If there’s one thing Netflix has nailed, its true crime documentaries. The streaming service has become renowned for creating gruesome, thought-provoking looks inside the minds of killers, serial abusers, corrupt justice systems and criminal organisations alike.
From age old cases to modern misconducts, there are plenty of jaw-dropping and often incredibly chilling real life stories to sink your teeth into. So get comfy and let the bingeing commence…
Killer Inside: The mind of Aaron Hernandez
NFL star Aaron Hernandez shocked the world in 2013 when he was investigated and charged for the murder of Odin Lloyd. His career, playing for the New England Patriots, came to an abrupt end as he faced life in prison. This detailed three-part documentary shows how the 24-year-old went from star athlete to a convicted killer in the public eye before ultimately dying in prison by analysing court footage, phone calls and revealing interviews from those who knew him.
The Confession Tapes
Revealing a corrupt justice system, this two season docu-series sees a number of convicted criminals explain how they were coerced by their interrogators to falsely confess to crimes they claim they didn’t commit. Using a mix between archival footage and interviews with suspects, their families and the detectives who worked on the cases, the documentary highlights the point that just became an arrest is made, doesn’t mean the case is closed – especially if is based on a confession alone.
A study abroad semester went horribly wrong for American college student Amanda Know when she found herself at the centre of a global media frenzy after being convicted for the murder of her roommate back in 2007. This documentary, which features a length interview with Knox, who faced a four-year sentence, examines the case and the heavy impact of media scrutiny. Amanda and her ex-boyfriend (who faced the same sentence) were both cleared of all charges in 2015.
The Innocent Man
This is a Netflix adaptation of John Grisham’s 2006 non-fiction book about two murders that shook a small town in Oklahoma in the 1980s. The six-part docu-series features interviews with the victims’ friends and families, Ada residents, attorneys and journalists, weaving together new footage and archival videos and photos.
The Confession Killer
This five-part documentary tells the compelling story of Henry Lee Lucas, a serial killer who was sentenced to life in prison for committing eleven murders. However, leading up to his trial, he confessed to murdering more than 600 people. While police struggled to find concrete evidence linking him to all the murders, Henry seemed to recount every single one with gritty details. But it didn’t take long for detectives and journalists to find discrepancies in his stories. The series also highlights the special treatment Henry was given by authorities and why.
Wild Wild Country
Is there anything more chilling than a creepy cult? Here, Netflix dives into Rajneeshpuram, the little known American cult that sparked controversy when it shifted from Utopian city to a chaotic mess with bombings and health scares. The documentary takes a fascinating look at what happened and the twisted nature of cults as a whole.
The Disappearance of Madeline McCann
Netflix launches its own investigation into the Madeline McCann case with this docu-series as it examines the story of the three-year-old British girl who went missing from her parents’ hotel during a family holiday in Portugal. It weighs up evidence as police aim to figure out whether her parents were involved or if she was abducted and sold into trafficking.
Abducted In Plain Sight
This is the type of story that will have you gasping throughout, as the Broberg family recount the events of their daughter Jan’s disappearance. Jan herself explains what happened when her parent’s close friend Robert Berchtold kidnapped and brainwashed her at the age of 12. Warning: this documentary may leave you with some serious trust issues.
Conversations with a killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
Ted Bundy is one of the most famous serial killers in the world, with endless documentaries based on him. There’s even a Hollywood blockbuster in which he is played by universal heartthrob Zac Efron. But this four-part documentary tells the story of Bundy and the 30 murders he committed, as told by the words of his victims with never-before-seen footage and testimonies by those who managed to escape.
Six-year old beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey was murdered in her own home, leading police and authorities to point the finger at her parents. However, after new evidence proved their innocence, the investigation is forced to start from scratch. This documentary tells the story whilst highlight that two decades later, we’re still unsure about what really happened to JonBenét.
Nominated for an Oscar, this heart-breaking yet powerful documentary sees filmmaker Yance Ford exploring why his brother's murder turned into a prime example of racial injustice. It shines a light on deep-rooted racism in America and the inequalities that still prevail in the US justice system.
Making A Murder
Arguably the most famous true crime documentary by Netflix, Making A Murder had a global audience locked in when it first launched on the streaming service back in 2015. The OG of all true crime docu-series’, it tells the story of Steven Avery. Two years after being exonerated for a murder he didn’t commit, Avery found himself at the centre of a new trial, this time as the prime suspect for the murder of a 25-year-old photographer. So, did he do it this time?
Time: The Kalief Browder Story
This truly gut-wrenching story is a real depiction of racism, police brutality and criminal injustice in the US as it tells the story of Kalief Browder – a 16-year-old boy who was falsely accused of stealing a backpack by the police. Leading up to his trial, Browder spent 800 days in solitary confinement at Riker's Island without ever being convicted of a crime.
A pizza man attempts to rob a bank with a bomb around his neck in this Erie, Pennsylvania back in 2003 – yes, really. This documentary unravels the unbelievable story behind what is possibly the most bizarre money heist to date.