19 Lesser-Known TV Mini Series You Should Definitely Watch

tom hughes in bbc americas the game

Are you looking for a quick binge? Plenty of lesser-known TV miniseries are just waiting for you to dive in. We've compiled a list of our 20 favorites, with many of these series featuring some of the biggest names in the industry over the past couple of decades.

1. The Night Manager (2016) 

The Night Manager Tom Hiddleston
Image Credit: The Ink Factory.

Genre: Drama
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Coleman, and Elizabeth Debicki
Streaming On: Amazon Prime

The six-episode British series was based on John le Carré's novel “The Night Manager.” The crime drama follows the work of former British soldier Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston).

Pine, a hotel night porter, is contacted by an intelligence operative who asks for his assistance to spy on international businessman Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie). Pine attempts to infiltrate Roper's inner circle by becoming a felon while keeping his mission a secret from his hotel colleagues and girlfriend.

The Shadow Line (2011)

Christopher Eccleston
Image Credit: Company Pictures.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Christopher Eccleston, Kierston Wareing, and Richard Lintern
Streaming On: Roku Channel 

The seven-part British miniseries follows a murder investigated from both sides of the line – police and criminals. It delves into the opposing methods they use to solve it, the lines of morality between each character, and how far they’re willing to go. 

2. London Spy (2015)

London Spy
Image Credit: BBC America.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Edward Holcroft, Charlotte Rampling, Mark Gatiss, and Harriet Walter
Streaming On: Roku Channel

The series follows Danny (Ben Whishaw) as he delves into the suspicious death of his lover  Alex (Edward Holcroft), an MI6 code genius. Scottie (Jim Broadbent) guides him through the shady world of espionage and helps Danny as he steps outside his comfort zone into a world of danger. 

3. Inside Men (2012)

Inside Men
Image Credit: BBC Productions.

Genre: Crime, Drama
Cast: Steven Mackintosh, Ashley Walters, Warren Brown, and Kierston Wareing
Streaming On: Roku Channel

The four-episode British series centers around John Coniston (Steven Mackintosh), the manager of a cash-counting house. He leads an everyday life until he discovers that £50,000 has gone missing from the counting house.

He suspects the security guard Chris (Ashley Waters) and Marcus (Warren Brown) is responsible for the missing money. Instead of turning them in to the authorities, he joins them in a plan to execute a multimillion-pound money heist. 

4. The Game (2014)

The Game
Image Credit: BBC Cymru Wales.

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Cast: Tom Hughes, Brian Cox, Paul Ritter, Shaun Dooley, and Chloe Pirrie
Streaming On: Google Play

The BBC miniseries is set in 1972, during the high-tension Soviet plot to bring down Britain. Joe Lambe (Tom Hughes), a young MI5 operative, attempts to defect to the Soviet Union to be with his Russian contact and lover, Yulia (Zana Marjanović).

The plan goes awry, leading to Yulia’s death. Joe balances trying to learn more about the KGB enforcer who murdered Yulia while leading a team in the investigation of Operation Glass, tracking down enemy sleeper agents before it's too late. 

5. The Enfield Haunting (2015)

Enfield Haunting
Image Credit: Eleven Film.

Genre: Biography, Drama, Horror
Cast: Matthew Macfadyen, Rosie Cavaliero, and Timothy Spall
Streaming On: Amazon Prime 

The miniseries is based on real-life events in a North London home in 1977. Novice paranormal researcher Maurice Grosse (Timothy Spall) hears of a family reported being terrorized by supernatural forces.

After the recent death of his daughter, Maurice is drawn into the family's story, which involves a young girl. Maurice enlists the help of experienced investigator Guy Lyon Playfair (Matthew Macfadyen) to help him research the haunting. At first, Guy Lyon believes the case to be a scam until he encounters the evil presence.

6. A Young Doctor's Notebook (2012-2013)

A Young Doctor's Notebook
Image Credit: Big Talk Production.

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Cast: John Hamm, Daniel Radcliffe, and Rosie Cavaliero
Streaming On: Apple TV

The dark comedy is based on a series of short stories written by Russian playwright Mikhail Bulgakov, as he recounts his semi-biographical experiences as a young physician in a small village at the dawn of the Russian Revolution.

