Three Netflix gangster dramas to watch while you wait for Peaky Blinders

Yōsuke Kubozuka in Giri/Haji
(Image credit: BBC / Netflix)

Peaky Blinders season 6 has finally begun streaming in the UK, but those overseas will have to wait a little while to catch the Shelby family’s last hurrah.

New episodes of the hit show are currently releasing every Sunday on BBC iPlayer, though US viewers (and others across the pond) won't see them arrive on Netflix until June 10. Thankfully, there’s plenty of equally gripping gangster dramas already on the streaming service to make the wait for the Blinders’ return a little easier. 

Below, then, we’ve picked out three of the best Peaky Blinders alternatives available to watch on Netflix right now. Each has a different tone, but all three should help quench your thirst for small screen criminality in one way or another.  

Top Boy (four seasons) 

Ashley Walters in Top Boy

(Image credit: Netflix)

Despite making waves in the UK, Top Boy remains one of the most underrated Netflix series. Set in London’s fictional Summerhouse estate, the show follows partners Dushane (Ashley Walters) and Sully (Kane Robinson), two feared drug dealers who, despite a wish to lead honest lives, are corrupted by the promise of increased wealth and respect in their borough. 

Top Boy seasons 1 and 2 aired on UK broadcaster Channel 4 in 2011 and 2013, respectively, before Netflix rebooted the show for a third season (with a little help from rapper Drake) in 2019, albeit without the numerical title. Season 4 (marketed as season 2) recently arrived on the streamer, with the first two seasons also available to watch on Netflix under the title Top Boy: Summerhouse. 

In our opinion, Top Boy – especially its most recent seasons – ranks among the best crime dramas on any streaming service, let alone Netflix. The show makes a point of humanizing its otherwise despicable characters, and poses difficult questions about class, race and responsibility. It’s necessary viewing for anyone interested in the face of contemporary crime.

Giri/Haji (one season) 

Takehiro Hira and Yōsuke Kubozuka in Giri/Haji

(Image credit: BBC / Netflix)

Another British-made drama-turned-Netflix hidden gem, Giri/Haji (which translates to "Duty/Shame") follows a Tokyo detective’s search for his missing brother, Yuto, whose criminal activity in London risks triggering a gang war in the pair’s home city. 

Starring Takehiro Hira, Yōsuke Kubozuka, Kelly Macdonald and Will Sharpe, this eight-episode series comes from Encounter writer Joe Barton and the producers of acclaimed HBO drama Chernobyl, and earned countless five-star reviews upon release in 2019. 

Thanks to a bucket-load of rain and neon lights, Giri/Haji is also one of the most stylish crime thrillers around, bringing the intriguing (albeit brutal) criminality of the Yakuza to a familiar London setting. A different offering to Top Boy, then, but an equally gripping one.

Narcos (three seasons) 

Pedro Pascal in Narcos

(Image credit: Netflix)

Perhaps the most well-known of the three gangster series on this list, Narcos charts the rise of Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar during the late eighties. As addictive as the contraband at the heart of its story, the show blends real-life archival footage with fictionalized drama to reveal how Escobar became one of history’s most revered (and feared) criminals. 

Wagner Moura and Pedro Pascal lead the show’s cast as Escobar and DEA agent Javier Peña, respectively, and the pair have a great cat-and-mouse dynamic which makes for gripping tension between Narcos’ criminals, authorities and those in Escobar’s pocket. 

A three-season (and almost-as-good) spin-off series, Narcos: Mexico, is also available to stream on Netflix – but we strongly suggest wading through the original show first. 

Axel Metz
Senior Staff Writer

Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.