Our previous blogs spotlighted comedies and supernatural dramas that were suitable for a teen audience. However, a portion of the teenage population has been drawn to a more suspenseful and intriguing selection of crime dramas. These shows tend to feature a much more serious tone (though not without a healthy dose of humor) and focus on the lives of criminals – or those who pursue them.
This BBC adaptation of the stories featuring Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective and his partner shed an entirely new light on the characters through a contemporary London. As a “consulting detective,” Sherlock Holmes and the trusty Dr. John Watson assist the Metropolitan Police Service in solving various crimes.
This modern take on the popular detective stories still includes iconic details from the original, such as their names, 221B Baker Street address, and Holmes’ arch-nemesis Moriarty.
So far, two seasons have been released; each season has three episodes only, but each is almost the length of a movie (just shy of 90 minutes). The show’s fan base covers a large age range, with teenagers and young adults being the most fervent. The quality of the writing, cinematography, and performance is top-notch. Sherlock is about more than just solving crimes; it’s about going on an adventure with Holmes and Watson.
NCIS follows the fictional adventures of the Naval Criminal Investigation Service Major Case Response Team, a team of special agents who solve criminal cases involving Marine and Navy personnel. This show is plot-heavy and focuses on the complex but amusing dynamics of the team, mixing drama and comedy into the seriousness and intensity of a police procedural.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs, a former Marine gunnery sergeant, leads this globetrotting team of colorful personalities. Teens will be satiated by the suspenseful crime-solving, while the liberal dose of humor keeps viewers from getting too weighed down by the action.
Ten seasons have been released to date, with over 200 episodes in total. However, NCIS shows no signs of stopping; the show was renewed for an eleventh season in February and will start again on September 24.
This show centers on members of the Behavioral Analysis Unit, a subsection of the FBI. The team is called in by the local police department to assist in solving serial or particularly violent crimes.
The team uses profiling, a controversial science that combines working out the basic characteristics of the perpetrator and the victim, gathering evidence and comparing it to historical precedents, and psychological analysis.
Since the work is very time-consuming and psychologically-demanding, the unit is very close-knit – though the members are also unable to maintain stable personal lives because of this.
A new show that only began airing this year, The Fall focuses on an investigation led by Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson of the Metropolitan Police concerning a string of murders in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Along with the local police (PSNI), Gibson chases after the serial killer who stalks his victims in and out of the city. The show also turns the perspective around and follows the serial killer, Paul Spector, and his sadistic impulses.
The show reflects the emotional distance that real detectives must put up in order to transition from work to home. In fact, the show’s realness is one of its biggest draws.
Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher, turns to a life of crime after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He starts producing and selling methamphetamine (crystal meth) with one of his former students to ensure his family’s financial future. As he gradually becomes a major player in the drug industry, White finds himself faced with life-threatening challenges.
Breaking Bad focuses on the effects of a fatal diagnosis on the mental state and morality of an average, hard-working man. Different from the other crime dramas, this show follows the life of a criminal rather than those who pursue him, offering an inside look through the perspective of someone at their wit’s end.
Packed with action and stomach-twisting crimes, these crime drama TV shows have allowed teenage fans to satisfy their obsession with murder and crime, sometimes giving a much-wanted perspective into the lives of both criminals and the ones who hunt them.
Keep your eyes open for the last installment of this blog series, featuring miscellaneous series that teens are crazy about!
Photos by JoolsdS of deviantART, andiezoe of Flickr, and Wikimedia Commons
Freda Zhao is a beijingkids intern (of the month) currently studying at the Western Academy of Beijing. She is one year from graduating high school. Outside of school work, she enjoys reading, painting, and mimicking cat sounds in her backyard (to draw strays to her house and feed them)