• Noir Not Nordic (L - R) 'Taboo', 'Pagan Peak', 'Baghdad Central' and 'Reyka'. (SBS)Source: SBS
Can't get enough of Nordic Noir? They aren't the only region excelling in telling chilling crime stories, as you'll discover in the SBS On Demand Noir Not Nordic Collection.
SBS Guide

25 Oct 2021 - 3:04 PM  UPDATED 25 Oct 2021 - 3:04 PM

Pagan Peak

Let's begin with the show that's probably the closest to Nordic Noir because it was inspired by The Bridge. If you've seen The Bridge this will sound familiar – when a body is discovered on the border between Germany and Austria, a joint investigation is launched. But that's where the similarities end, pitted together are the confident, optimistic German detective Ellie Stocker (Julia Jentsch) and her Austrian counterpart, the nihilistic cynic, police inspector Gedeon Winter (Nicholas Ofczarek). The killer has arranged the body in a way that indicates some kind of pagan ritual took place. Murders continue and the killer leaves messages and stylises himself as Krampus, a folkloric demonic creature that must punish society for its sins.

Pagan Peak season 1 is streaming now at SBS On Demand.



The first South African drama of its kind, this eight-part series follows expert criminal profiler, Reyka Gama (Kim Engelbrecht). Being abducted as a child has given Reyka profound insight into deviant minds in her work for Scotland Yard. Now a mother herself, she returns to her hometown to investigate a string of serial murders among the sugarcane fields of KwaZulu-Natal. Speelman (Iain Glen), the farmer that abducted her, is not quite ready to let go of her (even from prison) and Reyka's mother, Elsa (Anna-Mart van der Merwe) struggles to see her daughter's life spiral into cycles of obsession with her abductor and her work.

South African Noir makes a compelling debut in the new dark crime drama ‘Reyka’
Forget the chilly surrounds of snow and ice: the haunting cane fields of South Africa is our new favourite location for a dark crime drama.

Reyka season 1 is now streaming at SBS On Demand.



If you are after a brooding, dark and mysterious British period drama (with added Tom Hardy) then look no further. Set in 1814, Taboo follows James Keziah Delaney (Hardy), a man who has been to the ends of the earth and comes back irrevocably changed. Believed to be long dead, he returns home to London from Africa to inherit what is left of his father's shipping empire and rebuild a life for himself. But his father's legacy is a poisoned chalice, and with enemies lurking in every dark corner, James must navigate increasingly complex territories to avoid his own death sentence. Encircled by conspiracy, murder and betrayal, a dark family mystery unfolds in a combustible tale of love and treachery.

Taboo season 1 is now streaming at SBS On Demand.



Based on the best-selling books, Cardinal has all the elements you want for a perfect noir crime drama. There's our charismatic detective duo John Cardinal (Billy Campbell – also a lover of Nordic noir) who has a haunted and complex history and his partner Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse) who is secretly investigating him. The murder cases are complex, full of mysteries and twists and turns. Plus there is the incredible cold and beautiful Canadian landscapes as a back drop. Cardinal is made up of all the best parts of the genre, and makes them all its own.

Cardinal star Billy Campbell on his love of Scandi Noir and that one time he was The Rocketeer
Billy Campbell talks with SBS from the set of Cardinal while filming the second season of the Canadian noir drama.
Canadian noir Cardinal questions who you can trust
Cardinal, the new Canadian detective mystery is a thrilling and enigmatic story in the style of Scandi Noir, set to a backdrop of corruption, knee-deep snow drifts, and personal stories of suffering.

Every episode of Cardinal is now streaming at SBS On Demand.



The colour dial is being turned up to 11 in the revenge thriller Reprisal. The show follows one woman's journey of vengeance against the powerful gang that tried to kill her. After being left for dead, Doris (Abigail Spencer) has re-emerged years later and many miles away into a quaint new life in Detroit. Armed with the expected inheritance from the impending death of her husband, Doris embarks on a vengeful mission to destroy the gang.

As mysterious connections are revealed and secrets uncovered, Reprisal packs intense action and graphic violence into Doris' story of rescue and retribution. You may not be able to pinpoint what era it's set in, but that's what makes this rockabilly neo noir so original, stylish and enjoyable. 

Prepare to get hooked on the pulpy intrigue of revenge-thriller ‘Reprisal’
Vengeance and violence, formidable women who defy expectations, references to a gone-too-soon Hollywood heartthrob – this new rockabilly noir series has it all.
Who’s who in rockabilly-noir thriller ‘Reprisal’
Featuring stars from ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Deadwood’ to ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Home and Away’, this new revenge-thriller series boasts a very impressive cast.

Reprisal is now streaming at SBS On Demand.


The Crimson Rivers

This gripping two-season French thriller is based on the best-selling novel by Jean-Christophe Grangé, who is also the creative force behind the show. The Crimson Rivers follows detective Pierre Niémans (played by the legendary Olivier Marchal) and his new partner Camille Delauney (Erika Sainte) as they investigate a series of bizarre crimes in remote areas across France. Each case has a touch of the mystical about it, revealing forgotten customs or regional myths.

French crime series ‘The Crimson Rivers’ runs with sinister twists on murder
Grim and gruesome ritual murders in rural France? Detectives Pierre and Camille are on the (creepy) case.

The Crimson Rivers seasons 1–2 are now streaming at SBS On Demand.


Paris Police 1900

Let's stay in France but roll back 100 years or so for some Belle Époque Noir, where we enter the city upon the sudden death of President Félix Faure, and rising anarchy amid the prominence of the far right and anti-Semitism. When police chief Louis Lepine (Marc Barbe) is urgently called out of retirement to restore order in Paris, the tragic discovery of a young woman's torso in a suitcase floating down the Seine, spurs a young, ambitious detective Antoine Jouin (Jeremie Laheurte) into action at the heart of the police headquarters. Joseph Fiersi (Thibaut Evrard) is a corrupt officer known for blackmail who also moonlights as a hit man for the undercover police. He's taken a particular interest in this criminal investigation and enlists Med Steinheil (Evelyne Brochu) – the courtesan accused of killing the frail-hearted president during sex – to work as a spy for him. Every Golden Age has a dark side.

Paris Police 1900 is now streaming at SBS On Demand.


Baghdad Central

We couldn't be further away from the icy fjords and chilling landscapes of Scandinavia now. Baghdad Central immerses us in the warm tones and hot sun of Iraq. We are in Baghdad 2003, Saddam Hussein has been thrown out of power and the US-led Coalition forces now occupy Iraq. Muhsin Al-Khafaji (Waleed Zuaiter), a care-worn but resilient ex-Iraqi police inspector, no longer recognises his country. When his eldest and recently estranged daughter Sawsan (Leem Lubany) goes missing, he makes it his sole aim to track her down and bring her home. 

Al-Khafaji is a perfect noir detective/inspector – he has a dark past, a small drinking problem, his detective skills are top-notch and he is also extremely charismatic. The landscape, while changed up from Nordic Noir, completely adds to the tension, because what is more stressful than toeing the line between the new local Iraqi-led police and the US military police while searching for your missing daughter?

'Baghdad Central' is noir in the desert
Searching for your missing daughter is a tough job anywhere, but on the streets of Baghdad after the US invasion? It’s enough to get you killed.

Baghdad Central is now streaming at SBS On Demand.


Explore more Noir Not Nordic, Nordic Noir, Nordic Not Noir and Not Nordic Nor Noir at SBS On Demand.


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