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The 31 Best True Crime Shows on Netflix Right Now

From gripping dramas to engrossing docuseries, these streaming shows will please true crime fans.

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 wide-eyed and awake in bed, wondering how the story will end. Lucky for you, Netflix has plenty of fascinating true crime shows available to stream right now from the comfort of your own home. 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.

RELATED: 25 Movies Like Knives Out That Will Bring Out Your Inner Detective.

The Best True Crime Shows Streaming on Netflix

1. The Ripper

Still from 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 the 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 who is accused of murdering his wife but claims she died as a result of 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.

4. 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. Still, their devotion to learning the truth and exposing those responsible will leave you more hopeful than bereft.

5. The Devil Next Door

The Devil Next Door

The Devil Next Door reaches back into history, specifically to 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. Demjanjuk faced two separate trials, as both prosecutors and concentration camp survivors endeavored to prove that he was not, in fact, who he insisted that he was.

RELATED: 6 Movies About True Hollywood Crimes That Will Shock You.

6. 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 himself 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.

7. Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez in 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 (CTE) caused by injuries sustained while playing football may have contributed to his violent tendencies.

8. 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.

RELATED: The 6 Most Binge-Worthy True Crime Podcasts You Need to Listen To.

9. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

Joe Exotic in Tiger King

If you missed the Tiger King phenomenon when it premiered on Netflix in 2020 and everyone in lockdown seemed to be watching it, don't worry—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.

10. 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.

11. Unbelievable

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.

12. Mindhunter

Holt McCallany and Jonathan Groff in Mindhunter

While Mindhunter blends fact and fiction, the two-season crime drama has enough of the former to please true crime aficionados. It tracks a project embarked on by the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit in the late '70s and early '80s to study serial killers—a concept that was just gaining prominence amid rising media coverage of repeat murderers.

Jonathan GroffHolt McCallany, and Anna Torv's characters come into contact with dramatized real-life killers Ed Kemper, David BerkowitzCharles Manson, and more, in an attempt to understand how these notorious murderers think, feel, and operate, in order to stop their successors. Zodiac filmmaker David Fincher is one of the creators behind the acclaimed series.

13. American Nightmare

Denise Huskins in American Nightmare

Across just three episodes, Netflix's American Nightmare documents the way law enforcement failed Denise Huskins and her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, after he reported that she had been kidnapped right in front of him in the middle of the night.

Her kidnapping took place just months after the release of the hit thriller film Gone Girl, and certain details about the case led police and the media to claim that perhaps Huskins had planned the whole thing herself. Fortunately, this nightmare has a happy ending, but you'll be infuriated by what it took to get there.

RELATED: The 15 Best Psychological Thrillers to Keep You on the Edge of Your Seat.

14. Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey

Portrait of Warren Jeffs in Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey

Titled after Rulon Jeff's favorite command for the women of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey reveals what life is like for women and girls in the polygamous offshoot of Mormonism. It particularly focuses on the abusive leadership of Rulon and then his son, Warren Jeffs, who is currently serving a life sentence for two counts of child sexual assault.

15. Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.

Sarma Melngailis in Bad Vegan

In the mid '00s, the New York vegan spot Pure Food and Wine was one of the hottest restaurants in the city. But that didn't last for long, as Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitive. recounts.

Co-owner Sarma Melngailis claims in the documentary that her former husband Anthony Strangis conned her out of so much money that she began stealing money from her own restaurant in order to satisfy him. What's most unbelievable is the story Strangis initially told Melngailis about why he needed the money—and that she bought it.

16. Worst Roommate Ever

Still from Worst Roommate Ever

You might be surprised to see the Blumhouse logo on a documentary series, but Worst Roommate Ever contains true tales so spine-chilling, it's no wonder the horror movie studio got involved. This series consists of four stories of nightmare roommates told by the people they terrorized. It'll make you appreciate anyone you ever lived with whose worst offense was not taking out the garbage.

RELATED: 11 Beloved TV Characters Who Are Actually the Worst.

17. Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer

Still from Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer

The docuseries Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer takes viewers right back to Los Angeles and San Francisco in 1984 and 1985—the period during which serial killer and serial rapist Richard Ramirez hunted his victims in and around their homes. It even includes in-depth interviews with survivors who were able to evade his grip, and their accounts are chilling.

18. Escaping Twin Flames

Shaleia and Jeff Divine in Escaping Twin Flames

What would you give up if you knew you were guaranteed to meet your soulmate? How much money would you pay the people who promised that to you?

Escaping Twin Flames centers the Twin Flames Universe, an online and in-person community many have called a cult, and its leaders, Shaleia and Jeff Divine. They promise their followers that they can help them achieve eternal happiness with their "twin flame," but former members and families of people still in the group claim that Shaleia and Jeff rule through coercion, intimidation, and homophobia—and that Jeff believes he is Jesus Christ reborn. It's a wild watch.

19. Killer Sally

Sally McNeil in Killer Sally

In 1995, bodybuilder Sally McNeil was arrested for killing her husband, fellow bodybuilder Ray McNeil. But that's just the logline when it comes to the docuseries Killer Sally. The project documents the couple's lives up to that tragic point, which included a "seedy" video business, jealousy, and alleged abuse. Sally herself contributes to the series in a lengthy prison interview.

20. Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal

Still from Murdaugh Murders

There's enough scandal and untimely death in the orbit of South Carolina's Murdaugh family to necessitate both seasons of this docuseries.

