1/49 Watch These Netflix True-Crime Documentaries With Caution 2/49 "Bad Sport"
"Bad Sport" breaks down the major sport scandals of our time, including Indycar driver Randy Lanier's marijuana-smuggling operation and the allegations of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic figure skating competition being fixed. In this
true-crime and sports documentary series, we hear from the coaches, athletes, and law enforcement figures embroiled in the scandals.
"Bad Sport" on Netflix now. (Netflix) 3/49 "Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan"
Billy Milligan was the first person to be acquitted of a major crime based on a defense that he suffered from a dissociative identity disorder. This case that many true-crime fans find fascinating is covered from start to finish in this chilling docuseries.
"Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan" on Netflix now. (Netflix / COURTESY OF NETFLIX) 4/49 "John of God: The Crimes of a Spiritual Healer, Season 1"
This docuseries from Brazil delves into the life of medium João Teixeira de Faria, who collected a loyal following and rose to international fame. However, his dark history of abuse was exposed by survivors, prosecutors, and the press, all of which this true-crime doc delves into.
"John of God: The Crimes of a Spiritual Healer" on Netflix now. (Netflix) 5/49 "American Murder: The Family Next Door"
This absolutely gut-wrenching documentary uses raw firsthand footage, social media posts, and text messages from the time of the investigation of the 2018 disappearance of 34-year-old Shanann Watts and her two young daughters in Colorado.
"American Murder: The Family Next Door" on Netflix now. (Netflix / Courtesy of Netflix/2020) 6/49 "The Innocent Man"
Based on John Grisham's 2006 book, "The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town", this six-part Netflix series follows two murders that shook Ada, OK, in the 1980s. When the police investigations for both the murder of cocktail waitress Debbie Carter and Ada resident Denice Haraway were mishandled, innocent men were sent to jail, and it would be years before their cases were reexamined.
"The Innocent Man" on Netflix now. (Netflix) 7/49 "I Am a Killer"
Appropriately titled, this 10-part British docuseries tells the stories of 10 convicted killers, each installment focusing on a different notorious prisoner who has been sentenced to death for capital murder. What makes this series unique is that stories are told from the prisoners' point of view rather than law enforcement, and the effect is totally chilling.
"I Am a Killer" on Netflix now. (Netflix) 8/49 "Making a Murderer"
Filmed over 10 years, this two-season docuseries, produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, follows the case of Steven Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, who were wrongly accused of raping and murdering a woman named Teresa Halbach in 2005. The first season presents the case, while the second season - released three years later - introduces Steven's new lawyer, as well as the man who have actually murdered Teresa.
"Making a Murderer" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection) 9/49 "Amanda Knox"
This documentary recounts the well-known case of Amanda Knox, a woman convicted for the 2007 murder of her roommate in Italy, Meredith Kercher, and sentenced to four years in an Italian prison. The film features interviews with Amanda Knox's ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, and Amanda Knox herself, following the story of Meredith Kercher's death and Amanda's eventual acquittal.
"Amanda Knox" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection) 10/49 "The Keepers"
This docuseries examines the unsolved murder of Cathy Cesnik, a Catholic high school teacher and nun from in Baltimore who disappeared in 1969. The case was then reopened in the '90s, when one of Cathy Cesnik's former students claimed that the high school's chaplain may have been involved.
"The Keepers" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Courtesy of Netflix) 11/49 "Strong Island"
This heartbreaking Oscar-nominated documentary follows the 1992 murder of 24-year-old William Ford Jr., made especially poignant because the filmmaker, Yance Ford, is the victim's brother. Yance tells the story of how, 25 years ago, racial injustice and a fatal bullet changed the life of his Long Island family forever.
"Strong Island" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Courtesy Everett Collection) 12/49 "Casting JonBenet"
Taking place two decades after the murder of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, this documentary records the casting process for a fictional JonBenet film. Interviews with the would-be actors - during which they offer their own insight and speculation - reveals the extent of the obsession surrounding the mysterious case.
"Casting JonBenet" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection) 13/49 "Icarus"
Though Bryan Fogel first sought to explore the world of performance-enhancing drugs in cycling, the filmmaker instead happened upon a major international doping scandal when he encountered the head of the Russian antidoping laboratory. In the film, Fogel documents the means by which this lab allows athletes to take performance-enhancing drugs in a way that will evade detection from drug testing, leading to the discovery of a state-sponsored Olympic doping program.
"Icarus" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Copyright Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection) 14/49 "Inside the World's Toughest Prisons"
Paul Connolly - an Irish investigative journalist, radio personality, and documentary maker - takes viewers on tours inside the most frightening prisons in the world. Connolly demonstrates what living conditions are for the inmates, as well as the guards, changing the way you think about prison forever.
"Inside the World's Toughest Prisons" on Netflix now. (Netflix) 15/49 "First and Last"
Rather than tracking the day-to-day life experiences of prisoners, this docuseries offers a heartbreaking look at the two most pivotal days for individuals at Georgia's Gwinnett County Jail - their first day and their last. "First and Last" can be tough to watch at moments, but few shows provide better insight into the American criminal justice system.
