25 of the Best True Crime Documentaries To Watch Right Now – elle.com

True crime documentaries provide viewers with an inside look into some of the most extreme aspects of society. Why do we love them? Because they're fraught with palpable tension, nail-biting plot twists and the ability to turn a Sunday night window into an endless Google Search deep dive.

Over the past few years, the genre has exploded in popularity, becoming a a fully fledged phenomenon spanning podcasts, books and of viral documentaries (Tiger King, anyone?)

Aside from prompting catchy songs and memes based on their various mind-blowing revelations, the best true crime documentaries can also catalyse much-needed debates and calls for action. For example, Athlete A has become a powerful cornerstone of the #MeToo movement, allowing the survivors to reclaim their voice and space. Spike Lee's Four Little Girls is a chilling, yet timely reminder of the impact and legacy of the violent reality of both systemic and systematic racism.

For a genre that is constantly adding more options to its roster, we filtered through to bring you the very best true crime documentaries, from the bizarre to the heartbreaking, that will ensure you're glued to the sofa all weekend long.

1The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley

The fallacy of humble grit and the American Dream takes centre stage in this crime documentary. The story of a woman who managed to procure millions for a blood testing machine that didnt exist, a classic tale of connections mattering more than cognition.

The saga that is Elizabeth Holmes and the Theranos scandal, is one that will leave you questioning everything.

Watch on NOW TV

2Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness

A list of best true-crime documentaries wouldn't be complete without the bizarre Tiger King, which became a viral sensation throughout lockdown.

The story of Joe Exotic, born Joseph Schreibvogel, big cats, blonde mullets, guns and explosives, and his life at Oklahoma's Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park unfolds over seven episode each of which add to the mind bending plot line.

Watch on Netflix

3World's Most Wanted

Neflix's five-episode crime documentary series Worlds Most Wanted follows the lives of five notorious criminals from around the world, detailing the heinous crimes they committed, and why theyve been so hard to capture.

Episode three details the crimes and life of Samantha Lewthwaite also known as 'the White Widow' - the widow of the 7/7 London terrorist bomber Germaine Lindsay, who is now the worlds most wanted female terrorist.

Watch on Netflix

44 Little Girls

In 1963, four young girls attending Sunday School, died after a Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed. The crime remains a frightening reminder of racist horrors committed in the American 'deep South' at the time.

Spike Lee succeeds in commemorating the lives of the 4 Little Girls who died, through the memories of parents, siblings and friends. As we continue to reflect on our own understandings of unchecked racism and prejudices, the documentary serves as a careful reminder of the work that must be done in order for eliminate this form of violence forever.

Watch on NOW TV

5Amanda Knox

In this revisit to the media-driven and tangly sensationalist story, directors Brian McGinn and Rod Blackhurst use their access to players and new archival footage to revisit the murder of British international student Meredith Kercher in Italy.

By dissecting the documentary into 'innocent' and 'guilty' parts regarding Amanda Knox - Kercher's friend who was convicted and spent four years in prison before being acquitted and released - the complexities, failures, and misconceptions around the murder case were laid bare, making the story about more than some false convictions.

Watch here on Netflix

6The Trials of Oscar Pistorius

BBC's The Trials of Oscar Pistorius meticulously lays out the life of the sports star. From childhood, to the loss of his mother, and every single personal and professional achievement up until the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp and the subsequent high-profile trial involving Pistorius.

Critics of the series, have suggested that it does fail the courageous and intelligent woman, Steenkaamp, who ultimately lost her life.

Watch on BBC iPlayer

7American Murder: The Family Next Door

True friendship is at the heart of this crime documentary which presents the courageous perseverance of Shanann Watts's friend Nickole Atkinson who first sounded the alarm about her disappearance.

The murder of Watts, who was pregnant with her third child, along with her two daughters Bella and Celeste at the hands of her husband and children's father Chris Watts, is one that will spark endless Google searches into the story beyond the devastating series.

Watch on Netflix

8Canada's Lost Girls

Stacey Dooley delves into a hidden secret crime ring in this investigation into the disappearance and murder of indigenous women and girls. The documentary will grip you as well as fuel your fight towards true equality and protection for all women.

Watch on BBC iPlayer

9Conman: The Life And Crimes Of Mark Acklom

This crime documentary follows the story of the UK's most cunning fraudster who posed as an MI6 agent and went on to trick his ex-girlfriend out of almost 300,000.

Earlier this year, Acklom was sentenced to five years and eight months behind bars for his crimes, but the story of a cheeky Chappy turned international fraudster is enough to make you second guess that Hinge date.

Watch on YouTube

10Ted Bundy: Falling For A Killer

Unlike the controversial depiction of serial killer Ted Bundy by Zac Efron in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, this documentary enlists the help of survivors, victims' family members, his longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall and Kendall's daughter, Molly, to explore his grotesque crimes. The women's memories of the good times are spellbinding and downright chilling when considered in the context of Bundy's heinous acts.

Watch on Amazon Prime Video

11Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich

Jeffrey Epstein, the predatory billionaire at the centre of an international sex-trafficking ring, is prime picking for the crime documentary genre.

