Unspeakable Times
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The Best True Crime Docudramas

Updated January 13, 2021 730 votes 93 voters 2.6k views40 items

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

There is just something about terrible crimes that makes for wonderful 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 a single case, so the viewer gets a complete 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 series piqued your interest the most? You can vote for your favorite true crime docudramas in the list below to let everyone know which shows to check out. 

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  • Unsolved Mysteries1
    39
    10

    Unsolved Mysteries

    Robert Stack, Dennis Farina

    Premiered1987

    Unsolved Mysteries (NBC, 1987) is an American mystery documentary television show created by... more on Wikipedia
  • Forensic Files2
    35
    9

    Forensic Files

    Dayle Hinman, Peter Thomas

    Premiered1996

    Forensic Files is an American documentary-style series that reveals how forensic science is... more on Wikipedia
  • Cold Case Files3
    27
    2

    Cold Case Files

    Danny Pino, Anthony Green

    Premiered1999

    Cold Case Files (A&E, 1999) is a reality legal docuseries hosted by Bill Kurtis. The show... more on Wikipedia
  • A Crime to Remember4
    27
    5

    A Crime to Remember

    Marc A. Hermann, Michelle McNamara

    Premiered2013

    Styles may change, but murder lasts forever. Step into the past and unravel the intricacies of... more on Wikipedia
  • Unusual Suspects5
    22
    1

    Unusual Suspects

    Mocean Melvin, Jeff Wilburn

    Premiered2010

    Unusual Suspects is an American documentary television series on Investigation Discovery. The... more on Wikipedia
  • Snapped6
    24
    6

    Snapped

    Laura San Giacomo

    Premiered2004

    Snapped is a British narrated American true crime television series that airs on the Oxygen... more on Wikipedia
  • 20/207
    27
    10

    20/20

    Elizabeth Vargas, David Muir

    Premiered1978

    20/20 is an American television newsmagazine that has been broadcast on ABC since June 6,... more on Wikipedia
  • American Justice8
    16
    1

    American Justice

    Bill Kurtis

    Premiered1992

    For over ten years, AMERICAN JUSTICE® has been the gold standard of criminal justice... more on Wikipedia
  • The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst9
    24
    12

    Premiered2015

    The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (HBO, 2015) is a documentary miniseries directed... more on Wikipedia
  • The FBI Files10
    20
    9

    The FBI Files

    James Kallstrom, Anthony D. Call

    Premiered1998

    The FBI Files is an American television docudrama series that originally ran from 1998 to... more on Wikipedia
  • Deadly Women11
    19
    8

    Deadly Women

    Lynnanne Zager

    Premiered2005

    Deadly Women is a television series first aired in 2005 on the Discovery Channel, focusing on... more on Wikipedia
  • Your Worst Nightmare12
    21
    13

    Your Worst Nightmare

    Eric Abraham, Clark Sarullo

    Premiered2014

    Your Worst Nightmare (Investigation Discovery, 2014) is an American true crime documentary... more on Wikipedia
  • Snapped: Killer Couples13
    14
    4

    Snapped: Killer Couples

    Laura San Giacomo, Sharon Martin

    Premiered2013

    Snapped: Killer Couples (Oxygen, 2013) is an American true crime docudrama television series... more on Wikipedia
  • On The Case With Paula Zahn14
    15
    6

    On The Case With Paula Zahn

    Paula Zahn, Raymond Brenkert

    Premiered2009

    On the Case with Paula Zahn is a documentary and news program broadcast on Investigation... more on Wikipedia
  • Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer15
    Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer (Netflix, 2021) is an American true crime... more on Wikipedia
  • Killer Kids16
    12
    4

    Killer Kids

    Misty Lee, John S. Howell Sr.
    Killer Kids provides an in-depth profile of the lives of kids who kill. What can possibly... more on Wikipedia
  • Disappeared17
    15
    7

    Disappeared

    Christopher Crutchfield Walker, Kiff VandenHeuvel
    Disappeared is an American documentary television series on Investigation Discovery which... more on Wikipedia
  • Obsession: Dark Desires18
    15
    8

    Obsession: Dark Desires

    Obsession: Dark Desires is a drama television series whose first episode aired on January 14,... more on Wikipedia
  • America's Most Wanted19

    Premiered1988

    America's Most Wanted is an American television program produced by 20th Television, and was... more on Wikipedia
  • Pink Collar Crimes20
    7
    1

    Pink Collar Crimes

    Marcia Clark

    Premiered2018

    Pink Collar Crimes (CBS, 2018) is an American true crime television docuseries created by... more on Wikipedia
  • Dead Reckoning21
    4
    1

    Dead Reckoning

    Danish Farooqui, Hassan Farrow

    Premiered2020

    Dead Reckoning (Investigation Discovery, 2020) is an American true crime documentary series.... more on Wikipedia
  • Nightmare Next Door22
    11
    6

    Nightmare Next Door

    Greg Diefenbach, James Davenjay

    Premiered2011

    Nightmare Next Door (Investigation Discovery, 2011) is an American true crime documentary... more on Wikipedia
  • The Ripper23
    The Ripper (Netflix, 2020) is a British crime documentary series. The mini series focuses on... more on Wikipedia
  • Leavenworth24
    0
    0

    Leavenworth

    Clint Lorance, Anna Lorance

    Premiered2019

    Leavenworth (Starz, 2019) is an American war, crime documentary series created by Steven... more on Wikipedia
  • Death at the Mansion: Rebecca Zahau25
    11
    7

    Death at the Mansion: Rebecca Zahau

    Jason Benjamin, Frederick Keeve

    Premiered2019

    Death at the Mansion: Rebecca Zahau (Oxygen, 2019) is an American documentary crime television... more on Wikipedia