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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.  

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. 

Watch all three episodes of the prequel series Prime Suspect: Tennison with KCTS 9 Passport now. 



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.)

Watch Before We Die now with KCTS 9 Passport. 


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, and The New York Times once called it one of the "best TV shows of 2018."

You can watch the first three seasons of Unforgotten now with KCTS 9 Passport.  

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.

Watch the Frankie Drake Mysteries now with KCTS 9 Passport. 

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. 

Watch The Tunnel now with KCTS 9 Passport. 

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.)

Watch Thou Shalt Not Kill now with KCTS 9 Passport. 

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.

Shakespeare & Hathaway airs Thursday nights at 9:00 p.m. on KCTS 9.

Caroline Gerdes
About the Author

Caroline Gerdes

Caroline Gerdes is a digital and social media 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.