Television’s Toughest Women Detectives

Our favorite women detectives on KCTS 9. ​​​​​​​

Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, DCI Vera Stanhope, DCI Cassie Stuart: If you are a fan of PBS mystery programs, these names probably ring a bell. While Endeavour Morse and Geordie Keating have a special place in our hearts, these women sleuths deserve a little extra attention. Not only do these smart programs keep us captivated with mystery and suspense, we find the women solving problems strong and inspiring.  

Fans of our detective series will want to mark their calendars for two big dates this summer. Dr. Jane Halifax is back solving crimes with the premiere of Halifax: Retribution, Saturday, June19, at 10:30 p.m. And, Unforgotten returns for a fourth season on Sunday, July 11, at 9:00 p.m.

Prime Suspect: Tennison 

DCI Tennison

Behind every great detective is a backstory. Turn back the clock and witness the influences that turned 22-year-old rookie policewoman Jane Tennison into the savvy, single-minded crime fighter beloved by Prime Suspect viewers. 

Stream Prime Suspect: Tennison. 

Halifax: Retribution  

Halifax: Retribution

Rebecca Gibney stars as Dr. Jane Halifax in this compelling Australian mystery series. After years as a university professor, Jane steps back into her previous role as a forensic psychiatrist when a police task force needs her help to find a serial killer. Set in Melbourne, this series is a sequel to the popular Halifax f.p. series, which aired from 1994 to 2002.

Stream Halifax: Retribution. Or tune in Saturdays, starting June 19, at 10:30 p.m.

Miss Scarlet & The Duke

Miss Scarlet and The Duke

Kate Phillips (Peaky Blinders) stars in a six-part mystery as the headstrong, first-ever female detective in Victorian London. Stuart Martin (Jamestown) plays her childhood friend, professional colleague and potential love interest, Scotland Yard Detective Inspector William Wellington, a.k.a., The Duke. 

Stream Miss Scarlet & The Duke. 



Unorthodox but brilliant DCI Vera Stanhope investigates chilling crimes only she can solve. Starring BAFTA winner Brenda Blethyn as Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, the series is based on Ann Cleeves best-selling books, Inspector Stanhope, delivering in-depth, edge-of-your-seat, crime-solving drama.

Vera airs Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. on KCTS 9.

Before We Die 

Before we die

In this compelling thriller, police detective Hanna Svensson steps in to handle a mysterious informant in a criminal organization when her colleague and lover, Sven, goes missing. (This series is from Walter Presents, in Swedish with English subtitles.)

Stream Before We Die. 


Cassie Stuart

Nicola Walker (Last Tango in Halifax) stars as DCI Cassie Stuart alongside, Sanjeev Bhaskar (Indian Summers). The pair of police officers investigates cold case murders in this critically-acclaimed series. Unforgotten is about to head into its fourth season, premiering July 11, 2021. 

Stream Unforgotten.  

Frankie Drake Mysteries 

Frankie Drake

Set in 1920s Toronto, the series follows the adventures of Frankie Drake (Lauren Lee Smith) and her partner Trudy Clarke (Chantel Riley) at Drake Private Detectives, the city’s only all-female detective agency, as they find themselves fighting crime in the age of flyboys, gangsters, rum-runners and speakeasies.

Stream Frankie Drake Mysteries. 

The Tunnel 

The Tunnel

The emotionally-charged, critically-acclaimed, bilingual crime thriller stars Stephen Dillane Karl Roebuck and Clémence Poésy as French detective Elise Wassermann. This unlikely, Anglo-French partnership is brought together when a woman is found dead at the midpoint of the Channel Tunnel. 

Stream The Tunnel.

Thou Shalt Not Kill 

Thou Shalt Not Kill

Stubborn and determined detective Valeria Ferro endeavors to solve the challenging puzzles behind crimes motivated by jealousy, vendettas and repressed anger to seek the truth and justice. She struggles with her own demons from her past that come back to life when her mother is released from jail after seventeen years. (This series is from Walter Presents, in Italian with English subtitles.)

Stream Thou Shalt Not Kill. 

Shakespeare & Hathaway 

Shakespeare and Hathaway

A bit down on his luck, private investigator Frank Hathaway takes on ex-hairdresser and “people person” Lu Shakespeare to solve crimes in contemporary Stratford-upon-Avon, home to the great playwright William Shakespeare.

Check the KCTS 9 Schedule for Shakespeare & Hathaway.

Caroline Gerdes
About the Author

Caroline Gerdes

Caroline Gerdes is the Marketing and Communications Managing Editor at Cascade Public Media. Before working for Cascade Public Media, Caroline was a freelance writer and she worked for National Geographic as a grantee and digital producer. She is also the author of the book, An Oral History of the New Orleans Ninth Ward.