The Murdaugh name goes way back in the South, with their neighbors claiming in Murdaugh Murders that the family believed they were above the law. The series tracks everything from the death of Paul Murdaugh's friend Mallory Beach in a boat accident when he was driving, to his father Alex Murdaugh's trial after he was accused of shooting Paul and his own wife Maggie to death on their property. There are even more skeletons in the closet, however, as you'll learn when you watch these two seasons.

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21. Dahmer

Evan Peters in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story—or simply Dahmer—dramatizes the bloody reign of one of the most notorious serial killers of all time.

While the series was criticized for glamorizing Jeffrey Dahmer and even re-traumatizing his victims' families, it was Netflix's No. 1 show when it was released. Additionally, Evan Peters won a Golden Globe for disappearing into the titular role, while Niecy Nash won an Emmy for playing one of Dahmer's neighbors.

22. Griselda

Sofía Vergara in Griselda

Sofía Vergara's first big TV role post-Modern Family was a huge departure. In this Netflix limited series, she plays Colombian crime boss Griselda Blanco. The show chronicles her rise and fall in the world of drug running, as well as how she sacrifices the safety of her own family in order to gain more power.

23. Vatican Girl: The Disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi

Still from Vatican Girl

In 1983, a teenager girl named Emanuela Orlandi disappeared on her way back home to her family in Vatican City. She has never been found, and this documentary aims to discover why the powers-that-be in the cradle of the Catholic church have not been forthcoming with information about her.

The case gained international attention when a terrorist organization took responsibility for Orlandi's kidnapping, but it was later proven to be a hoax. Now, multiple theories of what happened to the "Vatican girl" still swirl, as her family continues to press for answers.

24. How to Become a Cult Leader

Still from How to Become a Cult Leader

Jim Jones, Marshall Applewhite, and Charles Manson are among the notorious personalities profiled in Netflix's six-part How to Become a Cult Leader series. Narrator Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones fame recounts how these leaders were able to build up insular communities willing to follow them anywhere—and do anything that they asked.

If you're fascinated by the psychology behind the Peoples Temple, Heaven's Gate, the Manson Family, and more infamous cults, this series should be on top of your watch list.

25. The Innocent Man

John Grisham in The Innocent Man

In 2006, novelist John Grisham published his first nonfiction book, The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town. In 2018, Netflix released a docuseries adapted from the book, which chronicles the investigations into two murders that happened in Ada, Oklahoma in the early '80s, both resulting in men being blamed for the crimes whose convictions were later overturned.

Scrutinizing shoddy police work and coerced confessions is nothing new for the true crime genre, especially in examining older cases, but The Innocent Man sets itself apart by boasting a bestselling pedigree.

RELATED: The 30 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time, According to Science.

26. Unsolved Mysteries

Unsolved Mysteries logo

After it had been off the air for 10 years, Netflix resurrected Unsolved Mysteries, the docuseries that premiered all the way back in 1987 and haunted the dreams of many millennials who grew up watching its spooky dramatic reenactments and listening to the unforgettable voice of former host Robert Stack.

So far, three volumes of Unsolved Mysteries have dropped on Netflix, and a fourth is reportedly on the way.

27. Murder Among the Mormons

Still from Murder Among the Mormons

In the '80s, forger Mark Hofmann managed to swindle the Latter Day Saint church out of buckets of money by creating priceless and newly recovered church documents and artifacts—all, of course, completely fake. But his forgeries aren't the only reason why he's still in prison today.

Murder Among the Mormons reveals the deadly lengths Hofmann went to in order to protect his scheme from those who finally became suspicious that the treasures he was miraculously producing were nothing but professional fabrications.

28. The Indrani Mukerjea Story: Buried Truth

Indrani Mukerjea in The Indrani Mukerjea Story: Buried Truth

This documentary about the disappearance of 25-year-old Indian woman Sheena Bora and the subsequent murder investigation has all the elements a true crime aficionado could ask for: a wealthy family at the center of the drama; deep family secrets that finally come to light; and an illuminating interview with the charismatic and controlling No. 1 suspect.

Former media CEO Indrani Mukerjea is suspected of killing her firstborn daughter, whom she had passed off as her sister, though she says she doesn't even believe that Bora is dead. This miniseries will tell you everything you need to know about the still ongoing case.

29. Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife

Still from Bad Surgeon

If you watched the second season of the Peacock anthology series Dr. Death, then you already know the story about the thoracic surgeon who is accused of falsifying research that allowed him to perform experimental trachea transplants that killed some patients and left others maimed.

But in the Netflix docuseries Bad Surgeon: Love Under the Knife, you can hear from disgraced doctor Paolo Macchiarini, the TV journalist he conned into a relationship with him, and the colleagues who endeavored to bring him down, all in their own words.

30. Sophie: A Murder in West Cork

Still from Sophie: A Murder in West Cork

A small rural town in Ireland was rocked when the body of a French TV producer who owned a cottage in the area was found outside her home in 1996. It would take 23 years to convict someone for her murder.

Sophie: A Murder in West Cork follows the messy investigation and asks tough questions about whose testimony was prioritized by authorities and why. Above all, however, it serves as a memorial to Sophie Toscan du Plantier herself, as well as her affinity for the countryside where she ultimately lost her life.

31. The Program: Cons, Cults, and Kidnapping

Still from The Program: Cons, Cults, and Kidnapping

If firsthand accounts are what compel you, check out The Program: Cons, Cults, and Kidnapping. Docuseries director Katherine Kubler spent part of her youth in one of the "troubled teen" institutions she and her fellow alumni are now out to expose.

This series not only reveals the physical and psychological abuse, unhealthy conditions, and neglect these children were subject to all in the name of "correcting" their behavior, it also endeavors to find out who is benefiting from the millions and millions of dollars that programs like this bring in all over the world.

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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