7 Murder Cases That Need Their Own Docuseries

by Cate Carrejo

Let's face it — if our blockbusters are any indication, we have a morbid fascination with murder. CSI, Law and Order: SVU, Serial, Gone Girl, and now the Netflix docuseries Making A Murderer. The Netflix series is compelling for various reasons — in particular, the alleged corruption angle that's heavily examined by the filmmakers — but the true crime aspect is arguably what really draws the viewer in. The investigation of a real-life case, rather than a fictionalized one, creates an incomparable feeling of importance and high stakes that leaves every minute filled with suspense. And there are plenty of other unsolved true crime stories that would make compelling docuseries, if the creators of Making a Murderer find themselves coming up short for Season 2 material after all.

From the mystifying to the truly terrifying, there are many famous, or lesser known, cases that could benefit from the docuseries treatment. Making a Murderer has called attention both to the seemingly troubling details of Steven Avery’s case and the alleged failings of the criminal justice system. Researching these famous unsolved cases could have the same effect, and possibly bring some peace to the victims' families.

All that, and they would be enrapturing and entertaining. If you loved Making a Murderer, here are some real-life crimes that could be investigated in docuseries form next.

The Zodiac Killer

The Zodiac Killer is probably the most famous unsolved murder case in the history of the United States. The case has been covered time and time again on crime shows like 48 Hours and the 2007 movie Zodiac. However, despite the previous media coverage, the five unsolved murders deserve the docuseries treatment. Another thorough, scientific investigation of the case could even produce groundbreaking conclusions.

MacDonald Murders

On Feb. 16, 1970, U.S. Army Captain Jeffrey MacDonald allegedly killed his pregnant wife and two daughters in their home in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. MacDonald was convicted and sentenced to multiple life sentences and has been in jail for the past 37 years. However, much like Avery's case, there are reportedly multiple inconsistencies, including unidentified DNA evidence on the victims and conflicting statements from a key witness, throughout the investigation. A docuseries could finally lay to rest the nagging suspicions of MacDonald's possible innocence.

Assassination Of Prime Minister Olof Palme

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Popular Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was assassinated outside a movie theater in Stockholm on Feb. 28, 1986. The 30th anniversary of his death is coming up next month, and despite the fact that more than 130 people have confessed to the murder, the actual culprit has never been caught. Speculation about the motive for the murder has run rampant in the intervening years, and even if a docuseries is unable to come to any definitive conclusion, just an examination of all the theorized killers would be a fascinating watch.

West Mesa Bone Collector

In 2009, the bones of 11 women, ages 15 to 32, were found in the desert outside Albuquerque, New Mexico. Police believe they were all killed by the same perpetrator, and the FBI is still investigating the crime. In this case, a docuseries might best examine the lives of the victims, many of whom were sex workers, and try to establish any similarities that could lead to a possible suspect.

JonBenét Ramsey

The JonBenét Ramsey case has made headlines for the past 20 years; the 6-year-old girl was found strangled to death in her family's basement. Mark Beckner, former chief of the Boulder Police Department, has publicly alleged that his own department mishandled the case, which is ideal material for a docuseries investigation.

The Connecticut River Valley Killer

No less than seven women were murdered in the Connecticut River Valley between 1978 and 1987, and no strong suspects have ever been identified. One victim, Jane Boroski, managed to escape with her life after being stabbed 27 times on Aug. 6, 1988, and gave investigators crucial information about her attacker. A docuseries could follow up on the victims and delve into the life of alleged killer Michael Nicholau, who killed himself in 2005 after murdering his wife and step-daughter.

Fred Swanigan

Swanigan's case has astonishing parallels to Avery's and could be the perfect case for a follow-up to Making a Murderer. In 1981, Swanigan was sentenced to 27 years to life in prison for murdering Ronald Como, a man with whom he had a long-standing conflict. Swanigan became eligible for parole in 1996, but has been refused parole because he has not once admitted his guilt in 35 years. The evidence presented at trial was entirely circumstantial, and the eyewitness accounts by two children are now considered potentially unreliable, according to the California Court of Appeals. If this case were covered in a docuseries, the investigation would be insanely compelling.

The success of Making a Murderer provides an open door for more investigations into unsolved crimes, and these are only a few of the many that could benefit from fresh eyes, public scrutiny, and new technology. Media are supposed to be the watchdogs of the government, so renewed investigation into these cases is not only compelling but arguably essential.

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