Here at The Lineup, we’re always on the hunt for the best true crime documentaries. Not just the docs that everyone else has seen, but the little-known titles and the tragically overlooked gems.
What are the best true crime documentaries on Netflix? We dug through the depths of the streaming platform to find the crime docs you need to watch right now. What are you waiting for? Grab the remote and get your fix.
Updated 4/2020. This article covers titles available to U.S. Netflix users.
Tiger King (2020)
This wild seven-part docuseries follows a tale of animal rights, cultish accusations, and murder-for-hire. Joe Exotic owns a big cat animal park full of dangerous exotic felines, making a profit off of breeding the animals as well as charging admission to visitors. Carole Baskin, the operator of a nearby big cat sanctuary and rescue center, stands as Exotic’s greatest enemy. As their rivalry grows ever more ferocious, Joe and Carole are pushed to the brink of sanity—and beyond. Tiger King, which tracks the same case covered by Wondery's hit true crime podcast, examines Exotic’s alleged attempt to hire a hitman to take out Baskin. Yet this is just one of many twists that unfold as the documentary progresses.
What role do drugs play in Exotic’s personal life? And does Carole Baskin harbor her own dark secret? It's easy to see why viewers everywhere are obsessed with this new Netflix series.
How to Fix a Drug Scandal (2020)
This four-part true crime docuseries directed by Erin Lee Carr (Mommy Dead and Dearest, Dirty Money) charts the rise and fall of two drug lab chemists whose crimes of corruption and evidence tampering send shockwaves through the state's judicial system.
This documentary follows the reporting of legendary journalist Gay Talese as he unravels the story of a peeping tom. Colorado motel owner Gerald Foos claimes to have spent years spying on his guests, utilizing special vents and “observation platforms.” However, as Foos’ disgusting acts are revealed, odd parallels can be drawn between the voyeur and the journalist. Both men spent their lives watching others—and both possess outsized egos.
Dirty Money (2018-)
All twelve episodes of the docuseries Dirty Money are available for streaming now. This Netflix Original tackles the corruption and greed pulsing through the global economy. From an alliance between the government and automakers that put lives at risk to a Texas town ravaged by toxic chemicals, the crimes of prominent figures and so-called titans of industry are exposed and dissected.
Tell Me Who I Am (2019)
This provocative documentary centers on a man struggling to come to make sense of personal tragedy, and the lies that followed in this tragedy's wake. Alex Lewis was involved in an accident that caused him to lose his memory. He couldn’t remember where he was, or even recognize members of his family—with the exception of his twin brother. Alex relied on Marcus to remind him of the man he used to be. But Marcus was hiding a terrible secret from their childhood.
Our Godfather (2019)
Tommaso Buscetta was the first high-ranking member of the Sicillian Mafia (otherwise known as Cosa Nostra) to turn against the organization as a criminal informant. His testimonies were responsible for the conviction of over 400 people. His betrayal made him highly sought after by the mob, and caused the death of 11 members of his family. Now, 30 years after Buscetta went into hiding, this feature-length documentary tells all.
Children of God (1994)
This Helen Mirren-narrated documentary from the mid-90s examines the trauma caused by the Children of God cult. A former member looks back on her time being raised by “The Family,” and the sick perpetuation of pedophilia, sexual abuse, and prostitution. This film takes us through the journey of a woman’s recruitment, and the oddly reclusive and sexual nature of the cult’s leader, David Berg.
The NSU-Complex (2016)
Pablo Escobar: Countdown to Death (2017)
Pablo Escobar was a Columbian drug lord and narcoterrorist who became the wealthiest criminal in the world after founding the Medellín Cartel. This documentary examines the final nine years of the cartel leader’s life, using family interviews, video footage, and wiretaps to piece together a compelling narrative.
Deep Undercover (2016-2018)
Former FBI agent Joe Pistone hosts this docuseries, which dives into the real-life cases of officers who went deep undercover. From the infiltration of the Hells Angels to blending in with the mob in New Orleans, this show gives viewers an insider's look at the dangerous tactics law enforcement employs in the name of justice.
