Entertainment The Best True Crime Reality Series  

Ranker TV
53 votes 8 voters 25 items

List Rules Vote up the best unscripted and reality true crime shows on television.

Most reality television shows depict people living lavishly and acting out of control. However, there are other kinds of reality shows that aim to educate the public about some of the most dangerous criminals in American history. The best true crime reality series on TV succeed in capturing the audience's attention to the point where they will tune in weekly to see what crime will be solved next. The content may be graphic depending on what type of show you are watching, but that only makes for some ideal - if dark - binge-watching material.

One of the most captivating true crime reality shows to air on Netflix was Murder Mountain. The show goes into detail about multiple disappearances and tragedies that occurred around Humboldt County in California. Smiley Face Killers: The Hunt for Justice aired on Oxygen and followed the deaths of six men who all seemingly drowned. Both these shows dive into the darkest aspects of humanity. They are not for the faint of heart. 

What do you think the best true crime reality television shows are? In this day and age, you have plenty of options. This list dives into shows currently on the air and ones that ended a while ago. Vote for the shows you couldn't turn away from and add any unscripted shows following true crimes that we missed.

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Smiley Face Killers: The Hunt ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Mike Donovan, Anthony Duarte, Kevin Gannon
Smiley Face Killers: The Hunt for Justice (Oxygen, 2019) is an American crime docuseries created by Oxygen Media. The series follows retired NYPD Detective Kevin Gannon and his team during an ...more
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Making a Murderer is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Steven Avery, Brendan Dassey, Dean Strang
This series is an American documentary television series that premiered on Netflix in 2015. The ten-episode first season, written and directed by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, explores the ...more
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Forensic Investigators is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Lisa McCune
Forensic Investigators: Australia's True Crimes is an Australian television show hosted by Lisa McCune which aired on the Seven Network. It aired from 2004 to 2006. Focusing on actual Australian ...more
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Evil Genius: the True Story of... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Judy Ho
Evil Genius is a 2018 crime docuseries directed by Trey Borzillieri and Barbara Schroeder. The baffling true crime story starts with the grisly death of a pizza man who robs a bank with a bomb ...more
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Murder Mountain is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Murder Mountain (Netflix, 2018) is an American true crime documentary television miniseries. The 6-part limited series covers an area of Northern California's Humboldt County, including the ...more
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The Jinx: The Life and Deaths ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Robert Durst, Andrew Jarecki, Gary Napoli
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (HBO, 2015) is a documentary miniseries directed by Andrew Jarecki. Exploring the complicated life of reclusive real estate icon Robert Durst, the ...more
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The First 48 is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Dion Graham, Caroline Mason, Tony Mullins
The First 48 (A&E, 2004) is an American documentary television series that offers an insider's look at the real-life world of homicide investigators.
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Cops is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Andrew Fincher, Joe Guay, Wayne Anderson
Cops is an American documentary/reality legal series that follows police officers, constables, sheriff's deputies, and federal agents during patrols and other police activities including vice ...more
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World's Wildest Police Videos is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
John Bunnell
World's Wildest Police Videos is an American reality TV series that deals with police videos from across the world. Video footage of car chases, subsequent arrests, robberies, riots and other ...more
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Unsolved Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Robert Stack, Dennis Farina, Keely Shaye Smith
Unsolved Mysteries is an American television program, hosted by Robert Stack from 1987 to 2002 and later by Dennis Farina starting in 2008. The show was broadcast first as specials in 1987, then ...more
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Snapped is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Laura San Giacomo
Snapped is a British narrated American true crime television series that airs on the Oxygen Network. Snapped debuted on August 6, 2004, and is produced by Jupiter Entertainment.
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Dateline NBC is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Lester Holt, Ann Curry, Keith Morrison
Dateline NBC, or simply Dateline, is a weekly American television newsmagazine/reality legal show that is broadcast on NBC. It was previously the network's flagship news magazine, but now ...more
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America's Most Wanted is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
John Walsh
America's Most Wanted is an American television program produced by 20th Television, and was the longest-running program of any kind in the history of the Fox Television Network until it was ...more
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Cold Justice is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Kelly Siegler, Yolanda McClary, Alan Brown
Cold Justice (TNT, 2013) is an American unscripted true crime television series produced by Dick Wolf. The show follows former Harris County, Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler and a team of ...more
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Killing Fields is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Rodie Sanchez, Aubrey St. Angelo
A cold case television series which takes place on the Discovery Channel. It follows investigators in real time as they try to solve a Louisiana crime which took place in June 1997.
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Cold Justice: Sex Crimes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Cold Justice: Sex Crimes Casey Garrett, Alicia O'Neill, Jesse Alvarado
Cold Justice: Sex Crimes (TNT, 2015) is an unscripted procedural drama spin-off of Cold Justice. The series followed unsolved sex crimes and former Harris County, Texas, prosecutors Casey ...more
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The Staircase is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
The Staircase (Netflix, 2018) is a French television miniseries created by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade. The docuseries explores the trial of Michael Peterson, accused of murdering his wife, Kathleen ...more
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The Keepers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Gemma Hoskins, Abbie Schaub, Virginia Anzengruber
The Keepers (Netflix, 2017) is a seven-episode American documentary web series. It explores the unsolved murder of the nun Sister Cathy Cesnik who taught English and drama at Baltimore's ...more
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The Killer Speaks is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
The Killer Speaks
The Killer Speaks is an American documentary television series on A&E that debuted on April 11, 2013. The Killer Speaks features actual convicted felons as they describe their crimes ...more
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Stalked: Someone's Watching is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Michelle Ward, Lawrence Mack, Ron Mark McClary
Stalked: Someone's Watching is an American documentary television series on Investigation Discovery that debuted on January 24, 2011. The series tells the stories of those who have been stalked ...more
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Crime 360 is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Crime 360
Crime 360 is an American reality television show based on homicide detective units in various cities across the United States, including Richmond, Virginia; Rochester, New York; Little Rock, ...more
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The Killing Season is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Joshua Zeman, Rachel Mills
The Killing Season (A&E, 2016) is an American true crime documentary TV series executive produced by Alex Gibney. The series follows documentarians Joshua Zeman and Rachel Mills as they ...more
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Crime & Punishment is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
John Philpott
Crime & Punishment is a 2002 reality television, nontraditional court show spin-off of the Law & Order franchise. It premiered on NBC on Sunday, June 16, 2002, and ran through the ...more
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Police Camera Action! is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Police, Camera, Action! is a police video programme made by Optomen Television, originally broadcast on ITV with repeats airing on ITV4. It was originally commissioned through Carlton ...more
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Disappeared is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best True Crime Reality Series
Christopher Crutchfield Walker, David Van Norman, Heather Ashley Chase
Disappeared is an American documentary television series on Investigation Discovery which debuted on January 11, 2010. The series contains interviews and commentary by people involved in various ...more