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9 True Crime Documentaries on Netflix I Recommend

I mentioned in post before how much of a true crime addict I can be.
It is a genre I enjoy watching ever since. I enjoy the twists and turns of an actual crime and the details that surrounds “who-did-what”.
Today I’d like to share to you the 9 True Crime Documentaries on Netflix I Recommend. If you are a true crime obsessed like me you will surely enjoy each and every documentary on this list.
Let’s begin.

1. Making a Murderer

Making a Murderer is the true crime documentary that started my obsession. It was the first true crime documentary I watched after my eldest sister lend me her Netflix account. You can read the rant here.
From Wikipedia, Making a Murderer explores the story of Steven Avery, who served 18 years in prison for the wrongful conviction of sexual assault and attempted murder of Penny Beerntsen, before being fully exonerated in 2003 by DNA evidence. He filed a suit against the county on this case.
In 2005, Avery was arrested on charges of murdering Teresa Halbach, a local photographer, and was convicted in 2007. The series also covers the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of Avery's nephew, Brendan Dassey, who was also charged in the murder, largely based on his confession under interrogation.
Number of Episodes: 10
Length per Episode: 45 – 65 minutes

What to love about this documentary:
The way the documentary was directed and executed is soooo amazing. It will definitely hunt you to the core. If you are looking for a documentary that you won’t stop watching from episode to episode then this is it! Making a Murderer will keep you guessing and researching as to what really happened and whether Steven Avery is innocent or not.

Related Read: My List of Best Korean Drama Series - as of May 2017


2. Josef Fritzl: Story of a Monster

I saw this documentary because it was a basis for Room, a well-awarded movie based on the book of the same name.
Here’s a full overview of the crime he did from Wikipedia,
The Fritzl case emerged in April 2008 when a woman named Elisabeth Fritzl (born 6 April 1966) told police in the town of Amstetten, Austria, that she had been held captive for 24 years behind eight locked doors in a concealed corridor part of the basement area of the large family house by her father, Josef Fritzl (born 9 April 1935).
Fritzl had physically assaulted, sexually abused, and raped her numerous times during her imprisonment. The abuse by her father resulted in the birth of seven children: three of them remained in captivity with their mother, one had died just days after birth, and the other three were brought up by Fritzl and his wife, Rosemarie, having been reported as foundlings.
Number of Episodes: 1 full-length documentary.
Length: 45 mins

What to love about the documentary:
Josef Fritzl is a monster! Imagine he kept his own daughter at the basement and sexually abused her even to the point of impregnating her with seven children! You can just imagine what I felt while watching the documentary. I can still remember the disgust and rage I felt. What’s good about this documentary was the story telling. Pointed interviews and rare footage were made available.

3. Casting JonBenet

Casting JonBenet is documentary film about the death of JonBenet Ramsey and the impact it left behind.

The documentary is actually a casting process fictional film where auditionees, who are from the same area where the crime happened, were tested to reenact the scenes from the crime. They were also interviewed as to what they think really happened.
Here’s the summary of what happened to JonBenet;
JonBenét Patricia Ramsey (August 6, 1990 – December 25 or 26, 1996) was an American child beauty queen who was killed in her family's home in Boulder, Colorado. A lengthy handwritten ransom note was found in the house, and JonBenét's father John found her body in the basement of their house about eight hours after she was reported missing. She sustained a broken skull from a blow to the head and had been strangled; a garrote was found tied around her neck.

The autopsy report stated that the official cause of death was "asphyxia by strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma". Her death was ruled a homicide. The case generated nationwide public and media interest, in part because her mother Patsy Ramsey (herself a former beauty queen) had entered JonBenét in a series of child beauty pageants. The crime is still unsolved and remains an open investigation with the Boulder Police Department.

Number of Episodes: 1 full-length documentary.
Length: 80 mins

What to love about the documentary:
Casting JonBenet follows a different approach to the other documentaries. It is not as intense and somewhat enjoyable to watch until the end. The fact that the murder of JonBenet still remains as unsolved until today will make you think as to what could have happened. You will start asking who truly the killer is.


4. Evil Genius

This documentary is not about murder. It showcases the biggest and most evil genius bank heist in America about the high-profile 2003 incident often referred to as the "collar bomb" or "pizza bomber" case.
In 2003, Brian Wells allegedly participated in the planning for the robbery, which included him wearing a fake bomb. Wells found the plot had changed, as he learned that the bomb was real. He had to follow a set of instructions almost like a treasure hunt to find the key that will unlock the “collar bomb”.
He was arrested by the police who initially did not attempt to disarm the device. Just three minutes before the bomb squad arrived, the bomb detonated and blasted a fist-sized hole in Wells's chest, killing him almost instantly. The event was broadcasted on television and the footage subsequently found its way to video-sharing sites.

Number of Episodes: 4
Length: 3 hours and 11 minutes for the whole episodes.

What to love about the documentary:
This documentary is just pure genius! You will surely watch it until the end to really know what happened next. I love the sudden plot twist in the story, you will never really know who did it.

Related Read: Which Classic Pinoy Movies Have You Watched?

5. November 13: Attack on Paris
Here’s another rather different documentary. If you are familiar on the attack on Paris in 2015 or you have heard and read about it, this documentary will share to you what really happened.
The people that were interviewed for the documentary were the first responders to the attack, fire and police officers as well as nurses. Survivors were also interviewed as well as politicians.
In November 13, three groups of men launched six distinct attacks on Paris: three suicide bombings in one attack, a fourth suicide bombing in another attack, and shootings at four locations in four separate attacks.
Shootings were reported in the vicinity of the rue Alibert, the rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi, the rue de Charonne, the Bataclan theatre, and avenue de la République.
Three explosions occurred near the Stade de France, another on boulevard Voltaire, and two of the Bataclan shooters also detonated their suicide vests as police ended the stand-off.
According to the Paris prosecutor, the attackers wore suicide vests that used acetone peroxide as an explosive.
Number of Episodes: 3
Length per Episode: 45 minutes

What to love about the documentary:
Before watching this documentary I didn’t know the attack on Paris was that massive. I only know it was a terrorist attack on one of the most powerful nation in the world. Watching how the survivors tell the story on what happened before and during the attacks was an emotional roller-coaster ride.

