There’s never been a better time to watch true crime on Netflix. The streaming platform has a lock on some of the best true crime documentaries, movies, and TV shows. If you love watching stories about criminals and the people who catch them, then it's time to get excited, because Netflix has your back. True crime stories are designed to tickle the detective in your brain, especially when they're smart, well-produced, and pack a dramatic punch. From groundbreaking documentaries to thrilling mysteries that leave you scratching your head, the greatest true crime series on Netflix often seem stranger than fiction.
Mindhunter follows special agent Jonathon Ford as he creates a behavioral science program to help the FBI catch serial killers. Ford speaks with fictional versions of murderers like Ed Kemper and Jerry Brudos, and explores what goes on in killers' minds. Mindhunter has received heavy praise for its visual aesthetic — the first episode is directed by David Fincher (Fight Club), who also produced the rest of the series — as well as its measured portrayal of its serial killer cast.
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The Staircase tells the true story of Michael Peterson, a crime novelist who was accused of killing his wife after her body was found at the bottom of a staircase in their home. Peterson's story takes twists and turns that feel implausibly unrealistic, but the case is all too real.
The series is directed by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade and follows both Peterson's trial and the ways in which his life changed after he was accused of murder. The docuseries was one of Robert DeNiro's personal picks for the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, as he said:
I saw some of these earlier episodes and thought they were great. The father seems like a nice guy. But with the whole thing, you just want to know what happened.
Ozark follows Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman ) as he moves his family to the Ozark Mountains in an attempt to launder a boatload of cash and escape a Mexican cartel. Marty's plan is initially successful, but he soon finds himself entangled with a new group of criminals as he tries to save his family while pulling off a massive scam. When the show premiered on Netflix, its similarities to Breaking Bad had people talking, but critics have since hailed it as, "something special and inventive."
Amanda Knox premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, and chronicles the murder investigation of Meredith Kercher, as well as the story of how Knox was incarcerated for four years in Italy. In a series of interviews, Knox gives an incredibly detailed account of her time in prison, and in the media spotlight.
The documentary manages to compress a decade's worth of story into a tight package that captures the awful treatment Knox endured during her trial. By allowing Knox and her prosecutor to tell their stories without editorializing, the audience is free to form their own opinion about what really happened.