Crime shows and criminal documentaries are by far the most popular genre watched on television nowadays. Ever since I started watching The American Crime Story, I have been quite fascinated with true crime shows and engrossing criminal docu-series.
Some of the Netflix shows including American Vandal and Making a Murderer are making the genre of true crime stories much more interesting. It may seem a bit odd that people are obsessed with crime shows depicting some of the darkest moments in someone’s life and everyone surely has a different reason for their obsession.
Must Watch True Crime Shows
This genre has not only gathered the attention of people but also has become the talk of the town. Some real-life crime series have also known to increase the knowledge and awareness about the criminal justice system and provide the perfect dose of thrill and entertainment as well.
Without taking much of your time, let us go through the list compiled below of the best crime shows available of all time which has captivated viewers of all kinds, with real-life stories of people accused of committing horrific and harrowing acts.
Some of these shows are very familiar and quite popular while some are equally controversial with the climax. However, one thing is for sure: They are a must-watch, essentially addictive and yes you can binge-watch them.
Making A Murderer
Ever since this Netflix original aired, the true-crime show’s genre has been taken to a whole new level. This show follows the unbelievable real-life story of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man who was charged with the murder of a woman named Teresa Halbach after having already been wrongly convicted for a sexual assault and attempted murder of Penny Beernsten for which he served 18 years in prison for no reason. The connected story is that of Brendan Dassey, his nephew who was also accused and convicted as an accessory in the murder.
Throughout the two seasons available on Netflix, the plot becomes both interesting and quite unpredictable because after serving 18 years in prison for the crime he did not commit, Avery was exonerated but only to be arrested and charged with murder after two years of his exoneration.
Two seasons of the show have already been aired and the sequel is expected to arrive soon. So, if you haven’t watched it yet, now is the time to binge-watch before the third season arrives.
Watch Now: Netflix
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Wild Wild Country
Regarded as “a forgotten piece of American history that must be seen to be believed,” this highly acclaimed Netflix show follows the story of controversial Indian spiritual guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh or known as Osho to his followers. He with his Rajneesh cult followers assembled in Wasco county, Oregon tried to take over the town with his big community of devotees.
The show has more crimes than just murders. The six-part docuseries in its utterly compulsive viewing shows the massive case of illegal wiretapping, immigration fraud and mass poisoning of the town. It was one of the most talked-about Netflix shows and Brothers Mark and Jay Duplass serve as the executive producers of the show.
Another important reason to must watch this show is that this docuseries chronicles the conflict, which leads to the first bioterror attack in the United States. It is a pivotal, but largely forgotten time in American cultural history that tested the country’s tolerance for the separation of church and state.
Watch Now: Netflix
The Confession Tapes
One of the most intriguing things for a die-hard fan of crime shows is listening to confessions about the crime and it becomes even more enthralling when a criminal himself starts confessing about his crime.
So, if you are someone who is looking for a true-crime series like that, then there is nothing better than the show called “The Confession Tapes”. But then as they say the confession does not remain a confession when it’s involuntary, coerced or downright false. This show depicts the process of extracting confessions from suspects in each case and reveals the levels of corruption, manipulation, and coercion that are used to get a confession.
It is quite fascinating to watch this show as well as quite infuriating at the same time as you never know if the confessions made by suspects are correct or coerced and the person who is convicted of a crime has actually committed it or not because many cases remain unsolved and hence legality of the confessions made remains doubtful.
Watch Now: Netflix
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Created by French filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, The Staircase is often regarded as a hugely influential show in the true crime genre by many. The show deals with the trial of novelist Michael Peterson, who was accused of killing his wife in North Carolina, as her body was found at the bottom of a staircase.
The real-life courtroom thriller offers a rare and revealing inside look at high profile murder trial and an examination of contemporary criminal justice. The show follows the slow and methodological investigation journey that Michael Peterson went through and how his family, children and society’s law & order treated him.
The show was originally released in 2004, but Lestrade added an episode in 2013, and then he came up with three new episodes in 2018 which covered additional developments in the case over the few years.
Often criminals feel very confident of the crime they commit and make sure they leave no evidence but this show proves them otherwise. No matter how good a criminal is, he/she leaves some piece of proof that can be used against him/her.
In this series, the eagle-eyed technical experts prove that there is no such thing as a perfect crime as they follow the traces of each crime and assemble the pieces every criminal leave behind. In this show, crime investigation experts examine notable crime cases and reveal how forensic science helps in solving them. They sometimes re-create the crime scenes by stepping into the shoes of a criminal to find out exactly how the crime was committed and some of the recreations include the alternate versions of the crimes, which are then disproved one by one by science.
