25 True Crime Docs On Netflix UK That'll Seriously Test Your Detective Skills

From Night Stalker to The Tinder Swindler, we’ve got you covered.

by Bustle UK
Originally Published: 
'The Alcàsser Murders' / Netflix UK

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 delivering the goods. So, with that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best true crime documentaries available on Netflix UK to save you scrolling time.

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 and scammers, 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.


'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


'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.

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'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.

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'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.

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'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 absolutely essential in learning the shortcomings of the criminal justice system.

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'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.

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'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.

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'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 analysing Bundy's evil deeds.

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'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.

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‘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.

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'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.

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'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.

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'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 manhunt 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 banded together to try and find him.

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'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.

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'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.

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‘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.

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‘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.

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‘American Murder: The Family Next Door’ – 2020

2020’s 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.

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‘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.

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‘Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal’ – 2021

Everyone has the same 24 hours in the day, right? You just have to work hard in life, and you’ll get far. — just ask influencer Molly Mae. Wrong. It turns out if you’re one of the rich and famous parents at the heart of the US university admissions scandal in 2019, a generous “donation” to a former basketball coach called William Singer can buy your kid entry into an elite school.

Through a series of reenactments (Stranger Things actor Matthew Modine plays the secret scheme’s mastermind) the doc examines how Singer was able to bribe countless top colleges in the first place.

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‘Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel’ – 2021

On Jan. 31 2013, Elisa Lam went missing halfway through a solo trip travelling through California. The 21-year-old student from Vancouver had been staying at the notorious Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles; a budget hotel with a long history of murders, suicides, and serial killers (Richard Ramierz, the subject of Night Stalker stayed here in 1985).

As the details of her disappearance unfold, it makes for a painful watch about missing people, mental health crisis, and a young woman's tragic death.

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‘Murder Among the Mormons’ – 2021

One of the most infamous counterfeiters in history, Mark Hofmann forged a series of historical documents in order to embarrass or undermine The Latter Day Saint movement. By 1985, he was in the middle of selling his latest “— a forged version of a hefty lost text called Oath of a Freeman – to the Library of Congress. When his most ambitious scam yet aroused suspicion, Hofmann began crafting bombs to divert attention away from the scheme, and his crimes shook the Mormon community of Salt Lake City.

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‘The Tinder Swindler’ – 2022

A prolific playboy living the jet-setter lifestyle, the Israeli conman Shimon Hayut allegedly conned women out of hundreds of thousands of dollars — and the swipe-worthy dating app Tinder was his go-to place for seeking out new victims. Featuring some of the women who fell for Hayut’s ruse, and lost huge sums of money in the process, there are countless twists in this dating tale gone awry.

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‘Inventing Anna’ – 2022

With the help of lavish designer clothes and swanky hotel stays, Russian-born Anna Sorokin inspired by a New York Magazine article with the same same nametricked the entire New York socialite scene into believing she was a rich German heiress — and kept the fake story going for a number of years by asking clueless friends to lend her money and bankroll huge hotel bills. Inspired by the real-life ruse, Julia Garner plays Anna in this dramatised series.

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‘Worst Roommate Ever’ – 2022

The clue’s in the title of this series, which details a series of real-life cohabitation nightmares. Delving into the crimes of four different people, subjects range from the notorious serial killer Dorothea Puente to Jed Creek, the squatter who moved into unsuspecting flat shares before pushing people out of their own homes with his incredible level of legal knowledge. The premise of the docu-series is inspired by a New York Magazine article of the same same name.

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.

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