Fall
  • Genre: Crime Drama, Psychological Thriller
  • Director: Allan Cubitt
  • Cast: Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan, John Lynch
  • IMDb Rating: 1/10

Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson), Detective Superintendent from Northern Ireland, the smartest and mysterious female in the field comes over to Northern Ireland, to aid in the investigations of a series of gruesome and bloody murders. 

To her surprise, she ultimately ended up trapped in the psychological showdown against Paul Spector (played by Jamie Dornan), a man who looked like the common souls and yet leading a destructive and dangerous life with him. The show’s purpose is to examine the difficult aspects of people’s behavior including mental and psychological rationale of criminality.


4. Broadchurch (2013-2017)

  • Genre: Crime Drama, Mystery
  • Director: Chris Chibnall
  • Cast: Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Jodie Whittaker

The cheerful Broadchurch seaside town faces a tragedy of an unbearable level, the murder of a child. Limping along is Det Tom Hardy (David Tennant), a recent transfer from the Metropolitan Police who investigating his mate’s death, and Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman), the local detective who is battling her own personal troubles, are charged with leading the investigation. 

And as they dig deeper into the problem, it would soon lead them to unearth buried secrets, sever relationships, and a dark side in spite of the small-town mythical atmosphere they usually accustomed to.


5. Unbelievable (2019)

  • Genre: Crime Drama, Miniseries
  • Director: Lisa Cholodenko, Susannah Grant
  • Cast: Toni Collette, Merritt Wever, Kaitlyn Dever

Inspired by a real-life incident, ‘Unbelievable’ is an arresting drama that unfolds in tandem, the separate worlds of detectives Grace Rasmussen (Toni Collette) and Karen Duvall (Merritt Wever) as they work on dissimilar cases of sexual assault. 

When they strive tediously to unveiling the truth they confront the system suspicion and a system which neither provides support for the vulnerable nor adequate penalties for the offenders. Throughout, their divergent journeys and the cracks they uncover and reveal in the system are portrayed, with trauma being the driving force that hits the youth women hard.


6. Top of the Lake (2013-2017)

Top Of The Lake
Top of the Lake
  • Genre: Crime Drama, Mystery
  • Director: Jane Campion, Garth Maxwell
  • Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Holly Hunter, David Wenham

The protagonist, a detective in the form of Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss) is someone dissonant, tough, and trained in law enforcement, who is back in her home town, which is small in New Zealand, and is assigned the task of tracing the disappearance of newly born offspring of aged 12 year old. 

As the detective uncovers the underlying secrets of the community, she has to contend with strained family ties, unsolved issues, and her own personal past that she has shut-out. Series puts together themes of power standby, societal usage, and the psychological impact of trauma. The order of words is also important.


7. The Killing (2011-2014)

The Killing
The Killing
  • Genre: Crime Drama, Procedural
  • Director: Veena Sud, Patty Jenkins
  • Cast: Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman, Billy Campbell

Homicide detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) from Seattle is struggling with the recent incident when the seventeen-year-old dude was murdered. She is personified by her high dedication to the job and co

mplicated emotions. With the astute and relentless Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) as their partner, they begin the unbearable and slow quest to track him down, going through with the intricate defense mechanisms of power manipulation, personal problems and melting down emotionally.


8. Veronica Mars (2004-2019)

Veronica Mars
Veronica Mars
  • Genre: Teen Drama, Crime Drama, Mystery
  • Director: Rob Thomas
  • Cast: Kristen Bell, Enrico Colantoni, Jason Dohring

Wealthy California town Neptune is where Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) comes from. Besides being a very smart and helpful high schooler, she also works as a private investigator side by side with her father Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni). 

A personal calamity affecting Veronica’s loved one prompts her to start the process of discoveries, fighting through the system of classsm, intrigue, and the people’s hidden secrets community.


9. Jessica Jones (2015-2019)

Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones
  • Genre: Crime Drama, Superhero fiction
  • Director: J. Clarkson
  • Cast: Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, Mike Colter

The protagonist of the story, Jessica Jones (played by Krysten Ritter), is a superhero in New York city with an unbelievably nightmarish experience behind her. Traumatized by the circumstances which had endowed her with both, the powers and the abilities, she is an alcoholic while the skills that she uses to help others are all the same those that she suffers from. 

When a case splashes the darkest part of her life on the table, she has to confront the strongest enemy of hers. The most difficult enemies are those not in front of you so she has to deal with her own demons and hopefully, testify that she can still recover her strengths.


