5 Documentaries to Satisfy your True Crime Cravings

The interest in true crime has exploded in recent years, thanks, in large part, to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and all the streaming services out there that consistently provide us with batches of fresh content. While the general public have always enjoyed the macabre (with shows like CSI and Criminal Minds proving to be long-running favourites), true crime really seemed to explode into the mainstream with Netflix’s Making a Murderer, back in 2015 - we all remember how big it was. Since then, we’ve been positively spoilt with the number of factual documentaries, both series and films, that delve into the darker side of human nature. Here are five of what I consider to be the best…

1. Lorena (2019)

Lorena is a four-part series that follows Lorena Bobbitt’s 1993 trial for the assault of her husband, John Bobbitt. It was a story, and a case, sensationalised around the world. Why? Because she chopped off his penis, with a knife, while he slept.

Now, surely this kind of thing doesn’t just happen, right? Lorena claimed that John Bobbitt, while married to her, had abused her physically, verbally, and sexually. She’d attacked him because she’d snapped. Enough was enough.

The story goes rather deep, following John’s trial, and even taking a look into further allegations made against him by other women. It’s a wild ride.

Check it out on Amazon Prime.

2. The Keepers (2017)

The Keepers is a truly heartfelt series about the rampant abuse within Catholic institutions, the murder of a nun, and the solidarity between those who want justice.

Sister Catherine Cesnik was a teacher at the Archbishop Keough High School in Baltimore before her untimely death in 1969. She was well loved by her students, who, decades later, are the very women featured in the documentary investigating her murder.

The kicker? Cesnik had suspicions that some of the priests, specifically Joseph Maskell, was sexually abusing the girls at the school. She had no proof, but she was looking into the matter during the time she was murdered. It’s almost as if someone wanted to make sure she stayed quiet about the abuse – someone like the very priests she suspected.

The Keepers is currently on Netflix.

3. Evil Genius: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist (2018)

There’s really nothing quite like Evil Genius. The series documents the bizarre 2003 murder of pizzeria employee Brian Wells, and the subsequent investigation into the diabolical plot that killed him.

The plot involved Wells delivering a pizza to a particular spot, where he claimed to have been jumped, and had a collar bomb strapped around his neck. He was then sent to rob a bank, the bomb detonating, thus killing him, shortly after.

The whole thing was almost certainly orchestrated by perhaps the strangest duo you’ll ever meet – Bill Rothstein and Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong. The show focuses primarily on Diehl-Armstrong but looks at a host of others who could have played a part.

Why did it happen? The short answer is money. The question we might never know the answer to, however, is whether or not Brian Wells himself was a willing participant.

You can find Evil Genius on Netflix.

4. Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer (2020)

Ever since Bundy’s capture in 1975 and the explosive trial that followed, there have been countless books, films and documentaries made about him and his crimes. He’s perhaps the most talked-about serial killer in history, with the victims all too often fading into the background.

So, while this documentary is certainly about him in a sense, it’s refreshing to see someone take a deeper look at the girls who suffered at his hands. Not only do we find out more about them, we see interviews with their families – mothers, sisters and friends who are all still grieving for their lost loved ones.

Primarily, though, the show looks at Bundy’s long-term girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall, and her daughter, Molly. They share their memories and experiences with Bundy before, during, and after his horrific murder spree. Fascinating stuff.

Another great series on Amazon Prime.

5. The Confession Tapes (2017)

First, I feel I ought to give a word of warning for this series; it will make you angry. It will make you want to scream and throw your computer. It’s tough on the emotions, as it should be.

The Confession Tapes looks at several different cases involving possible false confessions – confessions that then led to murder convictions. Investigators are shown using controversial, and even illegal, techniques to extract these confessions – holding and interrogating the suspects for hours, threatening them, and keeping them from calling a lawyer.

The bad practice of some law enforcement departments in America is astounding, and is exactly how so many wrongful convictions happen. This series is unforgiving in its portrayal of the law’s abuse of power, and those who suffer for it.

The Confession Tapes is currently on Netflix.

What do you think of the documentaries featured on this list? Which is your favourite? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or via our Twitter or Facebook pages!

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