This limited series examines Mexican politics during the tumultuous year of 1994. This was the year of the assassination of Luis Donaldo Colosio, a presidential candidate. This period was also marked by the rise of the EZLN, a militant far-left group at war with the Mexican state.
Old Thieves: The Legend of Artegio (2007)
As five criminals sit in prison cells in Mexico City, they impart their principles and practices of thievery. The personal lives of these robbers are recounted through interviews and archival footage. And while there are thrilling stories and tips from the likes of “El Carrizo,” this film also touches on police corruption and the torture that some inmates experienced.
Lost Girls (2020)
While this film isn’t actually a true crime documentary, it is inspired by Robert Kolker’s celebrated true crime book, , which dives into the unsolved case of the Long Island Serial Killer. This crime drama follows Mari Gilbert (played by Amy Ryan) as she searches for her daughter, Shannan (Sarah Wisser). While the police drag their feet, Mari's quest for answers about her daughter’s disappearance unearths a string of murdered sex workers. This is an absolute must-watch for any true crime enthusiast!
Unabomber: In His Own Words (2020)
This multi-part docuseries examines the life, crimes, and philosophies of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, the domestic terrorist who between 1978 and 1995 unleashed a nationwide bombing campaign that targeted people and modern technology. Kaczynski killed three people and injured 23 others during his 17-year bombing spree. Unabomber: In His Own Words examines Kaczynski's crimes and includes clips from the only in-depth interview he has given.
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez (2020)
This heartbreaking true crime documentary focuses on the 2013 abuse and murder of young Gabriel Fernandez, an eight-year-old boy from Palmdale, California who suffered brutal abuse at the hands of his caregivers before being beaten to death. The multi-part series shines a harsh light on the social services that were meant to protect Gabriel but ultimately let him down.
Women Behind Bars (2008-2011)
The first three seasons of the docuseries Women Behind Bars are available for streaming now. This series takes a look at women within the American prison system, diving deep into gritty accounts of their crimes. From shocking matricide to lethal retribution, this series offers an interesting and unique look at women on the wrong side of the justice system.
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017)
Directed by David France, this documentary centers on the suspicious and mysterious death of self-defined drag queen and black gay rights activist Marsha P. Johnson. Johnson was at the forefront of the Stonewall riots, and championed for gay liberation until her death in 1992, which was intially ruled a suicide. In this film, one of Johnson’s close friends, transgender woman of color Victoria Cruz, works to have Johnson’s death re-investigated, believing her end to be the result of a homophobic murder.
This thrilling Oscar-winning documentary tackles the crime world of sports. American cyclist (and director of the film), Bryan Fogel, sets out to uncover the reality of doping. Fogel joins forces with Russian scientist Grigory Rodchenkov to dive into a personal experiment, involving taking his own doses of steroids to test the limits of detection. Through this documentary, Fogel and Rodchenkov expose a massive Olympic scandal, suspicious deaths, and geopolitical intrigue.
ReMastered: The Miami Showband Massacre (2019)
This documentary focuses on the Miami Showband killings of July 31, 1975. At the time, the Miami Showband was an incredibly popular cabaret band in Ireland. But that fateful summer, a paramilitary group—the Ulster Volunteer Force—planted explosives on their bus at a fabricated checkpoint. The resulting blast caused the death of 5 individuals, including three band members.
Other music-focused cases covered by ReMastered include the death of Sam Cooke as seen later on this list, as well as an assassination attempt against Bob Marley in and the unsolved murder of Run-DMC’s DJ Jam Master Jay in
Drug Lords (2018)
This docuseries covers the brutal crime world of drug trafficking. Drug Lords explores the stories through history and all over the world of all of the most notorious drug cartels and kingpins. As the series takes a look at the crimes, it also features the honorable men and women trying to put an end to the drug lords’ violent reigns.
First and Last (2018)
In Georgia’s Gwinnett County Jail, the beginning days of new inmates and the final moments of inmates set to be released are captured on camera. Spanning six episodes, this series covers such cases as a young man struggling to resist the temptation of “snitching” through a woman preparing for a new start to a relationship with her mother. First and Last offers an intimate look at the life and inner workings of inmates from all angles.
