23 February 2023

The best drama-filled cop shows to stream on Showmax

Rock out with the cops with police procedural series on Showmax that go beyond the beat. 

From our earliest Paw Patrol days we were fascinated by the worlds of crime and policing and the clear playground morality of goodie vs baddie. And when you’re grown up, there’s nothing like the mix of puzzle solving, camaraderie, family-style teamwork, and high stakes action-rescue adrenaline that cops shows give us … along with a major plotline that ties up after about 40 minutes.

Once you pick your perfect cop show, it’s going to press that comfort viewing button really reliably. Here is the trail of clues on Showmax …

East New York Season 1 

East New York is on Showmax

This brand-new procedural from the producers of NYPD Blue centres on a Brooklyn station house and the efforts by their new commanding officer Deputy Inspector Regina Haywood (Amanda Warren) to reconnect cops with the community, rather than letting the rich use police to control the poor.

That starts with having her beat cops live in their neighbourhood’s crime-ridden buildings. The tension between the community, the police and the politics of the city is the series’s biggest “case” to solve. New episodes land every Thursday. PS: If you’re fascinated by the big picture story, try We Own This City or The Wire next.  

We Own This City Season 1 

Ex-crime reporter David Simon and writer George Pelecanos (who co-produced crime drama series The Wire) based this series on Justin Fenton’s true crime book about the rise and fall of the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force.

The story starts with protests following charges being dropped against six officers involved in the death of (real-life) 25-year-old Black man Freddie Gray in police custody. And the show takes us back and forward in time to explore the roots and consequences of police corruption and systemic racism. Jon Bernthal gives a career-best performance as rotten cop Wayne Jenkins. 

The Wire Seasons 1-5

Series writer David Simon and co-creator Ed Burns (a former homicide detective) took the years that they spent talking to police, civilians, politicians and gang members, and transformed it into a series that explores Baltimore’s devastating wave of crime and poverty during the 1990s, and how this was shaped by changes in economic forces and public policy.

Each season focuses on a different group, from the illegal drug trade and police, to the news media. A series standout is Michael Kenneth Williams as gangster Omar Little, who warns his wanna-be assassins, “Come at the king, you best not miss.” 

The Rookie Seasons 1-3 

The Rookie is on Showmax

If you’re looking for something more light-hearted that still delivers an interesting story and action, The Rookie is here for your stop-and-frisk. Forty-five-year-old John Nolan (Nathan Fillion, who worked with The Rookie’s executive producer Alexi Hawley on dramedy series Castle) joins the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) as their oldest trainee officer.

It sounds crazy, but it’s based on the real-life story of William Norcross. John’s keenness and sincerity are brought into sharp contrast with the everyday realities of police work in LA.  

Bosch Seasons 1-7 

Cases and characters from author Michael Connelly’s tightly written Bosch novels (1992-2021) form the backbone of this gritty, stylish detective drama series starring Titus Welliver as ex-special forces soldier turned Hollywood homicide detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch.

He’s one of your sarcastic, defective detective types with a private life like a dumpster fire, and a love for smooth jazz. With his partner Detective Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector), Harry walks a fine line between being by the book and bending the rules. 

Bulletproof Seasons 1-3 

Real-life friends Noel Clarke and Ashley Walters pitched this show as a way of creating Black male role models for inner-city kids. So no matter what happens, childhood friends Aaron Bishop (Noel) and Ronnie Pike (Ashley) will never betray each other, or turn crooked.

Expect high-adrenaline crime-solving with buddy cop banter, and look out for Season 3, in which Bishop and Pike’s Cape Town holiday turns into a kidnapping case.

Crime and Justice Lagos Season 1 

This is Showmax’s second Original Crime and Justice series, with the original, ongoing series being set in Kenya. In Lagos we ride along with Superintendent Kelechi “KC” Farasin  (Folu Storms) and Superintendent Danladi Dikko (Jammal Ibrahim) of the elite Serious and Special Crimes Unit (SSCU).

It’s a fascinating window into Nigerian life, with episode 3 set during an Oro Procession (a men-only event celebrating the Yoruba god, Oro), and episode 4, Clash, being inspired by the Lekki Tollgate protester killings in October 2020.  