10. Prime Suspect (1991-2006)

Prime Suspect
Prime Suspect
  • Genre: Crime Drama, Police Procedural
  • Director: Jane Campion, Christopher Menaul
  • Cast: Helen Mirren, John Bowe, Richard Wilson

Inspector Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren) is one of the most outstanding, and clear-headed police officer in the city of London. Interestingly , she was working in a department that is dominated by men and the level of sexism is appallingly high. 

Going through the investigations of complex murders, she has encountered the issues of institutional barriers and struggles to rank while she selflessly works for justice and equality facing the society and industry preconceived notions.


11. The Closer (2005-2012)

The Closer
The Closer
  • Genre: Crime Drama, Procedural
  • Director: Kyra Sedgwick, Michael Cudlitz
  • Cast: Kyra Sedgwick, J.K. Simmons, Mary McDonnell

With deputy police chief breed lovejohn (kyra sedgwick), the brilliant and unusual detective, who is committed to investigations using unconventional interrogation methods and always closing cases, comes into the scene. Jumping into LAPD’s Priority Homicide Division, she end up in a collision with her team-mates who have different backgrounds and apply various techniques of work.

Nevertheless, she is happy to solve those tricky and high-profile crimes. The demanding political battle within the department is one of the hard tasks Ruth must deal with.


12. Rizzoli & Isles (2010-2016)

Rizzoli &Amp; Isles
Rizzoli & Isles
  • Genre: Crime Drama, Medical Drama
  • Director: Michael Zinberg, Jeff Bleckner
  • Cast: Angie Harmon, Sasha Alexander, Lorraine Bracco

Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) is a detective in Boston who is tough and intuitive. She partners with the medexiciner, Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander), who is a medical expert whose meticulous nature make her different from any ordinary person. 

Sometimes the most peculiar and ridiculous things happen when people do not seem to be cut for each other, yet they turn out to be perfectly balanced as a result of their combined peculiarities and contrasting personalities. Because they, over the course of the season, uncover the peculiar homicide mechanisms and the hidden plans of the perpetrator.


13. Cagney & Lacey (1982-1988)

  • Genre: Crime Drama, Procedural
  • Director: Victor Lobell, Karen Arthur
  • Cast: Sharon Gless, Tyne Daly, Al Waxman
Cagney &Amp; Lacey
Cagney & Lacey

Detectives Mary Beth Lacey (Sharon Gless) and Christine Cagney (Tyne Daly) are two phenominal women who lead the way for their female colleagues in the NYPD. They are trailblazers who are dominating in a field that was male-dominated back in the days. 

They hold the stress of the most difficult job by their hand while maintaining a balance in the family life and relations, fighting through the sexism in the force and the challenges it provides. Their different character traits and investigative approaches make them an inseparable team that with professional public image is investigating not only petty theft but also homicide.


14. Wentworth (2013-2021)

  • Genre: Crime Drama, Prison drama
  • Director: Leah Purcell, Kate Dennis
  • Cast: Danielle Cormack, Pamela Rabe, Kate Jenkinson

Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack) who is a wrongfully convicted woman gets prisoned Wentworth Correctional Institution that is a high security female institution. Through her immersion in the intricate social dynamics and intense power politics within the prison, Maya experiences the cruelty and pardonless reality of the grim and menace environment overflowed with crime, cynicism, and hopelessness. Persisting every day among the dangers and hostility posed by both prisoners and guards, Bea has to evolve and manage to make a change for her good that would be against a due process and a just cause.


15. Scott & Bailey (2011-2016)

Scott &Amp; Bailey
Scott & Bailey
  • Genre: Crime Drama, Procedural
  • Director: Paul Whittington, Tim Mielants
  • Cast: Lesley Sharp, Suranne Jones, Nicola Walker

Detective Superintendent Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones) and Detective Constable Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) are an impressive police female led detective pair operating in the homicide investigation unit of Greater Manchester Police. 

These men and women address hard and difficult issues from domestic violence to organized crime dealing with their personal challenges of living apart from their families while at the same time dealing with the complexities of relationships with co-officers. They show up intense and are emotionally driven by their vision of justice providing a stage for their tough inner fights and psychological consequences which they experience during their routine work.


