The 40 best true crime series to watch on Netflix right now – The Sun

TIGER King has had us all gripped since it premiered on Netflix earlier this year, but there's no need to feel bereft after bingeing.

That's because the streaming service has a whole host of equally gripping, disturbing and outrageous true crime dramas for you to sink your teeth into.  Here are some of our favourites.

The Confession Tapes

The 2017 true crime television documentary series follows the story of a number of people who were convicted of murder, but go on to say that their confessions were tampered with.

It has been praised for its great representation of criminal law, miscarriages of justice and psychology.

One episode looks at a man who was advised to confess to murdering a teenage girl at the wheel of his truck whilst driving, while another follows Hamid Hayat's case of admitting to attending a terrorist camp.

Fans have compared the series to other popular crime documentaries like The Keepers and Making a Murderer.


The American psychological crime thriller is an adaptation of the book of the 1995 book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit written by John. E Douglas and Mark Olshaker.

It was released in August 2019 and has become a hit with Netflix fans as it follows FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) interview serial killers that are already in prison to see if the information can help with ongoing cases.

In the first season, which is based from 1977 to 1980, American serial killer, rapist and cannibal plays a huge part in the plot in helping them see if they can gain any way of trying to understand how a murderer's brain works.

Season 2 focuses mainly on the Atlanta child murders from 1979 to 1981 after Wayne Williams killed hundreds of people, but managed to not get charged for a large chunk of them.

The Confession Killer

The five-part American true crime documentary, which is directed by Rovert Kenner and Taki Oldham, is based on the 1983 case of Henry Lee Lucas.

The serial killer's crimes spanned from 1960 to 1983 and he was convicted for murdering 11 people. He was condemned to death, but then it later changed to life in prison.

During each 45 minute long episode, it unravels the truth behind the case with certain cast members involved from the original case.

The Devil Next Door

John Demjanjuk, a Nazi extermination camp guard known as "Ivan the Terrible", is the star of this gripping documentary.

It follows the legal battles of the retired autoworker after he was accused of being part of a German-Nazi prison officer.

He was later extradited to Isreal for trial in 1981, where he was identified by survivors of the holocaust.

But the evidence didn't prove that he was "Ivan the Terrible," and it was later confirmed that he was a Nazi guard who assisted with the killing of over 27,900 people.

The documentary includes clips of his loved-ones speaking, his attorney and journalists speaking about his case, as well as footage from his trial.

The Innocence files

The nine-part 2020 American true crime documentary highlights the consequences of what happens when innocent people are accused of crimes they haven't done.

Cast include Peter Neufeld, Barry Scheck, Gary Well and Gloria Williams.

Audrie & Daisy

This 2016 documentary focuses on three rape cases of three American teenage girls in 2011 and 2012.

Victims include two girls under the age of 16,  Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman.

After their assaults, the girls became victims of cyberbullying and the documentary highlights how they had to deal with the awful abuse online.

The documentary comes after creators Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk have become interested in how social media has become such a prominent thing in our loves and how people can use it for the bad.

I Am A Killer

I Am A Killer season one was originally released on August 3, 2018 and follows the stories of death row inmates.

Season 2 was then released on Netflix earlier this year on January 31.

The likes of Kenneth Foster, Justin Dickens, Miguel Angel Martinez, David Lewis and Joshua Nelson speak on camera about their crimes and what it's like to be serving a life sentence in prison as a murderer.

Amanda Knox

This 2016 Netflix documentary explores Amanda Knox, who has been twice convicted of the murder of Meredith Kercher, a 21-year-old student from Surrey.

It includes interviews with Amanda herself, her ex-lover Raffaele Sollecito and what happened in the investigation, as well as the trials and appeals.

The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann

The disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine is arguably one of the most well-known cases of our time.

She went missing while on holiday with her family whilst staying at the Prai da Luz resort in Portugal.

This Netflix documentary stars Anthony Summers, Gonçalo Amaral and Robbyn Swan and presents everything that has been portrayed in the media and in the investigation – without the McCann family in it.

Strong Island

The true-crime documentary is based around the murder of Yance Ford's brother – an African-American teacher killed by a man called Mark P. Reilly.

The 19-year-old white chop shop mechanic claimed it was all self-defence.

It has been given various awards for its excellent story-telling – including the Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Documentary in 2017 and it was nominated for an Emmy in Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking too.

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich

With their frightening firsthand accounts, Epstein’s accusers are the leading voices in this docuseries.