Law & Order: Organised Crime Season 1 

Detective Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) of SVU returns to the streets of New York with a new job at the city’s OCCB (Organized Crime Control Bureau) task force, as the NYPD’s liaison to Rome as he investigates Mafia-like crime families and terrorism.

And yes, the dream team will be back together every now and then as Stabler calls on his former partner Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) for help as he works on both OCCB cases, and catching his wife’s killers. You can also watch Law & Order: SVU Season 21 on Showmax. 

Die Byl Seasons 1-4 

How much tension can you take? Serial killers aren’t just stalking the United States, they’re creeping right here in our backyards. Luckily Colonel Piet van der Bijl (Waldemar Schultz) and his elite squad of investigators have just one job: to catch serial killers and put them behind bars. But when you hunt monsters, sometimes they enjoy the challenge, and they start hunting you back, like Smiley (Deon Lotz) and Adriaan Kloppers (Laudo Liebenberg), who have an axe to grind with Byl.

Also look out for criminals like the hypnotherapist who kills patients who look like his wife, or the pharmacist who finds his school bullies and sells their organs on the black market. NB! Season 4 comes to Showmax to binge from Thursday, 2 March. And If you love Byl’s creepiest cases and want to dig deep into a single serial killer case, try Donkerbos, Reyka, or a local detective show with a supernatural twist: Die Spreeus

Projek Dina Seasons 1-2 

Projek Dina is on Showmax

Stolen kids, missing people, victims stolen in human trafficking schemes and similar forms of gender-based violence need someone to save the day, as every hour that passes sinks them deeper into suffering. The Projek Dina Task Force is on the way to bring lost souls home, and to put abusers behind bars. It’s a passion project for deputy officer Ronel Oosthuizen (Chanelle de Jager), as it’s named after her abducted twin sister.

Ronel has never given up on Dina, and she continues her heartbreaking search for her throughout the seasons as she, Deon Visagie (Tim Theron), Lux Dladla (Chumani Pan) and Charlie Botha (Kay Smith) take on cases inspired by real-life South African crimes. PS: For more missing persons investigations and drama, try Spoorloos on Showmax.  

Die Boland Moorde Seasons 1-2 

We heard it through the grapevine: something wicked is happening behind South Africa’s tourism picture-perfect winelands. The Boland Investigative Unit led by Warrant Officers Andre Fourie (Stian Bam) and Shane Williams (Brendon Daniels) use their keen eye for human nature to dig into the jealousies, passions and schemes that lead to people poisoning the teacups and garrotting the vicar in and around Stellenbosch.

For fans of series like Midsomer Murders and Recipes For Love And Murder, this is one of our “cosy mystery” shows.   

Arresting movies 

Tired of sticking to the letter of the law? These cop movies on Showmax are breaking all the rules! 


R.I.P.D. is the Rest In Peace Department, where dead cop Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) hunts down souls who’ve escaped judgement in this action comedy.  


A small town police station becomes ground zero for a raging battle between a rookie cop (Alexis Louder), a hitman (Gerard Butler) and a conman (Frank Grillo) in this action flick.  

Police Academy 5, 6 & 7:

A group of eccentric rookie cops who don’t fit the system take on cases under the dubious guidance of their kindly idiot boss, Commandant Eric Lassard (George Gaynes) in this cop comedy movie series that launched in the mid-1980s.  

City Of Lies

This crime thriller starring Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker looks at the LAPD’s investigation into the murders of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. 


Ex-con Sharky Majola is lured into one last job: stealing a DNA-altering formula. But an accident sees him swap bodies with unlucky cop Jan Venter (Rob Van Vuuren) in this slapstick action comedy.  

Blitz Patrollie

Bumbling Joburg cops Rummy Augustine (Joey Rasdien) and his partner, Ace Dikolobe (David Kau) land the case of a lifetime when they catch wind of a massive drug deal in this action comedy.  

Thys & Trix

Bickering brother and sister cops Trix (Leandie du Randt) and Thys (Bouwer Bosch) have to go undercover as husband and wife in this cop comedy.  

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