Getting into a true crime documentary marathon is just that. A marathon, not a sprint. It requires time, dedication, and a
lot of snacks. Right now, more and more people are becoming interested in the genre, and streaming platforms are absolutely delivering the goods. So, with that in mind, I've rounded up the best true crime documentaries available on Netflix UK to save you scrolling and ensure you have maximum viewing time to make it to the finishing line of your marathon. God speed. The criminal world has, of course, always been hugely fascinating to members of the public. That fascination with those who commit hideous crimes, who live the the glamorous lives of mobsters, or claim to have been falsely accused of something they didn't do, has resulted in a huge uptick of true crime documentaries, in which journalists and other famous faces take us through each story, moment by moment, and allow us to begin a little investigation of our own. Netflix is one of the best producers of serial killer documentaries and criminal-minded content. Not only do they produce movies and series (from the likes of The Keepers, Evil Genius, and Night Stalker to The Ripper and The Confession Tapes), but they chuck the whole season up at once, leaving you praying for a rainy day or even a major hangover so you have an excuse to fill up your criminal cup. Well, that cup is about to overflow guys. Get drinking. Here are the best crime documentaries on Netflix UK right now. 1 'Evil Genius' — 2018
A fake robbery. A pizza delivery man. A bomb.
I can't describe this story because you just have to see it for yourself and, also, it's just too wild to explain. Gripping from start to finish. Might also be one of the best true crime documentaries on Netflix UK.
Watch here 2 'The Alcàsser Murders' — 2019
The tragic story of three girls who went out and never came home. In rural Spain, Miriam García Iborra, Antonia Gómez Rodríguez, and Desirée Hernández Folch were missing for two months before their bodies were found.
The media frenzy surrounding their disappearance, murder, and the trial that followed is all covered in this five-part documentary. A hard watch but a fascinating insight into how people can mishandle tragedy.
Watch here 3 'The Disappearance Of Madeleine McCann' — 2019
This crime documentary flags a whole load of questions regarding the case following the tragic disappearance of the then three-year-old child Madeleine McCann.
A heavy watch but very interesting in terms of media involvement of ongoing cases.
Watch here 4 'The Keepers' — 2017
What happened to Sister Cathy? Not only is this documentary series a hard watch in terms of the horrific murder that occurs, but it also details stories of abuse.
Recovered memories also feature heavily in
The Keepers and it offers a tragic insight into the coping mechanisms used by victims of abuse. Watch here 5 'Time: The Kalief Browder Story' — 2016
This crime documentary tells the tragic story of the Kalief Browder case and looks at the ongoing issues of institutional racism, brutality in prisons, and the issues with solitary confinement. As the New York Times explains it,
Time: The Kalief Browder Story examines "a shameful chapter in New York’s recent history." It's a hard one to watch, but absolute essential in learning the shortcomings of the criminal justice system. Watch here 6 'The Staircase' — 2018 The Staircase is a multi-part series documenting the case surrounding the death of Kathleen Peterson. It is one of the most compelling "did he, didn't he?" type of productions you will ever see. I mean, seriously — I have had actual arguments with people over this.
One of those ones you will be desperate to discuss (argue about) with friends.
Watch here 7 'Amanda Knox' — 2016
When British student Meredith Kercher was found murdered in her flat, her flatmate Amanda Knox instantly fell under suspicion. Trial by public opinion ensued with a media obsession over Knox, her boyfriend, and their personal life.
It's interesting to hear her side of things, but disappointing to hear not enough about the victim, Kercher. Nonetheless, a fascinating serial killer documentary to watch.
Watch here 8 'Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes' — 2019
Ted Bundy is one of the most notorious serial killers in American history. Combining a mixture of stock footage, talking heads, expert opinions, and, of course, tape recordings of Bundy,
Conversations With A Killer leaves no stone unturned in anaylsing Bundy's evil deeds. Watch here 9 'Inside The Criminal Mind' — 2017
This one is in four parts and is a must for true crime boffins. Psychologists analyse the behaviours and minds of serial murderers, kidnappers, cult leaders, and crime lords.