By revealing their emotional scars, some for the very first time, the sisterhood of survivors intend to stop predators — and the American justice system — from silencing the next generation.

Main accuser Virginia Roberts appears in the documentary to tell her story.

Netflix tweeted on their See What's Next account that the show "exposes a horrifying story of relentless manipulation and sex trafficking".

It added: "Epstein’s survivors serve as the series’ pre-eminent voices, providing powerful testimonials about their experiences, and inspiration in their resilience."

Leading up to his 2019 arrest, mysterious tycoon Jeffrey Epstein was accused of abusing women and underage girls for decades, assembling a network of enablers to help carry out and cover up his crimes.

Epstein came from humble beginnings yet managed to lie and manipulate his way to the top of the financial world.

He eventually gained tremendous wealth and power while running an international sex trafficking ring.

The serial sex abuser made a secret plea deal with the government in 2008 avoiding a potential life sentence and continued to abuse women.

Unsolved Mysteries

Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries has proven a huge hit with fans and even resulted in one of the cases featured being reopened by the FBI.

Episode four of the first series followed the case of 23-year-old Alonzo Brooks, who was found dead after attending a house party.

Fellow guests at the party said Alonzo – who was of African-American and Mexican heritage – was on the receiving end of racial slurs at the bash.

His body was then found a month later in a creek near La Cygne, Kansas but an autopsy couldn't find a cause of death and no one was ever arrested.

In July, Netflix’s official Twitter account offered viewers a huge update on the case.

It read: "Update: The body of Alonzo Brooks was exhumed this morning. His case was recently reopened by the @FBI who are offering a $100K reward for tips leading to an arrest. If you know something please come forward. #unsolvedmysteries #Justiceforalonzobrooks."

Meanwhile another episode left viewers convinced that aliens existed after a disappearance of extra-terrestrial proportions.

Unsolved Mysteries will return for a second season in October.

Don't F*** With Cats

This three-part series reveals the sick and twisted crimes of Canadian killer Luka Magnotta, who started off filming himself torturing animals before posting them online.

In 2010 he posted his first video which saw him killing two kittens, before later footage showed another kitten being eaten alive by a Burmese python.

The internet was up in arms at his behaviour and the documentary follows the real life people who started a manhunt to find him.

But things took a more sinister turn when Luka moved on to murdering humans, killing Chinese student Jun Lin after they met on a gay dating site.

Abducted in Plain Sight

This series is the gripping story of how a young girl was kidnapped twice by a neighbour.

Jan Broberg was kidnapped twice by neighbour Robert B Berchtold as a young girl – once aged 12 and again aged 14.

The community in Idaho in which she lived the early 1970s were completely under the 40-year-old paedophile’s spell.

Berchtold lured both Bob and Mary Ann Broberg, who were members of the Church of the Latter Day Sain, into separate sexual encounters, playing on their vulnerability and guilt to achieve his sick aims.

Berchtold was a friend of the family and had been molesting Jan for months and convinced her aliens wanted her to have a child with him before abducting her.

The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez

The harrowing documentary reveals how eight-year-old Gabriel was bound, gagged and made to sleep inside a tiny cabinet before he was murdered by his evil mother and her partner.

The little boy was repeatedly beaten and tortured by his mum and Isauro in 2013 because they thought he was gay, including being put inside cabinet they nicknamed the “the box”.

The series doesn't shy away from detailing what poor Gabriel went through during his short life, and it has left many viewers struggling to watch it.

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Ted Bundy, who died in an electric chair in Florida on January 24, 1989, confessed to killing 30 women in the 1970s.

The documentary is based on the work of journalists Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth and uses hours of audio interviews they conducted with the killer while he was on death row in 1980.

It also includes present-day interviews and archive footage.

This unique series focuses on a man whose personality, good looks and social graces defied the serial-killer stereotype, allowing him to hide in plain sight as he committed the brutal sex-crime slayings of more than 30 women before being caught in 1978.


Making a Murderer

If you haven't seen this true crime drama series, what have you been doing? Originally released on Netflix in 2015 and immediately had viewers gripped. A second season followed in 2018.

The series explores the complex case of Steven Avery, who was previously exonerated after spending nearly twenty years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

But he was then arrested and sentenced two years later for the murder of Teresa Halbach, another crime he insists he didn't commit.

Some of the questions that have arisen include whether Avery and Dassey received a fair trial, and whether the police conducted a thorough investigation at the time.

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez
This the captivating Netflix documentary about how  one of the NFL's most promising players became a convicted murderer.

The three-part series chronicles the player's high-profile murder trial, conviction and prison suicide.

