The Best True Crime Documentaries On Netflix Right Now
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Featured Image Credit: Unsplash/Netflix
If you're after another true crime fix then you've come to the right place. Here at Tyla we're just as obsessed as you are, so we couldn't help but put together a list of some of the best true crime documentaries we've enjoyed.
Whether it's a quick short documentary film you want or your next big binge-watching series, we've got you covered.
We're always on the look out for new series too, so be sure to check back for regular updates to our list.
Sophie: A Murder in West Cork
People have been raving about Sophie: A Murder in West Cork since its release on Netflix in June 2021, so we couldn't not add it to our list.
The new true crime doc follows the murder investigation of Sophie Toscan Du Plantier, a French film and TV producer who was killed while at her isolated holiday cottage in West Cork, Ireland, in 1996.
Describing the new documentary, Netflix said: "A shocking murder in rural Ireland sets off an increasingly convoluted quest for justice that spans decades and cuts across national borders."
The series includes interviews with Sophie's family members as well as local journalists who covered the story at the time.
The mini-series is divided into three one-hour episodes and is available to stream on Netflix here.
Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story
16-year-old Cyntoia Brown was sentenced to life in prison after she killed Johnny Michael Allen out of self-defence.
Cyntoia was a victim of sex trafficking and claimed that she shot Johnny, who'd paid her $150 to have sex with him, out of the fear for her own life. The prosecution said she shot Johnny in his sleep so that she could rob him.
Cyntoia was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and robbery. She spent 15 years in prison while lawyers fought for her clemency.
Murder to Mercy is a 1 hour, 40 minute Netflix documentary wich explores her journey to freedom.
You can stream it here.
The Most Hated Woman in America
This 2017 true crime film covers the life and murder of Madalyn Murray O'Hair, America's most outspoken atheist activist.
She played a pivotal role in the US Supreme Court rulings banning mandatory prayer in public schools.
The docu-drama tracks the rise of her American Atheists organisation and the troubles her activism bestowed on her personal and professional relationships.
The film also covers the 1995 abduction and robbery which ended in the murder of Ms O'Hair, aged 76 at the time, and her son and granddaughter. You can watch the chilling true crime drama on Netflix here.
Tell Me Who I Am
The true story behind this 2019 documentary is so awful, you'll wish it was fictional.
Tell Me Who I Am follows Alex Lewis who, in 1982, lost his memory after a motorcycle accident at age 18.
Following this, the only person he remembers when he wakes from his coma is his twin brother, Marcus. Extremely vulnerable, he places his trust in him to help him put the past back together.
But Marcus is hiding a dark family secret, one which he wishes he could have forgotten too. In a bid to protect Alex from their childhood trauma, Marcus makes up parts of their childhood. But the truth comes out eventually.
This three-part true crime documentary about the twins' harrowing past is available to stream from Netflix here.
Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey
The film is based on the true story of Lisa McVey, who was abducted at gunpoint in 1984.
Lisa, 17, had already had an incredibly harrowing background; she had suffered repeated sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of her grandmother's boyfriend.
And while she was cycling home from her job, she was kidnapped by serial killer Bobby Long, who also repeatedly raped and abused her over a graphic period of around 26 hours.
However, viewers have been left stunned that young Lisa managed to endure her tormentor, using reverse psychology to escape from his clutches, as well as mentally gathering as much evidence as possible to lead to his arrest after her escape.
You can watch the true crime film here.
The Fear of 13
A convicted murderer who spent 23 years on death row before DNA evidence proved his innocence tells his story in this 95 minute true crime documentary.
Nick Yarris was convicted of murder, rape and abduction of a young sales associate in 1982 and sentenced to death. He was one of the first inmates on death row in Pennsylvania to demand postconviction DNA testing - and good job he did.
In September 2003, DNA evidence finally ruled him out of any links to the crime and Nick was exonerated. Nick Yarris was the 13th DNA exoneree from death row in Pennsylvania.
Originally released in 2015, this gripping doc is available on Netflix here.
Nail Bomber: Manhunt
This new true crime documentary from Netflix looks set to be popular with fans, as the streaming platform tells the story of a far-right extremist behind the 1999 London bombings which targeted minority communities.
Each bomb contained up to 1,500 4-inch nails inside. London's black, Bengali and LGBT communities were the targets. The attacks led to three deaths and 140 injured civilians.
Nail Bomber: Manhunt explores how David Copeland was caught and brought to justice. The film follows his first devastating attack right through to his conviction. The 1 hour film packs a lot in, with archived footage and interviews with victims and the people responsible for bringing Copeland to justice.
Reviewing the upcoming film, Radio Times said: "Although undeniably devastating, Netflix's documentary offers us a sense of hope as communities came together to catch David Copeland."
This 80-minute documentary tells the harrowing story of six-year-old beauty queen, JonBenét Ramsay, who was found dead on Christmas night in her house in 1996. But this experimental film from Kitty Green breaks the boundaries of what a true crime documentary is, and how the story of a murder is told.
What we mean by that is: you could usually expect to see interview clips with detectives, archived news footage, and emotional interviews with the people closest to the victim in a true crime documentary. But not this time.
Green wanted her documentary to stand out from the rest. She wanted to cast people from JonBenét's local community to play her mother and father. But here's the brilliant twist: Green only used the audition tapes in the film to tell the story.
Those who auditioned, either to play Ramsay's mother or father, were asked to talk about their connection to the characters. With all of them living in the local area, having known the Ramsay's, you can see how the story of a little girl who was murdered doesn't always need to be told by detectives.
Describing the Grand Jury Prize nominated film, Netflix said: "Local actors from JonBenet Ramsey's hometown offer multiple perspectives on her 1996 murder as they vie to play roles in a dramatization of the case."
