The best true crime shows on Netflix (2023)

By Jon O'Brien

published

From Tiger King to Making a Murderer

The best true crime shows on Netflix (1)

Not content with turning its entire subscriber base into couch potatoes, Netflix also appears to have transformed the majority of us into armchair detectives. Previously dominated by amateurish re-enactments, bone-dry talking heads and countless zoom-ins of the same photos, the true crime genre has now become the kind of cinematic, highly engrossing TV that starts conversations at the watercooler (or it did pre-Covid, anyway).

From wild tales of cult life to a whole host of unsolved mysteries, here’s a look at 10 original series which, rightly or wrongly, have made real-life criminality must-see entertainment.

(Video) Top 10 True Crime Documentaries on Netflix

  • Here are the best TV shows on Netflix
  • What we know about Ozark season 4
  • Best Netflix movies

Making a Murderer

The best true crime shows on Netflix (2)

Where else could we start than the genesis of the streaming generation’s true crime fixation? What’s interesting is how much Netflix trusted viewers to commit to the oft-exasperating case of Steven Avery, a man who after serving an 18-year jail term for crimes he didn’t commit, then finds himself convicted of the deadliest.

You needed to invest 10 solid hours in its twists and turns, with much of its screen time dedicated to lengthy, uninterrupted courtroom and police interview footage that was arguably far more damning to those purportedly on the right side of the law. Eschewing the usual flashy tropes, Making a Murderer simply lets the evidence, or lack thereof, do the talking.

The Keepers

The best true crime shows on Netflix (3)

While some of Netflix’s particularly harrowing true crime stories can lean towards the exploitative (see The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel), this seven-parter maintains a dignified respect for its tragic subject, murdered nun Catherine Cesnik. Director Ryan White jumps between late ‘60s Baltimore and the present day to investigate her still-unresolved case, uncovering a web of disturbing decades-old secrets along the way. Linking to a much wider picture of systemic abuse, the expertly researched The Keepers is also that rare investigative series that admirably puts the focus more on the victims than the perpetrators.

Tiger King

The best true crime shows on Netflix (4)

In light of all the memes, fancy dress inspirations and Dancing with the Stars appearances, it’s easy to forget that there were several serious offenses at the heart of Netflix’s biggest true crime phenomenon: animal abuse, arson, attempted murder (and those are just the ones beginning with ‘A’).

Indeed, although Tiger King often invited us to laugh at the mulleted, polyamorous, country-singing zookeeper Joe Exotic, and his “hey, all you cool cats and kittens” nemesis Carole Baskin, it could also get very sinister very quickly. Premiering just as everyone needed some escapism from the real world, it’s little wonder that such unadulterated chaos became a lockdown hit.

Evil Genius: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist

The best true crime shows on Netflix (5)

(Video) Top 5 Best True Crime Documentaries on Netflix Right Now! 2022

As with Tiger King, this outlandish four-part series proves that sometimes even the most imaginative scriptwriters can’t compete with real life. Here, a mild-mannered pizza delivery guy holds up a bank with a bomb collar around his neck, only for it to detonate after a live TV stand-off with police.

Was he coerced or a conspirator? Jail-cell interviews with a suspected serial killer and the discovery of a macabre treasure hunt don’t make things any clearer. However, they do help to unravel a deranged plot that was evil and diabolical, but far from genius.

Wild Wild Country

The best true crime shows on Netflix (6)

Documenting a chapter of recent, largely untold American history, Wild Wild Country is a sprawling, morally ambiguous saga about the machinations of a cult that infiltrated 1980s Oregon. Political fraud, arson and even bioterrorism were just some of the methods the Rajneeshees adopted to try to gain political power before their movement spectacularly imploded.

Jaw-dropping archival footage taken by both devotees and outsiders help to explain the reasons leader Osho and his disciples made such an impact. But the recollections from deceptively terrifying ex-spokeswoman, and real brains of the whole operation, Ma Anand Sheela, stick longer in the memory.

Don’t F*** With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer

From its clickbaity title to its finger-pointing finale, Don’t F*** with Cats is undoubtedly at the more sensationalist end of Netflix’s true crime spectrum. Although, to be fair, it would be difficult for anyone to tackle such a lurid subject matter – fame-hungry kitten killer turns to homicide while being tracked down by online warriors – with much restraint.

The three-time BAFTA nominee sure isn’t for the faint-hearted, and you’ll never hear John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” in quite the same way again. But once you’ve stopped covering your eyes with your hands, you’ll be gripped by an unimaginable story that highlights both the perils and the potential of internet vigilantism.