I Called Him Morgan (2016)
In February of 1972, acclaimed jazz musician Lee Morgan was at a gig at a New York City club. It was there that his common-law wife, Helen, would shoot him to death. Years after fulfilling her prison sentence, Helen looked back on her husband’s legacy, the music that brought them together, and their ill-fated romance.
Audrie & Daisy (2016)
Two high school teenagers, Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman were sexually assaulted by boys from their schools. What followed was a vicious online harassment and humiliation for the girls, perpetrated by their own classmates. While Audrie committed suicide nine days after the original incident, Daisy lives on to speak in this documentary about the ways in which the justice system fails young women who have been sexually victimized.
Nurses Who Kill (2016—)
The first season of the British docuseries Nurses Who Kill is available now for streaming. Following those in the medical profession who abuse their positions to commit murders, the series covers cases about a high number of suspicious child fatalities through nurses causing emergencies in order to play hero.
Witches: A Century of Murder (2015)
This two-part historical documentary investigates Britain’s 17th century witch hunts. Presented by historian Suzannah Lipscomb, Witches: A Century of Murder examines the true origins and myths around the paranoia-fueled killings. From religious hysteria to opportunistic Puritans looking to make a dime, this documentary thoroughly documents the horrors of witch hunts.
Happy Jail (2019)
Happy Jail is a five-part docuseries about the Philippine jail that produced a viral Michael Jackson dance video. When the jail comes under new management of an ex-convict, Marco Toral, controversy surrounds the establishment. Unwelcome changes, political backlash, and drug allegations mar the everyday lives of Toral and the prison’s inmates.
Court Justice (2017)
In Sydney, Australia, the Downing Centre’s twelve magistrates hear upwards of 30,000 cases each year. While the seriousness of the crimes vary—from traffic violations to major physical assaults—these men and women preside over life-changing decisions. Over ten episodes, this docuseries takes viewers through single offenders to regular “customers” in the busiest local court of Sydney.
I Am a Killer (2018—)
Intrigued by the ways a killer’s mind works? This documentary gives the viewer a long overdue glimpse into the perspective of real-life murderers. Each episode centers on interviews with death row inmates—men convicted of capital murder and talking candidly about the crimes they committed. While they await execution, each convict sits down to discuss the events that led up to their crimes and how being on death row has affected their thoughts and feelings.
With the recent release of season two of this chilling docuseries, follow cases from a woman who claims her boyfriend’s death was a mercy killing to a confessed New Years’ crime with conflicting stories.
The Pharmacist (2020)
Small town pharmacist Dan Schneider lost his son in the midst of a drug-related shooting. Frustrated by what he views as a lackluster response from the police, Schneider takes it upon himself to seek out his son’s murderer. However, as the months pass and an alarming number of young opioid users come into his pharmacy with suspicious prescriptions, he finds that the reach of his son’s dark and tragic world is beyond imagination. Schneider vows to face the problem head on for the chance to save other young people from the terrible end that his son met—he brings the issue directly to Big Pharma.
Who Killed Malcolm X? (2019)
Controversial and inspiring civil rights activist Malcolm X was assassinated over five decades ago, and his shocking death remains unsolved to this day. This documentary offers a look at Malcolm X’s life and murder through every possible perspective, utilizing archival resources and on-camera interviews. Who Killed Malcolm X? also examines the declassified intelligence files on the activist.
Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez (2020)
Aaron Hernandez rose to fame as a superstar for the NFL’s New England Patriots, but the athlete had a dark past and a hair-trigger temper. In 2013, Hernandez shot and killed semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd, earning himself life in prison. This docuseries dives into factors that might have led him down this dangerous path, including secret relationships, criminal acquaintances, and the long-term medical impact of multiple head injuries. From his pre-spotlight days to the spectacle of court trials, get an in-depth look at this notorious case.
Examination of Conscience (2019)
In this emotionally harrowing three-part docuseries, allegations of child sexual abuse within Spanish Catholic institutions are explored through interviews with victims, clergy members, journalists, and experts. In the first episode of the series, those who experienced abuse from three Marist Brothers school share their traumatizing experiences, while one of the accused tells their story. The second episode centers on the abuses committed by a gym teacher, and how he furthered his betrayal by filming it. In the last episode, one survivor makes a pilgrimage as he delivers his truth, while another confronts the priest who hurt him.
