PBS fans love mystery, but they might not want the fates of beloved dramas to be shrouded in secrets. The COVID-19 pandemic has scrambled schedules, as filming was delayed and production postponed, but many of the best dramas and mysteries PBS has aired in recent years, plus some exciting new additions, are on their way. In this 50th anniversary year of Masterpiece, PBS and WTTW’s dramas and mysteries are as engrossing as ever.
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Cassie and Sunny search for the truth in the case of a long-missing man found dead in a scrapyard in the fourth season of Unforgotten. Another season is already in the works.
Professor Jasper Tempest is a brilliant criminologist at Cambridge University, which makes him a helpful advisor to the police. His OCD and difficult personality don’t.
Sunday, August 15, 11:00 am - 6:00 pm and Fridays beginning August 20 at 8:00 pm
Things get a little more whimsical and wacky in two new seasons of Midsomer Murders airing in August. On Sunday, August 15, you can spend the day with DCI Barnaby and DS Nelson as they tramp around the English countryside solving crimes connected to a book fair, magic show, folk festival, and winery in season 17 of the long-running series. Keep up with Barnaby and Nelson Fridays beginning August 20 at 8:00 pm as they dig into body-snatching, UFOs, competitive cycling, and more in season 18, which introduces an engaging new pathologist. There are plenty more seasons of Midsomer Murders to come.
Sundays, September 5 and 12
Usually Masterpiece mysteries follow the people trying to solve a crime, but in the case of the new drama Guilt we know exactly what happened from the very beginning. Coming in September, Guilt tells the story of two brothers who end up being the perpetrators of a hit-and-run on their way home from a wedding. As they become further and further enmeshed in their deceit, the niece of the victim, a private detective, a nosy neighbor, and even the mob get involved. Suffice it to say that things get a little out of control.
Call the Midwife
The cynical Guilt is succeeded by warm stories of humanity when Call the Midwife returns for its tenth season in October. We last saw the residents of Poplar enjoying a circus over the Christmas holiday while Sister Julienne laid plans for an expansion of Nonnatus House. As 1966 progresses, Julienne and Doctor Turner come into conflict over private healthcare. No matter what debates occur, however, the midwives never stop offering the best possible care in every aspect of life to their complicated, utterly human patients.
Catch up on previous seasons with our recaps.
Grantchester may not have made it to its tenth season yet, but with Will Davenport firmly in place as vicar of the picturesque village it holds steady as it enters its sixth season. Will has made a momentous decision regarding his vows as a priest and undertakes a destructive path alongside Geordie in the new season, according to the show’s creator, but it sounds like the season is the tortured Leonard’s to hold, with a big plotline coming for him. Filming wrapped in April, and the season will begin airing in the United States in October.
Like Van der Valk, Baptiste is entering a second season of gritty, psychologically complex mystery. In the wake of the startling revelation and tragedy of the first season, Julien Baptiste has pushed his wife away while enduring personal torment. He finds distraction in a high-profile case in Hungary, when the entire family of the British Ambassador disappears in the mountains there. The second season will begin airing in the United States in October.
Van der Valk
Soon after Grantchester finished production, Van der Valk started filming its second season in Amsterdam, in June of this year, after more than a year’s delay due to the pandemic. The troubled Van der Valk and his motley team keep up their work investigating murky murders in cloistered subcultures, from an alternative community to the diamond industry to the world of classical music. A release date has not been set, but add the show to your I-can’t-wait-to-watch list.
All Creatures Great and Small
Also in the offing is another season of All Creatures Great and Small, which delighted audiences at the beginning of this year with its tales of veterinary mishaps and small-town adventures. On Sunday, August 15 at 6:30 pm the cast and creators of this new version of a cherished classic revisit their favorite moments, remember the late Dame Diana Rigg in her role as Mrs. Pumphrey, and look ahead to the possibilities of a second season.
Speaking of a second season—and a third!—it was recently announced that Sanditon, the adaptation of Jane Austen’s final, unfinished novel that aired on Masterpiece in 2019, has been renewed for two more seasons. The first season ended in suspense, so audiences will finally be able to learn what happened to Charlotte and Sidney and their budding but doomed romance. The cast gathered for their first script read-throughs in July, so it will be a bit before the new seasons hit your screens, but we’re sure they will be well worth the wait!
Downton Abbey Film Sequel
And finally, there may not be any more seasons of Downton Abbey coming, but the hit series does have another film on the way. Filming is expected to wrap soon, and the latest news is that Downton’s second big-screen treatment is due out in March of next year. That might seem like a long time to wait, but don’t worry: Downton is available to stream by WTTW Passport members, and in the meantime you’ll have plenty of drama and mystery right here on WTTW and PBS to tide you over until then.