True-crime is one of the most popular genres on Netflix as it has only seen a growth in its viewership in recent times.
While Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is the most recent true-crime show on the platform, some great documentaries have also found an audience of their own. From Tiger King to Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes to The Tinder Swindler. Netflix has some of the most famous true-crime documentaries that dwell deep into an array of crimes.
These shows and documentaries investigate the patterns and crimes of serial killers and more, and are popular with an audience curious to know the details of modern crimes.
Netflix's latest true crime drama on serial killer Jefferey Dahmer, is embroiled in controversy despite the love it received. Meanwhile, here are some of the streaming giant's finest true-crime documentaries, that are all as intriguing as they are informative.
The best true-crime documentaries on Netflix
1) Wild Wild Country
During 1980s, Osho, a popular religious leader from India, mobilized some of his followers to set up a community of his own called Rajneeshpuram in Oregon, US. A bio-terror attack and some serious conflict with the ranchers were among some of the consequences of this utopian city. Other crimes that the community is associated with include s*xual assaults and drug abuse.
Wild Wild Country explores the dynamics that led to the rise of Osho and his assistant Ma Anand Sheela, who was pivotal in running the community. This true-crime show was widely viewed and acclaimed for its commentary on faith and fear. It sharply investigated and exposed truths about Rajneeshpuram that weren't widely reported by mainstream media.
Wild Wild Country was released in 2018 and is currently streaming on Netflix.
2) The Tinder Swindler
The Tinder Swindler follows the crimes of a man who presented himself as a diamond mogul and tricked women into lending him a lot of money which he would never return. He traveled around Europe and swindled around $10 million from the people he met on dating apps and manipulated them emotionally.
Breaking away from the typical narrative of true-crime documentaries, The Tinder Swindler places a significant emphasis on the victims of the crime as they connect through the documentary. The Tinder Swindler remains one of the most highly rated shows on Netflix. The series was critically acclaimed and widely watched, owing to its fine making.
The Tinder Swindler was released in February 2022, and is streaming on Netflix.
3) Conversations With A Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes
John Wayne Gacy, also known as the Killer Clown, murdered at least 33 men and boys between the years 1972 and 1978. It was during this time that the number of serial killers in America was on an infamous rise.
GAcy is still known as one of the most brutal killers in the history of the country for the way he tortured and killed his victims. Conversations With A Killer: John Wayne Gacy is a true-crime series that studies Gacy's behavior.
The documentary is the second part of the Conversation With a Killer series, the first being Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. Archival footage and personal interviews with Gacy are used to provide an effective insight into the killer's mind. The series is mostly academic and doesn't include any plot points for mere sensational value.
Conversations With A Killer: John Wayne Gacy was released in April 2022, and is streaming on Netflix.
4) Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.
Bad Vegan tells the story of Sarma Melngailis and her husband, who allegedly forced her into illegally exploiting money from her vegan restaurant and evading authorities. It was later discovered that the couple were investing in a deity who they believed would make them immortal. The money that was illegally transferred amounted to $1.6 million.
Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. tells the story of the couple and all the claims made by them throughout the crime and the trial. The true-crime docu-series is just four episodes long but makes sure to capture the details of the elaborate crime. The series was highly acclaimed and received some great reviews whilst also being widely watched.
Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. was released in March 2022 and is streaming on Netflix.
5) American Murder: The Family Next Door
American Murder: The Family Next Door adopts quite a sensational approach for a documentary. As opposed to most true-crime documentaries about murders, this one explores a more recent set of murders, those of the Watts family. For those unfamiliar with the case, the show provides a thrilling ride as the the identity of the killer isn't revealed until the end.
However, the sensational approach doesn't stop the documentary from exploring the details of the crime. The makers used actual footage from relevant social media accounts and recordings during the investigation to make this true-crime documentary all the more interesting.
American Murder: The Family Next Door was released in 2020 and is currently streaming on Netflix.
Considering the ever-growing viewership of the true-crime genre, Netflix is expected to come up with more documentaries, narrative shows and films in the genre.