The 43 (2019)
On September 26th, 2014, 43 male students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College were forcibly abducted, never to be seen again. After the tragic disappearance, the Mexican government alleged that the men were detained by the police, and then mistakenly believed to be part of a drug gang, they were released to a crime syndicate and killed. This docuseries uses reconstructions and interviews to paint a picture to the events leading up to the abduction, and how protests against the government’s suspicious claims led to an independent investigation.
Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator (2019)
In the 1970s, charming Indian immigrant Bikram Choudhury helped to bring yoga to North America. Operating out of Beverly Hills, Choudhury embraced an eccentric flair for entertainment and a tough-love approach to teaching. But as he built a massive franchise of hundreds of global studios and loyal followers, did he have a secret dark side? In Eva Orner’s documentary, she uses archival footage and interviews to explore the shocking allegations against Choudhury, including sexual harassment and rape.
KIller Ratings (2019)
Wallace Souza was a respected Brazilian television host and politician. However, in 2009 the Amazonas State Police began to investigate him in relation to accusations that he had ordered murders in order to boost ratings for his crime show. This seven-part docuseries follows the wild and shocking saga of the allegations, denials, arrests, impeachments, escapes, and trials in one of the most controversial cases in Brazillian media.
The Confession Killer (2019)
Once referred to as the most prolific serial killer in America, Henry Lee Lucas confessed to over 600 murders. However, as time passed and advances in DNA technology revealed new leads in old cases, some of Lucas’s confessions don’t match up with the facts. Though Lucas was convicted of eleven of the crimes he claimed to commit, the police closed investigations into hundreds of cases based on his word. Was the true course of justice derailed by an attention-seeking criminal?
Don't F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer (2019)
This three-part series explores how a gruesome internet video sparked an amateur investigation. In 2010, a man (later identified as Luka Magnotta) posted a video online titled “1 boy 2 kittens,” in which he used a vacuum seal bag to suffocate two kittens. Outraged, Las Vegas casino data analyst Deanna Thomson and Los Angeles native John Green started a group on Facebook to scrape together evidence as to who this criminal was. Amateur sleuths banded together with the police to track down a twisted killer whose dark intentions were just getting started.
In 2005, Ryan Ferguson was convicted of the murder of Kent Heitholt and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Why? Charles Erickson confessed to the murder and implicated his friend Ryan because he had no memory of the night of the crime. He did, however, have vivid and concerning dreams about it taking place.
Ryan eventually confessed, but later claimed that he did so under police coercion. For the next ten years, Ryan’s father embarked on a tireless campaign to prove his son’s innocence. This documentary follows that journey, and confronts the flaws within the justice system.
The Devil Next Door (2019)
During World War II, a Nazi guard known as “Ivan the Terrible” was stationed at the Treblinka extermination camp. Estimated by survivors to be around twenty-five years old at the time, Ivan was notorious for his excessive cruelty in torturing and slaughtering prisoners. When John Demjanjuk, a grandfather living out his days in Cleveland, was accused of being the wretched death camp guard, a trial began and in 1981 he was extradited to Israel. This documentary utilizes archival footage from concentration camps and real testimonies from Holocaust survivors to examine the atrocities that may have been committed by a seemingly quiet neighborhood man.
Who Killed Little Gregory? (2019)
In 1984, the Lépanges-sur-Vologne commune in Northern France was stunned by the murder of four-year-old Grégory Villemin. Grégory's family had received multiple threats in the form of phone calls and letters, including one that revealed the actual location of the boy’s body. This five-part docuseries chronicles the tireless battle Jean-Marie and Christine Villemin waged to try and bring their son’s murderer to justice. However, suspicions quickly turned to their own bloodline, weaving a complicated and devastating web of anger and mistrust.
Murderous Affairs (2016—)
Three seasons of the television true crime series Murderous Affairs are now on Netflix. This investigative series follows cases where salacious trysts end in gruesome murders. Combining interviews with dramatic reenactments, this show explores the darkest sides of passion and jealousy.
