Five fab female sleuths

As Brenda Blethyn takes on the role of DCI Vera Stanhope, we pick our other favourite women detectives

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DI Sarah Lund
The Killing

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Almost as famous for her Faroe Island knitwear as her dogged Danish detective work, DI Lund (Sofie Grabol) has achieved instant cult status with BBC4’s 20-part thriller, The Killing. Purists will have to wait for the second series later this year, but more impatient types are currently checking out the Seattle-set American remake on cable channel AMC. Either way, a landmark entry in the detective sorority.

Captain Laure Berthaud
Spiral

Saturday on BBC4 is the place to catch the third series of this classy French drama aimed at fans of The Killing undergoing Eurocrime withdrawal symptoms. It boasts a strong female lead in Berthaud (Caroline Proust) , single-mindedly heading up her team on the trail of a serial killer dubbed “The Butcher of La Villette.” Fans of the series will be heartened to learn that the French channel, Canal+, has commissioned three further series.

DC Janet Scott & DC Rachel Bailey
Scott & Bailey

Co-created by Sally Wainwright and Suranne Jones (writer and star of 2009’s Unforgiven) this Manchester-based police procedural sees Jones and Lesley Sharp as detective constables in a homicide division. Produced by a predominantly female team, the series also draws on the experience of technical adviser, Diane Taylor, a retired Greater Manchester Police detective.

DS Charlie Zailer
Case Sensitive

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Like Vera, this adaptation of Sophie Hannah’s novel, The Point of Rescue, sees a female officer, DS Charlie Zailer, working with a male subordinate, DC Simon Waterhouse (Darren Boyd). The pair investigate the death of a mother and daughter in their luxury home and, played out over two episodes, it promises a tense journey into the dark side of motherhood.