Unsolved Mysteries

The best true crime shows on Netflix (8)

Essentially America’s Hollywoodised answer to Crimewatch, Unsolved Mysteries intrigued and terrified audiences equally back in the late ’80s, with Robert Stack’s solemn narration only adding to the heebie-jeebie vibes.

Now dedicating each episode to just one case, Netflix’s host-free reboot is able to dig much deeper into the series’ wheelhouse of unexplained deaths, missing persons and shocking murders, inspiring countless Reddit theories and several credible new leads in the process. We could have done without the obligatory silly UFO/ghost stories. But otherwise, this engaging revival of the true crime genre’s daddy is the closest the streaming service gets to public service broadcasting.

(Video) Top 10 Best True Crime Shows of the 21st Century

The Pharmacist

The best true crime shows on Netflix (9)

A true David vs. Goliath tale, The Pharmacist initially centers on grieving father Dan Schneider’s dogged pursuit to find out who killed his drug-addicted son. But this highly personal quest soon veers into something far more wide-reaching, when he uncovers a scandal relating to America’s opioid epidemic.

Utilizing the exhaustive audio and video footage the amateur investigator compiled during his quest, the miniseries impressively manages to compel from both angles. And although Schneider’s obsessive nature isn’t appreciated by everybody, including the man’s own family who are desperate to move on with their lives, his efforts are never anything less than awe-inspiring.

The Innocence Files

The best true crime shows on Netflix (10)

Produced by a team of Academy Award-winning documentarians, this sobering and frequently infuriating nine-parter provides a damning indictment of the United States judicial system. Highlighting the work of the Innocence Project, the series explores the non-profit’s attempt to overturn eight serious convictions, and how everything from police coercion to pseudoscience can heavily influence the choice between freedom, incarceration and even death.

The Innocence Files isn’t an easy watch, but it’s a vital one that not only shows just how stacked the odds are against the underprivileged, but demands this to change.

The Devil Next Door

The best true crime shows on Netflix (11)

A seemingly unremarkable grandfather living in Cleveland is accused of being Ivan the Terrible, a WWII concentration camp guard who sent nearly 30,000 people to their death. A case of mistaken identity, or a final chance for survivors to receive some long overdue justice? That’s one of many questions posed in this thought-provoking deep dive into the case of John Demjanjuk.

The Devil Next Door can’t provide many clear-cut answers. But with its substantial use of courtroom testimonies, newsreel footage, and remarkably candid interviews with both the prosecution and the defense, it gives audiences sufficient resources to make up their own minds.

  • You season 3 explained

Jon O'Brien

(Video) A True Crime Fan's Dream Netflix Tier List
See more TV news

More about entertainment

Leaving Hulu in October 2022: 3 real-life dramas that became brilliant moviesHouse of the Dragon episode 9: release time and streaming details

Latest

Windows 12 - five things we want to see
See more latest►
(Video) Top 10 True Crime Documentaries to Watch in 2021

FAQs

Are there any crime shows on Netflix? ›

TV Crime Dramas
  • DAHMER.
  • Breaking Bad.
  • The Blacklist.
  • Lucifer.
  • NCIS.
  • Riverdale.
  • El Chapo.
  • Good Girls.

What is the best mystery drama on Netflix? ›

1. 'The Woods' 25 years after four teens — including his sister — mysteriously go missing one night during summer camp, Paweł tries to finally find out the truth about what went down that night.

Are there any good serial killer shows on Netflix? ›

The Confession Killer is a Netflix documentary series based on Henry Lee Lucas, known as one of the world's most notorious serial killers. He boasted of killing hundreds of people, and was convicted of murdering 11.

What should I watch on Netflix based on a true story? ›

Gangsters, fighters, athletes, serial killers, celebrities and so much more–these films are the best of the based-on-a-true-story stories.
...
Popular on Netflix
  • Fatherhood.
  • My Best Friend Anne Frank.
  • Lost Girls.
  • Father Stu.
  • 12 Strong.
  • Blow.
  • Legend.
  • Operation Mincemeat.

What is a good true crime story to watch? ›

30 True Crime Documentaries You Really Shouldn't Miss
  • Abducted in Plain Sight. ...
  • Amanda Knox. ...
  • Atlanta Monster. ...
  • Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. ...
  • Evil Genius: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist. ...
  • Exit Scam. ...
  • Heaven's Gate. ...
  • Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich.
6 May 2022

What is the best crime drama on TV? ›

Top 50 Crime TV Shows
  • Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (2022) TV-MA | 534 min | Biography, Crime, Drama. ...
  • Breaking Bad (2008–2013) ...
  • Better Call Saul (2015–2022) ...
  • A Friend of the Family (2022) ...
  • The Boys (2019– ) ...
  • Shantaram (2022– ) ...
  • Peaky Blinders (2013–2022) ...
  • Cyberpunk: Edgerunners (2022– )

What is the best British crime series on Netflix? ›

Crime TV Shows
  • Collateral.
  • The Irregulars.
  • Criminal: UK.
  • The One.
  • Inside the World's Toughest Prisons.
  • Paranoid.
  • The Ripper.
  • Get Even.

