Need quality crime documentaries
December 23, 2021 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Basically, I need to never run out of quality MYSTERIOUS or TRUE CRIME documentaries or docuseries, or be in touch w/ the best immediate source for them. Seems like I've seen all the good ones. I can take only a few schlocky ones till I need something like MISSING 411/THE HUNTED, LULA-RICH, CECIL HOTEL, THE JINX, DISAPPEARANCE OF SUSAN COX POWELL, MAKING A MURDERER, etc.

I juggle Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. I hate flashing strobes, "attention-keeping" swipes and sounds, all that crap. ID and Oxygen have some good ones but you have to spend some time checking them out; many are crap. Need mystery most of all. Things like the Don Kemp case (first-ever on 'Unsolved Mysteries') are great! I'm a cord-cutter, just stream.
posted by noelpratt2nd to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Seems like you must have seen this one already but if not, This Is A Robbery on Netflix! About the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum burglary in 1990 and the various (mostly dead-end) investigations over the past 30 years.
posted by mskyle at 3:57 PM on December 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The Imposter is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. I'd describe it except I think it's one of those stories that the less you know going in, the better.

The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley is currently streaming on HBO. There is another doc on Theranos over at ABC as well called The Dropout.
posted by panther of the pyrenees at 3:59 PM on December 23, 2021

Best answer: Reporter Dave Cawley has a podcast series called "Cold" which is excellent. Season One is an in-depth exploration of Susan Cox Powell. Season Two covers Joyce Healy and Doug Lovell. Cawley's coverage is empathic, articulate and intelligent. I don't even normally listen to podcasts, and I was just riveted by both seasons. Cawley's voice is compassionate and soothing. I had heard about Susan Powell's case, but I learned so much more from the series. The Cold Podcast is available on Google, or Amazon or KSL radio.

"This is Monsters" is another really fascinating listen with in-depth analysis of many cases that are fairly well known, but Giles provides additional information. This series is available on YouTube or Google Podcasts.

"Criminally Listed" on YouTube has a huge library of obscure true crime cases. Rob Grimminick's style is sort of "Ken Burns" style narrative where still photos are used to tell the story and the focus is factual and non-sensational. "Into the Killing" is a podcast style series that exclusively covers solved cold cases. Rob does include embedded advertisements in his works, but the amount of work he puts into his narratives is impressive and makes them worth a listen.
posted by effluvia at 4:48 PM on December 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

"The Staircase" (on netflix I think) is pretty good.

So is "The Keepers" (also netflix)

I really enjoyed the new "Unsolved Mysteries" on netflix as well. Less grisly crime, more mystery
posted by bearette at 4:56 PM on December 23, 2021

"I'll Be Gone In the Dark" series on Netflix based on the book by Michelle McNamara is also really engaging, and covers the process of writing the book and the hunt for and capture of The Golden State Killer, James DeAngelo.
posted by effluvia at 5:16 PM on December 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

+1 to The Staircase, it's great and has many twists/turns.

The same people made the earlier Murder on a Sunday Morning, which is a great courtroom/trial documentary.
posted by Mid at 5:32 PM on December 23, 2021

HBO has "McMillions," which describes a guy who rigged the Monopoly game.

Netflix has"How to Fix a Drug Scandal," about crime lab chemists who falsified results. I sort of felt like this deserved a deeper treatment than what it got, but it kept me watching for the four episodes.

I also liked both of the theranos documentaries.

If podcasts are an option, Over My Dead Body (each season is a different case, the second one is Joe Exotic) and Dr. Death (bad doctors) have a few seasons each. They're both by Wondery, who have some other mystery/true crime/scandal types shows.
posted by ghost phoneme at 5:36 PM on December 23, 2021

Response by poster: I wish I had a thousand like 'The Staircase.'
posted by noelpratt2nd at 5:37 PM on December 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

podcast, theranos, bad blood
posted by j_curiouser at 6:08 PM on December 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

If we're including podcasts, I'd also like to recommend The White Saviors, an investigative series looking at alleged fraud in one of Canada's largest charities.
posted by panther of the pyrenees at 6:19 PM on December 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

I don't know how hard it is to find but I really enjoyed the doc The Imposter. It's the true story of a French con man who convinced a Texas family that he was their missing 13 year old son.
posted by hoodrich at 10:35 PM on December 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Netflix also has The Disappearance of Madeline McCann, which I binged.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:55 AM on December 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: One thing you may want to do is check out the archives of the True Crime Obsessed podcast. They do recaps of true crime documentaries, so even if the podcast isn’t your thing, the archives will give you some good ideas.

Two documentaries that I’ve recently liked were Murder Among the Mormons and Class Action Park. But I’ve found a lot of good ones through that podcast.
posted by lunasol at 9:06 AM on December 24, 2021

If you are up for listening to detectives question suspects and a withering analysis of the methods of the cat and mouse between them, try "Jim Can't Swim" on YouTube. The episodes are often really long, but have tens of millions of views. Here are a few of the most recent interrogations:

Nicolas Cruz, Parkland School Massacre, and his claim of "insanity"

Jodi Arias, murdered Travis Alexander, and her claim that "a masked couple"...

Casey Anthony, and her claim "Zanny the Nanny" took her daughter.

It is chilling to watch the psychology unfold in real time, and interesting to see the detectives get information from them.
posted by effluvia at 9:47 AM on December 24, 2021

Sophie: a murder in West Cork was very good
posted by crocomancer at 9:53 AM on December 24, 2021

Check out the podcast Crime Writers On if you don't already listen. They (a panel of four) review two true crime podcasts or documentaries a week. It's one of my favorite sources for discovering new things to watch or listen to.

(And if you like the podcast, they have a FB group, where people are always recommending podcasts and documentaries, since two a week isn't enough.)
posted by daikon at 10:51 AM on December 24, 2021

Evil Genius on Netflix is great.

Autopsy on HBO has a ton of episodes and is pretty interesting to watch. The series started in the 90s, so some of the footage looks dated, but the content is interesting.

I haven't seen it yet, but my friend highly recommends Trial By Media on netflix.
posted by hydra77 at 12:54 PM on December 24, 2021

Response by poster: I've seen most all the mentions on from the streaming services. I listen to several podcasts and thanks for the suggestions, will check them out. Amanda Knox and Madeleine McC were great. Saw an 'Exhumed' last night, pretty respectable. I think my very favorite was '411 Missing: The Hunted.'
posted by noelpratt2nd at 8:37 AM on December 25, 2021

I could have asked this question!

As I live in Europe, I had to resort to less reputable sources to find it, but the HBO documentary series (3 parts) Paradise Lost has been one of my favourites.
posted by Captain Fetid at 7:50 AM on December 26, 2021

"Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer" was not an easy watch (obviously), but it was less grisly and more about the investigative process than we can expected. Highly recommended, we watched it in 2 nights.

"beyond reasonable doubt" (HBO Max) was really well done. It only got one season, but it’s probably our favorite true crime series. "The case the haunts me" (ID), about Canadian cases, was also really well done.
posted by joycehealy at 2:13 PM on December 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

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