Click for Murder (2017-2018)
This British investigative series churned out ten episodes—and all of them are available for streaming. Starring crime journalist Donal MacIntyre, Click for Murder explores crimes that were perpetrated through the use of the internet. Spotlighting the secrets, lies, and crimes aided by modern technology, the show’s stories include the seduction of a teenage girl and murderers who stalk gay hookup apps.
Inside the Criminal Mind (2017)
This docuseries dives into the motivations and machinations of nefarious criminals. Each episode in the four-part series tackles a different topic: serial killers, kidnappers, cult leaders, and crime lords. Throughout, viewers will encounter some of history's most notorious offenders and murderers, including John Wayne Gacy, the Zodiac Killer, Ariel Castro, Phillip Garrido, Charles Manson, David Koresh, Al Capone, and El Chapo.
Murder Maps (2015—)
Prepare to binge-watch the first three seasons of the historical true crime docuseries Murder Maps. This series illuminates some of the most shocking crimes from British history. With a healthy dose of dramatic reenactments, this series also utilizes archival sources to tell stories about everything from the notorious Jack the Ripper murders to lesser-known tales like the 1934 discovery of two trunks at Brighton's train station stuffed with human remains.
Related: The Brighton Trunk Murders of 1934
Forensic Files (1996-2011)
This investigative docuseries was one of the original true crime staples on television. Netflix currently has nine collections streaming, including over 300 episodes. Utilizing interviews with law enforcement, scientists, and surviving acquaintances of the victims, Forensic Files details the evidence and investigation of crimes from arson to gruesome multiple homicides.
Surviving R. Kelly (2019)
This six-part documentary series explores the sexual abuse allegations against R&B singer R. Kelly. The critically acclaimed Surviving R. Kelly features several women who detail in interviews the mental and sexual violence they suffered at the hands of the musician.
Holy Hell (2016)
Holy Hell doesn't center on a criminal investigation like episodes of Cold Case Files or I am Jane Doe. Instead, it peers into the dark and dangerous world of cults, and employs archival footage that is sure to intrigue true crime obsessives. Holy Hell is directed by Will Allen, who was a member of the West Hollywood Buddhafield cult for over two decades. Allen uses footage from his time in the cult when he acted as videographer and “propaganda minister,” as well as new interviews of former members. Allen’s film is inspired by the disillusionment felt once shocking revelations were unearthed about Buddhafield’s leader, Michel Rostand.
Roll Red Roll (2018)
Roll Red Roll dives into the notable Steubenville, Ohio rape case of 2012, in which a group of high schoolers repeatedly sexually assaulted an intoxicated teenage girl and documented it on social media. This documentary analyzes the role of social media and football culture in the crime, as well as heavily featuring true crime blogger Alexandria Goddarrd, who is responsible for exposing this crime to the mainstream public.
Cold Case Files (2017—)
If you love mysteries that span decades, then this running series is a great pick. Cold Case Files features detectives taking a second look at the forensic and psychological evidence of old cases. Episodes cover everything from unsolved stabbings, to clues which lead authorities to believe they may be on the trail of the elusive Zodiac Killer.
The Alcàsser Murders (2019)
This crime documentary series reexamines one of the most shocking crimes in Spanish history. In 1992, three teenage girls were kidnapped, raped, and murdered in Alcàsser, Spain. This series contains archival footage, fresh interviews, and eye-witness accounts of the heinous crime that sparked a frenzy in the Spanish media.
I Am Jane Doe (2017)
Jessica Chastain narrates this chilling and intense documentary about real life cases of American girls who were victimized by child sex trafficking. The film centers on the mothers of the young girls as they engage in legal battles against Backpage.com, which posted the classified ads for the enslaved girls. If you’re looking for a documentary that supports a good cause, I Am Jane Doe donates half of its profits to organizations which serve children who were involved in human trafficking.
A Gray State (2017)
Exhibit A (2019)
Fascinated by forensics? This true crime series is for you. Exhibit A delves into the imperfect science of criminal investigating and the ways in which forensic evidence can be manipulated or misinterpreted, resulting in innocent people going down for crimes they did not commit.
Murder Mountain (2018)
This true crime documentary series transports viewers to the backroads of Humboldt County. The marijuana business is booming in this woodsy region of Northern California, attracting visitors—and possibly resulting in multiple disappearances and murders.