16. The Bridge (2011-2018)

The Bridge
The Bridge
  • Genre: Crime Drama, Mystery, Thriller
  • Director: Hans Rosenfeldt, Björn Kjellman
  • Cast: Sofia Helin, Thure Lindhardt, Sarah Lund

DCI Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) representing Sweden and Henrik Sabroe (Thure Lindhardt) from Denmark are here to share certain responsibilities to kill the murders that occurs at the Øresund Bridge. The main goal is to prove that despite the cultural differences existing in different countries, putting effort using certain skills to help each other and avoid conflicts, the team can bridge the gap.


17. Unforgotten (2015-present)

  • Genre: Crime Drama, Mystery
  • Director: Paul Whittington, Andy Gillan
  • Cast: Nicola Walker, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Hannah Horton

DI Cari Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) of the London Metropolitan Police’s Unsolved Crime Unit systematically go into old cases, shaking sleeping secrets and demanding justice for the long-forgotten victims while struggling with the emotional blow of the past.


18. The Bletchley Circle (2012-2014)

The Bletchley Circle
The Bletchley Circle
  • Genre: Historical Drama, Crime Drama, Mystery
  • Director: Andy DeEmmony, Ed Bazalgette
  • Cast: Anna Maxwell Martin, Julia McKenzie, Sophie McShera

The group of female genius mathematicians led by Joan Clarke (Anna Maxwell Martin) also faced their codebreaking skills during World War II. These same mathematicians went on to solve further murders and crimes in post-war Britain, even going as far as defying the static word on what makes women’s roles


19. Marcella (2016-2020)

  • Genre: Crime Drama, Psychological thriller
  • Director: Hans Rosenfeldt, Henrik Georgsson
  • Cast: Anna Friel, Ray Fearon, Jack Deam

Detective Inspector Marcella Backland (Anna Friel) who has to sell with those jet blackouts as well as her personal life that is in shambles is a main character of the story that deals with a cold case and it is up to her to discover those secrets and hidden truths.


20. Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple (1984-1992)

Agatha Christie'S Miss Marple
Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple
  • Genre: Crime Drama, Mystery
  • Director: Gareth Davies, Christopher Menaul
  • Cast: Joan Hickson, Geraldine McEwan, Richard Briers

Old Magdalene Arabelle hickson, a spinster living in small wretched village of Saint Mary Mead, turns out to be the sharpest and crafty detective. Being a distinguished detective requires extraordinary talents, but easily hidden beneath the unimposing exterior also lies a great mind who untangles puzzling mysteries as well as unveils the darkness of ordinary lives.


Wrapping Up

Offering new approaches to the genre and depicting women’s investigative roles and efforts in police work, such shows change viewers’ views about this professional area. These other genres, as they continue to flourish, serve to celebrate and feature the talent and depth of female characters; by so doing they prove that not only are women can be as fearsome or multilayered as men in the field of crime investigation. 

These characters, however, are only a small representation of women who fight crime in the television sphere. With women now in the lead, there is more opportunity for diversity in terms of voices. You may watch these TV Shows on Netflix and many other platforms.


1. What British detective show has a female lead?

There are many British detective shows with female leads, here are a few examples:

  • Happy Valley
  • Broadchurch
  • Scott & Bailey
  • Unforgotten
  • Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple

2. Who is the most famous female detective?

Not only in literature but also television there are many memorable and well-known women detectives that I can name, which makes it hard to choose the one I like the best.Some popular contenders include:

  • Miss Jane Marple
  • Veronica Mars
  • Lisbeth Salander
  • Sarah Linden
  • Stella Gibson

3. What series has 2 female detectives?

Many series feature two female detectives working together, here are a few examples:

  • Rizzoli & Isles
  • Cagney & Lacey
  • The Bridge

4. What cop show has a female cop?

Many cop shows feature female officers, here are a few examples:

  • The Closer
  • Veronica Mars
  • Mare of Easttown

5. What is the show about the lady detective?

It is very hard to refer to a single show here that features the genre of female detectives because there are numerous ones, that’s why it is pretty tough to single one out. This allows you to specify the title of the show by providing details like the genre, the detective or even other details that you remember from the show.

Must Read:

  1.  Best Football Movies of All Time
  2.  Best Football Movies Based on True Stories
  3. Best Football Movies for Kids
  4. Football Movies on HBO Max
  5. Best Comedy Baseball Movies
  6. 90s Baseball Movies
  7. Best Baseball Movies for Kids
  8. Best Baseball Movies on Netflix
  9. 40 Best Family Christian Movies to Watch With Family in 2024


Similar Posts