Kinder, gentler police/crime/detective shows

I didn’t watch the Inspector Lewis series when it first ran, but now I’m watching all of them on my Roku. I did see a couple of *Endeavour *and liked those. Looking forward very much to the Inspector Morse series.

I love the Oxford* setting, the slow pace, the lack of (or at least minimal) “action,” and violence. I like the relationships among the characters and the absence of loud shocking effects calculated to make you jump out of your chair or gag or both. The cerebral dialogue with literary references really appeals to me, too.

I was trying to think of any comparable American shows, but the only one I could think of was Monk.

Can anyone think of any kinder, gentler, police/crime/detective shows?

*The *per capita *body count in Oxford is approaching that of Cabot Cove, Maine.

Columbo would have to be obvious standout for this.

Other than the murder in the beginning, it’s a psychological games of will from the beginning until Columbo collects enough evidence to get the guilty party to confess in the end. While I didn’t care for the show for a number of reasons (it was too often a set piece with the guilty being caught too easily for one) it was/is good quality television for its era.

Barnaby Jones seemed pretty mellow, at least in my memory. Especially as Buddy Ebsen was in his 60s at the time.

Ellery Queen was also a thoughtful detective show. Lots of clue hunting.

Ironside was less actiony, but did have an occasional gun battle. Same for Perry Mason.

A lot of the “vintage” detective series from the BBC are good: Poirot, Miss Marple, Campion, and so forth.

I think there was also a brief series of Alexander McCall Smith’s No. One Ladies’ Detective Agency stories, although I haven’t seen it. Those are very gentle and character-driven.

Rumpole of the Bailey.

If you liked the Inspector Lewis series you should of course check out Inspector Morse which is where the character came from.

Also Foyle’s War should be to your tastes too.

Midsomer Murders, Scott and Bailey, A Taste of Frost. Dunno if I’d call them “kinder, gentler,” but definitely more thoughtful and dramatic than your average shoot-'em-up. Not at all for those with Attention Span Deficit.

Second Midsomer Murders. Any show where action takes place in an English village is going to be nice and mellow (see also Marple, as noted above).
Midsomer Murders* does like to make their killings grisly though. I saw some kind of “making of” documentary on the show and they come right out and say it.

Homicide: Life on the Street had very little violence in it. The shows concentrated on the aftermath of violent: how the cops found the criminal (and how they sometimes didn’t). There were a few episodes where someone was actually shown being shot, and those ended up creating plotlines that lasted for some time afterward.

But there were tons of relationship stories, not only among the cops, but also among the killers, and families of victims. It’s rarely a clever mystery; often they find the killer in a few minutes. But the stories and characters make this one of the best cop shows ever to appear on US TV.

The early years of Law & Order: Criminal Intent might qualify. Violence was mostly off-screen or implied, and unlike its sick sibling Law & Order: SVU, CI didn’t glory in showing naked women in bondage or benig humiliated. Also, there were several occasions in which Bobby Goren–despite his general tendency to mindfuck people into confessing–showed more than a little compassion for the murderer of the week. The episode with Neil Patrick Harris as a serial killer who clearly hated himself and was trying to stop comes to mind; Goren argued fairly passionately that the guy needed life imprisonment, not the death penalty.

That was interesting, partly for the Botswana setting. And of course you should see the Inspector Morse programs. Also, you might like the Inspector Lynley Mysteries, which are interesting partly for the interaction between Inspector Lynley (who is a member of the nobility) and sergeant Havers, who is from the working class.

I didn’t watch any of these but wouldn’t “Murder She Wrote,” “Matlock,” “The Father Dowling Mysteries,” and “Diagnosis Murder” all fit into that genre?

I’m watching “Castle” right now. It’s pretty tame.

…that are still running.

Check out Murdoch Mysteries.
There are no car chases.

Ponch and Jon never drew their weapons.

You would probably really enjoy Foyle’s War - it isn’t like an old lady cosy but it’s character driven and not generally bloody and all. Also it’s really good and now I’m remembering that I never finished it.

They finally got their chance in Loaded Weapon 1.

I did see a few of those and liked them. I guess I’m going to have to go back in time mostly to find this kind of show.

And only the occasional bicycle chase.