Murder, mystery, criminals, and crime

15 August 2023
Watch these crime-solving women on M-Net.
collage of women in crime shows

Crime is a massive genre, one that’s kept fans glued to the page, the stage, and the screen. Right here on M-Net we’ve had plenty of crime shows over the years and the popularity of the genre means they keep coming. 

But not all crime shows are the same: there’s a big difference between true crime shows, police procedurals, and murder mystery whodunnits. While you may not like one, you may love another … but at the heart of these stories, you’ll usually find a search for justice, often led by some form of determined detective.

Since the crime shows keep coming and since it’s Women’s Month, we decided it was the perfect time to celebrate the crime-busting women you can watch on M-Net.

Based on a True Story
This one’s more comedy than crime; in fact, it’s a parody of how obsessed people have become with true crime. It follows a financially flailing couple who start a podcast as a means of making money … and possibly finding a killer too. The fabulous Kaley Cuoco plays one half of said couple and we’re here for it! The actress has kept herself busy since The Big Bang Theory ended. Her other project, The Flight Attendant, is immensely enjoyable, and if you love murder, mystery, and Kaley, it’s got plenty of all three. Stream it on Showmax here.

Watch Based on a True Story season 1 Mondays at 20:00 on M-Net or on DStv Stream here.

Nancy Drew
One of the most intrepid sleuths of all time, Ms Drew has been around since the 1930s. First appearing in a series of teen novels that’s lasted decades, she’s been brought to the screen many times since. The latest iteration is this successful transplant to the 21st century. Kennedy McMann has tackled the title role with aplomb, and she’s joined by Leah Lewis and Maddison Jaizani as her friends George and Bess.

Almost a hundred years ago this trio of girlfriends was doing it for the ladies, proving that they were smart enough to solve crimes … and rescue themselves out of all manner of sticky situations – sometimes they even had to rescue Nancy’s hapless boyfriend Ned.

Sadly, this show is in its final season, but we’ve no doubt that in years to come we’ll see Nancy reemerge in one form or another. You can also check out the 2007 film adaptation with Emma Roberts as the teen detective on Showmax here.

Nancy Drew season 4 starts Friday 18 August at 21:00 on M-Net. You can also watch it on DStv Stream here.

NCIS: Hawai’i
The CSIs and NCISs of the world are the reason we’re permanently glued to our couches … and they’re continuous proof of how popular this genre is. One of the latest renditions is the third NCIS spin-off, focusing on a naval investigation field team led by the first female special-agent-in-charge Jane Tennant, played by Vanessa Lachey.

Watch NCIS: Hawai’i season 2 Wednesdays at 19:00 on M-Net or on DStv Stream here.

Poker Face
Agatha Christie wrote dozens of murder mystery novels over many decades and has inspired many writers since. She’s also inspired filmmakers. Kenneth Branagh has been busy bringing her novels to the big screen. But Rian Johnson, while inspired by the Queen of Crime, has given us a brilliant, original whodunnit (and its equally entertaining sequel) in the form of Knives Out. It features a brilliant, brand-new detective called Benoit Blanc, delightfully played by Daniel Craig. 

But now Johnson’s focusing on a new murder mystery. Much like many crime shows, this series follows a murder-of-the-week format. Unlike many shows, the murderer is revealed at the start of the episode in what is termed a “howcatchem”, as opposed to a “whodunnit” – much like Columbo used to do. And this time Johnson has a female sleuth at the centre of the intrigue.

Charlie Cale has a very special ability – she can tell if you’re lying. This, paired with her natural curiosity and impulse to do the right thing, makes her the perfect person to solve crimes. Natasha Lyonne is bombastic and brilliant in the role of Charlie, making her sweet, gritty, vulnerable, and tough as chewing gum stuck in your hair. It’s a little darker than Knives Out, but its humour is just as cheeky.

Watch Poker Face season 1 Wednesdays at 21:00 on M-Net or on DStv Stream here.

Which of these crime-solving women is your favourite? Join the conversation on social media @MNet on Twitter, @MNet on Facebook, @mnettv  on Instagram, and @mnet on TikTok.