Dramatic crime recreations and sometimes part of the investigations are a staple of the series and make this show a must-watch worthy. Forensic Files is probably the oldest crime show of all times. It first aired in 1996 and has 14 seasons.
Watch Now: Netflix
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A groundbreaking six-part documentary, this story revolves around the case of real estate heir Robert Durst and his alleged crimes spanning across four decades. He was first accused as a suspect in the sudden disappearance of his wife named Kathie in 1982 and then was charged with the subsequent murders of a family friend Susan Berman in 2000. Susan Berman was thought to be a key witness in the investigation of Kathie’s disappearance. He was then charged with the
Durst has consistently maintained his innocence throughout the interviews conducted in the show which is created by Andrew Jarecki who developed a key interest in this case which led him to make the film based upon Durst’s life, known as “All Good Things” starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst. The fun part is that Durst was arrested for first-degree murders just a day before the finale of the show aired.
Watch Now: Amazon Video
Wormwood is another original docudrama available on Netflix. Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris, this series examines the death of a Government scientist and CIA employee Frank Olson in 1953 under suspicious circumstances.
The show is compellingly a must watch because the story moves from one theory to another very quickly. Frank’s death was initially ruled as a suicide as he was found dead on the sidewalks of New York City after plunging 13 stories from the window of his hotel but later-on in 1975 a report tied his death to a top-secret CIA’s mind-control program named MK Ultra.
This six-part series explores the sixty-year quest of Frank’s son, Eric who is determined to identify the circumstances of his father’s mysterious death and find out what exactly would have happened. Eric dedicates his whole life to seek the truth and even checks in to the same hotel in New York City and stays in the same room. This series is really suspenseful and thought-provoking.
Watch Now: Netflix
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If you are looking forward to watching some mindblowing crime saga, then follow the Iberville Parish detectives in this series known as “The killing Fields” who reopens a cold case of murder in Louisiana that took place in 1997.
So, what’s the case? Well, in 1997, Louisiana State University student named Eugenie Boisfontaine suddenly disappeared and two months later her body was found mutilated and decomposing in a ditch. Further, the case takes quite an interesting turn because during the same time almost 60 women disappeared.
The premise of the show revolved around murders where the victims’ bodies get dumped in secluded places. The title refers to an area that becomes the place for dumping bodies, because the landscape and conditions of the area wash away the evidence, making it nearly impossible to solve the crime. This series draws the story out just long enough to create necessary suspense while respecting those at the center of its compelling mystery.
Watch Now: Amazon Video | iTunes
Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist
This is a true-crime documentary series which is both mindboggling and chilling and really prefers to present the information while leaving the conclusions to the audience. In one of the most shocking turns of events in 2003, a pizza delivery guy robbed a bank in Erie, Pennsylvania while wearing a bomb collared around his neck.
He was apprehended by the police outside the bank and he gave himself up without any fight, claiming that he had been assaulted and forced into this robbery by someone by tying the bomb to his neck with instructions for dropping off the money and retrieving keys to unlock his collar.
Police thought of his story to be sketchy assuming this story was just his back-up plan to escape punishment in case he gets caught. Right then, his collar starts beeping and the bomb explodes. He dies and later the police investigates to find out the mastermind who was actually behind such bizarre bank heist and murder.
After some time, a master manipulator and potential orchestrator named Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong was arrested for the case. This Netflix docu-series will make you feel as if there is something more to the story and keeps you hooked till the end. This story presentation is outstanding and it is well worth your time to watch all of the episodes.
Watch Now: Netflix
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I Am a Killer
A great binge-worthy show that throws light on the motives and circumstances behind a few selected death sentence cases. The show provides a humbling insight into what makes a person killer by interviewing the death row inmates. There are no confusing statements but just straight truths and confessions, nothing else.
The documentary tells the story behind both sides of the party, victim and the killer and leaves the viewers to make up their own mind about the case and the punishment. It allows the inmates to share the story of their crimes firsthand and discuss how they feel about the events years later. It is well worth your time if you like true crime. All 10 episodes of the show are available for streaming on Netflix.
Watch Now: Netflix
We have compiled the above list based upon the very fact that every notorious criminal activity depicted or the harrowing crimes showed are central to the show’s ongoing plot or they act as a base theme for the show. While some viewers may appreciate the clever story narration and dramatic presentation of the events shown which give enough clues to solve the cases without giving everything away for the big reveal, while others may find digging into the perplexed minds of criminal both intriguing and baffling.
There may be some audiences who simply like seeing the law enforcement people bring the bad guys to justice at the end of every show. But one thing is for sure that there is something for every true crime enthusiast out there to binge-watch these docu-series.
Hope the above list helps you to pick the best one you are looking forward to binge watch in true crime shows category.