10 More Dark Crime Dramas To Enjoy
The Bay is one of the better ITV crime dramas on the platform and certainly has a lot going for it. With some shocking twists, lots of drama and likable characters, the end of season 2 may leave you desperate for more.
Well, we’ve combed through the archives and saved you the hassle of having to try and find something similar with our top 10 picks for alternate viewing.
To keep things simple for skim-readers we’ve added what similarities these have.
Of course for all the shows we’ve reviewed, we’ve also added a handy link so you can check out our full thoughts on that series and see if it’s something you want to invest your time with.
So without further ado, we present 10 TV shows that should whet the appetite when you’ve finished streaming The Bay.
Similarities – Hunting A Killer
Based on true events, Manhunt: Unabomber blurs the line between fact and fiction in this dramatized reconstruction of the Unabomber case in 1995. Although it suffers from unnecessary padding in the middle episodes, Manhunt is a decent show sprinkled with some excellent acting. The show has a solid pacing too, producing an enthralling, binge-worthy show about the notorious postal bomb killer.
Informative and surprisingly realistic in the way it depicts investigative work, Manhunt: Unabomber should be a hit with true crime fans.
In its simplest form, Whitechapel is an ITV drama that revolves around detectives in London’s Whitechapel district. Newly-appointed DI Joe Chandler is our main character here, joined by DS Ray Miles who soon come to realize they’re dealing with a copycat killer.
Across four seasons, the plot replicates many different historical crimes, with the first season centering around Jack The Ripper. There’s a medley of different influences in this show, and like most ITV series it’s not afraid to bundle in a number of plot clichés and tropes. However, the show is undeniably appealing and the fourth season even ends things on a relatively satisfying note.
Stranger (Secret Forest)
Similarities – Thriller & Characters
tvN’s first Saturday/Sunday night drama is an absolute firecracker of a show. Blending excellent characterization, lots of twists and some believable detective work, Stranger is a must-watch Korean drama. A winner of 3 Baeksang Awards, Stranger earns those accolades with a story that keeps you guessing right to the very end.
The catalyst for all of this drama is the death of a man named Moo-Sung Park. Found dead in his apartment, prosecutor Si-Mok rushes to the scene and begins piecing together what really happened. With a TV repairman scrambling from the scene, Si-Mok joins police detective Yeo-Jin in chase and together they bring the suspect to custody.
What seems like a simple crime soon reveals layers of shocking corruption at both the police station and the prosecution office. From here, the show builds up an impressive blend of paranoia, drama and tension across 2 seasons
Similarities – Grounded Crime Drama
The murder of a 22-year-old French National on Twickenham Green sends Colin Sutton spiraling. In over his head, a coincidental break in the case starts the ball rolling as the investigative team hone in on the lead suspect, Levi Bellfield. As more truths come to light, the police ramp up in preparation to arrest Bellfield and prevent him from escaping.
While Manhunt lacks the big budget and explosive action that’s made many other crime dramas so memorable, this show instead revels in the simplicity of its premise.
To prevent mundanity from settling in, Manhunt throws an impressive amount of realism at the screen, showing the analytical and methodical way investigations are uncovered in real time. With numerous teams liaising together, tensions do arise although at times this feels a little superficial, designed to keep things moving along and interesting rather than truly reflecting the nature of the work.
Split across three episodes, this one’s a simple and endearing watch.
Similarities – Conspiracy & Mystery
BBC drama The Capture is an intriguing drama let down by a cliffhanger ending that (at the time anyway) was uncertain to return for a second season. Well, thankfully BBC have renewed this which makes recommending it a lot easier. The show centers around a big conspiracy that sometimes gets a little too big for the 6 episodes on offer but it just about holds it together until the end.
When a British soldier called Shaun Emery is arrested, CCTV footage shows him assaulting a young woman he met the previous night. Only, Shaun Emery is adamant he didn’t do it. Tenacious young detective DI Rachel Carey then starts to look into his case in more detail, finding a shocking multi-layered conspiracy that challenges everything we know about security and surveillance.