Watch here 10 ‘Night Stalker’ – 2021 Night Stalker has been one of the most talked-about true crime docuseries of 2021 so far. It charts the killings of infamous serial killer Richard Ramirez who eluded the police force for years, committing barbaric, violent murders across California.
The short series explores the dark underbelly of LA in the 1980s, as well as the struggle within the police to solve the crimes and bring Ramirez to justice. You’ll speed through this one, but be warned; some of the crime scene photos and descriptions are graphic.
Watch here 11 'Out Of Thin Air' — 2017
This documentary is all about the case concerning the disappearances of
Guðmundur Einarsson and Geirfinnur Einarsson in 1974 in Iceland. After they disappeared, six people were charged with their murders having confessed to the killing. Cut and dry case, right? Well, not quite. The confessions were allegedly taken while the six interviewees were under extreme duress and are now believed by many to have been false. Meaning that six innocent people might have been charged with murders they didn't commit. Watch here 12 'The Devil Next Door' — 2019 The Devil Next Door is the story of a seemingly average man living in Cleveland, America who appears to have a very, very dark secret. John Demjanjuk is accused of being involved in the Nazi government's mass murder of millions of Jewish people, LGBTQ people, disabled people, Romani people, and more. This documentary is a harrowing watch but also offers fascinating insight into the legal process involved in detaining and charging potential war criminals. Watch here 13 'Don't F*** With Cats: Hunting An Internet Killer' — 2020
A case you probably remember very well. Luke Magnotta made a graphic and horrifying video of himself killing Chinese international student Jun Lin. The video sparked an international man hunt and Magnotta was eventually caught.
Before this terrible video went viral, however, Magnotta had already created and shared videos of himself killing kittens. Knowing the long-held belief that actions like this often escalate to even worse behaviours, web sleuths bandied together to try and find him.
Watch here 14 'Strong Island' — 2017
In 1992, William Ford was shot dead in New York by Mark P. Reilly, a white 19-year-old mechanic, following a minor argument. Despite Ford being unarmed, Reilly claimed self defence, and an all-white grand jury decided there was no case to be heard. The film is made by William's brother Yance and incorporates conversations with his family to build a picture of their pain and grief, as well as their ongoing fight for justice. An absolutely crucial watch.
Watch here 15 'Long Shot' — 2017
Juan Catalan was arrested for murder but claimed his innocence immediately. As the police pressed him and it looked likely that he was to be convicted of this murder, some very unlikely evidence came forward that changed everything. Only 40 minutes and a refreshing change from often unjust and sad crime stories.
Watch here 16 ‘The Ripper’ – 2020
Speak to your parents and they’ll likely remember stories of the Yorkshire Ripper: a notorious killer back in the 1970s who first targeted sex workers in the North. This docu-series has been praised for focusing more on the lives of the victims and survivors of murderer Peter Sutcliffe, rather than who he was. It also successfully analyses how sexist headlines and police advice to keep women “safe” by not going out during the time got it so wrong.
Watch here 17 ‘The Confession Tapes’ – 2019
This fascinating series explores the complexities of false confessions, usually from suspects who turn out to be innocent after all. What makes somebody confess they did not commit, and why? From young, potentially impressionable teens to those who have been coerced, the show follows a different case each episode. There are now two series available to stream, meaning plenty of true crime content to stay in for.
Watch here 18 ‘American Murder: The Family Next Door’ – 2020
American Murder follows the devastating case of pregnant Shanann Watts and her two children, who were brutally murdered by husband and father Christopher Watts. The one-part documentary film begins with Shanann’s disappearance, and features footage showing Christopher pretending not to know his family’s whereabouts. Knowing what happens in the end, it’s a chilling watch. Watch here 19 ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ – 2020 Unsolved Mysteries is a totally addictive series that looks into old cold cases that have never been solved, whether that’s a disappearance, murder, or even suspected alien activity. The Netflix series is a modern reimagining of the original 1980s series, which was hosted by Raymond Burr, and followed the same premise. Many of the family members of those missing or deceased hope that by appearing on the show, new evidence may come to light to help the crimes finally get solved. There are now two series available to stream. Watch here
No matter which documentary you choose to marathon, make sure you have enough food in the house. Because once you start watching, you won't be able to stop.