Does Netflix have FBI? ›

Netflix doesn't have an agreement to stream the series. If you want to catch up, you'll have to use CBS's exclusive streaming platform, CBS All Access. That requires a subscription for an extra fee, so it probably won't appeal to many people.

What is the name of the serial killer series on Netflix? ›

In the late 1970s two FBI agents expand criminal science by delving into the psychology of murder and getting uneasily close to all-too-real monsters.

What is coming on Netflix 2022? ›

The Crown and Cobra Kai return, Wednesday debuts and the final season of Manifest takes flight. Whether you are a fan of the royal family, the Addams family or Ralph Macchio, Netflix has you covered this fall season.

What is the show on Netflix that interviews serial killers? ›

This limited documentary series documentary about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and his 17 murders is executive produced by Joe Berlinger.

What is the best British crime drama? ›

Best British Crime Dramas of 2021, Ranked
  • 7/7 Bloodlands.
  • 6/7 Vigil.
  • 5/7 The Pembrokeshire Murders.
  • 4/7 Stay Close.
  • 3/7 Time.
  • 2/7 Unforgotten - Season Four.
  • 1/7 Line of Duty - Season Six.
14 Aug 2022

What to watch after finishing Criminal Minds? ›

  • Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.
  • Mindhunter.
  • Hannibal.
  • Killing Eve.
  • Homeland.
  • NCIS.
  • Luther.
18 Sept 2022

Is mindhunter worth watching? ›

Mindhunter is one of the better shows I've seen in some time! This is not your average cop show. It follows FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tech (Holt McCallany) as they attempt to understand and catch serial killers by studying their minds and psyches.

Which series is based on a true story? ›

Based on a True Story is an upcoming American comedy thriller created by Craig Rosenberg and Jason Bateman, and will star Kaley Cuoco. The series will premiere on Peacock.
...
Based on a True Story (TV series)
Based on a True Story
Created byCraig Rosenberg Jason Bateman
Written byCraig Rosenberg
StarringKaley Cuoco
Country of originUnited States
7 more rows

What is the best movie based on a true story? ›

The best movies based on true stories
  1. All the President's Men (1976) Film. Drama. ...
  2. In Cold Blood (1967) Film. ...
  3. Hustlers (2019) Film. ...
  4. Argo (2012) Film. ...
  5. The Social Network (2010) Film. ...
  6. Dog Day Afternoon (1975) Film. ...
  7. Dallas Buyers Club (2014) Film. ...
  8. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) Film.
15 Mar 2022

What is the scariest movie based on a true story? ›

Best scary movies based on true stories
  1. Zodiac (2007) Film. ...
  2. The Amityville Horror (1979) ...
  3. The Conjuring (2013) ...
  4. Poltergeist (1982) ...
  5. Compliance (2012) ...
  6. 10 Rillington Place (1971) ...
  7. Open Water (2003) ...
  8. Snowtown (2011)
4 Oct 2022

What are some true crime documentaries? ›

These documentary films and series investigate the unbelievable stories of true crimes.
...
Crime Movies
  • Why Did You Kill Me?
  • Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story.
  • The Tinder Swindler.
  • Our Father.
  • Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes.
  • Girl in the Picture.
  • American Murder: The Family Next Door.
  • Abducted in Plain Sight.

Is Netflix criminal based on true stories? ›

Nope—it's entirely scripted. But although none of the characters are actually based on real people, Kay revealed the inspiration for the series was real-life crime, and he wanted to create “stories that made the police have to face their own morality and explore how they feel, not just what they do for a job.”

What should I watch in true crime 2022? ›

  • The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes. Netflix. 24.8M subscribers. ...
  • Aftershock. Hulu. ...
  • The Most Hated Man on the Internet. Netflix. ...
  • Undercurrent. HBO. ...
  • Our Father. Netflix. ...
  • The Puppet Master: Hunting The Ultimate Conman. Netflix. ...
  • BTK: Confessions of a Serial Killer. A&E. ...
  • Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King. Netflix.
23 Sept 2022

What is the name of the Netflix series about serial killers? ›

In the late 1970s two FBI agents expand criminal science by delving into the psychology of murder and getting uneasily close to all-too-real monsters.

What is coming on Netflix 2022? ›

The Crown and Cobra Kai return, Wednesday debuts and the final season of Manifest takes flight. Whether you are a fan of the royal family, the Addams family or Ralph Macchio, Netflix has you covered this fall season.

