17 True Crime Documentaries To Watch Before They Leave Netflix
The current pop culture fascination with true crime documentaries is real, and it is not going anywhere. If you're one of the many, many people fascinated by the prosecuting (or lack thereof!) of real-life crimes, this list of true crime documentaries to watch before they leave Netflix is for you. Netflix has a ton of options, including a hefty amount of original true crime content, and they're not afraid to show the causes and effects of the world's most noteworthy crimes. So, beware — this is not a list for the faint of heart. It is, however, a compelling, educational, and at times downright shocking compilation of people gone bad — and good people that were framed. Unless they weren't being framed? More than once, that's left up to the viewer to decide.
From salacious to scary, this collection of true crime documentaries to watch before they leave Netflix has something for even the casual fan of the genre. Interviews with convicted serial killers? Yes; you'll find them here. An examination of a foxy Industrial Revolution-era doctor who built a house expressly for the purpose of luring new victims? Absolutely. Famous women murderers? Definitely here. Corrupt cops, unsolved mysteries, the innocent until proven guilty, and more — you'll find a trailer to pique every interest you have in the true crime genre.
With that in mind, here are 17 true crime documentaries you can't miss on Netflix. Reader-slash-watcher beware.
1. 'The Confession Tapes'
The Confession Tapes is an unsettling six-part series that examines the nature of a confession. Six people, convicted of crimes they confessed to committing, have walked back their confessions. Are these people incredibly skilled liars, or should America's detective work be under a microscope? Can it be both? Could you be coerced into a fake confession? If you're looking for a true crime doc that restores your faith in the justice system, The Confession Tapes won't be it.
2. 'The Keepers'
Nuns, the 1970s, intrigue, and murder — what else could you need from a documentary series on Netflix?
3. 'Amanda Knox'
In this documentary, Amanda Knox speaks for the first time ever — and what she has to say might change what you think of her entire trial.
4. 'Making A Murderer'
Making a Murderer is an authentic portrait of race, class, and education in rural Wisconsin.
5. 'Interview With A Serial Killer'
What causes violence? What makes a person a serial killer? What insight, if any, do convicted murderers have to offer? Maybe an Interview With A Serial Killer will answer some questions for you. Or maybe, just maybe, it will leave the viewer with even more.
6. 'Aileen: Life & Death Of A Serial Killer'
Chilling. Haunting. Empathetic. However you'd describe Aileen Wurnos, the subject of 2003 film Monster, you'll feel that way and more after watching a documentary about her tragic life story.
7. 'The Fear Of 13'
The Fear of 13 explores the story Nick Yarris, who was convicted of murder and he spent 21 years on death row. He was released in 2004 after being exonerated by DNA evidence.
8. 'H. H. Holmes: America's First Serial Killer'
This documentary alleges that H. H. Holmes was the world's first serial killer and the first one in the United States as well. He was a doctor in the late 19th century.
9. 'The Life & Death Of Marsha P. Johnson'
The Life & Death Of Marsha P. Johnson chronicles the journey of Marsha P. Johnson, a trans woman, LGBTQIA activist, and general icon. This documentary primarily focuses on her influence and activism, as well as the mysterious (and bizarre) circumstances that led to her death.
10. 'The Seven-Five'
The Seven-Five is a stunning look at the 75th police precinct in East New York, Brooklyn in the 1980s. It's horrifying, and heartbreaking in equal measure. A true must-watch.
11. 'Team Foxcatcher'
Foxcatcher was a 2014 Oscar-nominated film starring Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo. Team Foxcatcher is a 2016 documentary about the real-life crime that inspired the film.
12. 'The Real Texas Chainsaw Massacre'
How did an alleged real-life serial killer inspire one of the most gruesome horror franchises in cinematic history? That's something the Real Texas Chainsaw Massacre doc aims to clear up for viewers.
13. 'Long Shot'
Long Shot is the gut-wrenching true story of Juan Catalan, a California family man arrested for a murder he did not commit. The documentary documents his lawyer's attempt to prove his innocence.
14. 'Welcome to Leith'
Welcome to Leith examines one man's determination to legally build a North Dakota town exclusively for White people. It was made in 2015.
15. 'Out Of Thin Air'
Iceland, 1974: A murder shocks a small town. 1976: Six people confess, and several go to jail for the crime. 2016: The case is reopened, because as it turns out, at least two people who confessed to the crime had nothing to do with it at all. What's going on here? And what happened? These are the questions this documentary seeks to answer.
16. 'Betting On Zero'
In Betting on Zero, the documentary chronicles how a billionaire hedge fund manager faces off with the company Herbalife: he believes it's a grand-scale, international pyramid scheme, but Herbalife says they're just a successful multilevel marketing venture.
Tabloid might not be the first documentary that comes to mind when you think of Errol Morris — it might not even be in the top five — but it's a must-see. The legendary filmmaker brings a lighter touch to this film than his previous work, and for good reason: The story behind Tabloid is about as wild as it gets.
If you've already sped through these true crime documentaries, it may help you to switch over to American Vandal, an ingenious parody of the genre. Oh, and if you need to sleep with the lights on after powering through this list, you're definitely not alone.