You can watch the documentary, which was released in 2017, here.
The Sons of Sam
During the 1970s, New York City was plunged into a state of terror when notorious serial killer, David Berkowitz - who went by the name 'the Son of Sam' - set out on a shooting spree and killed six people. He later claimed to be acting on behalf of the Devil.
Journalist and 'Ultimate Evil' author, Maury Terry, is convinced he didn't act alone. The Netflix series focuses heavily on his independent investigations into David Berkowitz, who remains incarcerated today.
You can watch The Sons of Sam on Netflix here.
Abducted In Plain Sight
This hair-raising 2017 documentary tells the story of the Brobergs - an unsuspecting, church-going family from Idaho whose neighbour had designs on their 12-year-old-daughter, Jan Broberg, and abducted her not once, but twice.
Berchtold used an 'alien kidnapping' grooming narrative on his victims. Jan recalls waking up with her arms and legs tied to a bed and a cassette player telling her she'd been taken by aliens, and that the only way to save her family was to procreate with Robert Berchtold
get such a charming grip over them. Berchtold's brother, Joe, features in the film.
The documentary landed on Netflix in 2019 and is available to stream here.
American exchange student, Amanda Knox, was studying in Perugia, Italy in 2007, when she and her boyfriend at the time, Raffale Sollecito, were accused of the rape and murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher.
Both spent four years in an Italian jail while court proceedings went underway. They were finally acquitted of the murder in 2016. DNA evidence placed Rudy Guede, a friend of theirs from the Ivory Coast, at the scene of the crime, and he was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Guede's sentence was due to end in 2022, but the Italian Court released him in December 2020 to finish up the rest of his sentence in community service. Speaking to ABC News in December, Knox said "he is the forgotten killer," while she remains in the spotlight despite being innocent.
In this 90-minute Netflix documentary, Amanda Knox and the people closest to her case speak out.
American Murder: The Family Next Door
34-year-old Shannan Watts and her two young daughters were the subjects of international headlines following their strange disappearance in Colorado in August 2018. Christopher Watts, her husband, later admitted to killing his pregnant wife and their two young daughters.
The 90-minute documentary from Netflix uses raw, firsthand footage of the events surrounding the murder and the tragic aftermath.
Why Did You Kill Me?
Why Did You Kill Me? follows the aftermath of 24-year-old mother of two, Crystal Theobald, who was shot dead during a gang retaliation in California in 2006.
Despite not being involved in any organised crime, it later transpired that the gang responsible were retaliating after one of their own vehicles was shot at.Theobald's mother, Belinda Lane, witnessed her daughter being murdered from her car behind.
Since then, Lane promised to bring justice to her daughter and harnessed the power of social media to catch the people responsible.
Making A Murderer
Making A Murderer is arguably the series that started the modern obsession with true crime stories. It tells the story of Steven Avery and nephew, Brendan Dassey, who insist they were wrongly convicted for the murder of photo-journalist Teresa Halbach in 2005.
The series predominantly follows Avery, who has been wrongly convicted before, with the first season covering his original trial and the second featuring his current lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, as they fight for a new trial.
Watch as the mystery unravels and new evidence builds the case for Bobby Dassey, Brendan's brother, to be considered a prime suspect.
Seasons 1 and 2 of Making a Murderer are available on Netflix now and it's hoped that season 3 could be released in 2022.
Murder Among the Mormons
Murder Among the Mormons is the first comprehensive look at one of the most shocking crimes to have ever taken place among the Mormon community, and the criminal mastermind behind it all.
The true crime documentary follows the murderous events which took place in Salt Lake City in 1985. It starts with a series of pipe bombings that killed two people and severely injured another - rocking the Latter Day Saint (LDS) church community to its core.
The murders sent further shockwaves through the group when a trove of early Mormon letters and diaries were found destroyed in the vehicle of the third victim, Mark Hofmann.
Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story
Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story recalls the case of one of America's most renowned serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer, a notorious serial killer and sex offender who took the lives of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991.
The 10-part series - produced by American Horror Story's Ryan Murphy - is based on the true events which saw Dahmer, also known as the Milwaukee Monster, be convicted of 16 murders.
Although diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and a psychotic disorder, he was found legally sane and was convicted of the killings in 1992.
You must have been living under a rock to have not at least heard the words 'Tiger King'. This series takes a look at the story of Joe Exotic, the owner of a big cat private zoo, and Carole Baskin, an animal rights activist who tried to take him down.
After plotting to kill Baskin, Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in prison in April 2019 for 2 counts of murder for hire and 17 charges of animal abuse.
Crime Scene: The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel
The Los Angeles Cecil Hotel has been the backdrop to a number of unusual happenings and contemporary crimes. It was the location of a number of suicides between the 1930s-1960s, and was also known as a rendezvous point for people engaged in illicit activity.
Perhaps its most infamous guest was serial killer Richard Ramirez, the subject of the Netflix documentary Night Slayer, for several weeks during the 1980s. He is even thought to have committed some of his crime spree while staying there.
From director Joe Berlinger, whose previous work includes the creepy yet compelling Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, the series takes a look inside the world famous Cecil Hotel and the events surrounding the disappearance of Eliza Lam.
Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
Released in 2019, this thrilling four-part documentary series came exactly 30 years to the day after Ted Bundy was executed by electric chair for the 1978 murder of Kimberly Leach.
The four episodes include never-heard-before interviews with Bundy while he was on death row in Florida. Bundy confessed to murdering over 30 women in the 1970s, and the docu-series reveals details of the killings he was convicted for, though Netflix has warned viewers not to watch the series alone.