What should I watch this weekend true crime? ›

The Best True Crime Series Streaming on HBO Max Right Now
  • McMillions (2020) Image via HBO. ...
  • The Crime of the Century (2021) Image via HBO. ...
  • The Murders at Starved Rock (2021) Image via HBO. ...
  • Gaming Wall Street (2022) ...
  • Mind Over Murder (2022) ...
  • Heaven's Gate: The Cult of Cults (2020) ...
  • The Way Down (2021-2022) ...
  • The Vow (2020-2022)
3 Oct 2022

What are some true crime documentaries? ›

These documentary films and series investigate the unbelievable stories of true crimes.
...
Crime Movies
  • Why Did You Kill Me?
  • Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story.
  • The Tinder Swindler.
  • Our Father.
  • Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes.
  • Girl in the Picture.
  • American Murder: The Family Next Door.
  • Abducted in Plain Sight.

Is there any true crime on HBO Max? ›

"Beware The Slenderman," "The Jinx," "Mind over Murder," and more. All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers.

What is the name of the TV series about a serial killer? ›

One of the best serial killer TV shows on Netflix, Mindhunter is set in the 1970s when FBI Special Agent Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) joins FBI's Behavioral Science Unit head, Special Agent Bill Tench (McCallany), to interview real-life serial killers.

Is Mindhunter worth watching? ›

Mindhunter is one of the better shows I've seen in some time! This is not your average cop show. It follows FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tech (Holt McCallany) as they attempt to understand and catch serial killers by studying their minds and psyches.

What is the name of the show with the serial killer? ›

Mindhunter (TV series)
Mindhunter
Original networkNetflix
Picture format4K (Ultra HD)
Audio formatDolby Digital 5.1
Original releaseOctober 13, 2017 – August 16, 2019
20 more rows

What streaming service has the best serial killer documentaries? ›

What is the best serial killer documentary to watch? Netflix, one of the world's biggest streaming platforms, has a number of documentaries on serial killers that not only reveal some of the most horrific crimes committed by humans but also how the tenacious spirit of investigators led to their capture and conviction.

Is there a Jeffrey Dahmer documentary on Netflix? ›

This limited documentary series documentary about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and his 17 murders is executive produced by Joe Berlinger.

Are there any documentaries about Albert Fish? ›

Albert Fish is a 2007 biographical documentary film directed by John Borowski. The film relates the life story of American serial killer and cannibal Albert Fish. In addition to interviews, period footage and photographs, the film also recreates many of Fish's crimes in numerous reenactment scenes.

What are the top 10 on Netflix right now? ›

The Top 10 Most Popular TV Shows on Netflix Right Now
  • The Blacklist.
  • The Midnight Club.
  • Gabriel Iglesias: Stadium Fluffy.
  • The Sinner.
  • Unsolved Mysteries.
  • Love Is Blind.
  • DAHMER - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.
  • The Watcher.
14 Oct 2022

What's new on Netflix in october 2022? ›

  • Forever Queens.
  • Chip and Potato, Season 4.
  • Hasan Minhaj: The King's Jester.
  • Bling Empire, Season 3.
  • High Water.
  • Jumping from High Places.
  • Mr. Harrigan's Phone.
  • Nailed It!, Season 7.

What is Netflix Adding in October 2022? ›

What's Coming to Netflix on October 5th. Bling Empire (Season 3) Netflix Original Series – Reality series. High Water (Season 1) Netflix Original Series – Polish drama. Jumping from High Places (2022) Netflix Original Film – Italian romantic comedy.

Videos

1. The Best True Crime Shows On Netflix You’ve Never Seen | Netflix
(Still Watching Netflix)
2. Netflix True Crime: The Best True Crime Shows on Netflix
(The List Show TV)
3. Top 10 True Crime Documentaries to Watch in 2022 (So Far)
(WatchMojo.com)
4. The Best Crime Shows on Netflix
(Netflix Nordic)
5. The Best True Crime On Netflix
(Looper)
6. Top 10 Most Binge Worthy True Crime Series
(WatchMojo.com)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Eusebia Nader

Last Updated: 03/19/2023

Views: 5991

Rating: 5 / 5 (60 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Eusebia Nader

Birthday: 1994-11-11

Address: Apt. 721 977 Ebert Meadows, Jereville, GA 73618-6603

Phone: +2316203969400

Job: International Farming Consultant

Hobby: Reading, Photography, Shooting, Singing, Magic, Kayaking, Mushroom hunting

Introduction: My name is Eusebia Nader, I am a encouraging, brainy, lively, nice, famous, healthy, clever person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.