Since my ongoing struggle with nerve damage is never ending, I've watched more television than any normal human being (who isn't a TV critic) should.
Luckily, I do love it.
Along with good books, this golden age of television has helped get me through the worst of times.
I'm starting a new series called C&L's Quaranstream. I'll use my unfortunate knowledge to pass excellent stories to binge during this period of self-quarantine in the age of coronavirus.
In the 70's and 80's there were many TV crime shows featuring women as lead characters like Police Woman and Cagney and Lacey but what came after them revolutionized television.
My first five aren't listed in any order because they all are such incredible characters portrayed by equally awe-inspiring actresses.
Helen Mirren – Prime Suspect
Mirren's Jane Tennyson changed TV detective fiction forever with its long-form arcs, character development, and her fight against misogyny from an all-boys police club that had never been cracked before.
Prime Suspect became a sensation in the U.S. when it hit PBS in 1992 and it also made Mirren an international star.
You can stream it on Hulu or Brit Box
Sofia Helin - The Bridge
Also known as Bron/Broen, 'The Bridge' is a Danish-Swedish collaboration that is one of the best police series ever made. it was so good in fact the U.S., France, and England produced their own versions.
Henlin’s Detective Saga, while a brilliant investigator, is haunted by the suicide of her younger sister and has an undisclosed affliction (Asperger's?) which causes her to be abrasive, socially awkward and inept in social settings. Her character is one for the ages
All four seasons are streaming on Hulu.
Gillian Anderson – The Fall
Anderson made her mark as Dana Scully in the X-Files, but she was riveting in this northern Ireland /BBC production. She comes on board as Stella Gibson from the Metropolitan police to review a stalled investigation over the murder of Alice Monroe and discovers a possible pattern of old cases that linked to it. She flips the male-dominated role on its head and Jamie Dorman is creepy as hell.
Streams on Netflix
Sarah Lancashire– Happy Valley
Sergeant Catherine Cawood, a kick-ass local officer in a Yorkshire valley and is dealing with the suicide of her daughter after she had been raped. Her decision to take care of the resulting child split up her marriage. Tensions rose high as the rapist is released from prison and a kidnapping plot is hatched. Sarah Lancashire is simply brilliant in this UK series. She was robbed of the BAFTA in 2015.
Streaming on Netflix
Sophie Grabol - Forbrydelsen
This is the Danish series that became an international sensation after it aired on the BBC and helped revive the claustrophobic and dogged investigations of a single murder and sparked shows like Broadchurch into existence. You may have heard of the American remake called The Killing, on AMC and then on Netflix.
Sophie Grabol’s Sarah Lund became a wunderkind and her jumpers started selling for mucho dinero and became her signature.
Unfortunately, the show is not streaming at this time. I bought all three seasons on Amazon UK in 2007 and played it on an all regions DVD player. it is worth the effort to try and find it.