Twists, turns, bizarre murders and extraordinary characters - we are living in the golden age of ‘true-crime’ that’s it’s easy to forget that just a few years ago the genre was considered to be an inferior one. Our obsession with the dark side of human behavior has led to a surge of TV shows, documentaries and podcasts about real-life crime stories, with Netflix becoming a leader in the category. Here are 10 true crime Netflix shows that will keep you up at night:
1. The Staircase
The Staircase follows the murder case of Kathleen Peterson and her accused husband, author Michael Peterson’s trial. Even though it covers more than 15 years of questions, interrogations and legal proceedings, it doesn’t provide an unequivocal answer as to what happened to Kathleen the day she fell down the stairs.
This makes the story only more chilling, because it not only proves that you can die at any minute – you can also, at any minute, be accused of the murder of a loved one.
2. Making a Murderer
Two years after Steven Ivory was acquitted of the murder he’s been charged with, and released from prison, he was again accused of murder and was sentenced to life without parole.
The show’s creators show the corruption in the local Wisconsin county, and bring countless supporting claims to the fact Avery is a scapegoat who deserves a retrial.
3. Wild, Wild Country
This show about a utopian town that spiraled out of control, includes a controversial Indian guru, armed guerrillas, wild sex orgies, countless crimes and a finally – a mass poisoning attempt.
This story is so bizarre and extraordinary that the only way is can be believed is through a documentary.
4. Tiger King
Tiger King revolves around bizarre wildcat enthusiast and animal collector, Joe Exotic’s hatred to animal rights activist, Carole Baskin, who he blames on murdering her husband – hatred that leads him to plan her own murder.
What at first seems to be a story about people who love animals, progresses into a story about people who love themselves, and who’d stop in nothing to get what they want.
5. Amanda Knox
Amanda Knox’s story hypnotized the world, primarily because of our inability to believe that young beautiful girls are able to commit violent crimes.
But that’s not the only reason – Knox is an elusive figure, and even though she’s been acquitted of murder, many still believe that she is guilty. This documentary includes many interviews with Know herself, and sheds a new light on the case.
6. Don’t Fuck with Cats
This story starts with a couple of cats that met a tragic ending, and the people who’re obsessed with them, and from there evolves into a dark, twisted murder mystery, that could only happen in the age of social media.
The film raises some disturbing questions about internet celebdom and the role of society in creating monsters, and is impossible to stop watching.
7. Evil Genius
Like most true crime shows, Evil Genius will leave you with some loose ends and many open questions, and mainly with an interesting human dynamic, a complicated crime, and characters who could be criminals – or victims.
Trey Borzillieri, the show’s narrator has been in touch with Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, the criminal the story revolves around, for years. His emotional involvement in the case, and his attempts to understand if she’s crazy or a genius, only contributes to the growing suspense when watching the show.
8. The Confession Tapes
If you’ve watched any crime shows you probably already know that confessing to a crime during an intensive police interrogation is not always the whole truth. This show focuses exactly on these people – who claim their murder confession were extracted from them by devious psychological tactics.
The show examines the intersection of truth, deception and ethics, and the external considerations that play when law enforcement is pressures to 'close' a case.
9. Abducted in Plain Sight
This doco is a bit of an exception in the modern true crime world – there’s no crime scene investigation, in-depth investigations, or experts than turn the story on its head 15 minutes before the credit.
In that sense, it feels almost outdated. Instead, the movie focuses on the basic ingredient that every successful true crime doco must have: a shocking story. And Abducted in Plain Sight’s story is an especially disturbing one.