7 Must-Watch Foreign Dramas on Netflix!

If you’re not one to shy away from subtitles and are searching for a good drama to keep you captivated, take a look at Borgen, Dark, Rita, Money Heist, Chestnut Man, and more on Netflix!

Dark – Germany


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A small German village is shaken when two children vanish, and four families deal with ruptures in family dynamics as the search for the children continues. As the town’s supernatural dark history becomes exposed, so do the families’ connections to it. The twists and turns take the viewer on an enthralling, binge-able journey for three thrilling seasons. The cast is fantastic, and the acting is absolutely captivating. Louis Hofmann has won four awards for his performance in the series. The show also has been nominated for its stunning visual effects and cinematography and has often been cited as the German Stranger Things, but the first German Netflix original is just that- original. The drama also has sci-fi elements, but it’s uniquely stunning and gripping, keeping you engaged from start to finish.

Borgen – Denmark

The Danish Drama follows the first female prime minister, Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen), as she struggles to find her power and political footing as a woman. As she faces what she must sacrifice to get what she wants, the show becomes intense and captivates viewers. One of the best political dramas of any language, the series is shocking, emotional, and intriguing throughout. Sidse Babett Knudsen, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, and Pilou Asbaek are outstanding, and the supporting cast performed remarkably too. The show won a 2012 BAFTA TV award for best international series, and the actors have received numerous nominations for their performances. With riveting performances and a dark, gripping plotline, we’re not surprised that the show currently has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. So, if you’re as obsessed with dramas as we are and haven’t seen Borgen, watch it now! The fourth and final season was released on Netflix this year, so viewers will not need to wait to see how it all ends.

Giri/Haji – Japan/England


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This British crime thriller mainly takes place in London, but the language is primarily in Japanese, and the plot is largely driven by Japanese culture. The series begins when a detective from Tokyo, Kenzo Mori (Takehiro Hira), is commissioned by a prominent Yakuza family and the police force to travel to London to locate his ‘presumed’ dead brother Yuto (Yōsuke Kubozuka). A true standout amongst crime shows, it is a must-watch if you’re looking for a foreign drama with a dynamic cast and storyline. The show currently has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is pretty much our consensus. Along with the main plot are subplots for each character which highlight their issues and nuances and intertwine to produce a cast that cultivates empathy and identification with viewers. The show was unfortunately canceled after one season, but it’s still well worth the watch.

Rita – Denmark


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This Danish comedy-drama follows a rebellious teacher and single mother, Rita (Mille Dinesen), as she navigates love, raises her children, and continues to enjoy life as a middle-aged woman. The actors and the writers bring such depth to each character so it’s easy to relate to them. Alongside her children, coworkers, and other recurring characters, we see her growth and development throughout the show. Rita’s character is particularly complex, with a no-nonsense toughness and a soft spot for her students, making her witty and loveable, albeit blood-boiling at times. Some hilarious and touching moments make for an incredibly heartfelt watch. With five whole seasons to binge, the show never becomes predictable; rather the storylines grow deeper and more profound. This hidden gem is sure to please any drama lover out there. With five seasons and a spinoff, Hjørdis, you’ll want to find time to binge Rita.

Baby (Italy)


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The Netflix original drama follows Roman private school teenagers Chiara (Benedetta Porcaroli) and Ludovica (Alice Pagani) as they become involved in the dark world of prostitution. The show is a loosely based dramatized version of the horrific 2013 scandal in which two Italian teenagers, aged 14 and 15, were caught in a prostitution ring that involved prominent figures. The show is more than your average teen drama and highlights the struggles of being a teenager and the seediness of the world the girls find themselves in. The two main actresses are incredible and portray great chemistry between characters. Netflix has given us three seasons of the show and a finale that makes for an incredibly entertaining and well-shot drama that you won’t want to miss.

Money Heist – Spain

One of the more popular foreign shows to have come out of Netflix, Money Heist is a popular Spanish crime drama. If you’ve yet to hear about the show, it surrounds a group of criminals who plan to pull off the perfect heist and rob the Royal Mint of Spain, but obstacles continue to arise as they carry out their plan. The series won the 2018 International Emmy Award for best drama series, and with a heart-racing inducing plot, witty writing, and superb acting, it’s no surprise. With nail-biting suspense and moments of perfectly placed humor, the show will grip you thoroughly all 41 episodes.

Chestnut Man (Denmark)


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When a chestnut man is set near the body at a gruesome murder scene, it brings two detectives, Naia Thulin (Danica Curic) and Mark Hess (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard,) to link the murder back to a politician’s missing child. The revival of the case and attempt to find the person responsible plays out through a series of twists and turns that keep you glued to the screen. The show is a must-watch for thriller and mystery fans, and it has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes for a good reason. The beautiful and suspenseful series also won Best Series Danish Robert Awards as well as Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress in a Series. The six-part series is easily a watch in one sitting, and we’re hoping for a second season. 

About the Author

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Maya Garibay-Sahm

Maya Garibay-Sahm is a journalism major at the California State University, Dominguez Hills.