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Top 10 true crime documentaries on Netflix

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It’s fair to say that over the last 2 years Netflix has been absolutely killing it with creating compelling, engaging and incredibly exciting documentaries for us viewers. Whether you love a wacky cult documentary or you’re into famous serial killers in their natural habitat (which is now prison), Netflix seems to have you covered. There’s no doubt that you’ll probably have an eye-opening experience about just how bizarre the world really is, while you’re binging through the episodes.

So, to help you get started on your documentary binge of the century, I’ve made a list of the top 10 Netflix documentaries that focus on True Crime. Now you don’t have to spend ages searching for ‘good ones’ when you could be getting the popcorn ready instead!

Amanda Knox

Amanda Know true crime

Let me tell you one thing about this documentary: Amanda Knox is a wild f*cking story! By the name, the documentary focuses on an American girl called Amanda Knox who has traveled to Perugia, Italy as an exchange student. Sounds simple enough, right? Hundreds of students go on exchange every year all across the world, but they made the documentary for a reason, so we can assume something messed up happened along the way.

The documentary follows Amanda Knox through her journey of being wrongly convicted of murder while spending time in Italy. A huge (and very compelling) aspect of this documentary is that the main investigators at play during this case are all interviewed on-screen while reminiscing back on the events that took place, including Amanda Knox herself. Honestly, I just can’t recommend this documentary enough. With crazy twists and turns the entire way through, the story is just wild from the beginning.

Tiger King

Tiger King mayhem true crime

“Tiger King” the two words that have been resonating through the internet for the last few weeks. When the Tiger King documentary was released on Netflix last month, it was an instant hit and its popularity doesn’t seem to be slowing down just yet. The documentary follows the crazy life of the “Tiger King” also known by his legally changed ‘real name’, Joe Exotic (previously Joe Schreibvogel). When the documentary was first released, it was wrongly dubbed the “Blackfish of Tigers”, meaning that it was highlighting the horrific world of the Tiger zoo industry in America. However, on some level this may be true but overall this is definitely not the case. So if you’re looking for a documentary that details the trade on the animals, and specifically how they’re treated, you may want to look at Louis Theroux’s work with Joe Exotic from a few years ago.

This awesome Netflix documentary highlights the totally absurd world of Joe Exotic and his hate-fuelled battle with an “animal rights activist” named Carole Baskin who also owned a tiger “sanctuary”. I was completely hooked from the very first episode of Tiger King, and the story grew more messed up as each episode finished. With polyamorous relationships, tiger cults, murder and so so much more, the documentary is wilder than tigers in their natural habitat.

The Staircase

Netflix The Staircase

The Staircase was one of the best murder documentaries that I have ever watched on Netflix. The documentary follows the death of Kathleen Peterson, the wife of Michael Peterson who is on trial when the incident was deemed to be a murder scene by the investigators. Honestly, the whole way through this documentary I was completely 50/50 as to whether I thought Michael Peterson was guilty. This may sound like a simple murder case with a typical premise, however, The Staircase couldn’t be further from this; with an incredibly eccentric potential murderer, a trip to Europe and other very suspicious murders along the way.

The documentary follows the trial and highlights the life of Michael Peterson. I will not give away any spoilers, but the documentary is so good that I watched all 13 of the 45-minute episodes in just one day. So I guess you can say that this is an incredibly binge-worthy documentary. The real question is did Michael Peterson actually do it and honestly, I don’t even know what my answer would be at this point. So start binging this compelling documentary now, it’ll be the best 13 hours of your day if you do!

The Disappearance Of Madeleine McCann

the disappearance of madeleine mccann

Madeleine McCann is a name that almost everyone around the world has heard of. We know her as the little girl who got abducted in Portugal during a family holiday while her parents met with friends at a restaurant on the hotel property. Naturally, the parents have been under heat due since her disappearance in 2007 to negligence of leaving small children alone in a foreign country and this public backlash plays heavily in the documentary.

Like most Netflix documentaries, it shows this in an unbiased light and highlights important suspects in the case of this missing little girl. Since 2007, the world has known about Madeleine McCann but this captivating documentary was incredibly eye-opening to what was really going on behind the scenes during the investigation of her abduction. And let me tell you, it gets very bizarre and seems a lot bigger than one missing child case. So if you’ve been interested in the terribly sad disappearance of Madeleine McCann, you will be engrossed in this documentary and it will probably leave you with a lot more questions!

 Conversation with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Ted Bundy Tapes Netflix documentary

Ted Bundy is one of America’s most notorious serial killers, being convicted for the murder of over 30 women before the age of 32. The true crime documentary was released on January 24th 2019, the 30th anniversary of Ted Bundy’s execution. An exclusive documentary, created using 100 hours of interviews and footage with Ted Bundy that has all been archived over the last 30 years. Not many people knew before the documentary that Ted Bundy actually had a child with his partner at the time and the pair were interviewed on their seemingly happy experience living with one of the world’s most infamous serial killers.

