50+ True-Crime Documentaries You Can Watch on Netflix Tonight
There’s a reason the interest in true-crime documentaries on Netflix has spiked over the years. The chilling details behind these real-life cases have gripped people, communities, and viewers for years, due to the fact that horrible things happen, and they happen a lot more than we like to think.
Netflix has a wide variety of gripping documentaries, but the most fascinating ones involve the real stories behind the crimes that happen in our society, the bone-chilling perpetrators, and the lives that are ultimately left changed forever. These can also be educational resources, bringing awareness and attention to the injustices in our society that we all can take action in preventing in the future.
If you’re interested in learning about infamous serial killers, chilling cold cases, baffling kidnappings, and controversial cults, watch these true-crime documentaries on Netflix now.
– Additional reporting by Lauren Harano and Haley Lyndes
The Investigator: A British Crime Story
This true crime documentary finds new evidence and sheds light on the case of Carole Packman, whose husband was convicted for her murder though her body was never found.
Watch The Investigator: A British Crime Story on Netflix now.
Though Bryan Fogel first sought to explore the world of performance-enhancing drugs in cycling, the filmmaker instead happened upon a major international doping scandal when he encountered the head of the Russian antidoping laboratory. In the film, Fogel documents the means by which this lab allows athletes to take performance-enhancing drugs in a way that will evade detection from drug testing, leading to the discovery of a state-sponsored Olympic doping program.
Watch Icarus on Netflix now.
Roll Red Roll
When a young woman gets raped at a preseason high school football party in 2012, the aftermath exposes how a culture of complicity, feelings of denial, and peer pressure led to this horrific event.
Watch Roll Red Roll on Netflix now.
This heartbreaking Oscar-nominated documentary follows the 1992 murder of 24-year-old William Ford Jr., made especially poignant because the filmmaker, Yance Ford, is the victim’s brother. Yance tells the story of how, 25 years ago, racial injustice and a fatal bullet changed the life of his Long Island family forever.
Watch Strong Island on Netflix now.
ReMastered: The Miami Showband Massacre
Netflix’s ReMastered series has been dropping new documentaries set in the music world. Its most recent offering looks at the mysterious murder of three musicians in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and the possibility that the government was involved in the crime.
Watch ReMastered: The Miami Showband Massacre on Netflix now.
The Confession Killer
Henry Lee Lucas, who was thought to be responsible for many murders in the ’80s, shocked authorities when he admitted to being guilty for far more murders than they could prove.
Watch The Confession Killer on Netflix now.
Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator
Bikram Choudhury arrived in America in the early ’70s, introducing a (now) well-known version of yoga called hot yoga. Used by both celebrities and fitness-lovers alike, the yoga practice exploded, leading him to a massive amount of wealth. It wasn’t until the 2010s that sexual abuse cases started rolling in, and the world discovered that Birkham’s practice was nothing more than a scam.
Watch Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator on Netflix now.
Making a Murderer
Filmed over 10 years, this two-season docuseries, produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, follows the case of Steven Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, who were wrongly accused of raping and murdering a woman named Teresa Halbach in 2005. The first season presents the case, while the second season – released three years later – introduces Steven’s new lawyer, as well as the man who have actually murdered Teresa.
Watch Making a Murderer on Netflix now.
Netflix’s docuseries Drug Lords explores the life of some of the world’s top drug lords, from cartel leaders like Colombia’s Pablo Escobar to Cornell Jones and his invention of Washington DC’s open air market.
Watch Drug Lords on Netflix now.
This documentary recounts the well-known case of Amanda Knox, a woman convicted for the 2007 murder of her roommate in Italy, Meredith Kercher, and sentenced to four years in an Italian prison. The film features interviews with Amanda Knox’s ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, and Amanda Knox herself, following the story of Meredith Kercher’s death and Amanda’s eventual acquittal.
Watch Amanda Knox on Netflix now.
The investigative series Dirty Money gives an insider’s look at some of the scams and corruptions that go on inside the world of business.
Watch Dirty Money on Netflix now.
This docuseries examines the unsolved murder of Cathy Cesnik, a Catholic high school teacher and nun from in Baltimore who disappeared in 1969. The case was then reopened in the ’90s, when one of Cathy Cesnik’s former students claimed that the high school’s chaplain may have been involved.
Watch The Keepers on Netflix now.
Discover the viewpoints of victims, families, negotiators, business leaders, government officials, and kidnappers themselves in this suspenseful documentary that details some of history’s most in-depth hostage cases.
Watch Captive on Netflix now.
Olympic champion, David Schultz, was murdered by the heir of the Dupont fortune, John E. Dupont, in 1996. The murder attracted lots of speculation, and Team Foxcatcher takes us behind-the-scenes of the tragic story.
Watch Team Foxcatcher on Netflix now.
Taking place two decades after the murder of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, this documentary records the casting process for a fictional JonBenet film. Interviews with the would-be actors – during which they offer their own insight and speculation – reveals the extent of the obsession surrounding the mysterious case.
Watch Casting JonBenet on Netflix now.
Lessons From a School Shooting
Two priests, one of Newtown, CT, and the other of Dunblane, Scotland, lean on each other for support while diving into discussion about gun reform. The conversation follows the deadly school shootings that took the lives of children in both Newtown and Dunblane.
Watch Lessons From a School Shooting on Netflix now.
The Ivory Game
Dive into the world of Ivory trafficking in this documentary that exposes some of the world’s top poachers and dealers in an effort to save the elephants.
Watch The Ivory Game on Netflix now.
WormWood tells the story of a man who will stop at nothing to solve his father’s mysterious death. After 60 years of searching for answers, the ominous documentary shows the case from every viewpoint imaginable, revealing some of the United State’s darkest secrets.
Watch WormWood on Netflix now.
The Fear of 13
This British documentary follows the story of Nick Yarris, who spent 21 years on death row in Pennsylvania after he was convicted of murder, only to be released in 2004 when DNA evidence proved he was innocent. Yarris is the sole narrator in the film as he talks about his early life, his arrest, and why he eventually petitioned the court to be executed.
Watch The Fear of 13 on Netflix now.
First and Last
Rather than tracking the day-to-day life experiences of prisoners, this docuseries offers a heartbreaking look at the two most pivotal days for individuals at Georgia’s Gwinnett County Jail – their first day and their last. First and Last can be tough to watch at moments, but few shows provide better insight into the American criminal justice system.
Watch First and Last on Netflix now.
Don't F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer
A twisted internet video inspires a group of online viewers to find the man behind it all, before he becomes a threat to society.
Watch Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer on Netflix now.
I Called Him Morgan
This documentary offers an account of the life of jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan and his common-law wife Helen Morgan, who was later convicted for his murder in 1972. Decades after serving her prison sentence for Lee Morgan’s killing, the film allows Helen to reflect on their lives together and the legacy that the musician left behind.
Watch I Called Him Morgan on Netflix now.
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez
Eight-year-old Gabriel Fernandez died due to the abuse of his mother and father. The signs were all there, but somehow the reports slipped through the cracks. The court case brought into question not only the actions of Gabriel’s family, but how the government systems failed to protect him.
Watch The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez on Netflix now.
Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes reveals the disturbing case of notoriously horrific killer Ted Bundy in his own words.
Watch Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes on Netflix now.