The Best True Crime Shows on Netflix You Can Finish in a Weekend

These easily digested shows will have you on the edge of your seat.

Sometimes, true crime series leave you with more questions than answers. Other times, they give you a sense of closure. But all the time, they have you awake wide-eyed in bed at night wondering how the story will end. So why extend that feeling with a long, drawn out show when you could dive into a shorter true crime series that you can get sucked into and finish in just one weekend? Lucky for you, Netflix has plenty of those to offer. From the wildest true crime docuseries out there to impeccably acted dramas based on true crime events, these shows will wake up your inner detective and they're all binge-able within the course of a weekend. Read on for our top picks, and for investigations you can listen to instead, here are The 12 Best True-Crime Podcasts That Are Completely Addictive.

The Ripper

The Ripper

In the late '70s in Great Britain, Yorkshire and Manchester were terrorized by a serial killer who came to be known as the Yorkshire Ripper. This four-episode docuseries brings viewers in on the hunt for the violent criminal, who was named as such because of his similarities to that other legendary English murderer.

Wild Wild Country

Ma Anand Sheela in Wild Wild Country

Chances are that you'll devour Wild Wild Country, the docuseries about the religious Rajneeshpuram community and their standoff with their Oregon neighbors, in a single sitting. Such is the magnetic and menacing presence of Ma Anand Sheela, the vengeful personal assistant of the late guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who is far and away the star of the show.

The Staircase

Michael Peterson and David Rudolf in The Staircase

In 2018, Netflix acquired the older episodes of a show that is considered by many to be a blueprint for the true crime docuseries as we know it, and also debuted three brand new ones. The Staircase follows the case against Michael Peterson, a North Carolina man accused of murdering his wife, who he claimed died due to a freak accident in their home. Originally debuting in 2004 on French television, the series documents the strange twists and turns of the mystery across almost two decades. But you can digest all of it in just one weekend.

For more easily binged shows in other genres, check out 13 Netflix Shows You Can Watch From Start to Finish This Weekend.

The Keepers

Catherine Cesnik in The Keepers

The Keepers is an appropriately named documentary series, as its ultimate focus is on the women—former high school students of murdered nun Sister Cathy Cesnik—who seek justice for her and keep the teacher's memory alive. They suspect that Cesnik was killed to silence her, and the depth of the crimes she may have uncovered are as heartbreaking as they are shocking.

The Devil Next Door

The Devil Next Door

The Devil Next Door reaches back into history, specifically the case of John Demjanjuk, a Cleveland resident who was thought by some to be a notorious Nazi guard known as "Ivan the Terrible," living under a new identity.

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

Evil Genius

Could the man who robbed an Erie, Pennsylvania bank in 2003 with a bomb strapped to his person have been forced by someone else to commit the crime? That's what Evil Genius aims to discover. And it dips into some dark places in the process. "It's a saga that involves death and obsession and illness and rejection: all the puzzle pieces you'd expect to go into a story befitting this one's title," the IndieWire review of the docuseries reads.

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez had been playing for the New England Patriots for three years when he was arrested for the 2013 murder of a man named Odin LloydKiller Inside examines the turn that the late former NFL player's life took and how chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE caused by injuries sustained while playing the sport may have contributed to the emergence of his violent tendencies.

For what to watch on HBO's streaming service, here are 14 TV Shows You Can Watch on HBO Max From Start to Finish This Weekend.

Making a Murderer

Steven Avery in Making a Murderer

Making a Murderer was one of the first true crime Netflix shows to catch the attention of amateur sleuths. Across two seasons and 20 episodes, the documentary investigates the murder of Teresa Halbach and the possibility that the two men convicted for it may not have been responsible.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

Joe Exotic in Tiger King

If you missed the Tiger King phenomenon when it premiered on Netflix early in the pandemic and everyone seemed to be watching it, it's never too late to check it out. The frequently jaw-dropping docuseries centers around a man who calls himself Joe Exotic and the controversial/not-always-legal world of big cat collecting. But trust us when we say that that synopsis barely scratches the surface of what you'll see.

And if you already watched this one, check out 13 Documentaries "Tiger King" Fans Should Watch Right Now.

When They See Us

Jharrel Jerome in When They See Us
Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix

Ava DuVernay's dramatization of the ordeal endured by the falsely accused and wrongfully convicted Central Park Five was nominated for 11 Emmy Awards and ranked on many best-of-the-year lists in 2019. After you finish all four episodes of the series, you can check out the special Oprah Winfrey Presents When They See Us Now, which is also on Netflix, to hear from the real, exonerated subjects in their own words.


Merritt Wever and Toni Collette in Unbelievable
Beth Dubber/Netflix

Another fictionalized version of a real crime, Unbelievable stars Merritt Wever and Toni Collette as two detectives who get on the trail of a serial rapist. As they investigate, they come across a young woman (Kaitlyn Dever) whose report of her own assault fits the profile of their perpetrator—even though she was pressured into recanting by male cops who found her story too hard to believe. For the best short marathons on another streaming service, check out 12 Shows You Can Watch on Amazon Prime from Start to Finish This Weekend.


Sage Young
Sage Young is the Deputy Entertainment Editor at Best Life, expanding and honing our coverage in this vertical by managing a team of industry-obsessed writers. Read more
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