From wrongful convictions to bizarre disappearances, you'll find a true-crime story in this list to sink your teeth into.

| By Rachael Thompson | Entertainment

24 Intriguing True Crime Documentaries to Binge on Netflix

From wrongful convictions to bizarre disappearances, you'll find a true-crime story in this list to sink your teeth into.

As a genre, true crime isn’t necessarily anything new. There have been popular true crime narratives – including books such as Truman Capote’s 1966 classic In Cold Blood – for decades, and true crime documentaries have also always been produced. The Staircase, which was recently adapted into a fictional miniseries currently airing on Binge, debuted in 2004, for example. True crime has always been there.

But the true crime boom that we are currently living through, largely on streaming platforms such as Netflix and in audio format through podcasts including My Favourite Murder, is a more recent development. If we had to put a year on it, we’d chalk it down to 2014-2015, when true crime documentaries and podcasts including Serial, The Jinx and Making A Murderer all rocketed up the charts. The latter in particular proved to be one of Netflix’s earliest and biggest success stories – more than 19 million people watched Making A Murderer in the first month of its release in 2015 – and set the streamer on a path to become the king of addictive, binge-worthy and totally chilling true crime content. Many of the biggest true crime documentaries of recent memory have all been Netflix produced, and the platform has branched out beyond straight crime and into the realm of cults and stranger-than-fiction occurrences (think: Tiger King).

The true leader in the true crime genre is Netflix, and if you’re a fan of these kinds of fascinating, chilling, spine-tingling documentaries that reel you in and transport you into the lives of others, then there’s no better place to search for your next binge. Here are the best, most binge-worthy and addictive docos on Netflix to sink your teeth into.

1. Our Father

In the ‘70s and ‘80s, a fertility specialist in Indiana was revealed to have inseminated his patients with his own sperm – neither informing them nor asking for their consent in the process. Decades later, an investigation into his practices in this chilling documentary revealed a darker web than anyone could have predicted. Terrifying, and a story that has to be seen to be believed.

2. Bad Vegan

Some true crime documentaries on Netflix are about murders and mayhem. And others? They’re about frauds. Bad Vegan is a stranger-than-fiction true story about a celebrated vegan restauranteur Sarma MeIngailis who began sending all her money to her partner on the basis that he could provide her with immortal life. The craziest thing about this tale is the whiff of celebrity that follows the story, given that Sarma’s clientele included Woody Harrelson and Jason Lewis.

3. The Tinder Swindler

Another conman story, this time of the dating variety. This truly unsettling documentary followed a Tinder fraudster called Shimon Hayout who was conning his online dates out of their hard-earned cash until a group of them banded together to take him down. One of the success stories of Netflix’s 2022 documentary offering, this tale will turn you off online dating forever.

4. House of Secrets: Burari Deaths

A chilling, but addictive documentary that follows 11 mysterious deaths in one household in India. What really happened to the Burari family? How did they die? And what is the truth? This documentary digs into the crime, featuring lots of obsessive detail.

5. Murder Among the Mormons

Explosives. Forgery. Murder. Death. Murder Among The Mormons is an action-packed Netflix true crime documentary, which follows an extraordinary real case of a prolific forger who infiltrated the Mormon community before he was eventually exposed.

6. American Murder: The Family Next Door

The tragic true story of the Watts family and the death of mother Shannan and her children are pieced together in this crafted documentary, which uses existing footage edited together to create a shocking series about one of the most devastating real crimes in recent history.

7. The Puppet Master: Hunting The Ultimate Conman

We do love a good conman tale, and The Puppet Master is one of the most sinister and addictive. Over three episodes, this docuseries covers how a British conman posing as a spy managed to fool so many families over the years of his grifts. An incredible, bizarre and wild true story that will leave you guessing until the end.

8. Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King

What happens when a cryptocurrency founder dies suddenly, leaving his multi-million dollar fortune missing? This documentary questions whether or not foul play might have taken place in the death of crypto king Gerry Cotten in 2018, and is a fascinating look into the world of modern finances and the big, big, big money at stake.

9. Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Ted Bundy, a notorious serial murderer, has gained a huge amount of attention in the past year. While the dramatised version of his life starring Zac Efron brought his sordid life into the spotlight, this documentary delves a little deeper, with archival video and audio footage from death row as well as present-day interviews from those involved in the more than thirty murders committed by Bundy.

10. The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann

What began as a pleasant family holiday for the McCanns soon turned into their worst nightmare. The most publicised abduction case in history, three-year-old Madeleine disappeared from her bedroom at a resort in a seaside tourist town in Portugal. There has been numerous television programs and podcasts covering the event, which remains unsolved to this day. Discover all the possible theories in this baffling case.

