Britain is a country of ‘armchair detectives’, almost a third of whom believe they can solve real-life illegal offenses thanks to the skills they’ve picked up watching crime TV.

And of those “Holmes-from-Home” detectives, 71 percent believe they have the analytical skills and resources to solve a murder case — in real life.

A survey of 2,000 adults revealed the fascination of the private detective profession and the impact crime dramas have on the public.

Exactly half of crime fiction actors describe themselves as “armchair detectives” who find clues and motives in television shows.

And 91 percent cannot avoid regularly attending a police procedure to try to identify the killer.

The research was commissioned by new streaming service Viaplay, which recently launched in the UK and includes Nordic Noir box sets, documentaries and films.

A plot full of twists and a surprising ending are the key elements of a gripping crime drama
A plot full of twists and a surprising ending are the key elements of a gripping crime drama

Filippa Wallestam, EVP and Chief Content Officer at Viaplay Group, said: “The heroic detectives of crime fiction often make it look easy: collect the evidence, put the pieces together and catch the bad guy red-handed.

“It’s really exciting to see the plan come to fruition as the killer’s web begins to unravel, and we understand the tension at home trying to compete with super sleuths on screen.”

“When it comes to Nordic noir, it is especially evident in its raw dark brutality and very authentic storytelling style.”

Considering how a murderer gives themselves away, 25 percent believe that accidentally leaving DNA at a crime scene will spell their doom.

Leaving an incriminating item for detection by the detective, being caught in the act by CCTV, and finding a memento on the victim’s body were all identified as other factors that caught crooks in the act.

But despite being confident in their skills as private investigators, the average Briton believes they can only guess the killer 36 per cent of the time.

And one in three (34 percent) only attack the perpetrator if they know all the characters have been introduced.

For those who watch crime dramas, a plot full of twists and turns is the main factor that attracts them to the genre, followed by a surprising revelation at the very end.

Other popular features of detective drama include a smart, steadfast detective, a strong relationship between the protagonist and their partner, and a strong grounding in real police work.

When forced to describe their own detective style, 37 percent consider themselves detail-oriented and analytical—studying evidence, inspecting crime scenes and following leads.

However, the second most popular method of detection was loose cannons: hit the streets, find witnesses and hunt down the killer the hard way.

Nordic Noir's crime drama Face to Face is now available on the new streaming service Viaplay
Nordic Noir’s crime drama Face to Face is now available on the new streaming service Viaplay

Crime thrillers were named the most popular detective drama subgenre by those surveyed, followed by psychological thrillers and classic crime novels.

Policing, espionage and espionage, and gritty drama also became popular with criminal Brits.

And the content of these shows gets under their skin for a third (32 percent) of viewers, who have built extra safety measures into their own lives based on what they’ve learned from watching detective dramas.

43 percent of them now make sure they lock all doors when they’re at home, and 36 percent definitely keep friends and family informed when they’re out.

The poll, conducted by, found that 24 percent of morbid people feel most relaxed when looking at something dark, while 20 percent can’t help but be intrigued by dark subjects.

Viaplay’s Filippa Wallestam, who currently offers a seven-day free trial and recently published the popular Danish crime drama Face to Face, starring Lars Mikkelsen, added: “The detective genre is multifaceted and varied, full of deception. and mystery by design.

“It’s understandable that people want to curl up in their favorite armchair this winter and indulge in dark and intriguing crime content.”


  1. A plot full of unexpected twists
  2. A surprising twist at the end
  3. A smart team of researchers working together
  4. A smart, steadfast detective
  5. A good back and forth between the detective and his partner
  6. Strong basis in reality and real police work
  7. Focus on crime scenes and forensic investigations
  8. A cliffhanger (for example, will the detective find the culprit?)
  9. An unusual method of murder
  10. A shaky detective who doesn’t go by the book

The 10 most important factors when a murder gets the killer:

  1. leave DNA in place
  2. Accidentally left an incriminating object at the crime scene
  3. Seen on CCTV
  4. They take a memento from their victim, with which they are later found
  5. Leave a fingerprint on the crime scene
  6. They kill someone they know and are the prime suspect
  7. A witness comes forward to tell the detective what happened
  8. They try to kill the detective or someone the detective knows
  9. A clear confession
  10. They try to bribe the detective or convince him of their way of thinking – in vain