In the four-part documentary series, his crimes are dutifully unpacked. While choosing not to focus on various conspiracy theories surrounding Epstein's death in a prison in a prison cell, the film allows for a refreshing take that puts the survivors front and centre with their stories shine a light on a case that's still yet to be fully cracked.

Watch on Netflix

12The Central Park Five

The sexual assault and attack of a female jogger in Central Parkin 1989, remains a flashpoint in American crime history.

The false accusation of five Black and Latino teenagers from Harlem, with limited evidence and coerced confessions, led to the young men being behind bars for years before the real culprit owned up. It's heart-wrenching.

Watch on Amazon Prime Video

13Athlete A

Athlete A is the powerful story of how, after at least two decades of abusing girls and young women under his care as the doctor for the womens programme of USA Gymnastics (the national governing body for the sport) Larry Nassar was eventually caught and convicted.

The title refers to Maggie Nichols, who reported her abuse in 2015. In 2016, she did not make it on to the Olympic squad.

The documentary became a powerful cornerstone of the #MeToo movement and allowed the victims to reclaim their voice and space on an internationally streamed stage.

Watch on Netflix

14Who Killed Malcolm X

More than 50 years later, there are still questions over the death of the US Civil Rights leader, Malcolm X.

From a botched investigation, to the betrayal of brothers in arms, the series follows activist-scholar Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, who revisits the assassination through interviews and archives.

History buffs and 'Who Dunnit?' lovers alike will love this crime documentary series.

Watch on Netflix

15Acid Attack: My Story

Naomi Oni's story of betrayal and rebuilding after she was attacked with sulphuric acid is one of bravery and determination.

This powerful documentary film reveals the story behind one of the most shocking and bizarre acid attacks of recent years. The film combines archive footage, and stylised reconstruction with interviews with the victim, police, the medics who continued to treat her, and her family and friends, long after the attack.

Watch on BBC iPlayer

16Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story

17Diana: The Night She Died

The tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales was one of the most shocking events in recent history.

While some inevitable conspiracy theories are debunked as absurd, this compelling documentary seeks to answer some remaining questions people may have about the subsequent enquiry, how the world learned of the death of one of its most recognised women, as well as what really happened the night Diana died.

Watch on Amazon Prime Video

18Fyre: The The Greatest Party That Never Happened

Who can ever forget the infamous 'Evian Water' scene from this riveting documentary... Humorous memes aside, Fyre is a crime documentary filled with swindlers and the swindled side by side as they recount the how the scandal came to be.

Watch on Netflix

19The Murder of Jill Dando

The murder of TV presenter and newsreader Jill Dando - where she was shot dead outside her London home - remains of one of Britain's most high-profile unsolved killings.

In a balanced tribute documentary, with the help of interviews with Dandos friends and family, Hamish Campbells original police decision logs, and an in depth explanation into the overturned murder conviction of Barry George, the documentary examines everything we do know about the murder, despite us still not knowing the perpetrator, while sensitively paying tribute to a beloved TV personality.

Watch on BBC iPlayer

20The Confession Killer

The Confession Killer is a a five-part documentary series that recounts the story of Henry Lee Lucas.

Lucas became infamous for falsely claiming responsibility for hundreds of murders in the 1980s. The shocking twists and turns of this tale will leave you debating theories for week.

Watch on Netflix

21Life After My Brother's Murder

Thirteen years on from her brother Daniel's murder, sister Chanell sets about the task of writing a victim Personal Statement that will be considered in a parole process that could possibly set free the man who ripped her brother away from her.

This crime documentary film explores the rippling effects of knife crime in the UK.

Watch on BBC iPlayer

22I Love You, Now Die

HBO's I Love You, Now Die tells the story of Michelle Carter, a teenage girl who was charged with involuntary manslaughter over her boyfriend Conrad Roy's death by suicide.

Her encouragement of Roy to end his life over text after he'd been expressing suicidal thoughts to her is a haunting exploration of the way mental health and technology can be devastatingly intertwined.

Watch on NOW TV

23How To Fix A Drug Scandal

This crime documentary miniseries follows filmmaker Erin Lee Carr's exploration into the effects of crime drug lab chemist Sonja Farak and Annie Dookhan and their tampering with evidence and its after effects.

Their assumptions that their seemingly victimless crime would go unnoticed is paramount to the brutishly bold methods Dookhan and Farak both use.

Watch on Netflix


Snapped is a true-crime series examining the shocking details of high-profile or bizarre murders committed by women. Each episode features interviews with friends and family members of the accused and victims, law-enforcement officials, attorneys with first-hand knowledge of the cases.

Hardcore fans of the crime documentary genre will be delighted to learn that the show has 28 series, ready for your viewing.

Watch on Amazon Prime Video

25Trial 4

The story of Sean K. Ellis' fight to prove his innocence while exposing police corruption and systematic racism in Trial 4 is one that is all too familiar.

Charged as a teenager in the 1993 for the murder of a white Boston police officer, in this crime documentary, Ellis' work to tirelessly to exonerate him self while highlighting systematic failures like how unusual the multi-trial pursuit of a conviction was is put on show.

It's truly stirring viewing.

See the rest here:

25 of the Best True Crime Documentaries To Watch Right Now - elle.com

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