For years, we’ve been spoon-fed a disturbing albeit all-too-familiar crime show formula: a woman or girl is found murdered, and despite her body going on to tell a story, her voice remains silent.
It’s an indicator not just of creative unoriginality, but of the world we currently exist in. A recent study revealed that in 2014 more than 1,600 women were murdered at the hands of men (which didn’t include murder against trans women). So if you think about it—it’s not that shows like The Killing, Criminal Minds, True Detective, and Twin Peaks are wrong to invest in stories revolving around the death of a female. It’s that they’ve perpetuated the notion that only male investigators save the day and solve the mystery. Think of it as the deeply tired male hero trope in a not very good disguise.
That said, over the last couple of years there’s been a small but steady shift in the representation of women in crime. We’ve seen the groundwork laid by teen shows like Veronica Mars and iZombie—then carried on by Happy Valley, Broadchurch, and Fargo. TV is finally allowing women to solve murders—and by doing so, they’re giving us all a means of reclamation. Also please note: while the below shows are great, here’s to hoping the next wave of prestige female-driven crime dramas actually includes women of color.