True-crime has become a huge genre among contemporary movies and shows. While a run-of-the-mill thriller may get your blood pumping and heart racing, a true-crime story has a kick of its own. The fact that the incident being portrayed is not fictional, but has actually happened in reality, paired with the nature of the crimes, is an instant hit among audiences.
Now that 2022 is coming to a close, it is time to revisit some of the best titles in each genre that viewers have loved this year. With true-crime coming in among the most favorite sub-genres, there have been a good number of quality TV shows based on real criminal cases, documenting them and even dramatizing them to a certain extent.
The Dropout, Candy, and more: 5 of the best true-crime TV shows of 2022 that you should watch
1) Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story
Dahmer - Monster: The Story of Jeffrey Dahmer is arguably one of the most popular true-crime shows of 2022. The 10 episode series was created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan exclusively for Netflix.
The show starred Evan Peters as the titular character of Jeffrey Dahmer, the cannibalistic serial killer. It also had other prominent actors like Richard Jenkins, Molly Ringwald, Niecy Nash, and Michael Learned.
Dahmer - Monster: The Story of Jeffrey Dahmer delves into the gruesome truth about Jeffrey Dahmer and his crimes. Dahmer was convicted of killing a total of seventeen male victims between the years 1978 and 1991, while also indulging in cannibalism, necrophilia, and preserving skeletal remains. The series took a direct look at Dahmer's motives and execution of the crimes.
The title featured among the list of most-watched series on Netflix. It is safe to say that Dahmer has taken up the top spot for the best true-crime show of 2022.
2) The Dropout
The Dropout is an American true-crime drama series that chronicles the rise and fall of the health technology company, Theranos. It also spotlights the life of its founder, Elizabeth Holmes.
Created by Elizabeth Meriwether, the show is based on a 2019 podcast of the same name, which was hosted by ABC News. The Dropout stars Amanda Seyfried in the character of the former billionaire founder of Theranos, alongside Naveen Andrews as Sunny Balwani, COO of Theranos.
Theranos was believed to be the next big thing in the world of healthcare industry and medical technology. Holmes claimed that they had developed a method of blood testing which required only a drop of blood to execute numerous tests. The company had raised over $700 million and was valued at $10 billion in 2013.
But when medical researchers and investigative journalists exposed it to be a hoax in 2015, the company faced a number of legal challenges. This was followed by a lawsuit which resulted in Holmes getting convicted by the SEC under charges of fraud. She also received a sentence of 11 years and 3 months for her crimes.
The Dropout chronicles her life, starting from her early years and motivations, all the way to her downfall. The 8-episode true-crime miniseries is available for streaming on Hulu.
3) Black Bird
Black Bird is a gripping true-crime drama series offered by Apple TV+. Developed by Dennis Lehane, the series is based on the 2010 autobiographical novel, In with the Devil: a Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption, co-authored by James Keene, and Hillel Levin.
The title features Taron Egerton in the pivotal role of James Keene, a high school star athlete who was incarcerated for possession and dealing of drugs. It also features the last role played by Ray Liotta, as Keene's father.
Black Bird tells the story of James Keene, a star football athlete from Kankakee, Illinois. His promising football career earned him multiple scholarships from several colleges, but he turned them down to stay back and dedicate his time to dealing in narcotics, which was bringing him good money.
Keene got caught during a DEA operation to crack down on illegal drug trades and was sentenced to 10 years of time, without parole.
However, one year into his sentence, he was approached by Assistant U.S. Attorney, Laurence Beaumont, to take part in an undercover sting to coax out a confession from Larry Hall, who was thought to have killed over 40 women between 1981 and 1994.
Keene went to a maximum security prison and befriended him to coax out details and confessions of the murders he had committed. Apple TV+'s Black Bird makes a gripping six-episode true-crime miniseries depicting the whole arrangement.
Candy is a true-crime drama offering from the house of Hulu that released in May 2022.
The five-episode limited series was developed by Nick Antosca and Robin Veith and starred Jessica Biel in the titular character of Candy Montgomery alongside other prominent actors like Melanie Lynskey, Pablo Schreiber, Timothy Simons, Justin Timberlake, and others.
The series reproduces the events revolving around the 1980 murder of Betty Gore in Texas. Candy Montgomery is an American homemaker, who was put on trial for murdering her neighbor Betty Gore. Candy was in an extramarital affair with her neighbor Allan Gore, husband to Betty Gore. On the night of June 13, 1980, Betty Gore was found dead in her house, having been struck with an axe 41 times.
Candy was put on trial for the crime, but was let go by the jury. She claimed that she had killed Betty in self-defence after she tried to attack her with the same axe just moments prior. The case gained a lot of traction in the '80s, attracting criticism from the community for her exoneration, and became popularly known as the 1980 axe murder of Wylie.
5) The Staircase
The final title on the list is an offering from HBO Max. The Staircase is an American true-crime limited series that borrows heavily from the 2004 docuseries of the same name by French filmmaker, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade.
Created by Antonio Campos, the series stars numerous popular actors like Colin Firth, Toni Collette, Michael Stuhlbarg, Dane DeHaan, Sophie Turner, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Olivia DeJonge, Juliette Binoche, and others.
The Staircase tells the story of Michael Peterson, a crime novelist who was convicted of killing his second wife, Kathleen Peterson, at their home in Durham, North Carolina. Kathleen was found dead at the bottom of the staircase, and was primarily thought to have died from the fall. But an autopsy showed that she had died of blunt force trauma, which meant she was probably attacked with something.
Michael was arrested and put to trial, and received a life sentence under the charge of first-degree murder of Kathleen Peterson. But later in 2011, he received a retrial due to mishandling of the case by SBI Agent Duane Deaver.
Michael received a lesser sentence of time served, after he signed the Alford Plea and walked free in 2017. The true-crime series has received criticism from Peterson himself as well as de Lestrade for the inaccuracies and fictionalization of the case.