It also explores his troubled childhood when he was sexually abused by a male babysitter and how he lived in fear of his homophobic father.

The former NFL star was serving a life sentence without parole for the 2013 killing of semi-professional footballer Odin Lloyd when he committed suicide in his prison cell.

Evil Genius
The four-part series focuses on the death/murder of Brian Wells in 2003.

The pizza delivery man robbed a bank with a bomb strapped to his chest and neck, but evidence later emerged that he may have been forced to commit the crime and wear the device.

Despite the subject matter of the series, viewers were still horrified to see footage of Brian blow up within the first 10 minutes of episode one.

How to Fix a Drug Scandal

The docuseries is based on the shocking real life crime committed by Sonja Farak, who was a lab tester for the Amherst lab, in the US state of Massachusetts.

Woven into the series is the true life story of Annie Dookhan, whose actions caused thousands of drug convictions to be cast into doubt.

The lab tester and Sonja Farak's crimes resulted in the wrongful conviction of many drug related cases in the state.

Tell Me Who I Am

The feature-length Netflix documentary deals with the heartbreaking story of Alex Lewis, who lost his memory at the age of 18 after a motorcycling accident.

Alex relied on his twin brother Marcus to teach him who he was and about their past, but Marcus chose not to tell him about their abusive childhood in a bid to protect his sibling from further trauma.

However, following the death of their mother Jill Dudley in 1995, the brothers started to clear out the family home, and Alex made a shock discovery.

At the back of their mother's wardrobe was a secret compartment, and when he opened it he found a naked photograph of himself and Marcus as 10-year-old boys, with their heads cut off.

The shocking discovery lead him to ask his twin if they had been abused.


The Staircase

The Staircase follows a war novelist accused of killing his wife in 2001 and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival before it arrived on the streaming giant.

Eight episodes aired in 2004 and the follow-up runs for three installments.

The Staircase has been described as a "gripping real-life courtroom thriller" and has been compared to hit show, Making a Murderer.

Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade was granted access to the case immediately following Kathleen’s death.

De Lestrade captured every moment of the story from arrest to verdict, following in intimate detail Peterson’s home, the family and his defence team as it considered its strategic options.

The Keepers

This docuseries examines the decades-old murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik and its suspected link to a priest accused of abuse.

Sister Cesnik taught English and drama at Baltimore's Archbishop Keough High School, and her former students' believed that there was a cover-up by authorities after Cesnik suspected that a priest at the school, A. Joseph Maskell, was guilty of sexual abuse of students.

The series was directed by Ryan White and released on Netflix in 2017.

Out of Thin Air

This British documentary focuses on the Reykjavik Confessions, a case where six people were wrongfully convicted for the disappearances of Guðmundur Einarsson and Geirfinnur Einarsson in Iceland.

The film concerns the 1974 disappearances of two unrelated men whose bodies were never found.

The first, an 18-year-old man, vanished on a wintry night after attending a party, then months later, a 32-year-old father drove to a café after receiving a late night phone call.

He parked his car and was never seen again.

The 2017 production reveals how confessions aren't everything.

Trial 4

Trial 4 is all about the story of Sean K. Ellis, who says he was wrongfully convicted of murder.

In 1995 when Ellis was 19, he faced three trials for armed robbery and first-degree murder.

His first two trials ended in a hung jury, but after the third Ellis was found guilty and sentenced to life.


Unbelievable is a dramatization of the 2008–2011 Washington and Colorado serial rape cases.

It follows "Marie, a teenager who was charged with lying about having been raped.

The two detectives who are investigating the case follow a twisting path endeavouring to found out what really happened.

When They See Us

When They See Us is based on events of the April 19, 1989, Central Park jogger case.

Five young boys were subsequently charged with the crime and maintained its innocence.

They spent years fighting the convictions, hoping to be exonerated.

This limited series spans a quarter of a century, from when the teens are first questioned about the incident in the spring of 1989, going through their exoneration in 2002 and ultimately the settlement reached with the city of New York in 2014.

Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story

Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story is a 2020 documentary film directed by Daniel H. Birman.

The premise revolves around Cyntoia Brown, who was 16 years old when she shot and killed Johnny Michael Allen in 2004.

After she was sentenced to life in prison, questions about her past, physiology and the law itself call her guilt into question.

The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story is a limited series that takes you inside the O.J. Simpson trial with a riveting look at the legal teams battling to convict or acquit the football legend of double homicide.

It is based on the book The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin.

