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 criminal-minded content. Not only do they produce movies and series, 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.
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.
'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.
'The Disappearance Of Madeleine McCann' — 2019
A documentary that flags a whole load of questions regarding the case following the tragic disappearance of the then three-years-old child Madeleine McCann.
A heavy watch but very interesting in terms of media involvement of ongoing cases.
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's offers a tragic insight into the coping mechanisms used by abuse victims. Watch here
'Time: The Kalief Browder Story' — 2016
This 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 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.
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, an important watch.
'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
'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.
'Dirty John: The Dirty Truth' — 2019
This true story was first told on the podcast
Dirty John and is honestly too dramatic to even believe. It's the story of conman John Meehan and how he duped many women into funding his lifestyle by manipulating them into loving and trusting him. Which cost them not only financially, but emotionally too. This documentary goes further than the podcast and focuses on more of his victims as well as the steps that led to his demise. Watch here
'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
'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
'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.
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.
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 Dream/Killer is about a father seeking justice for his son, who claims to be innocent of the crime he's been convicted of. Kent Heitholt was murdered in 2001, strangled with his own belt. Two years following his unsolved murder, Chuck Erickson came forward to claim that he witnessed the murder and that Ryan Ferguson was the assailant. However, Erickson admitted that he couldn't figure out whether the incident happened or was a dream. Making A Murder star lawyer Kathleen Zellner helps in the fight for justice, in a case which throws up countless questions from start to finish. 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.