The Best True Crime Shows,
You Should Get Your Hands On
By Dani Panopio
The true crime genre isn’t really a new thing; in fact, it’s been around for a few decades now thanks to Truman Capote’s In Cold Bold, one of the first published works about a real-life murder case. But with the recent resurgence of the genre thanks to a podcast (and to Netflix), true crime genre is now the current obsession of the public. Satisfy your inner detective craving by indulging yourself with some of the best true crime shows (and a podcast that started it all) that are worth binging on.
Serial (Season 1)
If you’re wondering when and how the sudden interest in true crime started, all answers would lead you to one podcast that has been downloaded by 175 million people. Serial is an investigative journalism-style podcast which focuses on the murder of 18-year-old Hae Min Lee in 1999, the circumstances surrounding her murder, and the imprisonment of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, relating to her murder.
Serial is known to help catapult podcasts, as well as true crime genre, into pop culture consciousness. Its riveting storytelling made it immensely popular and culturally relevant to the genre. You can stream the whole season one here.
Making a Murderer
Making a Murderer is a documentary series focusing on Steven Avery, who in 1985, was arrested and convicted of sexual assault. After serving 18 years in prison, he was exonerated when the DNA found in the victim matched another man. He filed a $36 million civil lawsuit against Manitowoc County in relation to his arrest. Two years after his release, he was re-arrested and charged for the murder of Teresa Halbach, a photographer who was last seen at the Avery residence.
Since its premiere, fans and critics alike are hailing the docuseries as one of the best in the genre, with a dedicated fan base playing detectives on Reddit, coming up with theories about the murder. Making a Murderer also sheds light on the flawed criminal justice system. While waiting for its second season, you can binge watch it on Netflix.
The Jinx is a documentary miniseries about real estate heir and accused murderer Robert Durst and his links to three murders including his wife, the execution-style slaying of his friend, and the dismemberment of his neighbor. In what seemed to be a scene from a TV show, Durst was arrested a day before the final episode aired, in which he made an off-camera statement (unknown to him that the mic was still recording) to himself saying “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
If you weren’t born yet during the infamous “Trial of the Century” then let The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story serve as your introduction. The first season of American Crime deals with the murder trial of fallen football hero O.J. Simpson, who was later found not guilty of the murder of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, and his return to civilian life.
The second installment of the series, which is slated to premiere early next year, will focus on the assassination of famed designer Gianni Versace; Versace was murdered on the front steps of his mansion by Filipino-American serial killer Andrew Cunanan.
The Catholic Church is one of the oldest and most sacred institutions since its inception. Headed by a higher form, the church seems to be ‘untouchable’; but what happens when a scandal involving a murder of a nun and an abusive priest hits a religious town? The Keepers is a documentary series about the unsolved murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik who, at the time of her murder, was working as an English and drama teacher at Archbishop Keough High School. Her former students believe that her murder was a ‘cover-up’, with Cesnik suspecting a priest (A. Joseph Maskell) sexually abusing children from the school.
Due to the documentary’s popularity, the Baltimore Police Department launched an online form where people can report sexual offenses related to the documentary. You can stream the docu-series on Netflix.
Amanda Knox, an American foreign exchange student, became infamous after she was accused of murdering her roommate, Meredith Kercher, almost a decade ago. Knox, together with her then boyfriend and alleged accomplice Raffaele Sollecito, was sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison, respectively. The two were later found to be wrongfully convicted of the murder not once, but twice.
The documentary details what Knox went through with the police, the intense scrutiny from the media, and the people’s perception of her. One of the more memorable parts of the documentary is when Daily Mail reporter Nick Pisa admitting that he didn’t fact-check his stories before they were published just so they would be the first to report on that specific story. You can watch the documentary here.
The death of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsay shocked the world back in 1996; decades after, the world is still fascinated on the circumstances surrounding the death of the child beauty pageant queen. With several documentaries regarding the murder already made, the creators of Casting JonBenet found a different angle to present their version with. Casting JonBenet documents the casting process for a fictional film. Chosen actors (which were casted to play key players of the crime) were asked about their take on the infamous case and how it affected their lives.
You can watch the documentary film on Netflix.
Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders’
Long-running police procedural show Law & Order is joining the true crime craze with its own true crime anthology series. Set to premiere this week, Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders’ will focus on the infamous Menendez brothers who were convicted more than 2 decades ago for the murder of their parents.
Which of these will you binge watch tonight? Tell us in the comments below!