The 10 Best TV Crime Dramas That Were Adapted From Books

We could fill up a magazine with the bestselling books that have been turned into bingeworthy crime dramas. All of those compelling characters, juicy plots and tortuous twists! But here are just a few of our favorites, and one new show based on the popular Tony Hillerman series.


Related: The 22 Best Crime Movies on Netflix Right Now

Dark Winds (2022– )

Set in 1971 on a secluded outpost of the Navajo Nation, tribal police detectives Leaphorn and Chee (Kiowa Gordon) search for the truth in a string of seemingly unrelated crimes in this new noir thriller based on the books by Tony Hillerman. AMC+

Grantchester (2014– )

A handsome vicar (Tom Brittney) in a 1950s English village has a penchant for amateur sleuthing in the popular PBS Masterpiece adaptations of the Sidney Chambers mystery books by James Runcie—the son of a former archbishop of Canterbury. Prime Video

Justified (2010–15)

Elmore Leonard‘s character Raylan Givens, the Deputy US Marshal/Appalachian James Bondappeared in multiple novels before Timothy Olympian took the role in the Emmy-nominated FX series. Good news: A revival called Justified: City Primeval is currently in the works. Hulu

Hap and Leonard (2016–18)

Set in 1980s East Texas, this three-season Sundance series based on the novels by Joe R. Lansdale follows the criminal misadventures of two best friends: Hap (James Purefoy), a white former radical and hippie, and Leonard (Michael K. Williams), a Black gay Vietnam vet. Netflix

Bosch (2014–21)

Based on Michael Connelly‘s eponymous character, this Titus Welliver-starring police procedural features LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch, a troubled crime fighter who pursues the truth no matter the price. His next chapter as a private eye, Bosch: Legacy, was just renewed for a second season. Prime Video

Midsomer Murders (1997- )

What began with Caroline Graham‘s book The Killings at Badger’s Drift became a 22-season-long police drama featuring detectives Tom (and later John) Barnaby (John Nettles and Neil Dudgeon) solving brutal crimes in the wealthy, isolated British county of Midsomer. AcornTV

Rizzoli & Isles (2010–16)

Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) and medical examiner Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander) may no longer grace the small screen, but the crime-solving duo is back on the page thanks to author Tess Gerritsenwhose 13th installment in the series, Listen to Me (Ballantine, July 5), follows the buddy cops investigating a gruesome murder and protecting a young student from a stalker. HBO Max

Longmire (2012–17)

You can thank author Craig Johnson for the beleaguered Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire (played by Robert Taylor), a throwback to those Western heroes with a strong sense of duty and no aversion to applying violence in the right places. Netflix

Mindhunter (2017–19)

Holt McCallany and Jonathan Groff star as FBI agents who study the damaged psyches of serial killers in this thriller series adapted from the true-crime book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unitco-written by one of the original profilers, John Douglas. Netflix

Bones (2005–17)

Loosely based on the novels by real-life forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs, Bones became Fox’s longest-running drama, with devoted fans tuning in for the crime-solving and romantic duo of Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and FBI agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz). Hulu

Related: The 110 Best Thriller, Crime and Suspense Novels of All Time


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