There are plenty of amazing true crime shows out there, but when they hit Netflix, you need to watch them before they disappear or you'll regret it forever. Witness, for example, is the haunting tale of a woman whose murder was witnessed (and ignored) by 38 people, and I missed that sucker by one day! The sharp pain of loss is something I'll have to live with every single day for the rest of my life, so learn from my mistakes. Here are 10 of the best true crime shows on Netflix that you need to be streaming now, before you miss out.
10. American Crime Story: The People Vs OJ Simpson
American Crime Story is an FX series centered around some of America's most notorious crimes, and what case could be more notorious than the O.J. Simson murder trial? The entire country was hooked from the very beginning, with over 95 million people tuning in to watch O.J. flee from the police in his infamous white Bronco. Yes, we all know how his trial ended, but amazing performances from Cuba Gooding Jr. (O.J.) and Sarah Paulson (Marcia Clark) will immerse you in the drama and make you forget that these were real-life events. Trust me, this show was wildly successful for a reason.
9. Out Of Thin Air
There are a lot of great true crime shows out there, but Out of Thin Air chronicles Iceland's biggest (and most notorious) criminal investigation ever. After two men disappeared in Iceland, Erla Bolladottir claimed that she, her boyfriend and four of his friends murdered them, despite the fact that no bodies had ever been found. In the end, five of them were sentenced for the murder and Erla Bolladottir was convicted of perjury. In 2018, all five men were acquitted due to false confessions and a gross miscarriage of justice, but Erla's perjury charge still stands. If you're a fan of Making A Murderer, you'll definitely enjoy this one.
8. The Investigator: A British Crime Story
I stumbled upon this show purely by accident, and I'm so glad that I did. The Investigator: A British Crime Story is a British television crime documentary series that has two separate seasons (the first one is by far the best, IMHO). The show, produced by Simon Cowell, has been described as "Britain's answer to Making A Murderer," and the first series investigates the disappearance and murder of Carole Packman in 1985. Provided you don't mind a show with an open ending, this is definitely worth the watch.
7. Evil Genius
Picture this: a pizza delivery guy is forced to rob a bank in a small-town Pennsylvania town while wearing a collar bomb, but fails to complete a detailed treasure hunt for a combination code that would unlock the bomb from his neck and ends up dying. Doesn't seem real, does it? This actually happened to a man named Brian Wells back in 2003, and these horrifying and bizarre events are what make this true-crime documentary so mind-blowing. Right when you think you've got it all figured out, another unusual detail will emerge and send you down a rabbit hole that you didn't see coming. Interested? Check out the trailer here.
6. Wormwood: An American Conspiracy
Wormwood is a docudrama miniseries based on the life of Frank Olson, an American biological warfare scientist and employee of the CIA who died after leaping from a hotel room window back in 1953. Was Olson a casualty of psychotropic drug testing within the CIA? Did they cover up their "experiments" when it all went sour? That's certainly what his son, Eric Olson, believes to be true, and this documentary attempts to piece together the evidence 60 years later.
5. The Confession Tapes
Netflix is full of some amazing true crime documentaries that will make you question the justice process, but The Confession Tapes tells multiple stories of coerced confessions, all of which led to murder convictions. The series, which is both disturbing and illuminating all at the same time, features experts on false confessions, miscarriages of justice, and psychology, and really makes viewers question law enforcement's interrogation process.
4. The Keepers
In case you haven't seen it yet, The Keepers is an absolutely riveting exploration of what happened to Sister Cathy Cesnik, a young nun who, before her murder, was about to become the whistle-blower for the rampant sexual abuse occurring at a Catholic school in Maryland. The documentary is led by two of her former students, now retirees, who have dedicated their lives to uncovering the truth of what happened to Sister Cathy and exposing the massive cover-up attempts by the Catholic Church and law enforcement. It's a touching and painstaking quest for the truth, fraught with many obstacles, but it's absolutely enthralling.
3. Cold Justice
This series follows Kelly Siegler, a former prosecutor, and Yolanda McClary, a crime scene investigator, as they reopen unsolved cold cases across America. This dynamic, mystery-solving duo is often a last-ditch effort for victims' families who have waited a long time for justice to be served. Although not every episode ends with a conviction, Kelly offers compassion and sensitivity to every person in the victim's family, and her gentleness and tireless efforts to solve the crime will often bring viewers to tears.
2. The Staircase
There are some terrifying true crime documentaries out there, but this one took place right down the road from where I live, so it really sent shivers down my spine. Although it's in English on Netflix, The Staircase is actually a French television miniseries documenting the trial of Michael Peterson, convicted of murdering his wife, Kathleen, who was found dead at the bottom of a staircase. The documentary, which features extended footage of Peterson's family and defense attorneys, can often be slow-going, but it definitely makes you question the circumstances surrounding his wife's death. Did he do it, or did he not? Watch and decide.
1. Making A Murderer
If you haven't heard the hype surrounding Netflix's Making A Murderer by now, then you must be living under a rock, because this is the series that everyone is talking about. The documentary follows the conviction and imprisonment of Steven Avery, a small town Wisconsin man who finds himself charged and convicted for the murder of Teresa Halbach. The twist? Steven had already served 18 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted for the sexual assault/murder of another woman, years earlier. Could local law enforcement be using him as a scapegoat yet again? This documentary will definitely leave you wondering.