Missing Sherlock? Here are 6 eccentric detective shows to scratch the itch

(Image credit: BBC)

Will we ever see Sherlock again? Not the character of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic detective has been played for the last 100 years and will be played for the next 100 years – but will we ever see Benedict Cumberbatch pull on the deer stalker again and partner up with Martin Freeman's John Watson? It's looking doubtful. 

The last time the pair were on screen was in 2017, for a three-part season that aired just after Christmas. After that, nothing. The last update we had came in May of this year from Steven Moffat, who, along with Mark Gatiss, created the take on the character that Cumberbatch made his own. 

Promoting The Time Traveler's Wife, a show since binned by HBO, Moffat told the Radio Times, when asked if he wanted to return to Sherlock: "I'd do Sherlock again tomorrow, why ask me?" he said. "Mark would do it tomorrow, Sue [Vertue, producer] would do it tomorrow – we'd all just do it again. It's down to Benedict and Martin. They were very loyal to that show over a very long while when it was out, when it definitely became their lowest-paying job."

He continued: "And I don't think that's necessarily what they want to do now – fair enough, absolutely fair enough. But if anyone thinks I'm the one getting in the way, I will confidently tell you I would start writing it tomorrow, if everybody else did too."

So there you have it, maybe there will be more Sherlock, but given both Freeman and Cumberbatch are committed to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as a myriad of other projects, it won't be for a while. 

With that in mind, we thought we'd present some alternatives for you, six eccentric detectives to get stuck into if you're missing Sherlock and Watson...



(Image credit: ABC)

A very easy place to start. 

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu star as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Joan Watson in a contemporary retelling of Conan Doyle's stories. 

In this retelling, Holmes is a recovering drug addict and former consultant to Scotland Yard, who now assists the New York City Police Department, accompanied Watson, who initially acts as his sober companion and in time becomes his professional partner. 

A procedural, with a whopping 154 episodes across seven seasons, the show very much has a "case of the week" vibe, but the characters we're familiar with are there too, with Rhys Ifans playing Holmes' brother Mycroft and Natalie Dormer as Irene Adler. 

Hugely entertaining. 

Where can I stream it?

Hulu (US), Paramount+ (UK), Stan (AU)


Kenneth Branagh in Wallander

(Image credit: BBC)

Four men have played Henning Mankell's brilliant and troubled detective Kurt Wallander, but the one we're recommending in this round-up is Kenneth Branagh's take on the character. 

Branagh's take on the character finds the detective in middle age with his life in turmoil. He's a recovering alcoholic, he eats the wrong things, he's dismissive of his colleagues and he is struggling to maintain his relationship with both his daughter and his father.

But, with every mystery, his brilliance is put on show and it makes for brilliant viewing. 

Branagh's take on Wallander ran across four seasons, with the detective assisted by a young Tom Hiddleston in his first major role. It makes for incredible viewing. 

Where can I stream it?

Britbox (US, AU), UKTV Play (UK)



(Image credit: BBC)

The adaptations of Robert Galbraith's (better know, of course, as J.K. Rowling) bestselling series of novels have been superb. 

Tom Burke stars as Cormoran Strike, a former soldier now scraping a living in London as a private detective, who finds himself unexpectedly aided by Holiday Grainger's Robin Ellacott, who quickly journeys from office temp to Strike's partner. 

Four of Rowling's books have been filmed thus far, with a fifth due later this year. 

Where can I stream it?


The Bridge

The Bridge

(Image credit: Netflix)

Sofia Helin's Saga Noren is the ultimate eccentric detective and she's been beloved ever since she first appeared in 2011. 

The show, which was made in collaboration between Danish and Swedish production companies, begins with the discovery of a dead body exactly on the Denmark–Sweden border, the centre of the Øresund Bridge, which means a joint investigation between Danish and Swedish police forces. 

Noren is from the Swedish side and is partnered up with Kim Bodnia's Martin Rohde, a Danish detective. While it's never spelled out, it's presumed that Noren has Asperger's syndrome, with her appearing cold, insensitive and blunt as well as completely honest and forthright, often painfully and hilariously so. She's also a brilliant detective, and, while Rohde and she do not get on initially, soon they make a great time. 

As well as being hugely entertaining, the show is gripping, grisly and still the finest example of Nordic Noir out there. 

Where can I stream it?

Topic (US), Premium Rental (UK), Stan (AU)

Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars

(Image credit: Hulu / Stan)

The journey of Veronica Wars is a long and tangled mystery, worthy of its own episode. 

Initially, the show was a standard procedural, which followed the titular character, played by Kristen Bell, a high school student who moonlights as a private detective alongside her father Keith. 

Each of the show's episodes saw Veronica investigating one mystery while keeping her eye on a larger case, usually pretty deadly ones.

In 2007, the show was canceled after three seasons, much to the chagrin of its large fanbase. Then, in 2013, creator Rob Thomas wrote a feature film script continuing the series, which Warner Bros. opted not to fund, but gave permission for Thomas to find other backers. 

To do this, in March of 2013, Bell and Thomas launched a fundraising campaign to produce the film through Kickstarter. The campaign attained the $2 million goal in less than 11 hours and wound up with almost $6 million by the end. Thus the movie was made and distributed. 

After that, Hulu rebooted the show for a final run in the fall of 2019, and that looks like it'll be the last we see of the character. 

Over the years, Veronica Mars has grown from a cocksure, but brilliant, high schooler into a fully fledged, Holmes-esque super sleuth. Her entire back catalog is well worth your time. 

Where can I stream it?

Hulu (US). ITVHub (UK), Stan (AU)

No Offence

No Offence

(Image credit: Channel 4)

From the brilliant mind of Paul Abbott, the creator of Shameless, No Offence is essentially a police procedural set in Manchester, but it is also infused with the kind of jet-black humour that made Shameless so unique when it launched. 

No Offence is led by The Thick Of It's Joanna Scanlon, who plays Detective Inspector Vivienne Deering, a brutally funny and hard-as-nails detective who is dealing with the rougher end of Manchester's criminal class and leads a team to try and crack the trickiest cases. 

Unflinching, witty, clever and utterly engrossing, No Offence doesn't have the kudos or recognition it deserves. You should correct that at the earliest opportunity. 

Where can I stream it?

Acorn TV (US), All4 (UK), Premium Rental (AU)

Tom Goodwyn
Freelance Entertainment Writer

Tom Goodwyn was formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor. He's now a freelancer writing about TV shows, documentaries and movies across streaming services, theaters and beyond. Based in East London, he loves nothing more than spending all day in a movie theater, well, he did before he had two small children…