6. The Confession Tapes

The Confession Tapes is a collection of six cases of possible false confessions leading to murder convictions of the featured people. These cases involves lack of evidence, psychological tactics, and coerced confessions.
Here’s a summary of the six featured stories:
  • Episodes 1 and 2 is about the 1994 murder of both of Atif Rafay’s parents and sister. Atif became the prime suspect along with friend Sebastian Burns. Both teens have strong alibi but an interrogation technique was used to them which led to their confessions. They were found guilty and were sentenced to life in prison but still remains their innocence up to this day.
  • Episode 3 is about the 1997 murder of Teresa Haught in a night club that was burned down. Wesley Myers was accused for the crime after hours of interrogation. He provided three different types of confession: one in writing, one on tape, and one in front of the television reporter. He said his confession was false but still found guilty.
  • Episode 4 is about the 2002 fire that burned down a house in the small town of Michigan which killed a 14-year old boy. Investigators extracted a confession from the mother and was convicted to first-degree murder. She continues to claim her confession was false.
  • Episode 5 is about the story of Catherine Fuller who was brutally raped, robbed and murdered in Washington D.C. in 1984. A main witness emerged with low IQ and learning disability and led to the arrest of seventeen people where only 8 were found guilty.
  • Episode 6 is about the Labor Day Murder of 2000 wherein an owner and an employee of an auto salvage were murdered. The nephew of one of the slain men, Buddy Woodwall confessed to the crime but that he only helped David Wimberly to carry out the murder. Due to lack of evidence, Wimberly was freed but Woodwall was convicted.
  • Episode 7 is about Lawrence DeLisle story. DeLisle was driving his Ford LTD station wagon along with his wife and four children when the car hit the water. All four children drowned and died. DeLisle originally claims that his leg cramped, causing him to lose control of the vehicle, but later confesses during an interrogation his attorney would later liken to hypnosis. He was then charged of the crime.
Number of Episodes: 7
Length per Episode: 45 minutes

What to love about the documentary:
What’s good about The Confession Tapes is that it involves six different cases in one. Each of the case presents a different plot twist to think about. You will be caught in a question whether they really did it or not. This is like a mini episode of Making of a Murderer where each side of case is well-presented.


7. India’s Daughter

The documentary is based on the Delhi gang rape, an incident that occurred on 16 December 2012 in South Delhi. The victim, Jyoti Singh, watched the film Life of Pi with a male friend, Awindra Pratap Pandey, after which they boarded a privately run bus to return home.
She was assaulted and gang raped on the bus; her friend was also physically assaulted during the incident. Both of them were subsequently thrown from the bus. She received emergency treatment including several surgeries in India and Singapore but died on 29 December 2012 due to the serious nature of the injuries she sustained in the assault.
Number of Episodes: 1 full-length film
Length: 58 minutes

What to love about the documentary:
I will never forget Jyoti’s story, what happened to her and the impact it made to the people in India. What’s good about the documentary is that it presented all the things you need to know about the event. You will feel all sorts of emotion over the whole hour of watching.
8. Amanda Knox
Amanda Knox is another great true crime documentary on Netflix.

It focuses on the story of Amanda Knox, who spent almost four years in an Italian prison accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher on November 1, 2007. Knox, then a 20 year old exchange student, had spent the night with her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito; upon returning to the flat she shared with Kercher, she discovered her dead.
Number of Episodes: 1 full-length film
Length: 1 hour and 32 minutes

What to love about the documentary:
Before watching this documentary I have no idea who Amanda Knox was. I have no prior knowledge of her story.

It was nice that this documentary explored the trial, conviction and acquittal of Amanda Knox because you will get a sufficient grasp of what happened. Although there are still open questions as to what truly happened to the victim, Meredith Kercher.

9. The Staircase

The Staircase is the most recent true crime documentary I watched. It was just recently released on Netflix and I’m glad I watched it.

The documentary reminds me so much of Making a Murderer wherein the footage from crime, trial as well as stories from those involved were shown brilliantly.

Here’s what The Staircase is about:

In December 2001, novelist Michael Peterson called to report that his wife Kathleen had fallen down a set of stairs and died. The authorities disbelieved Peterson's story that Kathleen had fallen while drunk and concluded instead that Peterson had bludgeoned her to death, most likely with a fireplace poker which was discovered missing from the house.

Peterson was soon charged with murder and the film details the ensuing case from the point of view of Peterson and his defense team, led by David Rudolf.

During the trial it is discovered that while Peterson was living in Germany a family friend of his died from an intra-cerebral hemorrhage followed by the body falling down stairs after collapsing which resulted in similar head injuries to those sustained by Peterson's wife.

Number of Episodes: 13
Length: 45 minutes

What to love about the documentary:

This documentary features one of the most bizarre crime story I’ve ever heard or read. Imagine a wife fallen down the stairs with an injury similar to that of someone who had been murdered.

What’s shocking was that the same scenario happened years ago to a woman close to the suspect, found at the bottom of the staircase, soaking in a pool of blood.

This documentary will keep you awake thinking of what really happened. It is such a good documentary I will definitely rewatch soon!

That's it for my current list!

Are you a fan of true crime documentaries too?

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