AUGUST MURDERS: Three British Crime Thrillers That Empower Women



Lady Penelope Pink

This time around our contributing writer Lady Penelope Pink invites us to take a look at three British television crime shows that empower women.

I. BANCROFT (2017)

“Everyone has a secret”

BANCROFT is a thriller series that started airing on ITV on 11 December 2017. It was produced by Tall Story Pictures and distributed by ITV Studios Global Entertainment. It was written and created by Kate Brooke. A second series aired in January 2020 however it was cancelled after two series.

It starred Sarah Parish as Detective Chief Superintendent Elizabeth Bancroft, Adam Long as Joe Bancroft, and Adrian Edmondson as Superintendent Clifford Walker.

Detective Superintendent Elizabeth Bancroft discovers her colleague DS Katherine Stevens has been given a cold case to solve: Who really killed Laura Fraser back in 1990. However, the investigation ties back into Bancroft’s own dark secret past – which she is desperate to keep hidden.


I like how they carefully go over the evidence before they go after any suspects. In this way they never lose the viewer.


I strongly dislike the fact that the show got cancelled after only two series. You get into the show and then it got snatched away. 

Rating: 3 Gray Geeks

II. VERA (2011)

She doesn’t dress up for murder!

VERA is a British crime thriller series based on the mystery novels of Anne Cleeves about Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope. It was first aired on 1 May 2011 and it is still ongoing. Produced by ITV Studios at first and then by Silverprint Pictures it is distributed by ITV Studios. It stars Brenda Blethyn as Vera and includes actors Jon Morrison and Riley Jones.

Vera works for the Northumberland & City Police. Driven by her demons she is obsessive over her work. While she dresses in a disheveled state she has a first class mind and although somewhat irascible she cares about her co-workers.

Some of the early episodes were derived directly from Anne Cleeves novels including HIDDEN DEPTHS, TELLING TALES, THE CROW TRAP, and SILENT VOICES.

The show has been shown in more than 21 different countries including Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, and France.

In the United States the series is usually broadcast on public television stations. However, Series 1 was available on Netflix, Series 1-3 is available on Amazon Video, Series 1-2, 5-7 can be seen on Acorn TV, Series 1-3 is on BritBox, and the show can be seen on Hulu.  


I like the way Vera kicks her teams’ arses when they don’t get the job done. I like her style.


It does take a while to get to the point of who done the bloody crime. I find myself yelling – get on with it!

Rating: 4 Gray Geeks


“That’s odd!”

MURDER, SHE WROTE is an American crime drama television series about a female mystery writer who solves real crimes that befuddle the police department. It starred the incomparable Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher and ran for an outstanding 12 years followed by four made-for-TV movies.

I know, I know, MURDER, SHE WROTE is an American series but Angela Lansbury is a Brit and we’re claiming her and the show. You stole THREE’S COMPANY, SANDFORD AND SON, and ALL IN THE FAMILY so we’re taking this one back.

The show won two Emmys, two Golden Globes, and an Edgar. And it had an excellent crossover with MAGNUM, P.I. starring Tom Selleck. Hubba Hubba!


I like the fact that Angela Lansbury is a Brit.

I like how Jessica Fletcher can be anywhere in the world and she always ends up helping the police solve who is the killer.

I like that Jessica Fletcher can’t drive a car. I can’t drive a car.

I like her relationship with her nephew.


Nothing! There is not a damn thing wrong with this show. It is perfect!

Rating: 5 Gray Geeks

I hope you enjoyed our look at British television mysteries that empower women. If you are unfamiliar with any of them I invite you to watch and see for yourselves. We guarantee you shall not be disappointed.

Lady Penelope Pink is the nom de plume of Charmain Arnold and her sister Susan Arnold. They live in England and in fact live next door to Stonehenge – which I suppose gives them their rather unique take on anything mysterious.


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