Do you find yourself getting lost in true crime Wikipedia research tangents? Did you listen to Serial in one sitting? Can you recite everything Robert Durst said in The Jinx from memory? Have you considered becoming a certified private investigator? If you answered even just a tentative yes to any of the above, then you’re in the right the right place because we rounded up the best crime documentaries on Netflix that you can stream as soon as you’re finished reading this list.
We included classic whodunnit murder mysteries, think pieces about the criminal justice system, and everything in between, from thought-provoking to eerie to downright freaky. So whether you’re on the lookout for a new TV series to binge watch or you feel like tuning into a feature-length documentary film, the 10 options below will leave you in good hands. So without further ado, scroll through the 10 best crime documentaries on Netflix below to add to your watch queue.
Do you remember the coverage of the Meredith Kercher murder? The aftermath was a serious media circus that resulted in the controversial (and arguably wrongful) conviction of an American college student studying abroad in Italy, Amanda Knox. It reveals how sometimes even the facts aren’t really facts, as we sensationalize them based on our own preconceived notions.
This crime documentary is about the Mexican drug war, hence the title. It takes a look at two groups that have formed in response to the increasing violence. Since it’s particularly relevant today, this is a great informative, journalistic piece to tune into.
Thirty-eight passive bystanders saw or heard the 1964 killing of Kitty Genovese but didn’t do anything to help. Doesn’t paint a pretty picture of society, does it? The film was made by the victim’s brother and does a great job investigating the witnesses’ responses (or lack thereof).
Making a Murderer
If you haven’t watched it yet, and you love a good mystery, allow us to introduce you to your new binge-watching match. This series is pretty incredible and does an especially amazing job displaying the facts in an unbiased way, leaving it up to the audience to weigh the ambiguous truths presented.
If you’re just as curious about the role the media plays in the aftermath of a tragic crime as you are about the actual crime itself, Tabloid should be your pick. It’s about the media contest between two leading publications in England and their coverage of an infamous case famously known as the “Mormon sex in chains case.”
Into the Abyss
This documentary takes a look inside the criminal justice system by interviewing murder victims’ families, the convicted killers, and members of the justice department. It takes a grim, eye-opening look at the death penalty.
Get ready for an emotional watch. This documentary fuses the medium of film with that of a letter. It strings together interviews from people who knew and loved Andrew Bagby, who was murdered by his ex-girlfriend and, unbeknownst to him, the mother of his son.
The Fear of 13
This British documentary is primarily told from the perspective of Nick Yarris, a convicted murderer who spent 21 years on death row before being released when DNA evidence proved his innocence. It’s a fascinating, personal watch.
This movie isn’t just about the unsolved murder of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey. Rather, it’s about the mythologies that surrounded the case and the way it wedged itself into the collective memory of the surrounding Boulder, Colorado, community. The metafictional, bare-bones approach is an interesting juxtaposition against the sensationalization of the murder case.
Shenandoah spotlights a hate-crime murder of a Latino man in Pennsylvania, but it doesn’t stop there. Indeed, it invites the viewer to consider the alleged cover-up and lack of justice that unfolded during in the aftermath.
What’s your favorite crime documentary? Add it to the list in the comments below.