Catch Up on the Best Mystery and Thriller TV Series of 2023

The boom in prestige TV has been especially beneficial for mysteries and thrillers, since short, self-contained limited series have become a dominant format. There are several of those satisfyingly finite series among the best of 2023, along with a few long-running favorites. Some of these shows dabble in sci-fi or comedy, but all of them feature engrossing mysteries and suspenseful storytelling. Queue up these 10 shows to binge, or to more slowly savor as they play out their enticing revelations.

Poker Face (Peacock)

Knives Out filmmaker Rian Johnson and star Natasha Lyonne team up for this delightful throwback to case-of-the-week procedurals. Lyonne plays Charlie Cale, a former gambler with the uncanny ability to tell when anyone is lying, a skill that puts her on the run from dangerous criminals. She ends up in a new town in each episode, with a new murder to solve. The mysteries are cleverly constructed, and Lyonne is charismatic and often hilarious as Charlie, who’s completely unable to keep from poking into other people’s business, even if it places her in harm’s way.

Yellowjackets (Showtime)

The second season of this dark thriller goes deeper into the mystery of what happened to the members of a girls’ high school soccer team while they were stranded in the Canadian wilderness for nearly two years. Actors Lauren Ambrose and Simone Kessell are excellent additions to the show as adult versions of teenage characters with troubled, complicated traumatic histories, augmenting the already stellar cast. Creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson continue to deftly balance the two time periods, with dangerous events unfolding decades apart, yet inexorably linked by the secrets these women have kept hidden even from themselves.

Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)

Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez remain a perfect comedic trio in this lighthearted mystery comedy, which reached new heights of silliness in its third season. The three main characters, who all live in an upscale New York City apartment building, spend the season solving the murder of pompous actor Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd), who had the lead role in a play directed by Short’s Oliver Putnam and co-starring Martin’s Charles-Haden Savage. Although the true-crime podcast parody takes a back seat this season, the character relationships get more room to develop, and the Broadway send-ups are hilarious.

Fargo (FX)

After a sprawling, often unfocused fourth season, creator Noah Hawley’s anthology series based on the 1996 Coen brothers film returns to its roots for a darkly funny Midwestern crime story in its fifth season. Hawley once again combines oddball characters, surreal interludes, Coens references, and some shockingly brutal violence. Set in 2019, the season stars Juno Temple as seemingly average Minnesota housewife Dorothy Lyon, whose dangerous past catches up to her. John Hamm is menacing as the extremist small-town sheriff who’s determined to capture Dorothy, and the two make for fascinating opponents in Fargo’s off-kilter world.

A Murder at the End of the World (Hulu)

The OA creators Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij scale back the ambitions of that complex sci-fi series for a slightly more grounded story with this murder mystery set at a billionaire’s remote compound. There’s still plenty of weirdness surrounding true-crime writer and amateur detective Darby Hart (Emma Corrin) as she attempts to figure out which of the guests at an ultra-exclusive retreat may be a murderer. Marling and Batmanglij explore questions about artificial intelligence, environmental disaster, and wealth inequality, while constructing an old-fashioned closed-room murder mystery in a high-tech modern setting.

Full Circle (Max)

Prolific filmmaker Steven Soderbergh directs every episode of this elliptical crime drama about the ripple effects of a botched kidnapping in New York City. It takes a little while for Soderbergh and writer Ed Solomon to connect the disparate characters, which include a celebrity chef (Dennis Quaid), a Guyanese crime boss (CCH Pounder), a postal inspector (Zazie Beetz), and various other associates. Once their relationships come into focus, though, the show delivers a riveting, multi-layered mystery that touches on gentrification, immigration, and privilege, with standout performances from Beetz, Claire Danes, and Timothy Olyphant.

Justified: City Primeval (FX)

Eight years after U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) said farewell at the end of FX’s Justified, he returns in this continuation, albeit in a new locale with a new supporting cast. Raylan leaves Kentucky for Detroit, where he becomes entangled in the investigation into a local judge’s murder. Olyphant comfortably settles back into Raylan’s cowboy hat, and Boyd Holbrook makes for a worthy adversary as sadistic killer Clement Mansell. Justified was adapted from a series of stories by Elmore Leonard, and City Primeval inserts Raylan into an unrelated Leonard novel, while preserving the distinctive laconic style of the legendary crime novelist’s writing.

Perry Mason (HBO)

It’s a shame that HBO canceled this new take on the classic legal drama just as it was hitting its stride in its second season. Matthew Rhys’ Perry Mason is a far cry from the version played by Raymond Burr in the 1950s and ’60s, favoring a rougher, seedier approach to defending his clients. The second season features a solid mystery involving the murder of an oil heir, but its greatest strength is its immersive depiction of 1930s Los Angeles, a city teeming with both corruption and opportunity. The show smartly explores the struggles of various marginalized communities as they connect to Perry’s high-profile case.

Hijack (Apple TV+)

It’s appropriate that this TV miniseries equivalent of an airport paperback novel takes place almost entirely on an airplane. Binge-worthy cliffhangers carry this hostage thriller from one episode to the next, as a group of hijackers take over a commercial flight from Dubai to London. Idris Elba stars as the steely professional negotiator who’s determined to keep everyone safe, even as he formulates a plan to retake the plane. With its nearly real-time storytelling, copious subplots, and frequent twists, Hijack often feels like 24 on a plane, featuring Elba as a suaver, stealthier version of Jack Bauer.

Bodies (Netflix)

Before it dives into its somewhat dense sci-fi mythology, this miniseries based on a graphic novel written by Si Spencer begins as a tantalizing mystery: Four London police officers, in four different time periods spanning 150 years, seem to discover the same exact dead body in the same place. How is that possible? The answer is ultimately a bit convoluted, but along the way Bodies delivers four different crime procedurals taking on four dynamic eras. While they eventually stumble on a vast, time-hopping conspiracy, the four protagonists use solid, intelligent police work to discover that mind-blowing truth.

Josh Bell is a freelance writer and movie/TV critic based in Las Vegas. He’s the former film editor of Las Vegas Weekly and the former TV comedies guide for He has written about movies, TV, and pop culture for Vulture, Polygon, CBR, Inverse, Crooked Marquee, and more. With comedian Jason Harris, he co-hosts the podcast Awesome Movie Year.