The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
This Oscar-winning film is closer in spirit to Jessica Jones’ chilling investigation than its own prequel TV series, NBC's Hannibal. Jessica is like a capricious, carnal Clarice Starling, and the two characters are draped in a similar shade of gloom as they hunt down insidious enemies. Like the Netflix series, the methodical pacing of The Silence of the Lambs creeps us out as much as any human skin tanning. Cable TV had its way with Silence of the Lambs over the years, but chew on the commercial-free rated-R version in one sitting and you’ll find yourself properly absorbed and terrified. (Stream on Netflix.)
Veronica Mars (2004-07)
If HBO or Netflix had developed Kristen Bell’s high school-set detective series instead of UPN, it might have been the spitting image of Jessica Jones. Bell’s Veronica is also a resourceful, sarcastic, and overzealous private investigator, and neither series starts in a cheerful place. Veronica is balancing her extracurricular leads with the blurry circumstances of her own rape -- heavy stuff, but Bell and creator Rob Thomas keep it zippy. And Krysten Ritter shows up in season two to link Veronica Mars even more closely to Jessica Jones. (Stream on Amazon Prime.)
The Fall (2013-present)
This arty BBC/RTE import, about a detective (Gillian Anderson) doggedly tracking down a serial killer (Fifty Shades of Grey's Jamie Dornan), is worth your time, too. The pair work the system at diametrically opposed ends of the moral spectrum and, without ever crossing into one another’s line of vision, manage to form a relationship of sorts. The Fall cranks at the speed of a grandfather clock, but the acting’s so good, you’ll want to linger on each moment for as long as you can. (Stream on Netflix.)
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.
Matt Patches is Thrillist’s Entertainment Editor. He previously wrote for Grantland, Esquire.com, Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Guardian. Jessica Jones is his new favorite superhero. Find him on Twitter @misterpatches.