"First and Last" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection) 16/49 "Evil Genius"
This four-part documentary follows a high-profile 2003 robbery gone wrong in Erie, PA, when a pizza delivery man named Brian Wells was forced to rob a bank with a bomb around his neck. The Netflix original traces the ensuing manhunt and arrest of the person responsible for the deceivingly complicated "pizza bomber" crime.
"Evil Genius" on Netflix now. (Netflix) 17/49 "Girls Incarcerated"
This docuseries profiles various young women incarcerated at a juvenile correctional facility in Madison, IN. From romances to celebrating milestones and to breaking down emotional walls, this show is far more tender than you may expect from a prison documentary.
"Girls Incarcerated" on Netflix now. (Netflix) 18/49 "Murder Mountain"
This six-part docuseries (which originally aired on the Fusion network back in September) takes viewers into Humboldt County, CA, where 60 percent of the marijuana grown in the US is produced and where a man named Garrett Rodriguez went missing (among several others) from this giant weed-producing community. From 30-year-old open cases to much more recent disappearances, this series works to demonstrate what an issue this area has become, as well as all of the potential causes for the shocking number of missing persons.
"Murder Mountain" on Netflix now. (Netflix) 19/49 ReMastered: The Miami Showband Massacre
ReMastered series has been dropping new documentaries set in the music world. Its most recent offering looks at the mysterious murder of three musicians in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and the possibility that the government was involved in the crime.
on Netflix now. ReMastered: The Miami Showband Massacre (Everett Collection) 20/49 "The Devil Next Door"
Retired Ukrainian-American autoworker John Demjanjuk was living the American dream in Cleveland, OH, until a group of Holocaust survivors said they recognized him as a Nazi camp guard who killed and tortured Jewish prisoners in WWII. Shortly after, Demjanjuk was taken to Israel for trial, causing a media frenzy to break out.
"The Devil Next Door" on Netflix now. (Netflix) 21/49 "I Called Him Morgan"
This documentary offers an account of the life of jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan and his common-law wife Helen Morgan, who was later convicted for his murder in 1972. Decades after serving her prison sentence for Lee Morgan's killing, the film allows Helen to reflect on their lives together and the legacy that the musician left behind.
"I Called Him Morgan" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Copyright Everett Collection / Everett Collection) 22/49 "Inside the Criminal Mind"
This series offers insight into the troubled psyches of infamous criminals, with commentary from some of the world's leading psychological experts. From criminal masterminds to notorious serial killers to murderous cult leaders, the show tackles what it takes to turn a person into a perpetrator of crime.
"Inside the Criminal Mind" on Netflix now. (Netflix) 23/49 "The Confession Killer"
Henry Lee Lucas, who was thought to be responsible for many murders in the '80s, shocked authorities when he admitted to being guilty for far more murders than they could prove.
"The Confession Killer" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Courtesy of Netflix) 24/49 "Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez"
This three-part documentary details the late NFL player's fall from grace and the murder case that dominated news around the world. With courtroom footage, phone calls from prison, and interviews with the people who knew him best, this show sums up the "perfect storm of factors" that led to the trial, conviction, and ultimate death of Aaron Hernandez.
"Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez" on Netflix now. (Netflix) 25/49 "Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator"
Bikram Choudhury arrived in America in the early '70s, introducing a (now) well-known version of yoga called hot yoga. Used by both celebrities and fitness-lovers alike, the yoga practice exploded, leading him to a massive amount of wealth. It wasn't until the 2010s that sexual abuse cases started rolling in, and the world discovered that Birkham's practice was nothing more than a scam.
"Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Courtesy of Netflix) 26/49 "The Confession Tapes"
Reflecting on a common theme in many true crime documentaries, this series presents six cases of possible false confessions, which lead to the murder convictions of those featured. Following each case, the documentary works to potentially exonerate the individuals by offering alternate possibilities as to how the crime could have taken place.
"The Confession Tapes" on Netflix now. (Netflix) 27/49 "Long Shot"
An innocent man was accused of murder and in order to prove he's not guilty, his alibi became thousands of baseball fans at the LA dodgers stadium, the office of entertainer
Larry David, and a cell phone tower.
"Long Shot" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Courtesy of Netflix) 28/49 "Drug Lords"
Netflix's docuseries "Drug Lords" explores the life of some of the world's top drug lords, from cartel leaders like Colombia's Pablo Escobar to Cornell Jones and his invention of Washington DC's open air market.
"Drug Lords" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Courtesy of Netflix) 29/49 "Unsolved Mysteries"
Netflix is bringing back this classic true crime series with the first six of 12 episodes premiering on July 1. It covers a range of unsolved crimes, from unexplained disappearances to horrific deaths.
"Unsolved Mysteries" on Netflix now. (Netflix / Courtesy of Netflix) 30/49 "Dirty Money"
The investigative series "Dirty Money" gives an insider's look at some of the scams and corruptions that go on inside the world of business.