This chilling Netflix true crime doc focuses on the growing trend of kidnapping. With each episode focusing on a separate incident involving this crime, what links each individual case is the demand for ransoms. But what brings this series to a whole other level of scary is the fact that many of these victims are typically just normal people going about their day. Definitely keep one eye open if you plan to binge this series.
Remastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke (2019)
Netflix dropped this compelling documentary earlier this year, and it definitely made some waves. The series focuses on the death of Sam Cooke, the accomplished singer and civil rights activist who gave us “(What a) Wonderful World”, "Bring It on Home to Me" and “A Change Is Gonna Come.” When he was 33 years old, Cooke was shot and killed by a hotel manager named Bertha Franklin who stated that she fired the gun in self-defense. During his life, Cooke was an outspoken civil rights activist who believed in equality. The documentary delves into Cooke’s advocacy, and questions whether or not his fight for civil rights may have contributed to his untimely demise.
Time: The Kalief Browder Story (2017)
This thought-provoking documentary focuses on Kalief Browder, a Bronx high school student who was thrown in jail for three years after allegedly stealing a backpack. Of those three years, Kalief spent two of them in Rikers Island in solitary confinement. After the charges were dropped, Browder was released and soon committed suicide. Filled with interviews from close friends, family members, and politicians, this tragic true crime doc is one you soon won’t forget.
Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (2019)
This four-part series from Joe Berlinger goes deep into the twisted mind of one of the world’s most notorious serial killers. Comprised of interviews with both Bundy and his victims’ loved ones, Conversations with a Killer examines the macabre allure of serial killers that keeps us coming back for more.
Out of Thin Air (2017)
Forty years after Iceland’s most notorious murder cases, director and documentarian Dylan Howitt attempts to chronicle the convoluted circumstances around two men’s mysterious disappearances, and how seven people ended up confessing to their murder.
In 1974, an 18-year-old male vanished after attending a party. Months later, after driving to a cafe following a late night call, a 32-year-old father was never heard from or seen again. Authorities turned to a group of young people involved in a recent embezzlement scheme who would eventually confess—despite limited evidence—and served out their sentences.
Decades later, questions about how their confessions were obtained—including alleged torture by authorities—have been raised, calling attention to one community's horrific response to others’ horrific acts.
Making a Murderer (2015-2018)
Making a Murderer was perhaps the first sign that Netflix would soon come to dominate the true crime world. Filmed over the course of 10 years, the first season focused on Steven Avery, who was wrongly convicted of sexual assault and attempted murder, then, upon his release, accused and convicted of Teresa Halbech’s death. In 2018, Netflix released a second season, following a prominent attorney who has taken on Avery’s case.
The Keepers (2017)
Who killed Sister Cathy Cesnik is the question that begins Netflix’s smash hit true crime docu-series, The Keepers. But as any professional binge-watcher knows, the real story is much darker and far more complicated than that. The Keepers has it all—abuse, religion, history, murder, family secrets, conspiracy, and a decades-old cold case. Throw in some dedicated amateur sleuths who will stop at nothing to discover the truth of what happened to their beloved teacher and you’ll see an obsession in your future.
The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann (2019)
This eight-part true crime documentary takes an in-depth look at one of the most shocking cases in recent memory: the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann, who vanished while on holiday with her family in Portugal.
Casting JonBenet (2017)
This unusual documentary about the unsolved murder of JonBenet Ramsey approaches its subject through the lens of casting a fictional film on the case. Director Kitty Green interviews actors from the place of the crime, Boulder, Colorado, in the form of auditions for the main players of the story: JonBenet herself, her mother Patsy, her father John, and more. Through their auditions, the actors reveal their thoughts on the case, creating a compelling portrait of the lasting impact of JonBenet’s murder on the Boulder community and on society in general.
