Nick Hall

25 Best True Crime Documentaries on Netflix | Man of Many

There’s been a lot of conjecture about this. Is Tiger King a documentary? Or is it a docu-series? To be fair, the distinction is there. Some of these true crime documentaries have been released in episodic format, so you could argue they are in fact series, but for the purposes of getting the best true crime on Netflix out to the masses, were counting them all. Docu-series, documentary features and ongoing episodal specials, we don’t discriminate.

Netflix Crime Documentaries vs Series

There’s nothing better than getting stuck into one of the best true crime documentaries on Netflix. The ability to keep the episodes coming one after another is something you just can’t beat. We all love a good mystery and these are the Netflix crime documentaries you can’t afford to miss.

Best True Crime Documentaries on Netflix

To this day, Long Shot is still the most incredible true crime documentary on Netflix. It tells the David and Goliath story of Juan Catalan, a simple man who inadvertently found himself accused of a murder he did not commit. Looking for every avenue to prove his guilt, Catalan turns to famous and entirely unexpected ally. Long Shot is proof that fact truly is stranger than fiction.

1. Long Shot

Telling the tale of the most unlucky person in the world, Making a Murderer started Netflix’s obsession with true crime documentaries. When Steven Avery is wrongly convicted of a crime, he and his family must do everything to prove his innocence. It seems like it might have a happy ending for Avery, but amid the recovery, the accused finds himself embroiled in another, more serious crime. Making a Murderer might not be the best crime documentary Netflix has produced, but it certainly is the most frustrating.

2. Making a Murderer

One of the very few true crime docos on this list that isn’t about murder, this series examines a secretive conservative Christian group known as The Family. With ties to presidents, socialites and influencers, The Family is more deeply rooted in the American political and social spectrum than you may have ever thought.

3. The Family

The Netflix crime documentary that inspired a generation of TikTokers, Tiger King is one of those weird series that perfectly encapsulates the absurdity of America. Following gun-toting, mullet-sporting, rare animal owner Joe Exotic and his band of merry handlers, this documentary is a wild ride. Murder for hire, polyamorous relationships and an employee that has their arm ripped off by a tiger. Just watch it.

4. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

A true vigilante tale, The Pharmacist tells the story of a small-town father on a quest for justice. When his son dies in a drug-related shooting, pharmacist Dan Schneider embarks on a crusade to bring a reckoning against the powerful figures behind the nation’s devastating opioid epidemic. A must watch Netflix crime documentary for anyone looking to binge-watch this week.

5. The Pharmacist

The world’s biggest scandal came to Netflix in May when Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich premiered. The high profile financier and convicted sex trafficker’s crimes are laid out in full, harrowing detail. Through interviews with his accusers and an overwhelming amount of evidence, this four-part series will leave you utterly disgusted.

6. Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich

Anyone who spent a fair chunk of their weekdays at home in the 90s would know Unsolved Mysteries well. First kicking off in late 1987, the show dives deep into some of the most mind-boggling and mysterious crime stories across America. While it was canned in 2010, Netflix revived the series earlier this year with the help of the team behind the smash-hit Stranger Things.

7. Unsolved Mysteries

One of the newest true crime documentaries Netflix has given us, Fear City shares a rare glimpse into the world of organised crime. This Mafia documentary follows five mob families in New York City who ruled with a “bloody fist” during the 1970s and 1980s.

8. Fear City: New York vs The Mafia

Dropping in August, World’s Most Wanted follows some of the most notorious criminals in American history. Incredibly, many on the big bad list have been at large for over two decades. It’s a heart-stopping tale that shows the lengths some criminals will go to in order to stay out of jail and out of the FBI’s hands.

9. World’s Most Wanted

A brutal documentary that will leave you spitting with anger, Athlete A shares a glimpse at the seedy underbelly of elite gymnastics. The highly publicised sexual abuse scandal that rocked the sport in 2016 takes centre stage in this powerful tale of assault. Athlete A follows the Indianapolis Star investigative journalists who cracked the story of physician Larry Nassar’s long history of abuse on young female gymnasts. Even worse, we find out the USA Gymnastics tried to cover it up. A truly unbelievable story.

10. Athlete A

Get the tissues out, this one is a real tear-jerker. produced by Jay-Z, this shocking true crime documentary details how the American judicial system let down an innocent 16-year-old boy. Accused of stealing a backpack, Kalief Brown was arrested and forced to spend 800 days in solitary confinement, despite showing no violent or obtrusive behaviour. In light of recent Black Lives Matter protests, this is one true crime documentary that grows more poignant with time.