It explores the chaotic behind-the-scenes dealings and maneuvering on both sides of the court, and how a combination of prosecution overconfidence, defense shrewdness, and the LAPD's history with the city's African-American community gave a jury what it needed: reasonable doubt.

Carmel: Who Killed Maria Marta?

This four-part, Spanish-language docu-series explores the 2002 murder of Argentinian sociologist María Marta García Belsunce, who was found dead in her bathtub.

María, 50, was found at the home she shared with her husband of 31 years, Carlos, who was later arrested for her murder and spent five years in prison before the conviction was overturned.
Carlos and police had initially believed she had accidentally hit her head and drowned, and the official autopsy ruled her death as "non-traumatic cardiac arrest"
However, her family insisted on further investigation and it was discovered she had been shot several times.

Killer Women with Piers Morgan

Journalist and presenter Piers meets a host of American women who are convicted murderers in this chilling series.

There are two seasons to binge on, with season one featuring Erin Caffey, whose boyfriend Charlie Wilkinson and his friend Charles Wade shot and stabbed her mother and two brothers to death in 2008.

The second series features interviews with Rebecca Fenton, who murdered her husband and Amber Wright, who played apart in the murder of her teenage boyfriend.

The Investigator – A British Crime Story

Described by some as 'Britain's answer to Making a Murderer', The Investigator is created and produced by Simon Cowell and consists of two series so far.

The first series has four episodes and focuses on the murder of Carole Packman in 1985.

The second consists of three episodes and focuses more on unsolved disappearances and murders which could be linked to serial killers Peter Tobin and Angus Sinclair.

Exhibit A

This 2019 doesn't examine a specific case like most over true crime series, instead, it looks at how modern crime solving techniques can still be imperfect.

The series deconstructs how things like blood spatter and touch DNA can be misread of manipulated, making it a fascinating watch.


Another Piers Morgan-led series, Psychopath sees him meet Paris Bennett, who killed his four-year-old sister when he was just 13.

This was no impulsive fit of rage, but a cold, deliberate act which he had planned for weeks beforehand and was born out of a festering resentment.

At the time of filming, Paris is getting close to being eligible for parole and Piers speaks to Paris' mother Charity about how she feels at the prospect of him leaving prison.

Fear City: New York vs the Mafia

Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, the 'Five Families' of the New York mafia – Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Luccese – held a powerful, and seemingly insurmountable, grip on the city.

This three-part docuseries, from the creators of Don’t F**K With Cats, details the incredible story of the history-making organised crime investigation and prosecution case brought against New York’s most formidable mob bosses.

Through interviews with dozens of law enforcement officials, ex-mafia associates and others, Fear City: New York vs The Mafia sheds light on how the mafia’s control of unions, high-rise construction and other industries netted billions for organised crime.

Wild Wild Country

This documentary focuses on Oregon, USA, in the 1980s and the rise of followers of Indian guru "Osho", also known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

'The Big Muddy' Ranch started out as a retreat but soon became a cult HQ for Osho and his followers.

However, Osho isn't the focus of the six-part documentary, instead, it's his  right-hand woman, Ma Anand Sheela, who fell in love with him and carried out many terrible crimes in his name in the following years.

She tries to defend her actions and crimes, which includes charges of attempted murder, second-degree assault, illegal wire-tapping, arson, and immigration fraud.

The series is one of those stranger-than-fiction stories which make a compelling watch.

The Innocent Man

This series follows the non-fiction true crime book: The Innocent Man by bestselling author John Grisham.

It looks at two murders and potentially false convictions in a small town in Oklahoma and examines what can happen when U.S Justice system fails, particularly the human cost.

The Family

A rare true-crime series which is not about murder, The Family examines a secretive conservative Christian group known as – you guessed it – The Family.

The five episode series looks at The Family's history and its impact on past and present world events.

Often a horrifying watch, it will leave you feeling incredulous that such a large organisation could remain a secret.

World's Most Wanted

Pretty self-explanatory but this docu-series looks at the most notorious criminals at large, some of whom have escaped arrest for more than 20 years.

In particular, it looks at the five most sought after criminals who have avoided capture despite massive rewards and worldwide investigations.

Shockingly, the location of one of the criminals is known to the FBI, but he remains free.

Athlete A

This harrowing documentary looks at the sexual abuse scandal which rocked the USA Gymnastics team in 2016.

It follows the investigative journalists at the Indianapolis Star who broke the story of Larry Nassar, a physician, and his numerous assaults on young female gymnasts and the USA Gymnastics subsequent attempts to cover up his abuse.



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