True crime has always been popular, but it seems to have become wildly popular genre over the last few years. Every week, it seems, a new true crime movie is added to the Netflix queue and every week, I find myself gazing, glassy-eyed at the screen. And it's just not movies — the true crime publishing game is better than ever. And these new true crime books should be movies — so that, yes, I can spend even more time curled up in my room, mainlining Netflix and becoming increasingly distrustful of everyone and everything.
The recent boom of true crime was arguably sparked by the viral podcast, Serial. In its first season, the show, hosted by Sarah Koenig and produced by the creators of This American Life, grabbed the American public's attention and would not let go. Who killed high schooler Hae Min Lee? And if her boyfriend, Adnan Sayed, didn't, then why has he been in prison for the past decade? These questions continue to plague listeners, and the podcast's implication, that our mistrust in should be validated, opened a new door for American media lovers.
So why the enduring popularity? In a culture where faith in the powers that be — the government, the police, even our peers — continues to crumble, the premise of true crime can be, in a weird, twisted, deeply dark way, comforting. It makes tangible all the suspicions you have. It proves, over and over again, that power does corrupt. That those with it should not be trusted. And that anyone, if they're curious enough, has the potential to break a case wide open.