10 True Crime Documentaries to Watch (or Re-Watch) While Self-Isolating
1. Tiger King
Part true crime documentary, part exposé on a lifestyle few have ever seen, there’s good reason Tiger King became a cultural phenomenon. Whether you think Carole Baskin killed her husband or not, this one is absolutely worth a watch or two.
2. The Jinx
This series did what all other true crime documentaries only dream of doing. It solved the case. Well, maybe. TBD. Either way, Robert Durst mumbling, “Killed them all, of course” never ceases to be chilling.
3. Don’t F*** With Cats
How many true crime lovers don’t also fancy themselves armchair detectives? In Don’t F*** With Cats, you get to watch a group of regular people solve a crime from behind their computer screens and realize along with them that torturing cats was only the beginning.
4. Flint Town
The lives and stories of police officers tend to get drowned out in the true crime world. But this series on the officers of Flint, Michigan is so action packed and filled with heart that you’ll wonder why there aren’t more documentaries like this one.
5. The Inventor
In retrospect the idea seems ridiculous. How could anyone possibly believe that you could run dozens of medical tests using one drop of blood on a machine that’s half the size of a small end table? But people believed and in the end they paid. Big time.
6. Fyre Fraud: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
There are two competing documentaries about the Fyre Festival, an event that went so far off the rails it resulted in criminal and civil litigation. While the Hulu documentary is good, the Netflix documentary wins out for me.
It’s the only one that will, among other things, bring you an unbelievable scene where a guy named Andy explains that he was prepared to “take one for the team” in order to get water for the festival. Whichever one you choose, the footage of gorgeous beaches alone is worth the re-watch if you haven’t left your house in awhile.
7. Evil Genius
A pizza delivery guy walks into a bank with a bomb around his neck. No, that’s not the setup for a bizarre joke. Instead, it’s only the beginning of this immersive series that makes you question everything and everyone.
8. The Staircase
Was it the husband or a wayward owl? With all the twists and turns you need to re-watch this classic about a novelist accused of killing his wife. And now the series has even more episodes than when it originally aired in 2004.
A great documentary needs a catchy story and interesting characters. McMillions has both in spades. The story of how a group of mobsters and regular people scammed the McDonalds Monopoly games for years is fascinating on its own. When you bring in characters like FBI agent Doug Matthews, the result is pure gold.
10. O.J. Made in America
Everyone knows something about the story of O.J. Simpson and the murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. But this Oscar-winning series will give you so much more than you ever thought possible of the trial that became a cultural phenomenon. It’s a story of race, media exploitation and celebrity. It’s a masterpiece worth seeing again and again.
-Cheyna Roth, author of Cold Cases: A True Crime Collection