19 Great Nordic Noir & Scandi Drama Series To Binge (Ranked)

Looking for a new Nordic or Scandinavian TV show to dive into? You’re not alone, and you’ve definitely reached the right place! Below I’ve compiled 19 of my favorite Nordic Noir and Scandinavian Drama series, along with critic ratings and a short description that doesn’t spoil too much. Binge away!

It is a golden age for Nordic and Scandinavian crime drama, which means it’s harder than ever to sift through all the options and decide what to watch next.

After all, following a show can be a bit of a commitment, even more so if it’s in a foreign language. And there’s nothing worse than getting invested into a show that seems promising, only to see it drop drastically in quality after a season or two.

I’ve listed my favorite 19 Nordic Noir and Scandi Drama series that I think you should check out of you’re into the Scandinavian genre, and I’ve sorted them by a combined average rating.

ℹ️ I’ve sorted this list based on cumulative average ratings from services such as IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and JustWatch. I’ve also included a trailer for each series, my opinion on why you should watch the series, and finally a link that will take you to all available streaming options in your country.
1

Bron/Broen (The Bridge)

The Ultimate Nordic Noir Series
YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Bron / Broen above

Bron / Broen (Sweden / Denmark)

Release Year: 2011
Number of Seasons: 3
Number of Episodes: 38
Starring: Sofia Helin, Kim Bodnia, Rafael Pettersson, Sarah Boberg, Thure Lindhardt
Synopsis: A body found on the bridge between Denmark and Sweden, right on the border, forces Danish inspector Martin Rohde and Swedish Saga Norén to share jurisdiction and work together to find the killer.

Overall Rating: 9.1

IMDb Average Rating

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score

JustWatch Rating

Why is Bron worth watching?

You might know it as Bron (Swedish), Broen (Danish), or The Bridge (not to be confused with the US remake from 2013), either way this is likely the best Nordic Noir series out there, and a must-watch if you haven’t already seen it.

Bron/Broen is a joint Swedish/Danish collaboration project through and through; it’s co-produced by SVT and DR (each country’s respective public service TV station), the whole story is based around the countries cooperating and solving the murder of a body found on the two countries’ exact border, and of course the collaboration of Swedish police detective Saga Norén and her Danish counterpart Martin Rohde.

The show features both beautiful and gloomy imagery from the cities of Malmö and Copenhagen (and their surroundings), and touches on interesting themes and subjects such as betrayal, seeking validation from others, taking responsibility, finding your identity, and dealing with the autistic spectrum.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

2

Borgen

Danish Political Drama
YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Borgen above

Borgen (Denmark)

Release Year: 2010
Number of Seasons: 4
Number of Episodes: 38
Starring: Sidse Babett Knudsen, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Freja Riemann
Synopsis: A Danish political drama centered around a prime minister’s rise to power, and the changes that bring to a person.

Overall Rating: 9.1

IMDb Average Rating

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score

JustWatch Rating

Why is Borgen worth watching?

Borgen is a gripping political story with excellent characters, providing an intersting insight into the best and worst of human tendencies when power is involved. A central theme of the show is balancing work and personal life, an important part of Scandinavian culture, and a battle most of us are familiar with.

The series is centered around Danish politics and media, and is primarily set in Copenhagen. It dives into complex subjects such as political strategy, navigating morals and ethics when you are in a position of power, and handling the consequences of ones actions.

The characters are complex and believable, and if you ever wanted to watch a Scandinavian hybrid of West Wing and Newsroom, this would be the closest thing you’ll find.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

3

Ófærð (Trapped)

YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Ófærð (Trapped) above

Ófærð (Iceland)

Release Year: 2015
Number of Seasons: 3
Number of Episodes: 28
Starring: Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir, Ingvar Sigurdsson, Elva María Birgisdóttir
Synopsis: In a remote town in Iceland, Police desperately try to solve a crime as a powerful storm descends upon the town.

Overall Rating: 9.0

IMDb Average Rating

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score

JustWatch Rating

Why is Trapped worth watching?

Trapped offers Icelandic scenery, a haunting score, engaging and believable characters, and a dark small-town murder mystery—an excellent combination for a gripping Nordic Noir series from Icelandic Baltasar Kormakur.

You will get an insight into the secluded Icelandic reality of life on a remote part of a remote island, with ruthless weather, unavoidable isolation, and very dark secrets.

I love the layered characters and complex storyline, and can safely say that if you’re into dark, moody Nordic Noir, you’ll love this.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

4

Forbrydelsen (The Killing)

YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Forbrydelsen (The Killing) above

Forbrydelsen (Denmark)

Release Year: 2007
Number of Seasons: 3
Number of Episodes: 40
Starring: Sofie Gråbøl, Morten Suurballe, Lars Mikkelsen
Synopsis: Danish Police detective Sarah Lund investigates difficult cases with personal and political consequences.