Long Shot (2017)
One of the strangest true crime stories we’ve come across, Juan Catalan’s freedom hinges on one thing: . Catalan was arrested for the murder of 16-year-old Martha Puebla back in May 2003. The police concluded that Catalan had committed the murder under orders of Puebla's ex-boyfriend and Catalan's brother. If found guilty, Catalan would have been sentenced to the death penalty, but he vehemently claimed that he had an alibi—he was at Dodgers Stadium watching a game. Despite Catalan's lawyer's attempt to find footage to prove his client's claim, the task would become nearly impossible. In a miraculous turn of events, Larry David ends up helping Catalan. This documentary shows the flaws of the justice system alongside an unlikely celebrity connection.
Evil Genius (2018)
Evil Genius brought one of the strangest true crime cases back to light. In 2003, a pizza delivery worker standing outside a local bank with a bomb locked around his neck was spotted by police. Believing that the bomb was fake, but that the man posed a real threat, the police put Brian Wells in handcuffs. As Wells leaned against a police car, the bomb went off. News teams broadcasted the man’s gruesome death to millions watching. And the story only gets weirder from there. The four episode mini-series will keep you riveted til the very end.
The Fear of 13 (2015)
Being sentenced to 105 years in prison for a crime you didn’t commit is beyond nightmarish. But that’s exactly what happened to Nick Yarris, who was convicted of murder and sat on death row for 21 years before DNA evidence vindicated him in 2004. The Fear of 13 is Nick’s story, narrated by him and featuring only him, in a unique one-man-show.
The Innocent Man (2018)
Based on John Grisham’s 2006 , The Innocent Man follows two murder cases in one small Oklahoma town. When the convicted killers of one murder were set free by DNA evidence after 11 years on death row, many other cases were thrown into a suspicious light. This twisty true crime tale will leave you with unanswerable questions about our justice system.
The Staircase (2004)
It would be easy to argue that was the series that made the true crime genre popular. And when Netflix announced that they’d financed another three episodes focusing on Michael Peterson’s final trial, viewers were thrilled to take another look at the infamous case. Whether you’ve been keeping up with the series since 2004 or you’re looking for your next great binge, The Staircase is here for you.
Amanda Knox (2016)
Over a decade later, it’s hard to explain or describe the intensity of the and the attendant media coverage. When a British exchange student, Meredith Kercher, was found dead in the apartment she and Knox shared with two Italian women in Perugia, suspicion immediately fell on Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito. Five days after Kercher’s murder, Knox was arrested and charged with her roommate’s murder. Despite the fact that another man was convicted of the murder in 2008, Knox and Sollecito were held in jail for nearly four years. This Netflix original gets into just what made the case so compelling and horrifying to spectators around the world.
Team Foxcatcher (2016)
If you saw 2014’s , starring Channing Tatum and Steve Carrell, you’ll be familiar with the rise and fall of the very wealthy and very eccentric John E. du Pont. It was du Pont’s dream to build an American Olympic wrestling team that would dominate the sport. He brought several athletes to live and train in his state-of-the-art gym on his sprawling family farm. But somehow du Pont’s dreams ended in cold-blooded murder—it was a tragic, seemingly senseless crime that few could have anticipated.
Strong Island (2017)
This true crime documentary is one of the more achingly sad entries on the list–don’t say we didn’t warn you. Covering the murder of William Ford in 1992, Strong Island is directed by the victim’s younger brother, Yance Ford. William was killed in Central Islip. He was only 24 years old at the time, a high school math teacher. His killer, 19-year-old Mark Reilly, shot him after William complained to his auto body shop about the quality of the repairs done on William’s girlfriend’s car. Reilly was arrested and charged with manslaughter–but an all-white grand jury declined to indict him. This personal, deeply felt documentary was nominated for a 2018 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.
Sour Grapes (2016)
Many, if not most, true crime documentaries take a murder or kidnapping as their central inspiration. This unusual documentary, instead focuses on a man named Rudy Kurniawan, who became known for his large-scale wine fraud. With each falsified bottle of wine, Kurniawan was able to bring in as much as $95,000. Sour Grapes combines true crime, a glimpse at the lifestyles of the truly, unimaginably wealthy, and oenophila into a seductive documentary.
This heartbreaking documentary released in 2016 covers the difficult terrain of the Newtown Massacre on December 14, 2012, when 20 elementary school students and six of their teachers were murdered by gunman Adam Lanza. With the cooperation of several of the victims’ families, filmmaker Kim A. Snyder paints a searing portrait of grief and anger at a system that led to this horrific event.
