Between January 2018 and March 2021, true crime was booming. According to Parrot Analytics, a data-driven media-tracking company that analyzes audience demand globally, true crime isn’t just the biggest documentary subgenre—it’s growing the fastest as well. Beyond simply releasing more true crime documentaries, the quality of these programs keeps getting better, with 2021 releasing back-to-back programs that consistently pulled in record viewers. And 2022 is already shaping up to be even better. We’ve gathered eight of the most anticipated true crime documentaries and docuseries coming to television and streaming platforms in 2022.
In 2017, Randy Herman Jr. was arrested after brutally stabbing and killing his childhood friend and roommate. Even though he was covered in blood and had numerous defensive wounds on him, Herman claimed he had been sleepwalking and had no memory of the crime. In fact, when we woke up, he called 911 to report that he had committed a murder. Despite using that as his defense, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Director Skye Borgman brings together psychologists, medical experts, legal analysts, journalists, and even the jurors themselves to dissect the crime and discuss whether it’s possible that Herman is telling the truth. Dead Asleep is on Hulu.
The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman
Sandra Clifton met Robert Hendy-Freegard. The couple moved in together in 2012. Seven years ago, the pair disappeared. Her children, Sophie and Jake Clifton, have been searching for her ever since. The explosive new docuseries uncovers the manipulative lies Hendy-Freegard told not just Sandra, but going back as far as 1993—when he began telling people he was an MI5 agent to coerce them out of money. It’s a shocking story with plenty of twists and turns, but the disturbing fact that he remains free and Clifton has yet to be heard from will stay with viewers long after the series ends. The Puppet Master is on Netflix.
The Tinder Swindler
In our technological world, dating apps are becoming the new norm. But as our social world expands, so does the possibility that someone we meet online won’t be who they say they are. Take Shimon Hayut. In 2017, he fled Israel to avoid fraud charges and created a Tinder account in Europe pretending to be billionaire Simon Leviev. Over the next two years, he swindled numerous women for millions of dollars. Three women decided to hunt him down and get their money back. That’s the focus of Netflix’s upcoming documentary, The Tinder Swindler, set to premier February 2, 2022.
Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King
When Gerald Cotton—the CEO of the largest crypto exchange in Canada—died unexpectedly, no one expected access to their more than $250 million of invested crypto funds to die with him. But that’s exactly what happened. As details of Cotton’s death emerged, more questions were raised than answered. After the exchange filed bankruptcy, only $46 million were recovered to repay their clients. A group of investors decided this wasn’t good enough and began investigating the circumstances around Cotton’s death including attempting to legally exhume his body to prove he died. Netflix has not yet released an exact premier date.
Scream: The True Story
While many details were changed, the fact remains that the iconic horror Scream was based on true events. Between 1989 and 1990, Danny Rolling, also known as “The Gainesville Ripper”, went on multi-state killing spree where he murdered eight people and shot his father. When he was apprehended, he claimed a demon named Gemini made him commit the crimes. Paranormal investigator Steve Shippy and psychic medium Cindy Kaza attempt to find the truth behind his paranormal claims. They vist his poltergeist-infested childhood home, investigate the Florida campground he lived in while committing the Gainesville murders, and even bring in a noted demonologist to conduct an exorcism. Scream: The True Story is available now on Discovery+ with a subscription.
It may not seem like the world of clean eating and healthy living is ripe for scandal, but in 2015, Sarma Melngailis proved that any industry is vulnerable to fraud. In 2015 the celebrity foodie disappeared with then-husband, Anthony Strangis. At the same time her employees walked out claiming she hadn’t paid them. Authorities discovered she had stolen millions from the restaurant. But the twists just keep coming in this bizarre story. After their arrest, Melngailis accused Strangis of using “cult-like techniques, including gaslighting, sleep deprivation and sexual humiliation, to control” her, promising her everything from global brand recognition to making her pit bull immortal if she passed his tests. From the beginning of a clean eating empire to a shocking trial, Bad Vegan is sure to keep viewers glued to their seats. Netflix has yet to announce the exact release date.
King of the Con
Barry Minkow appeared to be a young business genius. While still in high school he founded a carpet-cleaning and restoration company that attracted huge investments based on how successful it seemed to be. But in 1987 the business collapsed, revealing that it was one of the largest Ponzi schemes of accounting fraud in history. After he was released from prison, he went to San Diego where he worked as a fraud investigator, became a pastor, and gave numerous school talks about the importance of ethics. By 2011, his new life came crashing down once again as he was sent back to prison with two additional sentences for fraud. In a new three-part docuseries, a recently released Minkow, along with investigators, family members, accomplices, and victims, takes viewers through the ins and outs of his prolific fraudulent activities. King of the Con is available on Discovery+ with a subscription.
Perfect World: The Gamer Murders
One summer morning in 2019, a group of friends woke up to a disturbing message in their private Discord chat. The group had met in an online game and had known each other for years. Or so they thought. The message was from one of their friends confessing to committing three murders and planning a fourth. But since the group was entirely online and completely anonymous, no one knew who their friend actually was or how to stop the murder. Perfect World: The Gamer Murders is set to release on Peacock sometime in 2022.