The Best True Crime Documentaries To Watch On Netflix
From Korean dramas to inspiring documentaries and feel-good series, Netflix has plenty to offer if you've got several hours to kill. But if you're looking for a gritty new documentary to sink your teeth into, there's nothing quite like true crime.
Unsolved murders, celebrity scandals, drug crimes, classic whodunnit's and more, here we list the best Netflix documentaries to add to your watch list.
How to Fix a Drug Scandal
This 2020 true crime mini series will have you hooked from the first episode. First released in April this year, How to Fix a Drug Scandal caught the attention of viewers with its gripping story line which is based on true events from 2013.
The documentary follows a forensic chemists who falsified reports and tampered with evidence. The series begins with the arrest of the chemist, Sonja Farak, for her crimes, but as it progresses it is revealed that Farak's involvement goes much deeper than Massachusetts State Police first believed. Delving deep into how the actions of one crime lab employee can impact tens of thousands of lives, the series examines an essential, but obscured, part of the criminal justice system, featuring Farak's compelling grand jury testimony and interviews with attorneys and experts, along with hearing from Farak's family.
Time: The Kalief Browder Story
This six-part documentary tells the true story of Kalief Browder, a Bronx high school student who was imprisoned for three years without being convicted of a crime.
After being accused at 16 of stealing a backpack – and with his family unable to afford his $3,000 bail – Browder was held at the Rikers Island jail complex, without trial. Produced by Jay-Z, the series – although not containing the typical twists and turns as many true crime docs-series – portrays the devastating true story of Kalief Browder, highlighting the overwhelming shortcomings of the law enforcement and criminal justice systems in America.
Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer
Beginning with a group of self-proclaimed internet nerds who set out to find an individual who shares a graphic video online of himself killing two kittens, Don’t F**k With Cats takes an even darker turn as the series progresses, telling the true story of a manhunt that took place over several years.
After trying and failing to attract the attention of police, the internet sleuths take matters into their own hands as they attempt to track down the anonymous figure.
Abducted in Plain Sight
Abducted in Plain Sight covers the kidnappings of Jan Broberg Felt, an Idaho teenager who was abducted by her family friend Robert Berchtold in the 1970s.
The shocking true story shows how the family falls victim to their charming neighbour, leading to the abduction of their daughter – not once, but twice. The engrossing story features interviews from the families both at the time of the crimes, and from today, conveying the bizarre relationships and circumstances that led to the events.
The Staircase tells the story of Michael Peterson, who was convicted of murdering his wife, Kathleen Peterson in 2001. The docu-series recalls the series of events, with Peterson claiming that his wife fell down the stairs and police disbelieving his tale, leading to his eventual arrest and trial – prompting the viewer to question whether it was murder or accident.
Throughout the trial the audience is made to flit between Peterson's alleged guilt and his self-proclaimed innocence, as the episodes spiral through an array of twits and theories. Originally broadcast on French television in 2004, the 13-part Netflix series includes 3 epodes created for the streaming platform, which were filmed in 2012 and 2013, almost 10 years after the initial release and featuring more recent intel in relation to the case.
The true crime series was released in February 2020 and follows the story of Dan Schneider, a small-town pharmacist in Louisiana, who sets out to identify his son's killer.
After his son's tragic death, Schneider goes to extreme lengths to expose the corruption and truth behind the opioid addiction criss in the US after an unsatisfying investigation conducted by police. The unlikely hero takes the detective work into his own hands, leading to the eventual arrest and conviction of his son's murderer.
This feature-length Oscar-nominated documentary tells the true story of the 1992 murder of William Ford, a 24-year-old African-American teacher in New York, who was killed by Mark P. Reilly, a 19-year-old white chop shop mechanic.
Directed by Ford's brother, Yance Ford, the film highlights family, grief and racial injustice, as it examines the violent death of the filmmaker's brother and the judicial system that allowed his killer to go free.
Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich
Newly released at the end of May, Filthy Rich is about the crimes of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and is based on the 2016 book of the same name.
The series was announced prior to Epstein's death in 2019, and was in production nine months prior to his arrest, with the four-part series telling the stories of the survivors of Epstein. Focusing on how he used his wealth and power to commit his crimes, the documentary reveals the manipulation, abuse and emotional scars suffered at the hands of convicted pedophile, with the survivor's stories exposing a sex trafficking ring of powerful enablers that led up to his 2019 arrest.
Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez
At the height of his American football career with the New England Patriots, Aaron Hernandez's life and career came crashing down when he was arrested for the murder of his friend Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player in 2013.
Realised in early 2020, Killer Inside follows the rise and fall of Aaron Hernandez as he goes from all-American all-star to convicted murderer. Featuring interviews from friends, officials, attorneys, journalists and former teammates, the docu-series deep dives into the mind of Hernandez as the trial unfolds.
Wild Wild Country
Focusing on the controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers in the Rajneeshpuram community located in Wasco County, Oregon, Wild Wild Country tells the true story of an unbelievable – and largely forgotten – piece of American history.
Spanning though the '80s, the docu-series focuses on how the small ashram grew to a cult-like community of 50,000 – and how the small town residents responded to their new neighbours. As the community grows, the series focuses on Rajneesh's personal assistant and right-hand woman Ma Anand Sheela and her involvement in the cult, leading to bizarre and extreme scenarios, including orchestrating a bio-terror attack and murder plots.
Evil Genius: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist
If the title alone doesn't have you curious to watch the four-part Netflix true crime drama, we don't know what will.
Beginning with the murder of Brian Wells in 2003, Evil Genius delves into the story behind the pizza-delivery man Wells – who attempted to rob a Bank with a bomb collar strapped around his neck – and his suspected conspirers and what their motives were. Most notably, the series focuses on the character of Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, about whom the title “evil genius” refers, and her role in the robbery and suspected murder.
This true crime documentary highlights the area of Northern California's Humboldt County, focusing on the booming marijuana industry and the multiple disappearances and murders that have occurred in the surrounding mountain range.
As one of the most prolific cannabis producing regions in the United States, the series delves into the story behind both Humboldt's legal and illegal marijuana farms, with the six episodes providing a glimpse into what it takes for an outlaw farmer to cross over to the legal market.