True Crime is my favourite genre to read, watch and listen to. But let’s be real here – the genre has officially reached saturation point.
With help from Netflix, the True Crime genre went from being a niche genre that you wouldn’t dream of discussing with anyone in case they thought you were a psychopath, to being some of the most discussed documentaries, docuseries and podcasts in the office. In many ways, this is the dream for a True Crime lover; there’s certainly no lack of choice and you no longer have to hide your ‘strange’ interest in crime. However, it has led to having to weed out the mediocre ones. To save you some time, here are some of the ones I deem worthy of watching – some on Netflix and some not.
The Innocent Man (2018)
The Innocent Man was added to Netflix not long after Making a Murderer 2, which meant it gained way less attraction than it should have. As good as Making a Murderer was back in 2015 when it first came out, there are far better, less hyped series with more intricate back-stories that I would recommend – like The Innocent Man. It’s about two murders (separate but possibly linked) that occur in small town Ada, Oklahoma in the 1980s.
Two different men are charged and jailed for the murders, who, hence the title, claim to be innocent. Throughout the series we are shown reasons why they couldn’t have possibly done it and conspiracy theories about police corruption that could have led to them being framed. This series sounds like any other of that genre but it is of such high standard with clear evidence pointing to the innocence of the men that it will leave you researching the case for hours afterwards.
On Netflix: Yes
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (2015)
The Jinx is a mini-series produced in 2015 by HBO. This six-part series documents the strange past of Robert Durst, the disappearance of his wife, the murder of his neighbour and murder of his friend. It has an epic, shock-ending making it what I believe to be one of the greatest pieces of filmed True Crime. Robert Durst’s story is bizarre enough alone to make it binge-worthy but that combined with the production values make it a stand-out docuseries in the history of the genre.
On Netflix: No
Shadow of Truth (2016)
Another docuseries that I don’t think got the attention it should have is Shadow of Truth. The reason for this one, though, could be because it’s in Hebrew & Russian so it’s subtitled. Subtitles personally don’t bother me and can actually make me focus on the series more, as long as I’m not tired. So if you can stick them out, I’d highly recommend it. Shadow of Truth is unlike any docuseries I’ve seen for many reasons. The main being it’s Israeli; a 13-year-old girl was murdered in school and there are so many turns that make you question what actually happened and who murdered her. It’s a horribly tragic story that will leave you enraged and frustrated.
On Netflix: Yes
The Last Defense (2018)
The Last Defense is a docuseries executively produced and with opening-credits narrated by Viola Davis, staying true to her crime show roots. This series focuses on the American justice system and death row. It explores the separate cases of Darlie Routier (4 episodes) and Julius Jones (3 episodes) – both who are on death row for crimes they claim not to have committed.
Darlie is on death row for murdering her two sons. Darlie was sleeping one night when in her account, an intruder broke in and stabbed both her and her sons while her husband was sleeping upstairs. Darlie survived but her sons did not make it. From reading about the case online, Darlie’s story seems to have the public’s opinion split. Some say there is little doubt surrounding her guilt, others say the media’s portrayal of Darlie caused an unfair trial.
Julius Jones, former student at the University of Oklahoma is on death row for shooting dead a white business man during an alleged car-jacking. The only witness identified Julius as the killer by the red bandana he was wearing. His alibi was that he was at home with his family at the time but it wasn’t enough to keep him off of death row. Julius was a 19-year-old black male at the time of the murder and race was also a big issue in his case.
I’d highly recommend The Last Defense not just for the crime aspect, but also for the flaws in the American justice system. This docuseries will certainly leave you with an opinion on the death penalty if you didn’t have one before.
On Netflix: No