True Crime Documentary Series On Netflix 2021
It’s February, which means most people’s thoughts are turning to red roses, candlelight dinners, and flowers to tell that special someone, “I love you.”
But if you’re single, or simply fed up of the saccharine, dew-dropped clouds that most people who’ve bought into a commercialized holiday seem to be floating on, you may be looking to balance out all this mush with some true crime stories that explore the dark underbelly of humanity. If you’re into sickos, psychos, and sociopaths then you’re in for a treat, because Netflix has a plethora of true crime documentary series to whet your appetite in playing detective.
It may not have Robert Stack’s creepy narration scaring the bejeebus out of us as we watch, but Unsolved Mysteries made its triumphant return to Netflix in 2020, in one of the (few) highlights of the year.
Rather than replace Stack with an equally unnerving host, this series simply opts to present the story with interviews and actual footage. Presenting the material like an actual documentary is a refreshing take on this television classic.
CONVERSATIONS WITH A KILLER: THE TED BUNDY TAPES
Ted Bundy has the infamous distinction of being one of the most famous serial killers in the United States, if not the world. In Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, producers reconstruct Bundy’s life through a painstaking collage of interviews with family, former friends, surviving victims, law enforcement officials and journalists, in an attempt to understand what could drive a person to perform such heinous acts.
DON’T F**K WITH CATS: HUNTING AN INTERNET KILLER
It may sometimes feel that America has cornered the market on psychopathic killers, but there are unfortunately plenty of them all over the world. Even our friendly neighbours to the north aren’t immune from the phenomenon, as Don't F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer reveals. The series explores how a gruesome internet video of several cats being murdered led some online sleuths and law enforcement officers to catch a potential serial killer before he killed again.
THE CONFESSION KILLER
America has always had an odd fascination with criminals and lawbreakers, granting them a sort of fame and mythic status they really don’t deserve. Some people are so obsessed with becoming the next “Pretty Boy” Floyd, Al Capone, or Ted Bundy that they’ll do anything to achieve that type of fame and notoriety, even lie about it. The Confession Killer examines the case of Henry Lee Lukas, a man whose confessions to over 200 murders turned out to be complete fabrications.
NIGHT STALKER: THE HUNT FOR A SERIAL KILLER
All too often, serial killers receive too much attention from the media. Once these murderers are discovered and caught, the media tends to sensationalize their crimes and put them in the spotlight, to the horror of the victims’ families.
Thankfully, Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer examines the gruesome events that took place in California between June 1984 and August 1985 from the vantage point of the police officers who were desperate to catch the killer, as well as the victims’ families and some survivors of his attacks.
INSIDE THE CRIMINAL MIND
Part of the fascination the general public has with criminals, killers, and all-around sociopaths is that they can’t fathom the mind that would perpetrate such wanton acts of violence and destruction. Inside the Criminal Mind is a four-episode series that seeks to explain the psychology behind what drives someone into becoming a serial killer, cult leader, kidnapper or crime lord. Interviews with leading minds in law enforcement, criminology, and psychology lend credence to the series’ examinations.
KILLER INSIDE: THE MIND OF AARON HERNANDEZ
You’d think being a successful NFL star with the promise of wealth, fame, and a long career would preclude you from murdering somebody, but as Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez illustrates, this wasn’t the case.
The series traces Hernandez’s life from his troubled childhood at the hands of an alcoholic father to his sexual experimentations in high school to his career with the New England Patriots. It also looks to examine Hernandez’s motivations and state of mind in the events that led to the death of fellow football player Odin Lloyd.
When you hear the phrase “The Ripper” in relation to a serial killer from England, obviously you think of turn-of-the-century London and the infamous but never caught “Jack.”
Unfortunately, a slate of horrible murders between 1975 and 1980 led the British media to bestow that moniker on a killer ravaging the areas between Manchester and West Yorkshire. This series chronicles the events that led to the killer’s capture.
THE DEVIL NEXT DOOR
The phrase “you never know who your neighbours are,” became an understatement when residents of a Cleveland suburb woke up to the news that one of their neighbours was actually a former Nazi prison guard. Autoworker and all-around family man John Demjanjuk was heavily believed to be “Ivan the Terrible,” a sadistic guard at the Sobibor extermination camp during the Holocaust. Part legal drama and part documentary, The Devil Next Door is a tremendous chronicle of the attempt to bring to justice one of the participants in the worst tragedy of the 20th century.
In 2003, pizza delivery man Brian Wells was cornered by police following a car chase after attempting to rob a bank. When he emerged from his vehicle, he claimed he was coerced into performing the act by blackmailers who had attached a collar bomb to his neck. Tragically, the bomb exploded, killing Wells.
The investigation that followed revealed an intricate web of machinations and deceit involving the alleged mastermind behind the scheme: Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong.
In case this lineup gave you no leads, check out these usual suspects: