Trial by Media: The Truth Behind the Crimes
This gripping docu-series now streaming on Netflix takes a hard look at the role media plays in the justice process, exploring the ways in which media coverage may have impacted the verdicts in some of modern history's most dramatic trials. Each hour-long episode centers on a different case, with topics ranging from fraud and money laundering to police brutality and unlawful shootings.
A particularly moving entry in the series is episode three, which focuses on the shooting of Amadou Diallo. In 1999, the unarmed Diallo was shot 41 times outside of his apartment by NYPD plainclothes officers.
Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich
This provocative new docu-series examines Jeffrey Epstein: his power, his influence, and his disturbing sex crimes. The filmmakers take a critical eye to his life and career in order to understand his abuses and their consequences.
Harrowing accounts from Epstein’s survivors ground this series and shed light on untold stories of the widespread trauma Epstein inflicted. It is a condemning, brutally honest account of a man who thought himself above consequences.
Slated to arrive on Netflix on June 24, this powerful documentary follows the IndyStar investigative journalists who first broke the story of Larry Nassar, the USA Gymnastics doctor who abused multiple young women and girls. The former team doctor and now convicted sex offender stood accused of abusing over 250 young girls and women. In July 2017, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. In January 2018, he was sentenced to an additional 175 years after pleading guilty to seven counts of sexual assault of minors. And in February 2018, he was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in prison after pleading guilty to an additional three counts of sexual assault. He will all but certainly die behind bars.
The documentary will feature brave testimony from Nassar’s victims and delve into Nassar’s crimes and the investigations that followed. Throughout, the documentary will seek to address a fundamental question: how could such abuse go on for so long?
A few of our recently released favorites!
The Innocence Files
Released in April 2020, this new true crime docuseries explores wrongful conviction cases handled by The Innocence Project. The series investigates each case, from initial arrest to final release, exploring every bit of evidence proven and disproven along the way. This docu-series shines a harsh light on justice in America, reminding us all that the system is not built to serve everyone equally.
Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story
Sentenced to life in prison at 16 years old and released from jail in 2019, this documentary follows the tragic case of Cyntoia Brown. A victim of sex trafficking who shot and killed her abuser in self-defense, she was tried in court as an adult despite her minor status. She served 15 years of her sentence after prosecutors questioned her story.
Upon its release, Brown called out Netflix on Twitter, asserting that the documentary was unauthorized. She followed up by saying that she was in the process of telling her own story in the "right way, in full detail, and in a way that depicts and respects the woman I am today."
The Trials of Gabriel Fernández
This heartbreaking docuseries investigates the brutal abuse and murder of an 8-year-old boy by his mother and her boyfriend. While we won’t say too much about the horrific crimes at the center of this story, the series is a must-watch.
The filmmakers look not only at the facts of the crime but at how social services all too often fail to protect vulnerable children in their system, and the tragic consequences this failure can bring about.
This underrated Netflix docuseries focuses in on the science behind criminal convictions and forensic evidence. In these four episodes, scientists investigate how innocent people can be convicted of crimes they did not commit, and the missteps in evidence collection and investigation that occur to allow for such dangerous oversights.
From dubious techniques and methods to outright forensic violations, this series is a must-watch for anyone interested in forensic science and wrongful convictions.
Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez
One of Netflix’s first releases in 2020, this true crime docuseries looks into the life and mind of Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end whose career came to a swift end after he was arrested and convicted of first-degree murder in 2015.
The series details how, exactly, Hernandez transitioned from football star to inmate. The filmmakers investigate his other crimes and abuses, his sexuality, and the severe brain damage he suffered as a result of his career.
Though we may never get all the answers we want or need, as Hernandez took his own life in prison, this series does reveal a great deal about this baffling case.
In March 2020, Netflix dropped a new season of this hit docuseries that focuses on famous and often obvious instances of corporate greed, fraud, and corruption.
Diving into the ethics of capitalism and the consequences of wealth acquisition, this new season focuses on figures like Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Jared Kushner, corporate entities like Wells Fargo, and issues such as elder abuse.
Provocative and often sickening, this series exposes what many powerful men have always hoped would stay hidden.
The twists keep coming in the wild world of Joe Exotic. In early June, a judge awarded ownership of Exotic's zoo to Carole Baskin's Big Cat Rescue Corporation. Now, Sherrif Chad Chronister, the lawman investigating the disappearance of Baskin's missing husband, Don Lewis, has declared Lewis's will a forgery. New to this beyond-bizarre true crime tale? Now's the perfect time to dive into the shocking case of animal rights, cultish accusations, and murder-for-hire.
Featured image from "Trial by Media" via Netflix