11 Must-Watch True Crime Documentaries
It seems like one of the most popular genres lately is true crime, with documentaries, books, series, and podcasts focused on telling the stories of present-day crimes and resurfacing those from decades ago. We find them absolutely fascinating and love how they spark discussions with friends, family & coworkers, allow the audience to create their own theories, and give us the chance to (briefly) live out our childhood dreams of becoming detectives.
We’ve watched a bunch of true-crime documentaries and docuseries over the years, and the 11 on the list below definitely stood out more than the others. While some of these stories pose more questions, others have firm, chilling endings. A lot of the true-crime docs that we’ve enjoyed didn’t make the list because we wouldn’t consider them a “must watch” so feel free to shoot us an email (email@example.com) or DM us on Instagram if you’ve seen all of these & want more ideas!
Our Favorite True Crime Documentaries
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst - HBO
If you just watch one of these docuseries, watch this one. Though he hadn’t done interviews in the past, Robert Durst finally tells his side of the story to filmmaker Andrew Jarecki, which leads to a crazy twist (you have to watch to the very end!). For a follow up, watch All Good Things with Ryan Gosling & Kirsten Dunst directed by Jarecki for a movie inspired by the true events.
The Imposter - Netflix (not currently streaming)
This documentary that tells the story of Frédéric Bourdin is the real-life version of the movie Orphan. Nicholas Barclay disappeared in 1994 & three years later he turns up in Spain looking much different than when he left and with a French accent. Desperate to welcome their son back home, this poor Texas family falls victim to the con, leaving us having the creeps.
Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes - Netflix
Before you watch the new Zac Efron movie (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile) coming out soon, watch the true story of Ted Bundy in this four-part documentary. We’ve always heard stories about the “charming” serial killer but never fully realized who he was and what he did – it’s eerie, eye-opening, and just another reminder to not trust anyone.
The Keepers - Netflix
If you liked Spotlight, you’ll probably be fascinated by this docuseries like we were. It’s centered around the unsolved murderer of a young nun in Baltimore, Maryland who was killed in 1969 – and attempts to find the truth and the killer. We don’t want to give anything away, so just give it a watch.
The Case Against Adnan Syed - HBO
This four-part docuseries is currently ongoing, but we love the continuation of Adnan’s story – especially after listening to the Serial podcast. We’re definitely on Adnan’s side and the new findings make us think even more so that he’s not guilty. Also, if you haven’t listened to Serial yet, stop what you’re doing & go take a listen.
The Staircase - Netflix
When writer Michael Peterson is associated with not one, but two women who died after falling down the stairs, he’s the main suspect for his wife’s death. Though they don’t cover it in the series, you’ll also have to do some research on “The Owl Theory” – despite being uncertain of his innocence throughout the series, this theory totally makes us think he didn’t do it… you decide!
Making a Murderer - Netflix
If you haven’t heard of Making a Murderer, you’ve probably been living under a rock. The story of Steven Avery and his nephew Brandan Dassey has taken America by storm, sparking controversy and polarizing views. We loved the first season best, but the second season is also a must-watch as it details what’s happened since the original true story ended.
Team Foxcatcher - Netflix
You may have seen the movie Foxcatcher with Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo based on this true story, but the documentary shows actual footage and details the crazy events that took place in between John E. du Pont, talented wrestlers, and the murder of Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz.
The Confession Tapes - Netflix
This series focuses on six different cases where alleged false confessions led to murder convictions. It will make you question the police and justice system – and remind you to always keep a note of what you did each day in case you’re falsely accused of committing a crime someday & need to have an alibi – and know your rights when talking to the interrogators.
Evil Genius - Netflix
You’ve probably heard of the “pizza bomber” from the news, but this four-part series goes so much deeper. What started out as a robbery gone wrong in Pennsylvania turns into a very-public murder and a crazy conspiracy. It’s a true testament to the fact that not everything is what it seems and proves that even those you don’t expect can be evil masterminds.
Long Shot - Netflix
This is a super short one (40 minutes), so it’s definitely worth watching! It tells the story of an innocent man who is arrested for murder and ends up keeping his freedom and avoiding the death penalty thanks to a Los Angeles Dodgers game, the creator of Seinfeld Larry David, and the filming of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.
What true crime documentaries are on your must-watch list? We’re always looking for new recommendations! For something a little lighter, take a look at our favorite romantic movies to watch on Valentine’s Day or anytime we need a little pick-me-up!