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Top 10 Mysteries to Watch on Netflix as You Practice Social Distancing

Fern Siegel

To prevent the spread of coronavirus, many Americans are staying home 24/7. The news is scary — and we all need a break. That’s where streaming TV comes in. During the London Blitz, when millions spent their nights in the Underground, lending libraries kept people sane. The most popular genre? Mysteries. It was comforting to know evil was punished and justice would prevail.

In that spirit, Netflix has some terrific options.

Some are cozy British domestics, others are hardboiled thrillers and a few are strictly fantastical. Whatever your preference, Netflix has loads of titles, spanning various genres. A sampling of 10 stellar shows:

1. Babylon Berlin
This three-season German drama is hugely compelling. Set in the late 1920s, it’s got everything — the decadence of the Weimar, cabaret, the rise of the Nazis — packaged in a brilliantly art-directed vision of pre-war Germany. Police commissioner Gereon Rath uncovers a dangerous underworld while investigating one of Berlin’s biggest pornography rings and subsequent murders. So riveting, you won’t mind the subtitles.

2. A Series of Unfortunate Events
Check out the 2019 version, starring Neil Patrick Harris as the evil Count Olaf trying to steal the gifted Baudelaire orphans’ fortune. Can the kids stop the dastardly villain and solve the family secret in time? The production design is outstanding, as is the acting and story arc. It’s hypnotic and whimsical.

3. Sherlock
Four seasons of a 21st-century Sherlock Holmes played by the incomparable Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as his Dr. Watson, an Afghanistan war vet. Smart and sophisticated, the show updates the classic Arthur Conan Doyle adventures, yet retains all their wonder.

4. Father Brown
G.K. Chesterton wrote 53 short stories published between 1910 and 1936 about the kindly Catholic priest. Mark Williams, who played Arthur Weasley in the “Harry Potter” franchise, stars as the modest padre turned ace amateur detective. Set in the 1950s in a Cotswold village, this is the very definition of a cozy English mystery.

5. Broadchurch
Starring Olivia Colman (“The Crown”) and David Tennant (“Dr. Who”), the duo investigates the murder of an 11-year-old boy in a small Dorset town, an ominous UK police procedural with stunning twists.

6. Jack Taylor
An Irish series set in Galway about hard-drinking ex-cop Jack Taylor (Iain Glen, “Game of Thrones”). Taylor gets kicked off the force and morphs into a rough-and-tumble PI.

7. Foyle’s War
Michael Kitchen as the unflappable Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle. If you like historical mysteries, this is perfect. It’s set during WWI in a small seaside English city. A war is on, but crime doesn’t stop. And neither does the decent Foyle — no matter the stakes.

8. Criminal
Watch the UK version only, as it runs in four countries. Three separate cases take place in an interrogation room. Time is running out, as London police chase three suspects accused of horrible crimes. Not for the faint of heart.

9. The Umbrella Academy
On one day in 1989, 43 infants are inexplicably born to random women — who weren’t pregnant! Billionaire Reginald Hargreeves adopts seven, each with a specific superpower. But when Sir Reginald dies, his adopted children must solve the mystery of his death and stop a global apocalypse.

10. Deep Water
A gay man is killed on Bondi Beach in Australia — and the detective in charge of the case soon realizes the murder resembles her brother’s death decades ago.

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