Sleeping Dog review: twisting slow-burner that will keep you hooked

Is Netflix's German drama Sleeping Dog worth watching?

Mike Atlas (Max Riemelt) with his hood up in Sleeping Dog
(Image: © Anne Wilk/Netflix)

What to Watch Verdict

Sleeping Dog delves into the dark side of policing in a six-part, slow-burn drama that'll keep you hooked.


  • +

    Suspenseful, twisting

  • +

    Great performances from the main cast


  • -

    Slow-burn narrative won't be to everyone's taste

Sleeping Dog is a compelling tale that's perfect for crime drama fans looking for a new mystery to get wrapped up in.

For those who are unfamiliar, Sleeping Dog is a Netflix crime thriller following Mike Atlas, a top cop who has fallen from grace and retreated from his life and up-and-coming prosecutor, Jule Andergast, both of whom start digging into a previously settled murder case after the man who was supposedly responsible dies by suicide in prison [check out our Sleeping Dog cast piece for a full who's who]. 

Unfortunately, both soon find out they should have let this particular sleeping dog lie, as the murder of Judge Herres soon proves to be a Pandora's box which leads both deeper into a conspiracy that reaches further than either of them initially anticipated. 

'Dense' is probably the best way to describe the series. Across Sleeping Dog's six episodes, fresh info on the case comes along frequently as Mike and Jule each investigate different aspects of the case together. 

Along the way, the show throws in personal drama for many of its core players like Mike's desire to reconnect with his family, his slow realization of what he's forgotten or repressed since retreating from life, or the budding romance between Jule and an ally she finds in the police force. It's a lot to take in, and not all of them feel as key to the main story, so the series mostly preserves a sense of forward momentum that is only occasionally undone by some of the lesser side stories. 

It's a slower burn than you might get with a thriller like Line of Duty or Netflix's recent hit, The Night Agent, but that's no bad thing, When action does come, it's in a short, sharp burst; a quick chase sequence, or a sudden gunshot to take out a key witness to keep the truth hidden. Whilst this means fans looking for a bombastic, action-packed series probably won't find too much to hold their attention, this is a show more interested in reflecting how getting to the bottom of things affects its characters.

And as a character-centric show, it's good that Sleeping Dog's biggest strength is its two lead stars. Mike Atlas is, by every definition, being put through the wringer as he investigates his old case, and Max Riemelt captures the intense toll the last 18 months have taken on him well. Generally, he remains cool as he leads his guerrilla investigation, but that stoicism is punctured as the plot continues to unravel.

Meanwhile, Luise von Finckh plays rookie prosecutor Jule Andergast with enthusiasm. We're introduced to her having fumbled a case for the District Attorney, yet she's quick to pick up discrepancies and connections. She's up against a lot of external forces but shows plenty of determination to find the truth of what really happened.

Overall, Sleeping Dog offers up an intriguing story that will have viewers who don't mind their crime dramas action-light hooked from the off.

Sleeping Dog is available to stream exclusively on Netflix. If you don't fancy seeing this particular mystery through to the end, check out our recommendations for the best Netflix shows you should be streaming right now.

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at

Martin was a Staff Writer with, where he produced a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. Now he works for our sister site Tom's Guide in the same role.

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.