11. Dirty John: The Dirty Truth

Another true crime story with a cult following as of late—thanks to a dedicated podcast and series starring our own Eric Bana—the multiple crimes committed by serial predator John Meehan need to be seen to be believed. With never-before-seen interviews from women that Meehan scammed and traumatised, this documentary reveals the real (dirty) truth.

12. The Staircase

When author Michael Peterson calls the police after his wife falls to her death down a flight of stairs, little did he know that his life would be under intense media scrutiny as he himself becomes the prime suspect in the incident. Follow along as the filmmakers gain access to the courtroom, Peterson's family and his defence attorneys.

13. Out of Thin Air

Mysterious and chilling in equal parts, this documentary tells the tale of the 1974 disappearance of two men in Iceland. Six individuals were convicted on murder charges, but why does the entire country believe they were wrongfully accused? With the victims' bodies never surfacing and after intense interrogations, are they even guilty? Watch to piece the puzzle together for yourself.

14. Amanda Knox

A case of the wrong place at the wrong time or calculated murder? While studying abroad in Italy, Amanda Knox became an overnight news sensation when her roommate wound up dead in their shared apartment. You'll be on the edge of your seat for the full ninety minutes as her ex-boyfriend and others close to the case reveal their truths.

15. Abducted in Plain Sight

You'll swear this documentary was scripted by Hollywood execs—there's a twist every other minute and you'll wonder how a family let their sociopathic neighbour kidnap their daughter not once, but twice. This gripping story will make you think twice about your own neighbours.

16. I Am Jane Doe

In 2018, US authorities shut down an online marketplace that had become a corrupt cesspool for buying and selling sex. I Am Jane doe chronicles the real-life stories of young girls who were victims of human trafficking via the site. Narrated by Jessica Chastain, you'll be shocked at just how easy these transactions were in our seemingly safe communities.

17. Audrie & Daisy

Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman were two teenage girls living in different cities who were both sexually assaulted by boys who they considered to be friends. After enduring such a horrible experience, they're both then subject to relentless backlash online and in their hometowns. This one will tug at your heartstrings, but highlights the importance of education around cyberbullying and social media in this day and age.

18. I Am a Killer

Each episode of this docuseries is centred around a convicted murderer on death row as they recount first hand the crimes they're responsible for. It's a new take on the genre, where the question of guilt often lingers unsolved. Here, you'll hear more of the story as these inmates explain the who, why and how of their heinous crimes.

19. The Innocent Man

Adapted from John Grisham's only non-fiction book of the same name, this gripping series tells the story of a wrongfully convicted baseball player of rape and murder in 1988. Over ten years later, thanks to advances in DNA technology, he was exonerated of the charges and released as a free man. Archival footage and interviews help to piece together how Ronal Keith was so wrongfully accused.

20. Wild Wild Country

With just six episodes making up the series, Wild Wild Country is one you won't be able to stop once you start. A truly fascinating subject, tensions flare when a cult leader plans to build his idea of utopia in the desert in Oregon. Met with objections from other nearby locals, violence begins to break out as a result. Add this to your Netflix queue for something different.

21. Team Foxcatcher

If you're familiar with the Hollywood film version of this story, then the extra news footage, interviews and home video recordings will provide you with more straightforward answers. If you're new completely, you'll learn about how a professional wrestler Dave Schultz was murdered by his obsessive coach John du Pont in a weird and hard to believe tale.

22. Drug Lords

From Breaking Bad to Narcos, drug-heavy dramas have become cult hits in the past decade, in part for their mystery and in part for their intense and sometimes brutal dark secrets. Drug Lords is a true telling of notorious leaders from around the world, including Pablo Escobar and El Chapo for example. You'll find out how they ran their drug-toting businesses and the eventual downfall of their illegal empires.

23. Casting JonBenet

JonBenet Ramsey was a child beauty queen who wound up dead in the basement of her own home on Christmas Day. There have been multiple attempts to tell this story, each more creepy than the last. If we've piqued your interest, then Casting JonBenet should be a priority for your next Netflix session. This certifiably wacky doco shows various people from her hometown auditioning to play her and her family members in a dramatisation of the events. Meanwhile, the actors offer their own speculations and information on the case, which may or may not be hindering the mysterious case entirely.

24. Making a Murderer

A certifiable sensation in the true crime genre, Making a Murderer is a must-see. In two parts, this series follows as Steven Avery is charged with sexual assault and murder, exonerated, and then subsequently sent to prison for a different murder two years later. What's strange is that Avery's nephew, Brendan Dassey becomes involved and also faces charges relating to the crime, even though we see that he is interrogated in a way that doesn't seem entirely fair. The whole story is chilling and you'll need to make up your mind whether you believe these two men are responsible (and able) to pull off these crimes.

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