There’s nothing quite as captivating as losing oneself in a true crime show. In recent years, the genre has become increasingly popular — through books, podcasts and television series — for their riveting detail and ability to help us uncover and better understand the dark events of the past… and in some cases, even solve the crime itself. Netflix is known for their outstanding selection of true crime shows, serving up chilling real-life stories involving police officers, gangsters and murderers.
While true crime shows can be deeply disturbing and aren’t for everybody, there’s often a feeling of suspense, justice, satisfaction and wisdom to be found in learning the nuances of criminal psychology and hearing the words of people who were at the scene.
12 best true crime shows on Netflix
Here, we take a look at, and rank, the most riveting and best true crime shows on Netflix.
Caution: The shows and their descriptions deal with sensitive and violent subject matter and can be graphic and disturbing in nature.
12. Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer (2021)
This is a four-part miniseries is about Richard Ramirez, a killer, kidnapper, child abuser and burglar who, from June 1984 until August 1985, left residents of Los Angeles and San Francisco in total fear. It is believed he murdered at least 14 people and raped and tortured 24 others, and managed to evade capture for more than a year. This tells the story of his reign of terror and what lead to his eventual arrest.
Watch Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer now.
11. Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (2021)
This true crime story also takes place in Los Angeles, albeit on Skid Row. It tells the tale of Elisa Lam, a young woman who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Lam was last seen alive at the Cecil Hotel, a hotel known for its long history of bloody crimes. Elisa’s chilling story has been a point of interest for many years, with some even believing her death could be linked to the supernatural or a cult.
10. American Murder: The Family Next Door (2023)
In 2018, Chris Watts murdered his pregnant wife, Shanann, and their two young daughters, leading to his arrest just two days later. Through phone calls, text messages and social media posts, this documentary uncovers the chilling truths behind this awful event.
Watch American Murder: The Family Next Door now.
9. Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal (2023)
This story begins with a tragic boat accident in South Carolina with a young, rich, intoxicated man, Paul Murdaugh, at the helm. He manages to get off without facing criminal charges, after his rich father, Alex Murdaugh, pays someone off. But the convoluted crime story doesn’t stop there. The one-off tragedy spirals into multiple murders within the Murdaugh family itself, all orchestrated by the sociopathic Alex Murdaugh to cover up his own financial crimes and his prior pay-off scheme. It’s a haunting tale of greed, money and power that’s as old as time.
Watch Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal now.
8. My Lover, My Killer (2021 — Present)
This British true crime series explores terrifying cases involving victims who were murdered by their obsessed partners. Each episode is dedicated to a different story, and testimonies from the victims’ friends and families and interviews with criminologist and psychologist experts give us a greater understanding of these crimes of passion.
Watch My Lover, My Killer now.
7. Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez (2020)
Aaron Hernandez excelled on the football field, eventually becoming a star tight end for the New England Patriots. But he harbored a dark secret: He was bisexual, and when his future brother-in-law threatened to reveal this, Hernandez shot him in cold blood. It’s also believed Hernandez shot two other people. This documentary shows how Hernandez went from football star to convicted murderer.
Watch Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez now.
6. The Innocent Man (2018)
This series is adapted from The Innocent Man, the first and only true crime book by popular author John Grisham. This six-episode investigation recounts the story of two murders and potentially false convictions in a small Oklahoma town, and features Grisham’s expert commentary while showing the failures of the US justice system.
Watch The Innocent Man now.
5. Amanda Knox (2016)
Amanda Knox was twice convicted and acquitted of murdering her 21 year-old roommate, Meredith Kercher, while the two were studying abroad in Italy. As an attractive young woman, Knox was covered extensively in the media for seeming an unlikely killer.
In this captivating documentary, Knox gets her chance to set the record straight, speaking out about her relationship with Kercher, Kercher’s death and her subsequent arrest, murder trial and incarceration.
Watch Amanda Knox now.
4. Worst Roommate Ever (2022)
We all have stories about horrible roommates, but this miniseries takes it to the next level. Each episode gives a shocking and suspenseful look at roommate situations that turned criminal or — in some gruesome cases — deadly.
Watch Worst Roommate Ever now.
3. The Keepers (2017)
The mysterious disappearance and murder of nun Sister Cathy Cesnik in 1969 is the focus of this miniseries. Cesnik taught English and drama at Baltimore’s all-girls Archbishop Keough High School. It’s believed that Cesnik uncovered horrendous sexual abuse by two priests at the school and she was determined to protect the girls and put a stop to the abuse. The series asserts she may have been murdered to keep her from revealing the truth. It’s a devastating story of a religious woman who died trying to do the right thing, and in the process uncovered an extensive web of decades of abuse.
Watch The Keepers now.
2. Unsolved Mysteries (2020 — Present)
In the ’80s and ’90s, the original Unsolved Mysteries, hosted and narrated by actor Robert Stack, captivated viewers with its explorations of cold cases and eerie events. This reboot of the popular series not only covers these topics but also delves into international stories of unsolved mysteries, crimes and murders. Unlike the original series, this reboot is pure documentary, with no host or narrator, but an image of Stack can be seen in the title sequence for each episode as an homage to his impact on the show.
Watch Unsolved Mysteries now.
1. Get Gotti (2023)
Mob boss John Gotti, once dubbed “The Teflon Don,” for his ability to evade arrest, finally got caught when he was found guilty in 1992. This miniseries digs into both sides of the story, looking at both his seedy mafia world and the FBI’s infamous case against him. This true crime series shows you just how corrupt — and often sinister — mobsters really are.
Watch Get Gotti now.
Keep reading for more Netflix recommendations!