Best True Crime Documentaries Now Streaming

A courtroom gavel against a black background.

Whether it’s out of scholarly interest or the primal urge to rubberneck, there’s undeniable appeal to the morbid genre of true crime. This list of the best true crime documentaries now streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime is sure to satisfy any armchair detective’s darkest curiosities.

 

 

Voyeur

Streaming Services: Netflix
Year: 2017
Cast: Gay Talese
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79%

Celebrated (and widely criticized) New York Times journalist Gay Talese reveals a secret he’s kept for decades. From the late 1960s to the 1990s, Gerald Foos owned and operated a Colorado Hotel for the express purpose of watching his guests during their most intimate moments.

This warts-and-all portrait of two complicated men explores their long relationship, and how Foos’s story went from well-kept secret to national news.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

The Innocent Man

Streaming Services: Netflix
Year: 2018
Cast: Tommy Ward, Dennis Fritz
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 74%

John Grisham’s first foray into nonfiction comes to life on the big screen. Nearly forty years after he was convicted for a crime he did not commit, Tommy Ward tells his story from inside a maximum security prison.

The twists are neverending in this tale of dirty cops, wasted time, and the murderer that may still stalk the sleepy town of Ada, Oklahoma.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

Killing for Love

Streaming Services: Hulu
Year: 2016
Cast: Daniel Bruhl, Imogen Poots
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

A puzzling double murder leads to the conviction of a young couple. Years later, this film reexamines their case in this thrilling court drama about two intelligent, conniving people with everything to lose…and only each other to blame.

Watch it on Hulu here.

 

The Staircase (Series)

Streaming Services: Netflix, Hulu
Year: 2004-2018
Cast: Michael Peterson
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%

This Peabody Award-winning series follows the trial and conviction of novelist Michael Peterson, both in the wake of his wife’s suspicious death, and again a decade later.

Where was he during the accident? And if Kathleen Peterson tripped and fell, why did her autopsy show that she had been beaten?

This series wants to know what Michael Peterson did, and they’re taking you along for the ride.

Watch it on Netflix here, or Hulu here.

 

The Keepers (Series)

Streaming Services: Netflix
Year: 2017
Cast: Jean Hargadon Wehner, Gemma Hoskins, Joseph Maskell
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97%

In 1969, Sister Catherine Cesnik, a schoolteacher at an all-girls high school, was found murdered. She’s been buried for half a century, but her students never stopped looking for her killer.

In this series, they dig through the filthy underbelly of their local Catholic community to expose the secrets that Sister Cathy died for.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

Abducted in Plain Sight

Streaming Services: Netflix
Year: 2017
Cast: Jan Broberg Felt, Robert Berchtold, Bob Broberg, Mary Ann Broberg
Google User Rating: 80%

Few movies manage to make the spine crawl within the first seconds.

Somehow, the full extent of the perverse crimes detailed within Abducted in Plain Sight remains unimaginable to the viewer until the very end.

With countless new twists, this film quickly becomes an unending rabbit hole made up of new nightmares, old scars, and endless secrets.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

Because We Are Girls

Streaming Services: Amazon Prime
Year: 2019
Cast: Jeeti Pooni, Salakshana Pooni, Kira Pooni
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

Three sisters share a secre. To reveal it, they’ll have to be braver than they’ve ever been.

In this film about a Punjabi family’s hidden sexual abuse, every scene is a new heartbreak. You won’t be able to stop thinking about Because We Are Girls for weeks.

Watch it on Amazon Prime here.

 

Casting JonBenet

Streaming Services: Netflix
Year: 2017
Cast: Hannah Cagwin, Amy Dowd, Luca Rodriguez
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81%

This groundbreaking film explores the tragedy (and its sensationalization) that took place one fateful night in Boulder, Colorado. On Christmas morning in 1996, six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was found dead in her suburban home.

Residents who lived in the shadows of those same Colorado mountains act out their own versions of the murder’s highly contested events.

What follows is a film unlike any other: a brilliantly shot, grimly portrayed, and uniquely unsettling portrait of the power of speculation.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

A Love Song for Latasha (Short Film)

Streaming Services: Netflix
Year: 2019
Cast: Shinese Harlins, Juanita Jennings, Nnenna Brown
Google Users Rating: 92%

This is a sensitive film, as gentle and heartwarming as it is a punch to the gut.

There are no politics to this narrative, nor is there a call to action. It is simply a celebration of a short, doomed life. It is truly a love song, written by those who knew Latasha best.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

The Life and Death of Marsha P. Johnson

Streaming Services: Netflix
Year: 2017
Cast: Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%

Stonewall and her riots were the godmother to the modern Pride movement, and Marsha P. Johnson was the firebrand that threw the first brick.

When she was found floating in the harbor early one morning, her cabal called for justice.

Fifty years later, their cries are still unanswered. This film serves as a memorial to the life of a vivacious, unprecedented woman.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

The Family I Had

Streaming Services: Amazon Prime
Year: 2017
Cast: Charity Lee, Paris Lee Bennet, Ella Bennet
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

This is not a murder mystery, nor is it meant to explain the motives and twisted mind of a killer. It is a story about a mother, angry and racked with grief, who must bury one child and decide the fate of another.

There are no shock tactics or overdramatized recreations in this masterpiece among true crime documentaries. There are only brutally calm interviews—and the hardest conversations you will ever witness.

Watch it on Amazon Prime here.

 

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Whether you prefer court dramas, murder mysteries, or true tragedy, there’s an unimaginable wealth of true crime documentaries on whatever streaming platform you have.

Netflix alone has a true crime documentaries section with twenty-one subcategories beneath it, with dozens of titles in each.

There truly are enough cold cases in the world to keep you occupied until the end of your own life. But, if you just can’t get enough, check this list of the best true crime podcasts, the most binge-worthy serial killer movies and TV shows, or these mysteries with the most shocking twists.