Wild Wild Country (2018)
When Wild Wild Country debuted, it was the center of conversations for weeks to come. The cult that took over an Oregon town in the 1980s was back—and everyone had opinions about Sheela. If you somehow managed to escape the hubbub around this series when it came out back in early 2018, there’s no better time than now to discover the strangest story ever told by Netflix.
Over the course of his 20-year career, Errol Morris has been regarded as a veteran true crime documentarian with a knack for profiling the peculiar. His latest is Wormwood, a four and a half hour, six-part Netflix miniseries that harnesses the narrative strengths of previous screen successes like , , and while redefining his signature visual style and the genre itself.
In this docudrama with a fictional twist, Morris takes on a potential suicide/alleged murder, a CIA cover-up, LSD experiments, and secret government conspiracies that stretch back decades. Using re-enactments and long-form interviews, Morris uses a deceased agent’s son's search for answers to help find the truth in this bizarre tragedy.
The Seven Five (2014)
New York City was not the most pleasant place to live in the 1980s. It was the height of the crack cocaine epidemic, crime was at an all-time high—and criminal activity had seeped into the ranks of the New York City police department. NYPD officer Michael Dowd worked in the city’s 75th precinct for 10 years, running drug deals and accepting bribes. His arrest and subsequent trial led to one of the largest scandals in NYPD history, revealing dozens of crooked cops in its wake.
A Murder in the Park (2014)
There have been plenty of documentaries about wrongful conviction, a hot-button issue in the American criminal justice system. But what if the person released may have actually committed the crime? A Murder in the Park explores the other side of the coin with the story of Anthony Porter. Porter was convicted of murdering two people in 1982. His conviction was then overturned due to the work of a Northwestern professor and his students. Soon though, many of the Northwestern class’ claims would be called into question. This disturbing and overlooked documentary is a fascinating account of a deeply complex case.
Interview With a Serial Killer (2008)
Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses (2015)
In 2007, Janet Moses’ death was plastered all over the news and local headlines. The young Wainuiomata mother was only 22 when she drowned after four days of a brutal exorcism conducted at the hands of her family, an effort to lift a makutu, or curse. The nine family members involved were charged with manslaughter after attempting, in their eyes, to relieve Moses of a grave disturbance within her.
In this docudrama, viewers are taken back through the difficult days leading up to Moses' death. Through expert interviews, court testimony and dramatic reenactments, you are offered a rare look into how one family’s deep, determined love mixed so dangerously with cultural belief to tragic effect.
Shadow of Truth (2016)
Thirteen-year-old Tair Rada was found brutally murdered on a cold December day in 2006. Her body had been stuffed inside a locked bathroom stall at her school in Israel. Her murder rocked the community, leaving children afraid to attend school. Just a week later, a Ukrainian immigrant named Roman Zadorov was arrested and confessed to Tair’s murder. But Zadorov’s confession was just the beginning of the mystery of Tair’s death. Many things didn’t add up, from DNA evidence to other possible suspects, leading many to believe that Zadorov may have been wrongfully convicted.
Abducted in Plain Sight (2017)
Dubbed by DigitalSpy as “the maddest, darkest true-crime show yet”, this documentary will leave your jaw dropping with its shocking story of deceit and desires. Recounting Jan Broberg's experience of being kidnapped twice by a family friend, Abducted in Plain Sight has more twists and turns than any true we've seen–and we've seen a lot.
The Confession Tapes (2017)
This docu-series left many viewers infuriated—and with good reason. The show illuminates corrupt police work in the United States by focusing on six cases of possible false confessions that led to murder convictions. Although each case in the series differs, they all share one thing in common: manipulation. Why would anyone innocent confess to a crime they didn’t commit?
Many of the suspects underwent brutal police interrogations filled with manipulation, intimidation, and deception. This fresh series presents alternate views of the crimes, archival footage, and interviews with the suspects and their families. You’ll be left wondering if the idea of "innocent until proven guilty" really reigns supreme in our country.
Featured still from "Unabomber: In His Own Words" via Netflix