The fictional physician, Dr. Vladmir Bomgard, is portrayed by both John Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe at different points in his life, leading to a series of comic exchanges between the two men. 

7. Accused (2010-2012)

Image Credit: RSJ Films.

Genre: Crime, Drama
Cast: Christopher Eccleston, Juliet Stevenson, Peter Capaldi, Andy Serkis, and Sean Bean
Streaming On: Amazon Prime 

This British television anthology series tells a different story in each episode. It follows a different alleged criminal as they await their verdict in court, telling the story behind how they find themselves accused.

The show's main appeal is that in each episode, the accused is portrayed by a notable actor. 

8. Secret State (2012)

Secret State (2012)
Image Credit: Company Pictures.

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Cast: Gabriel Byrne, Charles Dance, Douglas Hodge, Rupert Graves, and Ruth Negga
Streaming On: Amazon Prime 

Inspired by Chris Mullin's novel “A Very British Coup,” the story follows Deputy Prime Minister Tom Dawkins (Gabriel Byrne) as he vows to take on the American petrochemical company Petrofex following a devastating accident on British soil.

After the Prime Minister dies in a suspicious plane crash, Dawkins' understated political ambitions are tested as Ros Yelland (Sylvestra Le Touzel) and Felix Durrell (Rupert Graves) vie for the role of Prime Minister.

9. This Is England ‘86 (2010)

This is England
Image Credit: Big Arty Productions.

Genre: Crime, Drama
Cast: Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, Andrew Shim, Vicky McClure, and Rosamund Hanson
Streaming On: Amazon Prime

An off-beat spin-off miniseries set three years after the award-winning film This is England. Rather than focusing on the skinhead subculture, it focuses on the mod revival scene, with the gang variously adopting an eclectic mix of clothing styles.

As Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) completes his last school exam, he realizes that he must find his way in the changing world. Two subsequent series were released, which focused on 1988 and 1990. 

10. Injustice (2011)

Image Credit: Injustice Films.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Cast: James Purefoy, Robert Whitelock, Lisa Diveney, Dervla Kirwan, and Nathaniel Parker
Streaming On: Pluto TV

Defense barrister William Travers (James Purefoy) has never fully recovered from a traumatic series of events that left him without faith in the legal system.

Despite his hesitation, he returns to the courtroom to aid his friend Martin Newall (Nathaniel Parker) as he finds himself facing murder and conspiracy charges. The series is a psychological thriller that examines morality and grapples with the question of guilt. 

11. State of Play (2003)

State of Play
Image Credit: Endor Productions.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Cast: David Morrissey, John Simm, Kelly Macdonald, Bill Nighy, and James McAvoy
Streaming On: Amazon Prime

While investigating the murder of a fifteen-year-old teenager in what appears to be a drug-related killing, journalist Cal McCaffrey (John Simm) and his colleagues Della Smith (Kelly Macdonald) and Cameron Foster (Bill Nighy) find a connection with the death of Sonia Baker, a young researcher for MP Stephen Collins (David Morrissey).

As their investigation progresses, they uncover a conspiracy with links to the corruption of high-ranking British government ministers.

12. The Company (2007)

The Company
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Television.

Genre: Drama, History, Romance
Cast: Chris O'Donnell, Alfred Molina, Michael Keaton, and Alessandro Nivola
Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video

Based on Robert Littell's best-selling novel, the miniseries chronicles the saga of the CIA from the perspective of three idealistic young college friends.

Jack McAuliffe (Chris O’Donnell) trains in Berlin with cynical mentor Harvey Torriti (Alfred Molina). At the same time, his best friend Leo Kritzky (Alessandro Nivola) navigates his way through the power maze of “the Company” in Washington. 

13. The Kill Point (2007)

The Kill Point
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Cast: Donnie Wahlberg, Michael Hyatt, John Leguizamo, and Tobin Bell
Streaming On: Tubi

The American miniseries follows a group of recently returned from duty U.S. Marines, led by Jake “Mr. Wolf” Mendez (John Leguizamo), as they come together to pull off a major bank heist of a Three Rivers Bank branch in Pittsburgh.