Overall Rating: 8.7

IMDb Average Rating

JustWatch Rating

Why is Forbrydelsen worth watching?

The Killing is a realistic and thrilling depiction of the dark worlds of finance and politics. With great characters, beautiful photography, and excellent acting, it’s a joy biting your nails as you follow Sarah Lund’s investigations of dirty business and mysterious murders.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

5

Tunna Blå Linjen (Thin Blue Line)

A human perspective of Malmö
YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Tunna Blå Linjen above

Tunna Blå Linjen (Sweden)

Release Year: 2021
Number of Seasons: 1 (Season 2 in 2022)
Number of Episodes: 10
Starring: Amanda Jansson, Oscar Töringe, Per Lasson, Anna Sise, Sandra Stojiljkovic, Gizem Erdogan
Synopsis: A down-to-earth and sobering story about the daily life of four police officers, and an insight into life in the animated and lively Swedish city of Malmö.

Overall Rating: 8.6

IMDb Average Rating

JustWatch Rating

Why is Tunna blå linjen worth watching?

Having grown up in and lived in Malmö för most of my life, Tunna Blå Linjen is one of the first series that has actually managed to capture and portray an honest Malmö story, with believable characters and a human side to it that feels genuine.

We get to follow surprisingly believable police characters in their day-to-day life in one of the more controversial cities in Sweden; Malmö. The city is often featured in media as a crime-ridden place, but as both the show and reality will reveal, it’s not that black and white.

Malmö can be both beautiful and ugly (culture-wise and city-wise), and Tunna blå linjen does a decent job showing this complexity. I’ve written an article listing all the reasons you need to go visit Malmö if you want to find out more.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

6

Sorjonen (Bordertown)

YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Sorjonen above

Sorjonen (Finland)

Release Year: 2016
Number of Seasons: 3
Number of Episodes: 31
Starring: Ville Virtanen, Matleena Kuusniemi, Anu Sinisalo
Synopsis: A quirky Sherlock-esque police detective from Finland tries to solve crimes while also keeping his family together.

Overall Rating: 8.5

IMDb Average Rating

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score

JustWatch Rating

Why is Bordertown worth watching?

The complexities of border areas is something we have gotten familiar with in other Nordic Noir series (the obvious example being The Bridge), and Bordertown delivers a very interesting perspective of the Finnish/Russian border town of Lappeenranta/Villmanstrand.

We get to follow the hyper-intelligent investigator Kari Sorjonen and the familiar dark shades of murder mysteries and psychopathic killers.

If you’re into Sherlock Holmes and American Psycho, this series will likely scratch your Nordic Noir itch perfectly.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

7

Kalifat (Caliphate)

YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Kalifat above

Kalifat (Sweden)

Release Year: 2020
Number of Seasons: 1
Number of Episodes: 8
Starring: Gizem Erdogan, Amed Bozan, Aliette Opheim
Synopsis: Agent Fatima gets a tip that a terrorist act is planned in Sweden. At the same time, the teenager Sulle has opened her eyes to her student assistant who opens the doors to a new fascinating world.

Overall Rating: 8.4

IMDb Average Rating

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score

JustWatch Rating

8.4NP Score
Kalifat (Sweden)

Release Year: 2020
Number of Seasons: 1
Number of Episodes: 8
Starring: Gizem Erdogan, Amed Bozan, Aliette Opheim
Synopsis: Agent Fatima gets a tip that a terrorist act is planned in Sweden. At the same time, the teenager Sulle has opened her eyes to her student assistant who opens the doors to a new fascinating world.

IMDb Rating
8.2
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score
8.6
JustWatch Rating
8.4

Why is Kalifat worth watching?

A fresh and controversial perspective on the global and specifically Scandinavian battle with terrorism, with great characters, acting, and an extremely gripping story.

The series features powerful scenes from life as an IS soldier, and does not rely on epic effects to keep you at the edge of your seat. It is extremely hard to stop watching it, and the director and actors all do a phenomenal job throughout the first season.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

8

Wallander

YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Wallander above

Wallander (Sweden/England)

Release Year: 2008
Number of Seasons: 4
Number of Episodes: 12
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Richard McCabe, Jeany Spark
Synopsis: A soul-searching southern Swedish detective fights his inner demons whilst solving bizarre crimes.

Overall Rating: 8.2

IMDb Average Rating

JustWatch Rating

Why is Wallander worth watching?

This may feel a bit weird, but an English series made it on the Nordic Noir list! Kennet Branagh nails the best portrayal of Henning Mankell‘s southern Swedish police detective Kurt Wallander in this series that takes place and was filmed in Ystad, Sweden.

There are Swedish adaptations of the books, but they just don’t reach the same level as this BBC series does, and this is something many other Swedes agree with as well.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

9

Okkupert (Occupied)

YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Okkupert above

Okkupert (Norway)

Release Year: 2015
Number of Seasons: 3
Number of Episodes: 24
Starring: Henrik Mestad, Ane Dahl Torp, Eldar Skar
Synopsis: Norway is occupied by Russia when a new environmentally friendly Norwegian government stops all production of oil and gas.

Overall Rating: 8.2

IMDb Average Rating

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score

JustWatch Rating

Why is Okkupert worth watching?

What will happen if a country all of a sudden stops pumping oil for environmental reasons? This is a very interesting question that we get to explore in Occupied, which handles tender subjects such as global warming, Russian influence on Europe, and national autonomy.

The show even resulted in Russia’s embassy handing in a formal protest against Swedish network SVT streaming the show to Swedes, which should tell you something about the story and themes of the show.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

10

Hjem til jul (Home for Christmas)

YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Hjem til jul above

Hjem til jul (Norway)

Release Year: 2019
Number of Seasons: 2
Number of Episodes: 12
Starring: Ida Elise Broch, Gabrielle Leithaug, Hege Schøyen
Synopsis: The societal pressure against single life finally gets to 30 year old Johanne, as she starts a hunt for a partner to bring home to her family for Christmas.

Overall Rating: 7.9

IMDb Average Rating

JustWatch Rating

Why is Home for Christmas worth watching?

Home for Christmas is something a bit different; a witty but engaging drama taking us on a Norwegian Love Actually-esque love story, where we follow Johanne on her quest for a partner.

The show looks great, and Ida Elise Broch does an excellent job portraying the more and more desperate Johanne.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

11

Den som dræber (Those Who Kill)

YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Den Som Dræber above

Den som dræber (Denmark)

Release Year: 2011
Number of Seasons: 2 (+ 1 movie)
Number of Episodes: 16
Starring: Natalie Madueño, Kenneth M. Christensen, Tobias Santelmann
Synopsis: Investigator Jan and profiler Louise constantly move around in the thrilling periphery of a murderer’s view as they link a series of killings.

Overall Rating: 7.8

IMDb Average Rating

JustWatch Rating

Why is Den som dræber worth watching?

Those Who Kill is a fast-paced, thrilling Nordic Noir series following a special unit within the Copenhagen police.

Good characters, solid story, and great episodes where we get to follow the hunt for a serial killer on the loose.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

12

Jägarna (The Hunters)

YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Jägarna above

Jägarna (Sweden)

Release Year: 2018
Number of Seasons: 2 (+ 2 movies)
Number of Episodes: 12
Starring: Rolf Lassgård, Johan Marenius Nordahl, Annika Nordin
Synopsis: Erik returns to the northernmost of Sweden after a lifetime with Stockholm police save Jägarna (1996) and Jägarna 2 (2011). Retirement doesn’t become him so he helps his nephew Peter, a rookie at the local police.

Overall Rating: 7.8

IMDb Average Rating

JustWatch Rating

Why is Jägarna worth watching?

When the first Jägarna movie came out, it gave a moody, depressing, but gripping account of life in Northern Sweden (Norrland).

Since then another movie has come out plus a recent series with many of the same actors, keeping up the dark and suspenseful style of the movies (which are considered classics by most Swedes).

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

13

Gåsmamman

YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Gåsmamman above

Gåsmamman (Sweden)

Release Year: 2015
Number of Seasons: 6
Number of Episodes: 46
Starring: Alexandra Rapaport, Clara Christiansson Drake, Edvin Ryding, Tommy Körberg
Synopsis: Sonja lives a carefree life with her family near Stockholm and works as an accountant in the family business at the marina. One day Sonja is drawn into the criminal underworld to save her family.

Overall Rating: 7.7

IMDb Average Rating

JustWatch Rating

Why is Gåsmamman worth watching?

This is an interesting story in the mold of Bron and Wallander, in which we follow “Goose mother” Sonja from a mostly normal life to one in which she is balancing organized crime and protecting her family.

Kind of a cross between Erin Brockovich and Breaking Bad, if you want to believe the promotional work of the showmakers.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

14

Midnattssol (Midnight Sun)

YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Midnattssol above

Midnattsol (Sweden)

Release Year: 2016
Number of Seasons: 1
Number of Episodes: 8
Starring: Leïla Bekhti, Gustaf Hammarsten, Albin Grenholm, Peter Stormare
Synopsis: The brutal murder of a French citizen sees French homicide investigator Kahina Zadi go to Kiruna, Sweden. Together with Rutger Burlin she begins an investigation that soon takes on staggering proportions.

Overall Rating: 7.7

IMDb Average Rating

JustWatch Rating

Why is Midnattssol worth watching?

This is a unique French and Swedish collaboration centered around a mysterious murder in the arctic northern Sweden. It touches on Sami culture and dark myths of the north.

