5 foreign-language TV series you need to see



You have had your fill of Breaking Bad, The Wire, The Sopranos, and everything else good coming out of the US during our Golden Age of TV. So maybe it is time to try some of these donnish box sets from around the world!

Romanzo Criminale (Italy) – 2008

The Romanzo Criminale TV show

Literally translating to mean ‘crime novel’ – this two-season TV show is about the rise of a criminal organisation in Italy in the 1970s. Fantastic acting and intertwined storylines from the perspective of the criminals and the police. If you loved The Wire then this is for you. Great soundtrack too! Brutal and gripping. Must-watch!

Broen/Bron (The Bridge) (Sweden/Denmark) – 2011

The Bridge

There are now three excellent seasons of this collaboration, made between Swedish and Danish TV networks. Named after the Oresund Bridge that links Copenhagen in Denmark with Malmo in Sweden, it follows the police forces of both cities as they solve the mystery of a dead body found exactly halfway across the bridge. A great lead performance by the compelling Sofia Helin as Porsche-driving policewoman Saga Norgen. Dark and menacing Scandi-noir.     

Hatufim (Prisoners of War) (Israel) – 2010


Set in 2008, Hautufim tells the story of three Israeli soldiers who have been taken prisoner while working undercover. This was the inspiration for US TV series Homeland. It covers the same themes of terrorism, trust, and betrayal. Compelling!

Forbrydelsen (The Killing) (Denmark) – 2007


This is another show recently remade in the US. The Killing is probably the first and best of the dark dramas to come out of Scandinavia recently. We follow policewoman Sarah Lund as she investigates the death of a young girl (while wearing her famous knitted sweater). This is a dark and addictive mystery that ties together policing and politics as it unravels. Unlike her sweater, which stays knitted together throughout.

Cidade dos Homens (City of Men) (Brazil TV) – 2002

The City of Men

From the same team (and many of the same cast) that put together the amazing City of God. City of Men continues the stories of crime and day-to-day life in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. More light-hearted than the film, but still carrying the same themes and the same brilliantly interwoven stories. Amazing!


Tags donTV