Entertainment The Best True Crime Docudramas  

Ranker TV
168 votes 30 voters 28 items

List Rules Vote up the best true crime series that use reenactment and drama to tell their stories.

There is just something about horrific crimes that makes for excellent television. It's the main reason why shows like Law & Order and NCIS have been on the air for so many years. However, watching fictionalized crimes is not always enough. Viewers remain on the edge of their seats when they watch a show they know is based on a true story. Many of these shows combine elements of documentaries with elements of dramas through the form of reenactments. The best true crime docudramas have followed some of the most horrifying, yet interesting, crimes in American history.

True crime television dramas like The Jinx focus on one particular case of note. Over the course of several episodes, these shows do deep dives into one case, so the viewer gets as complete of a picture of the crimes that unfolded. Other docudramas, such as Forensic Files, dedicate each episode to a different crime. There is always something new to learn, and casual viewers can learn all about the latest developments in forensics. 

True crime reenactment shows are all the rage these days. Which ones piqued your interest the most? You can vote for your favorite docudramas in the list below to let everyone know which ones to check out. 

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Unsolved Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
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
2
11 4
Forensic Files is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
Dayle Hinman, Peter Thomas, Roy Shuler
Forensic Files is an American documentary-style series that reveals how forensic science is used to solve violent crimes, mysterious accidents, and even outbreaks of illness. The show was ...more
3
5 0
Unusual Suspects is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
Unusual Suspects is an American documentary television series on Investigation Discovery. The series debuted on June 21, 2010. The series showcases many of the most shocking and difficult cases ...more
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8 4
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
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
5
8 4
20/20 is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
Elizabeth Vargas, David Muir, Barbara Walters
20/20 is an American television newsmagazine that has been broadcast on ABC since June 6, 1978. Created by ABC News executive Roone Arledge, the show was designed similarly to CBS's 60 Minutes ...more
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7 3
Snapped is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
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.
7
5 2
A Crime to Remember is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
A Crime to Remember Michelle McNamara, Francis Reilly, James Zeiss
Styles may change, but murder lasts forever. Step into the past and unravel the intricacies of real-life murder cases of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Set against the backdrop of Studebakers, fedoras, and ...more
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3 0
Cold Case Files is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
rick.carter added Danny Pino, Anthony Green
Cold Case Files (A&E, 1999) is a reality legal docuseries hosted by Bill Kurtis. The show documents the investigation of many long-unsolved murders (referred to as "cold cases" in ...more
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7 5
Your Worst Nightmare is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
Your Worst Nightmare Eric Abraham, Clark Sarullo, Kevin Todde Coughlin
Your Worst Nightmare (Investigation Discovery, 2014) is an American true crime documentary television series. Narration guides each episode, blending reenactments of key events with commentary ...more
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5 3
America's Most Wanted is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
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
11
2 0
Killer Kids is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
Killer Kids Misty Lee, John S. Howell Sr., Lisa Cole
Killer Kids provides an in-depth profile of the lives of kids who kill. What can possibly motivate kids to commit criminal acts and even murder? From hate crimes to gang initiations, murders of ...more
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2 0
American Justice is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
rick.carter added Bill Kurtis
For over ten years, AMERICAN JUSTICE® has been the gold standard of criminal justice programming, tackling today's toughest issues through the cases that challenge and change the law. Famous ...more
13
5 4
The FBI Files is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
James Kallstrom, Anthony D. Call, Bob Featherer
The FBI Files is an American television docudrama series that originally ran from 1998 to 2006. It was carried by the Discovery Channel cable network and produced by New Dominion Pictures of ...more
14
4 4
Homicide Hunter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
Josh Casaubon, Joe Kenda, Carl Marino
Homicide Hunter is an American documentary television series showcasing the career of retired Colorado Springs police detective Joseph Kenda. It debuted October 25, 2011 on Investigation ...more
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2 2
Nightmare Next Door is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
Nightmare Next Door
Nightmare Next Door (Investigation Discovery, 2011) is an American true crime documentary television series. Each episode follows reenactments of murders that rocked small-town America.
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3 4
Deadly Women is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
Lynnanne Zager
Deadly Women is a television series first aired in 2005 on the Discovery Channel, focusing on female killers. It was originally a mini-series consisting of three episodes: "Obsession", ...more
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The New Detectives is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
The New Detectives: Case Studies in Forensic Science is a documentary true crime television show that aired two to three different cases in forensic science per episode. Episode reruns currently ...more
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1 2
Snapped: Killer Couples is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
Laura San Giacomo, Sharon Martin, Anna Vocino
Snapped: Killer Couples (Oxygen, 2013) is an American true crime docudrama television series and spin-off of the Oxygen series Snapped. Each episode features a couple who have committed or have ...more
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1 2
Rescue 911 is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
William Shatner, Gene Babb, Ken Parham
Rescue 911 was an informational reality-based television series that premiered on CBS on April 18, 1989 and ended on August 27, 1996. The series was hosted by William Shatner and featured ...more
20
1 2
FBI: The Untold Stories is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
Renee O'Connor, Pernell Roberts
F.B.I.:The Untold Stories is a police drama anthology series which was aired in the United States by ABC from 1991 to 1993.
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0 1
Shattered is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
Julia Benson, Callum Keith Rennie, Molly Parker
Shattered is a Canadian police procedural series created by Rick Drew. The main character is a tough, smart homicide detective in Vancouver who suffers from dissociative identity disorder, also ...more
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0 1
On The Case With Paula Zahn is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
Paula Zahn, Raymond Brenkert, Eric S. Robertson
On the Case with Paula Zahn is a documentary and news program broadcast on Investigation Discovery since October 18, 2009. The program explores in-depth stories of crime mysteries and interviews ...more
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0 1
Death at the Mansion: Rebecca ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
Death at the Mansion: Rebecca Zahau (Oxygen, 2019) is an American documentary crime television miniseries. The limited series re-examines the theories surrounding the mysterious passing of ...more
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2 4
Disappeared is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
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
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1 3
Obsession: Dark Desires is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best True Crime Docudramas
Obsession: Dark Desires
Obsession: Dark Desires is a drama television series whose first episode aired on January 14, 2014. The show dramatizes real life accounts from people who have been the victim of stalking.