In true Scandinavian Noir fashion, the series leaves you at the edge of your seat as you follow along in the thrilling investigation by Swedish and French police.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

15

Beck

YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Beck above

Beck (Sweden)

Release Year: 1997
Number of Seasons: 7
Number of Episodes: 42
Starring: Peter Haber, Ingvar Hirdwall, Rebecka Hemse, Mikael Persbrandt,
Synopsis: Commissioner Martin Beck and his eccentric partner Gunvald Larsson investigate murders in Stockholm, Sweden.

Overall Rating: 7.7

IMDb Average Rating

JustWatch Rating

Why is Beck worth watching?

Beck is a classic Swedish crime drama, with famous characters and a longevity few other series can match.

The rage of Gunvald and calculated police work of Martin creates a great chemistry, and although it doesn’t quite reach the heights of more modern Nordic Noir, it’s still worth checking out if you have the time!

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

16

Innan vi dör (Before We Die)

YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Innan vi dör above

Innan vi dör (Sweden)

Release Year: 2017
Number of Seasons: 2
Number of Episodes: 18
Starring: Marie Richardson, Adam Pålsson, Magnus Krepper
Synopsis: A police inspector in the organised crime unit disappears after meeting with a mysterious informer.

Overall Rating: 7.6

IMDb Average Rating

JustWatch Rating

Why is Innan vi dör worth watching?

This shows sheds some light on the Stockholm underworld of drugs, gangs, and organized crime. A police invetigators son turns to a crime family after a falling-out, and we get an insight into how the darker side of the Swedish capital looks.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

17

Efterforskningen (The Investigation)

YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Efterforskningen above

Efterforskningen (Denmark)

Release Year: 2021
Number of Seasons: 1
Number of Episodes: 6
Starring: Søren Malling, Pilou Asbæk, Pernilla August, Rolf Lassgård
Synopsis: Copenhagen Police’s Homicide unit, headed by Jens Møller, tries to solve the murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall.

Overall Rating: 7.6

IMDb Average Rating

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score

JustWatch Rating

Why is Efterforskningen worth watching?

The series documents the mysterious case from 2017 when a Swedish journalist went missing after doing research for an article on a submarine with a Danish contractor. The sub is found with traces of murder, but the journalist is missing.

From the creators of Borgen, the Investigation delivers a similar mood and style with some familiar faces. You find yourself gasping and wanting more after each episode, and it is very interesting finding out more about this most peculiar real-world case.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

18

The Valhalla Murders

YouTube player

Watch the trailer for The Valhall Murders above

The Valhalla Murders (Iceland)

Release Year: 2019
Number of Seasons: 1
Number of Episodes: 8
Starring: Aldís Amah Hamilton, Bergur Ebbi Benediktsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir
Synopsis: Police profiler Arnar is sent back home from Oslo to his native Iceland to investigate the country’s first serial killer case. He teams up with the local senior cop Kata.

Overall Rating: 7.6

IMDb Average Rating

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score

JustWatch Rating

Why is The Valhalla Murders worth watching?

The Valhalla Murders is a solid Nordic Noir mini series that follows the genre very well, with a gripping story and complex characters that grow as the show goes on.

Along with the main character we are taken to Iceland, for a beautiful and dark setting that fits the mysterious murders perfectly.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch

19

Dicte

YouTube player

Watch the trailer for Dicte above

Dicte (Denmark)

Release Year: 2013
Number of Seasons: 3
Number of Episodes: 30
Starring: Iben Hjejle, Lærke Winther, Dar Salim
Synopsis: Dicte is a dedicated reporter and refuses to give up before she has her story. Her stubbornness gives her problems immediately with the policeman John Wagner, and they often get into clashes with each other.

Overall Rating: 7.6

IMDb Average Rating

JustWatch Rating

Why is Dicte worth watching?

If you liked Borgen, you’ll most likely enjoy Dicte as well, with many familiar faces and a story that holds you tight throughout the show.

We get to follow the interesting battle between a reporter trying to protect her sources, and a police investigator trying to find the truth.

↗️ Find where to stream on JustWatch


Summary:

The Nordic Noir & Scandi Drama genres have spawned a ton of really good quality shows that capture that uniquely dark, minimalistic, grounded, warm, and ultimately human feeling you can only get in the modern Nordic sagas.

I’ve watched more than I’d like to admit and can personally recommend all of the series in this article for your next Nordic TV binge!



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Karl Andersson

As a native Swede with a Finnish mother, Karl identifies as both Nordic and Scandinavian. He left Sweden at 19 to explore the world, and stayed abroad for almost 8 years—during which he backpacked, worked every job there was, earned a degree from UC Berkeley, and met the future mother of his children. He ultimately returned to his native Malmö with his love, where they now have 3 Swedish-American boys eager to explore the world.

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