The best true crime shows on Netflix
23 March 2020, 15:18
From Abducted in Plain Sight to Tiger King and The Trials Of Gabriel Fernandez, here's all the best true crime documentaries on Netflix.
At the moment, we're all sat at home asking ourselves the same question: What should I watch on Netflix now? Well, if you, like most of us, enjoy getting lost in a gripping, multi-episode true crime documentary series to pass the time, then boy does this streamer have a selection for you.
Whether it's murder, cults, cat-related crimes (both exotic and domestic) or some truly creepy mysterious unsolved disappearances, there's a true crime series out there for everyone.
From some of the world's most highly publicised cases like the disappearance of Madeleine McCann to the absolutely horrifying Don't F*ck With Cats, and the unbelievably shocking story behind Abducted In Plain Sight, here are some of the best true crime documentaries on Netflix...
1) Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness
Netflix’s newest true crime documentary details the story of Joseph Maldonado-Passage (a.k.a. The Tiger King, Joe Exotic), who opened a roadside zoo of over 1,200 lions, tigers and bears, before it quickly spiralled out of control, leading to murder, drug rings, and a cult. Joe also had a long-running feud with animal activist Carole Baskin that resulted in him plotting to have her murdered.
From questions surrounding the mysterious disappearance of Carole's husband Don, to the absolutely savage threats made by the big cat breeders, Tiger King will keep blowing your mind, episode after episode.
2) Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez
The story of Aaron Hernandez is one of the most recent real life cases to be turned into a docu-series. Hernandez was a hugely successful American football player who played for the New England Patriots between 2010 and 2013. However, his career came to end after he was arrested and convicted of the murder of Odin Lloyd. Killer Inside seeks to examine how the NFL star became a wanted criminal with in-depth interviews and never-before-seen footage.
3) Don't F*ck With Cats
This one is not for the faint-hearted – and definitely not one for cat lovers out there. Don't F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer tells the unbelievable story of a group of internet detectives who help track down infamous cat killer, Luka Rocco Magnotta. Through the sounds, furnishings, and even appliances that could be identified in the brutal videos he posted, internet users were able to track down the killer, who would later go on to be convicted for the murder of Lin Jun in 2014.
4) The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez
The story of Gabriel Fernandez is dark and incredibly harrowing. The docu-series follows the case of a then eight-year-old Gabriel who was brutally murdered by his parents in 2013. While the show looks into the cover up and gruesome beatings that led to his death, it's also about the entire system that failed the boy, including Child Protection Services, who had been involved with the family for a long time and are being blamed just as heavily as his parents for neglect.
5) 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.
The docu-series has been dubbed one of the best true crime series on Netflix. It's a must watch.
6) Wild Wild Country
If you love cults, then this is series for you. In the 1980s, the controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers (including the slightly terrifying and savage Ma Anand Sheela) 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.
7) Conversations with A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
One of the US' 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.
8) The Staircase
The Staircase follows the story of novelist Michael Peterson’s wife who 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 eight-part episode series in 2004 and then followed up with sequels in 2013 and 2018, The Staircase will have you wondering whether Peterson was guilty or not.
9) The Keepers
This chilling series dives into 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.
10) 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.
11) Casting JonBenet
In 1996, six-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 are 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.
12) The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann
When three-year-old Madeleine 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 Madeleine.
13) I Am a Killer
In one of the most chilling docu-series that Netflix has to offer, I Am A Killer gives voices to the people behind bars who have committed murder. The series features interviews with prisoners who are on death row, where they explain what they did to end up there.
14) Killer Ratings
Killer Ratings tells the true-life story of a Brazilian TV host and politician Wallace Souza, who was accused of literally killing for ratings and using his show to cover up the truth. Sounds made up, doesn't it? The docu-series presents testimonies and stories from people who worked on the show as well as the authorities who worked on the case, relatives and acquaintances.
15) The Confession Killer
This docu-series focuses on serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, who admitted to over 200 unsolved murders all over the US. His confession made him the most prolific serial killer of the 20th century. However, it turned out that his confessions were all lies and authorities didn't realise until years later – meaning countless unsolved murder cases had been closed, when they should still be open.
16) Making A Murderer
Ahhh, the one that started Netflix's true crime craze. Making A Murderer follows Steven Avery as he attempts to clear his name over two ten-episode long series. 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.