14 of the best true crime series to watch on Netflix right now

27 June 2019, 10:53 | Updated: 7 July 2021, 14:15

When They See Us: The real story of the Central Park Five
When They See Us: The real story of the Central Park Five. Picture: Netflix

By Rachel Finn

If your true crime addiction is real, here are all the shows you can't miss.

There’s no shortage of true crime series to watch on Netflix, but with so many fighting for our attention, which ones are the best to give your precious time to?

From the unpredictable twists and turns of Abducted In Plain Sight, to the strange and bizarre happenings in Wild, Wild Country, to the shocking events explored in The Jaycee Lee Story, the very best true crime series keep us on our toes (and potentially shielding our eyes from our laptop screens) as they investigate some of the most unusual crimes to have ever taken place.

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Here are some of the most binge-worthy true crime series currently on Netflix that are worth clearing your schedule for.

1) When They See Us

When They See Us is a drama telling the story of five teenagers - Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, and Raymond Santana - who were wrongfully arrested and convicted of assaulting a jogger named Trisha Meili in Central Park in 1989. The true story gets the heart of how the justice system failed the teenage boys, who each spent between six and fourteen years in prison for a crime they did not commit.

When They See Us | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

2) The Confession Tapes

Why would you admit to a murder you didn’t actually commit? This is the main question asked by The Confession Tapes, now back for a second season. Each episode takes a deep dive into a case where someone admitted to a murder under potentially corrupt or coerced circumstances and presents evidence in the form of interviews with investigators, lawyers and wrongful conviction experts, leaving you to decide for yourself whether you think the person convicted was really guilty of the crime or not.

The Confession Tapes: Season 2 - Official Trailer | Netflix (2019)

3) Abducted In Plain Sight

In a shocking documentary full of twists and turns, Abducted In Plain Sight follows the strange kidnapping case of Jan Broberg, a teenager from Idaho who was abducted on more than one occasion by her neighbour Robert Berchtold in the 1970s. Entrapping the family in a web of lies and complicity, Berchtold managed to even convince the family to drop the criminal charges against him… only to return and kidnap the teenager again.


4) Conversations with A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

One of the US’s most notorious serial killers, Ted Bundy killed more than thirty women before being convicted in 1978. This four-part series pieces together archive footage and audio recordings of the killer made while he was on death row, talking about his life and motives. Warning: do not watch The Ted Bundy Tapes alone.

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

5) The Staircase

When novelist Michael Peterson’s wife died in 2001, he claimed she died after falling down the stairs in their house, but investigators in the case turned the death into a murder trial after they decided she was actually beaten to death by her husband. First released as an 8-part episode series in 2004 and then followed up with sequels in 2013 and 2018, The Staircase presents contrasting evidence and asks you to decide if Peterson committed murder or not.

The Staircase | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

6) The Keepers

The Keepers tackles the unsolved murder of Cathy Cesnik, a nun and high school teacher in Baltimore. After going missing in November 1969, her body was found two months later and to this day, the killer has never been found. Things get even more shocking when some of the teacher’s former students come forward with potential evidence that the case was a cover-up by the authorities after Cathy suspected a priest at the school was guilty of abuse.

The Keepers | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

7) Amanda Knox

Featuring interviews with Amanda Knox, her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini and other people involved in the case, this documentary looks into the murder of Knox’s flatmate Meredith Kercher in Italy in 2007. Knox was convicted of murder and spent four years in an Italian prison before being acquitted in 2015 - but some still think she’s guilty of the crime.

Amanda Knox | Teaser [HD] | Netflix

8) Making A Murderer

Steven Avery was released from prison after two decades serving time for a crime he didn’t commit only to soon be convicted of the murder of 25-year-old photographer Teressa Halbach. Things get more confusing when Steven’s nephew Brendan Dassey is accused of assisting in the murder, despite potentially being coerced into confessing. Making A Murderer follows Steven’s attempts to clear his name over two ten-episode long series.

Making A Murderer: Part 2 | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

9) Captive For 18 Years: The Jaycee Lee Story

In 1991, 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard was kidnapped while waiting for a bus. Eighteen years later, in 2009, she was discovered alive after being held captive by a sex offender for almost two decades, despite multiple missed attempts to rescue Jaycee from her captors.

Captive For 18 Years: The Jaycee Lee Story trailer

10) Evil Genius

A four-part true crime documentary series about Brian Wells, a man who died after being involved in a complex bank robbery which saw him rob a bank wearing an explosive collar that detonated while carrying out the robbery. Some thought Wells was a willing participant in the plan whereas others thought he was coerced into the robbery. This documentary investigates contrasting evidence to try and figure out which side is telling the truth.

Evil Genius | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

11) Shadow Of Truth

This documentary series looks into the 2006 murder case of a 13-year-old Israeli girl, whose body was found in a school bathroom, and the subsequent arrest and trail of Roman Zadorow, a Ukrainian immigrant who worked at the school.

Trailer - SHADOW OF TRUTH on Netflix

12) Casting JonBenet

In 1996, 6-year-old child beauty pageant queen JonBenét was found murdered in her family home in Colorado. This documentary takes an unconventional approach to exploring the crime by documenting the casting process for a film, where various actors and interviewed and tested for the roles of real people involved in the case. Rather than simply documenting the crime, this film explores how the events have turned into a pop culture obsession and conspiracy.

Casting JonBenet | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

13) Wild Wild Country

In the 1980s, the controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers move to Wasco County in Oregon to build their own community. But what begins as a story of tension between the new arrivals and locals soon escalates into a plot involving murder, assault, wiretapping, arson immigration fraud and biological warfare.

Wild Wild Country | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

14) The Disappearance of Madeline McCann

When 3 year-old Madeline McCann went missing from a hotel room while on holiday with her parents in Portugal in 2007, it quickly became one of the most high profile cases of a missing child of all time. This documentary analyses the case in huge detail, featuring 40 experts and key figures involved in the mystery and goes over a number of theories behind what happened to Madeline.

The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix