Not all documentaries are suitable for the weak of the heart. Even if many true crime documentaries and docuseries offer a warning, they can also make you feel tense and give you a shiver up and down your spine. But it might be challenging to select what to watch with so many streaming providers and various options on each service.
Here are some of the best true crime documentaries to stream, covering financial crimes, enigmatic m*rders, cults, and infamous serial ki!!ers.
American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing
This 2023 documentary series, which premieres in time for the Boston Marathon bombing’s ten-year anniversary, delves deeper into the domestic terrorism act. American Manhunt explores the two brothers accountable for the explosions near the finish line that claimed three lives and damaged hundreds of others using historical footage, firsthand stories, and reenactments. Netflix will release American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing.
The Lesson Is M*rder
A three-part docuseries produced by ABC News Studios follows criminology professor and former FBI agent Dr. Bryanna Fox as she interviews convicted ki!!ers with the help of her graduate students. They work together to develop psychological profiles of their subjects by attempting to understand their motivations and ki!!ing instincts. Visit Hulu to watch The Lesson Is M*rder.
Murdaugh M*rder: A Southern Scandal
The family’s hidden history of corruption came to light after Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, 52, and her son Paul Murdaugh, 22, were discovered de@d at their hunting lodge in June 2021. The Murdaughs, an illustrious legal family from South Carolina linked to numerous m*rders, financial fraud, and other alleged misdeeds, are the subject of this 2023 docuseries.
Uncannily timed, Alex Murdaugh was convicted of ki!!ing Maggie and Paul and given two life sentences in jail not long after this series premiere. Visit Netflix to watch the Murdaugh m*rders: A Southern Scandal
Waco: American Apocalypse
A group of people in Waco, Texas, known as the Branch Davidians, were brainwashed by the self-styled prophet David Koresh to think that the rapture was imminent and that they needed to ambush the American government.
This three-part limited series, directed by Tiller Russell of Night Stalker, tells the narrative of the events leading up to one of the most infamous and deadly police sieges in American history. Netflix offers Waco: American Apocalypse.
Stolen Youth: Inside the Cult at Sarah Lawrence
In the unsettling story of Larry Ray, who persuaded his daughter’s college friends to join a sex cult, Stolen Youth is told. Hulu provides a deeper look with first-person testimony and a never-before-seen film from Ray and the survivors over three hours. Visit Hulu to view Stolen Youth: Inside the Cult by Sarah Lawrence.
Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street
For decades, Bernie Madoff cheated investors worldwide before being discovered. The guy behind one of Wall Street’s most infamous Ponzi scams, which misled investors of billions of dollars over a two-decade period, is the subject of a Netflix 2023 docuseries. Visit Netflix to view Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street.
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Capturing the Ki!!er Nurse
An intensive care unit nurse, Charles Cullen admitted to ki!!ing at least 40 patients in several hospitals in 2003, but he almost got away with it. This 2022 documentary film provides an inside look at how the detectives made the case. Watch the similarly spooky dramatization of Capturing the Ki!!er Nurse, The Good Nurse, starring Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain, after it. Visit Netflix to view Capturing the Ki!!er, Nurse.
Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey
This four-part documentary traces the rise and fall of Warren Jeffs, the disgraced former president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Stories from survivors and ex-members of the polygamy-practicing cult are included in the episode.
(According to the LDS church, the FLDS are not connected to the larger church.) Before his later arrest and conviction, Jeffs had up to 78 wives, including 24 underage females, and was in charge of abusing additional women and children. Visit Netflix to view Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey.
The Hillside Strangler: Devil in Disguise
City of Angels and Tinseltown are just some of Los Angeles’s nicknames. But in the 1970s and 1980s, it became known for a much less glamorous title: Serial Ki!!er Capital of America. There were so many serial ki!!ings to keep track of in the decades between the 1969 Manson Family murders and Richard Ramirez’s 1989 conviction, also known as the Night Stalker, that frightened Angelenos and required a flow chart to keep up.
The Skid Row Stabber was there. The murderer of Sunset Strip. A rapist on the West Side. The Toolbox Murderers. The terrible sleeper. More than 20 serial ki!!ers were simultaneously supposedly active in Los Angeles.
The subject of “The Hillside Strangler: Devil in Disguise” is one of the more well-known cases to emerge from that gloomy period. The four-episode series revisits the ki!!ing spree of the phantom who ki!!ed 10 women in Los Angeles in 1977 and 1978, the so-called Hillside Strangler as body after body was discovered abandoned in the hills above Glendale and Eagle Rock, in the area of Dodger Stadium in Elysian Heights, on a residential street in La Crescenta, and next to a highway exit in Los Feliz, the population was paralyzed with fear.
Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono, cousins who first appear in this documentary in interrogation rooms, were the men who were ultimately found guilty of the murders. It’s a journey back to the horrifying accounts of the repeated murders and kidnappings that held the peaceful East Los Angeles neighborhoods prisoner in the 1970s.