11. Time: The Kalief Browder Story

While you could definitely argue this one falls more in the sports category over the true crime documentaries section, Icarus is unquestionably a thrill-ride from start to finish. When filmmaker Bryan Fogel sets out to uncover the truth about doping in sports, his life is turned upside down through a chance meeting with a Russian scientist. The narrative quickly changes from a personal experiment into a geopolitical thriller. “Dirty urine, unexplained death and Olympic gold are all part of the exposure of the biggest scandal in sports history,” the official synopsis reads.

12. Icarus

When Catholic school teacher and practising sister Cathy Cesnick was murdered in 1969, the local community was in shock. Almost 50 years later, some of her students are on the hunt for her killer, exposing a dark secret that has been hidden for years.

13. The Keepers

When six-year-old pageant girl JonBenet Ramsey was found murdered in her Colorado home in 1996, it made global headlines. Who had killed the innocent little girl and what was the meaning behind the poorly scripted ransom note? In this abstract retelling of the story, we follow a series of young girls who are auditioning for the lead role in a fictional film about the murder. It’s an interesting story that parallels over-parenting in an undeniable creepy manner.

14. Casting JonBenet

We know that juries are might to uphold the law, but what happens when they are influenced by the media? Trial By Media takes a look at some of the biggest cases in human history, charting how media coverage of the accused completely altered the outcome of the court proceedings. We see murderers hailed as vigilante heroes and race relations tear a city apart. This one is also produced by George Clooney, so you know it’s worth a watch.

15. Trial By Media

Covering the remarkable true story John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian-American who was suspected of being Ivan the Terrible – the most feared death camp guard in the NAZI party. This true crime documentary sheds light on the shocking trial of the man that will leave you questioning everything.

16. The Devil Next Door

A six-part true crime documentary, Dirty Money details the cruel and deceptive ways some of the biggest individuals and organisations have accumulated their wealth. Dodgy dealings are aplenty, this true crime documentary will leave you fuming.

17. Dirty Money

Back in the media for her work with the wrongly convicted, Amanda Knox’s story is an insane tale of redemption and confusion. When her roommate is dscovered murdered in their apartment, American student Amanda Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito found themselves as the prime suspects. Through this true crime documentary from Netflix, we hear from Amanda herself about what the experience was like.

18. Amanda Knox

Twists at every turn, Evil Genius is one of the best Netflix crime documentaries ever made. When a robbery goes wrong, a pizza delivery driver is left with ticking bomb strapped around his neck. The police are wary of the validity of the bomb, but a sickening explosion confirms their worst fears. So, who was really behind the bomb and what was the point?

19. Evil Genius

He’s perhaps the most famous serial killer of all, time and the true crime documentary Netflix has made on Ted Bundy doesn’t disappoint. Unearthing the sick and twisted life of the 1970s killer turn heart-throb, Conversation with a Killer lets viewers hear the story from Bundy himself. A disgusting but revealing look inside the mind of a killer.

20. Conversation with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Imagine being kidnapped in broad daylight in front of a crowd of people. That’s precisely what happened to Jan Broberg, a young woman who was abducted by family friend Robert Berchtold in the 1970s. The incredible story of survival and control is hard to fathom, but brainwashing can be a real weapon. In Abducted in Plain Sight we hear more about how and why things went down the way they did.

21. Abducted in Plain Sight

We all know John Grisham for being every dad’s favourite author, but the softly-spoken former lawyer also gifted us one of the best Netflix crime documentaries you’ve never heard of. The Innocent Man follows a story Grisham came across while researching a new novel. He was so astounded by the tale, he gave up on writing the novel altogether, choosing instead to author his first non-fiction piece. “If I wrote it as a novel, folks probably wouldn’t believe it,” Grisham said.

22. The Innocent Man

Did he push her? Did she fall? That’s the question police officers asked author Michael Peterson, whose wife was found dead at the bottom of the stairs not once, but twice.

23. The Staircase

In a rare escape from murder and sexual abuse, this true crime documentary focuses on wine. Detailing the incredible story of Rudy Kurniawan, the fraudster who duped the world of wine elites by seemingly appearing out of thin air with a portfolio of rare releases. Unfortunately for Rudy, connoisseurs weren’t buying what he was selling. It took a full-scale FBI investigation to finally bring him down and you can see it all play out in Sour Grapes.

24. Sour Grapes

A runaway hit for Netflix, The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is one of the most harrowing series on the list. It follows the case of the eponymous eight-year-old who died after being abused and tortured by his own mother and her boyfriend. Not just one of the best true crime documentaries on Netflix, but one of the most infuriating.

25. The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez

Join our exclusive community