If you don’t mind an open-ending, The Capture is certainly worth checking out.
Similarities – Shocking Crime
Based loosely on true events that took place in Korea, Signal is quite simply an incredible thrill-ride. This police procedural blends a shocking string of crimes with a time-bending idea that sees a walkie-talkie able to communicate with the past – 1989 to be precise.
With both Hae-Young and Soo-Hyun working together, they team up with Jae-Han from the past and together set out to catch the killer. With the gift of hindsight and foresight at their disposal, they work to try and prevent these atrocious crimes from ever taking place.
While not an outright sci-fi proposition, the crime drama elements work really well with the timelines to make for a really engaging watch.
Similarities – Characters & Drama
From the onset, its obvious that there’s something unsettling lurking in the shadows of The Sinner. The first season starts just like a standard mystery thriller; a short build up leads to young mother Cora Tannetti stabbing a man on a beach for seemingly no reason.
With the crime already committed and shown in visceral detail, two key questions drives the show forward – why did she kill him and what drove her to commit this crime? The question hangs over the show like a black cloud and when Investigator Harry Ambrose begins digging deeper, a slowly opening puzzle box of clues sheds more light on the motive.
As truths surface and lies are uncovered, this methodically paced mystery keeps the suspense running right through to its climactic ending, playing as a why-dun-it rather than a who-dun-it.
As the seasons progress, Harry Ambrose is the glue that holds the seasons together as different crimes come to light. The first season is undoubtedly the strongest of the three though.
Similarities – Gritty & Realistic Police Work
Shocking, methodically paced and really well written, Unbelievable is a poignant and important reminder that sexual assault has far broader psychological effects than the despicable act itself. Split across 8 episodes and shot between two timelines, Netflix’s latest crime mystery series manages to juggle both stories perfectly, slowly building up tension and pace toward the climactic finale that sees this story come to an end.
Inspired by real events, Unbelievable is, at its core, a rape case procedural. Young, distraught Marie reports a rape to the police in 2008 and after being forced to repeat her story numerous times to different officers, finds herself on the wrong end of the law, as her hazy memory and inconsistent story leads her into a false report that sees her facing arrest and possible jail time.
While at times the series is a little slow, especially early on, Unbelievable is worth sticking with to see the dramatic way this one closes out. Netflix’s police procedural is certainly one of the better offerings on the platform.
Similarities – Slow-Burn Thriller
Based on the Swedish novel ‘Störst av allt’ by Malin Persson Giolito, Quicksand is a surprisingly well written, absorbing series, one that does an excellent job adapting the novel into one of the best dramas of the year. With two timelines separated through Maja’s flashbacks and one school shooting anchoring everything into place, Quicksand is an easy show to binge and a tough one to put down.
Blood spattered across school tables and the ground set the tone for the series, opening with the aftermath of a shooting and the shell-shocked, 18 year old Maja sitting with the murder weapon by her side. As police grab her and take her into custody, across the 6 episodes we learn of the events leading up to that day involving Maja’s mentally unstable boyfriend Sebastian and all the drama that transpired between the victims inside the classroom. The slow build around all of this paves way for a really satisfying conclusion where Maja’s fate is revealed.
Similarities – Hunting A Killer
Happy Valley is another British-based crime drama, centering on a strong-willed police sergeant in West Yorkshire called Catherine Cawood. Still reeling from her teenage daughter Becky’s suicide 8 years prior, Catherine is a woman on a mission. When she learns Tommy Lee Royce (the man responsible for the brutal rape of Becky prior to her suicide) has been released from prison, Catherine sets out to try and find him.
As Catherine’s vengeance becomes obsession, unbeknownst to her Tommy is actually involved in the kidnapping of a woman known as Ann Gallagher. What ensues is a cat and mouse chase as Catherine tries to track down and apprehend the suspects before it’s too late.
The second season then picks up 18 months after these events for a new crime but along the way, Happy Valley excels with its relatable, strong characters and gripping drama. This one is definitely worth a watch.
So there we have it, our 10 TV show alternatives to watch when you’re finished with The Bay on ITV.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!