Five Detective Series That Need To Be Adapted For TV

front cover Merlin at War

After the BBC’s disastrously dull, lacklustre adaptation of J.K Rowling’s Cormoran Strike novels, I’m keen to see some good shows that highlight the brilliant writers creating great series in the Crime Fiction today. There is so much awesome talent out there and it is such a shame that so many of them do not get the screen time they deserve.

With so much utter dross on television today, I feel like this list showcases the very best series that would make truly awesome shows if adapted properly. There are so many novels and series that you can just imagine as a great adaptation, and with a decent budget and strong direction the writing would really shine through.

5. Ben Jones’ Charlie Bars Books: Dark and grizzly, Jones’ novels would make for a great Luther style adaptation, mirroring the tough, surly detective with its tough, surly setting to create a really gripping thriller.

4. Sapper’s Bulldog Drummond Stories: These exciting and riveting novels have been adapted into a number of films, plays and even a TV movie, however I am convinced that with the right direction Drummond and his band of kung-ho soldiers could become a real hit. With his suave, witty banter, sharp dress sense and thirst for adventure the character would make for a great protagonist around which an amazing show could be built. Drummond is definitely of his time but everyone loves a good war drama and with a few updates to the dialogue and some of the plots to relieve Sapper of some of his more Anti-Semitic and racially problematic views this could be a really thrilling show for a Sunday night to get everyone ready for the week ahead.

bulldog drummond books

3. Guy Fraser-Sampson’s Hampstead Murders: This riveting series has a great cast of memorable and eclectic characters, making it a perfect platform for some really quirky performances from top actors. Fraser-Sampson has an innovative storytelling technique which would be great spread across a number of episodes, and as some of the author’s work has already been adapted for television (his Mapp and Lucia novels were made into a series by the BBC), he already has proven himself as a solid option for adaption.

2. Peter James’ Roy Grace Novels: Although James has teased a TV adaptation of his amazing novels (including in the interview he did for this blog, which you can read HERE), so far no official announcement has been made, which is a shame, as these novels are just made to be on TV. Grace is a great character, and James’ attention to detail would make a solid police procedural show.

1. Mark Ellis’ Frank Merlin Series: I have raved about these books in the past and with good reason: they are awesome. Ellis infuses his Second World War London with atmosphere and intrigue that would be beautiful on the small screen. His dogged and determined detective, who is a perfect combination of rugged and cultured, would be an ideal part for a stoic, stocky actor and the historic setting will allow for stunning costumes in a sort of Peaky Blinders style. All of the various elements from the series come together to create a potential TV series that I would be very excited to watch.

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