The Ted Bundy Tapes are packed with absolutely off-the-wall crazy events and comprises just four 60-minute episodes, which will make you desperately want more the second you have finished the last one (trust me!).  The most interesting part of the whole documentary is the interviews with Ted Bundy and how he talks about himself as a serial killer, it’s creepy yet there’s something human about it. So I highly recommend that you set four hours aside, get some popcorn and binge this entire Ted Bundy documentary!

Abducted In Plain Sight

Abducted in plain sigt documentary

I was hesitant before I watched this, as I thought it was just a sad missing child story. I was wrong. Abducted In Plain Sight is the most bonkers, off-the-wall, and totally creepy documentary that I have ever seen. Which makes it one of the best in my opinion! Abducted In Plain Sight follows the life of pedophile and psychopath Robert Berchtold and his obsession with a pubescent girl called Jan Broberg Felt. This documentary is a story of broken marriages, (alien) abductions, trips to Mexico, seduction and hidden sexual preferences (and I’m not just talking about paedophilia).

The documentary is absolutely scandalous and the parents of Jan Broberg Felt have a sh*tload of explaining to do. So if you’re in the mood to be disturbed, enthralled and maybe even a little horrified, then definitely watch this true crime Netflix documentary!

Evil Genius

Evil genius true crime docuseries

I have two words for what I thought the entire time I was watched Evil Genius and that is “holy sh*t!”. Evil Genius is literally the best true crime documentary that I have ever watched on Netflix. It is honestly incredible and the story is the most bizarre blend of twists, turns and sh*tstorms that you will ever see in a bank heist documentary (at least any made so far). Evil Genius focuses on the sad event of a man who robbed a bank with a collar bomb wrapped around his neck, which then resulted in a police stand-off (naturally) and the bomb exploding, blowing his head off. This documentary is honestly the most insane thing that I have ever watched, and it really takes an “evil genius” to pull off what happened, and that’s not a reference to the bank heist!

The Fear of 13

The fear of 13 wrongfully convicted

Never in my life have I been so captivated listening to one man. Nick Yarris tells the story of his life on death. His story-telling skillz are just incredible. For 90 minutes straight, Nick sits on a chair, and tells us his story. Sounds boring? I promise you that it’s not. This is not just yet another wrongfully true crime convicted documentary. The Fear of 13 tells the story of injustice, transformation, hatred and hopelessness. But above all it is a story of a man’s persistent struggle for redemption.

Convicted for killing Linda Craig, December of 1981 Nick Yarris spent over 20 years on death row. He wasn’t the perfect teenager and would have probably ended up in jail eventually, but not likely on death row for a murder charge. So the documentary asks hard questions, like – was the experienced worth it? Could he have reached the same amazing transformation without this terrible injustice? Unlike anything you’ve every watched before, and perhaps more like a true crime podcast – The Fear of 13 is a must watch!

Don’t Fuck With Cats: Hunting An Internet Killer

Dont f*ck with cats

Don’t Fuck With Cats: Hunting An Internet Killer brought the name Luka Magnotta into the homes of millions around the world as the Netflix highlights the details of Canada’s most notorious murderer. There seems to be no slowing down Netflix and their unbelievably awesome true crime documentaries that have audiences captivated from the very beginning. Nowadays, after steady growth, there is huge hype when any new documentary appears on Netflix, especially if the documentary focuses around a true crime event. Society just loves hearing about criminals and things that we would never have dreamed of happening, it interests humans to their core and Don’t Fuck With Cats is a prime example of this.

This documentary focuses on the murder of Lin Jun at the hands of Luka Magnotta. Naturally, like all great Netflix documentaries there are huge plot twists and crazy events that take place during most of the Don’t Fuck With Cats episodes. Filled with weird situations, mental hospitals, childhood abuse and porno films, it’s ultimately a sad reality of a broken life resulting in murder. Don’t Fuck With Cats is an excellent watch and is as incredibly eye-opening as it is horrific, which makes for a great true crime documentary.

Making A Murderer

Making a murderer

I can’t make a list about the best true crime documentaries with having an honorary mention to Making A Murderer. This is one of the earliest documentaries on Netflix and ultimately created a demand for other types of murder documentaries to be brought to Netflix soon after. Making A Murderer is one of the best murder documentaries of all-time. I know that’s a pretty bold statement to make, but it’s true. The documentary follows Steven Avery, a man from Manitowoc County, Wisconsin who was wrongfully convicted of murdering a young woman called Penny Beersten and spent 18 years in prison. Upon his release, he put pressure on the police for their wrongful conviction and somehow he was once again pinned for the murder of a young woman called Teresa Halbach, and put back behind bars.

Is this a coincidence? Is he a serial killer? Or are the police trying to cover their own f*ck-up by silencing him in jail? So many questions that need to be answered and throughout the entire two seasons, so many more questions arise. At the end of each episode you don’t know whether to feel like he is totally guilty after all or whether the police in Manitowoc County are just the most corrupt people you’ll ever see on TV (which really says a lot, don’t you think?). Honestly, if you haven’t seen this wild documentary, then you really need to make it a priority!

cinesister
Written By

cinesister

I've always had a deep love and fascination for movies, being an especially strong advocate for the weird, foreign, underrated, under-budgeted and unfairly NC17 rated films of our world. Cinesister is the embodiment of this passion (which some might call an obsession).

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