"Dirty Money" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Netflix) 31/49 "Captive"
Discover the viewpoints of victims, families, negotiators, business leaders, government officials, and kidnappers themselves in this suspenseful documentary that details some of history's most in-depth hostage cases.
"Captive" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Mark Wolf/Netflix) 32/49 "Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes"
"Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes" reveals the disturbing case of notoriously horrific killer Ted Bundy in his own words.
"Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection) 33/49 "Team Foxcatcher"
Olympic champion, David Schultz, was murdered by the heir of the Dupont fortune, John E. Dupont, in 1996. The murder attracted lots of speculation, and "Team Foxcatcher" takes us behind-the-scenes of the tragic story.
"Team Foxcatcher" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Netflix) 34/49 "Lessons From a School Shooting"
Two priests, one of Newtown, CT, and the other of Dunblane, Scotland, lean on each other for support while diving into discussion about gun reform. The conversation follows the deadly school shootings that took the lives of children in both Newtown and Dunblane.
"Lessons From a School Shooting" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection) 35/49 "The Ivory Game"
Dive into the world of Ivory trafficking in this documentary that exposes some of the world's top poachers and dealers in an effort to save the elephants.
"The Ivory Game" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Tobias Corts/Netflix) 36/49 "WormWood"
"WormWood" tells the story of a man who will stop at nothing to solve his father's mysterious death. After 60 years of searching for answers, the ominous documentary shows the case from every viewpoint imaginable, revealing some of the United State's darkest secrets.
"WormWood" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Mark Schafer/Netflix) 37/49 "Don't F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer" 38/49 "Terrorism Close Calls"
This 10-part investigative series takes a closer look into the world's deadliest terror plots, with commentary from leading authorities on counterterrorism, intelligence, and law enforcement.
"Terrorism Close Calls" on Netflix now. (Netflix) 39/49 "Wild Wild Country"
This critically acclaimed investigative series is about a notorious cult in the 1980s. It features interviews with past members of the Rajneesh movement and archival footage of the actual events.
"Wild Wild Country" on Netflix now. (Netflix) 40/49 "The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez"
Eight-year-old Gabriel Fernandez died due to the abuse of his mother and father. The signs were all there, but somehow the reports slipped through the cracks. The court case brought into question not only the actions of Gabriel's family, but how the government systems failed to protect him.
"The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection) 41/49 "Exhibit A"
Hear the inside stories of innocent people who were convicted of crimes based on questionable evidence.
"Exhibit A" on Netflix now. (Netflix) 42/49 "Tiger King"
A real-life murder-for-hire plot has an unusual twist in this documentary miniseries. Set in the world of big-cat enthusiasts and breeders, the series narrates how a rivalry and a controversial animal park boss lead to some seriously dark twists and turns.
"Tiger King" on Netflix now. (Netflix) 43/49 "Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story"
This documentary film revolves around the story of Cyntoia Brown who was only 16 years old when she was sentenced to life in prison, after killing Johnny Michael Allen in 2004.
"Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection) 44/49 "Surviving R. Kelly"
This docu-series reveals the stories of various young women who've experienced sexual abuse from world renowned R&B singer, R. Kelly. More than 50 interviews along with never before seen footage shed light on the singer's troubled past.
Watch "Surviving R. Kelly" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Copyright Lifetime Television/Courtesy Everett Co / Everett Collection) 45/49 "Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich"
When various sexual assault victims come out, investigators dig deep into the troubled life of convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.
Watch "Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection) 46/49 "Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes"
A serial killer, Dennis Nilsen narrates his life and the crimes he committed through chilling audiotapes recorded from his jail cell.
Watch "Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes" on Netflix now. (Netflix / Photographer: Tim Cragg
firstname.lastname@example.org) 47/49 "Carmel: Who Killed Maria Marta?"
This true-crime series follows the journey of investigators striving to solve the controversial murder of Maria Marta in Argentina.
Watch "Carmel: Who Killed Maria Marta" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection) 48/49 "Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer"
In 1970s New York City, the "Torso Killer" preys on women to satisfy his gruesome fantasies while avoiding police.
Watch "Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer" on Netflix now. (Everett Collection / Courtesy of Netflix) 49/49 Pin It! Everett Collection
There's a reason the interest in true-crime documentaries on Netflix has spiked over the years. The chilling details behind these real-life cases have gripped people, communities, and viewers for years, due to the fact that horrible things happen, and they happen a lot more than we like to think.
Netflix has a wide variety of crime
documentaries on its platform, but the most fascinating ones involve the real stories behind the crimes that happen in our society, the bone-chilling perpetrators, and the lives that are ultimately left changed forever. These can also be educational resources, bringing awareness and attention to the injustices in our society that we all can take action in preventing in the future.
If you're interested in learning about infamous serial killers, chilling cold cases, baffling kidnappings, and controversial cults, watch the best crime documentaries on Netflix now.
Additional reporting by Lauren Harano, Haley Lyndes, Kalyn Womack, and Naomi Parris
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