The bank robbery goes horribly wrong, and they come under fire from some law enforcement and private security personnel. Forced to retreat into the bank when their getaway driver is wounded, they take on hostages who end up helping them attempt to escape from the police who surround the bank.

14. Im Angesicht des Verbrechens (“In Face of the Crime”) (2010)

shutterstock 221441716
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Cast: Max Riemelt, Ronald Zehrfeld, Marie Bäumer, and Mišel Matičević
Streaming On: Not currently streaming

Set in the 1920s, this German miniseries delves into the world of Marek Gorsky (Max Riemelt), a Soviet Jewish immigrant, as he becomes a police officer who is determined to solve the murder of his brother.

While investigating the Mafia and his brother’s death, Marek falls in love with a young Ukrainian forced to work as a high-class prostitute in Berlin.

15. The Take (2009)

The Take
Image Credit: Company Pictures.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Cast: Tom Hardy, Shaun Evans, Kierston Wareing, and Charlotte Riley
Streaming On: Tubi 

Freshly released from prison, Freddie Jackson (Tom Hardy) is ready to use the connections he made behind bars. His younger cousin, Jimmy (Shaun Evans), dreams of making a name for himself on Freddie's coattails into a life of crime. Behind the success of their growing criminal empire sits Ozzy (Brian Cox), a legendary criminal godfather who manipulates Freddie and Jimmy's fates from the comfort of his prison cell.

16. Unforgiven (2009)

Image Credit: Kiselev Andrey Valerevich/Shutterstock.

Genre: Drama
Cast: Suranne Jones, Siobhan Finneran, Peter Davison, and Douglas Hodge
Streaming On: Amazon Prime 

Her past haunts Ruth Slater (Suranne Jones) after being released from fifteen years in prison for murdering two police officers as a teenager.

Through three episodes, Ruth searches for her sister, who she learns had been adopted and had her name changed following the murders. Her search is met with dead ends, hard feelings, and a plot for revenge. 

17. Deutschland 83 (2015)

Deutschland 83 (2015)
Image Credit: Laura Deschner/UFA Fiction.

Genre: Drama, History, Romance
Cast: Jonas Nay, Maria Schrader, Florence Kasumba, and Sylvester Groth
Streaming On: Amazon Prime

The German-American television series is set in West Germany in 1983. Martin Rauch (Jonas Nay), code name Kolibri is a border patrol guard from East Germany who goes undercover as a soldier for the HVA. He is sent to West Germany to be an Oberleutnant and aide-de-camp to Major General Edel (Ulrich Noethen).

18. Kampen Om Tungtvannet (“The Heavy Water War”) (2015)

The Heavy Water War: Stopping Hitler's Atomic BombOriginal title: Kampen om tungtvannet
Image Credit: NRK.

Genre: History, Drama, War
Cast: Espen Klouman Høiner, Christoph Bach, Anna Friel, and Pip Torrens
Streaming On: Amazon Prime

The Norwegian/Danish/British co-production miniseries dramatically recount one of the most exciting periods of time during the Second World War. The series follows the German nuclear weapon project and the heavy water sabotage in Norway, with a particular emphasis on the role of Leif Tronstad.

It also delves into the Nazis' efforts to develop an atomic bomb and the Allies desperate struggle to prevent it from happening. Although the series is based on real events, apart from Aubert, all other Nazi collaborating Hydro-directors were purposely not named.

19. Occupation (2009)

Image Credit: BBC Northern Ireland.

Genre: Drama, War
Cast: James Nesbitt, Stephen Graham, and Warren Brown
Streaming On: Apple TV

The miniseries follows three British Army soldiers who are pulled back to Iraq for a different reason. Each soldier was inspired to return to Basra for various reasons: one leaves his wife and returns for love, one seeks a fortune for monetary gain, and one for his belief that he can help the people of that war-torn country.

Bottom Line

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Hopefully, this list helped you find your new favorite miniseries that you otherwise may have been unfamiliar with. If it didn't, check out one of the countless free streaming services and find something new to binge today!

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Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.