By now, everyone knows that the most popular fictional crime shows are ones that take place in the real world.
It’s not surprising then that the same shows that bring us the biggest and most thrilling thrillers have also inspired the most horrific crimes, from the cold-blooded murders of serial killers to the murders of young, vulnerable women.
That’s the beauty of the medium: it’s so incredibly immersive, it’s easy to forget that the show itself is a fiction.
So here are the 10 best murder mysteries in film, television, and books, and why you should watch them and read them.1.
The Silence of the Lambs (1992)The most iconic crime drama of all time.
It started out as a one-off story about a killer stalking his victims on the streets of San Francisco, but in its second season it evolved into a series of eight feature films that combined elements from multiple genres into one story, a crime that never took place.
It was the show’s greatest triumph: It inspired the entire genre of crime dramas, including the film The Shawshank Redemption, and it remains the most well-known story in film history.
And because the murders were so rare in the ’70s and ’80s, the story was never as popular as it might have been.
But the series remains a classic in its own right.
(The anthology series of the same name was the first to tackle the genre in a long time.)2.
The Untouchables (2003)Set in a fictionalized version of New York City in the 1930s, this adaptation of the best-selling book by J.D. Salinger is the work of a talented, ambitious writer who also happens to be a serial killer.
The premise of the show, about a man named Joe (Kevin Bacon) who comes to America as a refugee and who is soon befriended by a woman named Veronica (Lauren Ambrose), is so compelling that even the title was coined by fans, after the character’s name.
Salter himself, played by the late Alan Alda, was an avid fan, and he was so inspired by the show that he created a second version of the novel that he wrote himself, with the help of the cast.
Salters death left his wife and two children orphaned, and the show is filled with flashbacks of Joe’s experiences there, as well as of Salter’s own.3.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)This show is a true crime classic, and while it’s certainly not the best of the genre, it does a lot of things right.
The show’s premise is based on a real case of murder, and we get to see the aftermath of the crimes onscreen, with both detectives and victims of the crime, including a young girl named Laura (played by Margo Martindale) who witnesses the murder of her sister and becomes fascinated with the case.
The story is told through the eyes of a detective, and there’s a sense of the supernatural in the way that both Laura and her family are affected by the events in the story.
The result is a series that takes a lot out of the story, and its depiction of the paranormal and the supernatural is also fascinating.4.
The Walking Dead (2015)After a series-long hiatus, this zombie-themed show from AMC finally returned to television in a way that its fans haven’t seen since it was first released back in 2014.
Created by Scott Gimple, the show follows Rick Grimes (Meyers), a man who has lost his home to the undead.
The series is one of the more popular series of its kind, and as the show has been renewed for a second season, it has become the longest-running series on TV.
The characters on the show are well-developed, and they have plenty of depth.
(It also includes a guest appearance by a young Carrie Fisher, who also plays a role in the show.)5.
The Punisher (2016)This brutal crime drama, which focuses on a member of the New York police force named Frank Castle, is one the most talked about shows on TV right now.
While the story of the series is based mostly on the novel by Frank Miller, which is an incredibly intense read, the pilot episode shows Frank’s life and how it is intertwined with that of a man he doesn’t even know.
This is an excellent example of how the medium can change a show for the better when it allows its creators to explore the idea of violence through a non-linear way.6.
The Wire (2002)This TV series follows the lives of Baltimore’s most notorious criminals, including Tony Soprano, the Black Hand, and even some of the mobsters who killed people.
The crime dramas are often a showcase for the best in TV writing, and this one is no different.
It is also the only one that was made for the web, and a great show to binge