Considering that this a genre that is broad in its definition, the best drama of this year is also a buddy cop film and a thriller. End of Watch is a fantastic film starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena as partners in the LAPD, which somehow didn't get as much exposure as it deserved.
The opening lines of this well-written film draw you in: "I am the police, and I'm here to arrest you. You've broken the law. I did not write the law. I may disagree with the law but I will enforce it. No matter how you plead, condole, beg or attempt to stir my sympathy. Nothing you do will stop me from placing you in a steel cage with gray bars. If you run away I will chase you. If you fight me I will fight back. If you shoot at me I will shoot back. By law I am unable to walk away. I am a consequence. I am the unpaid bill. I am fate with a badge and a gun. Behind my badge is a heart like yours. I bleed, I think, I love, and yes I can be killed. And although I am but one man, I have thousands of brothers and sisters who are the same as me. They will lay down their lives for me and I them. We stand watch together. The thin-blue-line, protecting the prey from the predators, the good from the bad. We are the police."
And does not let you go. End of Watch explores the concept of brotherhood and loyalty, while keeping you hooked with the proceedings onscreen. This film might cross over into action territory, but it is a thrilling drama nonetheless.
Honourable mentions: Life of Pi, Moonrise Kingdom