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5 best Netflix true crime docuseries you need to watch

Netflix became known as a source for captivating true crime series around the time the streaming service released Making a Murderer about a wrongfully convicted man who is released and then charged again for the murder of a young photographer. That story is anything but simple, rife with conspiracies, alleged lies, and fan campaigns. Then, during the pandemic, the timing was perfect for Tiger King to grace the small screen as yet another true crime gem. The bizarre series entertained viewers who were stuck at home with nothing else to watch.

Overall, Netflix has been releasing a steady selection of true crime docuseries that are intriguing, jaw-dropping, and thought-provoking. These can be considered some of the best among the bunch.

Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal (2023)

Alex, Paul, and Maggie Murdaugh with Morgan Doughty in an old photo used in the Netflix docuseries Murdaugh Murders.

The latest docuseries to be added to Netflix, Murdaugh Murders follows the story of Alex Murdaugh and his wealthy and influential family from the Low Country region of South Carolina. It highlights everything from privilege to alleged corruption, familial discord, drug addiction, negligence, death, and murder. The story begins with a tragic boat accident that leaves one young woman dead and ends with Alex in court for the murder of his son and wife (for which he was recently convicted).

The story to get from one to the other is full of twists, turns, and shocking revelations. Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal is a worthwhile watch even for those who have followed the story since the first accident garnered the family national attention in 2019.

Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer (2019)

A woman's eyes between two black bars in a scene from Don't F**k With Cats on Netflix.

Even the most hard-stomached true crime fanatics will feel queasy after watching Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer. This one focuses on a different angle than others: a group of Internet sleuths set out to discover the identity of a troubling young man killing cats on videos posted to the dark web. The organizers had a sinking feeling that his gruesome actions would progress to humans and they were right. Canadian Luka Magnotta graphically killed and dismembered a young man and posted video of his heinous crimes on the Internet.

Don’t F**k With Cats is not for the faint of heart, so proceed with caution. But for those who are fascinated by the most troubled minds and by those who seek to do their own detective work from behind a computer screen, it’s an interesting watch.

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (2019)

A close up of Ted Bundy looking upwards, a pencil on his ear in a scene from Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes on Netflix.

Arguably no serial killer in history has been depicted in documentaries, TV shows, and movies as much as Ted Bundy, largely because of how unlike the stereotypical serial killer he seemed. It was Bundy, in fact, that alerted the public to the fact that serial killers aren’t always socially awkward. He was good-looking, charming, highly intelligent, and, of course, also a terrible human being who murdered and terrorized women through his many years long killing spree. Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes will appeal to those interested in the story of his life and capture. It includes both archival footage of Bundy himself as well as audio recordings of his interviews with Stephen Michaud while he was on death row.

Including harrowing interviews with his family members, former friends, surviving victims, police officers, and journalists as well, the series provides a new perspective on a case and killer that has been covered time and time again.

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (2021)

A woman walks down a hallway in Crime Scene: The Vanishing at Cecil Hotel

At times, you might feel like you’re watching a horror movie. The footage of Elisa Lam, a young woman visiting the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, and her odd behavior in and by an elevator on the night of her death leaves you consistently guessing. It’s the twist reveal at the end, however, for those who aren’t familiar with the story, that will leave you feeling gutted.

If you’re into conspiracy theories and you’re not opposed to corny re-enactments, Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel is one of those docuseries that you can talk about with friends after watching and share your thoughts and feelings on the events that transpired.

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez (2020)

A close up photo of Aaron Hernandez in court during his trial from Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez on Netflix.

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez will quickly suck you in after watching the first episode, even if you aren’t a fan of football and don’t know anything about the case or the former NFL player. Just three episodes long, the true crime series delves into not only the events that occurred leading to Hernandez’s arrest and conviction, but also his troubled childhood, mental health issues, potential secrets, and what happened in the aftermath of his tragic death.

It’s an emotional story that’s told from the perspective of those who knew Hernandez, those who were on the case, and journalists who covered the story. Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez also provides interesting information about degenerative brain disease and its prevalence among and potential future impact on football players.

Editors' Recommendations

Christine Persaud
Christine is a professional editor and writer with 18 years of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started…
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