True crime documentaries are all the rage right now, but picking one that isn’t super boring or redundant is kind of difficult if you’ve watched a decent amount already. Since I’m obsessed with the true crime genre, it only made sense that I helped you pick the next crime documentary that will leave you shook.
1. The Jinx
Robert Durst got away with murder. Quite literally. Not once, but multiple times. But his wealth and status in the business world afforded him the best lawyers money can buy, so he would get away by the skin of his teeth every time. HBO investigates the cases further and even gets an exclusive interview with Mr. Robert Durst himself. You’ll have yourself confused as to how they had not convicted him yet, but the end of the documentary comes with a chilling twist. It’ll have you realizing that maybe someone is listening even at times you don’t think they are.
2. The Serpent
It’s another serial killer documentary but told as a story more than a documentary. The Serpent, also known as Charles Sobhraj, was a self-proclaimed gem dealer who would lure travelers from the “Hippie Trail” and end up murdering them. The Hippie Trail produced nomadic souls who came to Asia to explore and were gullible enough to come to stay with Charles and his girlfriend, Marie. When Dutch citizens go missing in Thailand, Dutch diplomat Herman sets out to understand why these travelers go missing- and it can’t be because they all get lost. Soon, he will come face to face with The Serpent himself.
3. American Murder: The Family Next Door
When Christopher Watts’ pregnant wife, Shanann, and daughters Bella and Celeste were found murdered, the small town of Frederick, Colorado was shaken. Since murders are not that common in a suburb like theirs, it especially raised attention to the case. Who would want to kill a pregnant woman and her daughters? Christopher Watts begged national television to return his family to him, claiming them missing. But things aren’t always as they seem behind closed doors.
4. Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers
The Menendez Brothers story is one of the most infamous crimes. Due to recent TikTok fame, the Menendez brothers are now once again trending, people fascinated by how children can murder their own parents. These boys seemed to have it all: money, a future, and no consequences ever. But when they shot their parents, the whole world seemed to stop and follow the case. This documentary goes over both sides of the story, leaving it up to you to decide what you think the reasoning behind the boys murdering their parents really was.
5. Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
Ted Bundy will always be a fascinating story. The serial killer escaped prison and wore many different disguises, outsmarting almost everyone in his path. This led to a killing spree across the entire country, instilling terror in people whenever they left their homes. More than 100 hours of interview tape was used to create this four part documentary, so you can hear the chilling recount of Ted Bundy’s life from the murderer himself.
6. Abducted in Plain Sight
If you were a fan of The Lovely Bones, and want the same sort of story but it’s nonfiction, this is for you. 12-year-old Jan Broberg was abducted in 1974 from a small, religious community in Idaho. Jan was abducted by their once trusted neighbor twice, showing every parent’s worst nightmare come to life.
7. The Night Stalker
When a serial killer and rapist begins terrorizing the greater Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, detectives find that Richard Ramirez is extremely dangerous, and hard to catch. This crime documentary takes you into Ramirez’s dark past and even darker crimes. Known as the Night Stalker, Ramirez was convicted of murdering 13 people, 5 attempted murders, 11 accounts of sexual assault, and 14 burglaries, resulting in 19 death sentences as the verdict. Ramirez was unaware that he was wanted for said crimes until he saw women cowering from him in a convenience store, proceeding to attempt to carjack three people before finally being detained.
8. Killing for Love
Two University of Virginia students and lovers, Jens Söering and Elizabeth Haysom, find themselves in a predicament after murdering Haysom’s parents. The claim was made that Haysom’s mother was sexually abusive, and there was only one way to put an end to it. Söering ended up pleading guilty for the murders but later said he only did so because he was the son of a German diplomat, so he wouldn’t get the death penalty like Elizabeth would have. While Haysom insists her ex-boyfriend is guilty still, interviews from Söering and his advocates alongside conflicting evidence may point to a different person.
9. Long Shot
Juan Catalan was told that he was identified as the killer in a murder investigation by the police. He was so taken aback by this that he forgot his alibi: he was at a Dodgers game with his daughter. However, this was not enough for prosecutors, who went for the death penalty for Catalan even after he produced ticket stubs and his daughter testified. When it looked like all hope was lost for Juan Catalan, a peculiar finding and a heck of a coincidence saves his life.
10. The Confession Tapes
This Netflix documentary follows those convicted of murder who claim their confessions were either false or coerced. It is a super interesting point of view, especially to see those who truly believe that they are innocent and were convinced otherwise. It delves into the morality of the justice system and what can be done to prevent injustices such as false accusations and false imprisonment.