The 12 Best Netflix True-Crime Docs, from ‘The Mind of Aaron Hernandez’ to ‘The Confession Killer’
From bone-chilling podcasts to mind-boggling documentaries, our true-crime obsession is at an all-time high. So if you’ve already watched every single episode of Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez and don’t think anything else could compare to its binge-worthiness, keep reading for 11 other hidden Netflix true-crime gems.
1. ‘Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez’
It might not be considered “hidden,” but it’s worth a mention. Aaron Hernandez shocked the world when he went from budding NFL star to convicted killer. The docuseries features interviews with friends, family and players, who examine the chain of events that led to his demise. *Adds to queue*
2. ‘The Confession Killer’
Meet Henry Lee Lucas, a serial killer who confessed to more than 600 murders. Although there was no hard evidence linking him to the victims, Lucas recalled gruesome details about the crimes that weren’t known to the general public, resulting in his conviction. When modern DNA testing contradicts his claims, police begin to wonder: Was Lucas telling the truth?
3. ‘Abducted in Plain Sight’
This doc can be summed up in three easy words: Trust no one. When a friendly neighbor manipulates the parents of a young girl into letting him kidnap their daughter, you’d bet a million dollars that the parents wouldn’t fall for it again…until they do.
4. ‘Long Shot’
The 40-minute documentary introduces viewers to Juan Catalan, a young man who’s on a mission to prove he’s innocent of murder. So he does what no defendant has done before and obtains footage from a popular TV show in an attempt to solidify his alibi. (Fun fact: The Los Angeles Dodgers played a big role in his case.)
5. ‘The 43’
In 2014, forty-three students from Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College planning a political protest in Iguala, Mexico, went missing. This docuseries disputes—to chilling effect—the Mexican government’s account of how and why they vanished.
6. ‘The Investigator: A British Crime Story’
Renowned criminologist Mark Williams-Thomas uses his 11 years of police training to reexamine a string of mysterious murders. With two seasons currently streaming on Netflix, you’ll be investigating alongside the detectives in no time. (The British accents are just icing on the cake.)
If you’ve ever been curious about MKUltra—the CIA mind-control program—this is a must-watch. Directed by Errol Morris (American Dharma), the docudrama is as genre-bending as it is mind-bending, using Oscar-worthy reenactments like you’ve never seen before to explore the mysterious death of a U.S. scientist entangled in the secret Cold War initiative.
8. ‘The Keepers’
In 1969, Sister Cathy Cesnik (a beloved nun and Catholic high school teacher) went missing and was never seen again. Although her body was recovered two months later, her murder remains unsolved to this day. This is her unsettling story.
9. ‘Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes’
Ted Bundy is one of America’s most notorious serial killers. Oscar-nominated director Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory) offers a never-before-seen look at the case, using archived footage and audio recordings from when Bundy was on death row. The four-part series features more than a hundred hours of interviews, so buckle up.
10. ‘The Innocent Man’
The documentary reintroduces viewers to the controversial ’80s case that shook the small town of Ada, Oklahoma. Inspired by the namesake book by John Grisham, the six-part series examines new evidence that is making everyone question whether they got the right people or if the real killers are still at large.
11. ‘ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke’
You probably remember Sam Cooke for his huge soul hits, including “A Change Is Gonna Come” and “Chain Gang.” But this documentary explores how the crooner’s outspoken views on civil rights might have led to his untimely death at age 33. This reexamination of one of the 20th century’s most iconic talent’s life and death is undoubtedly a must-watch.
12. ‘Strong Island’
Rewind to April 1992, when a 24-year-old African American teacher named William Ford Jr. was murdered by a white male. Although Ford was unarmed, he immediately became a suspect in his own murder. Strong Island tells his story, along with how racism shaped the upsetting outcome of the case.