The best true crime documentaries to stream for a harrowing watch

From 'Conversations with a Killer' to 'Angels and Demons'

shots from the best true crime documentaries
(Image credit: Curt Borgwardt/Sygma via Getty Images + Netflix)

Like it or not, our obsession with true crime only appears to be growing. 

From stories on remorseless killers, power-hungry corporate tycoons and twisted cult leaders, the best true crime on streaming services has anything you can imagine, but be warned, the material is not for the faint of heart.


The best true crime documentaries to stream now

1. 'Abducted in Plain Sight' (2018)

  • Where to watch: Netflix

Sometimes, the people you'd least suspect of wrongdoing are the ones responsible for the greatest damage. That was the case for actor Jan Broberg, who was kidnapped and brainwashed twice by Robert Berchtold, a man who was practically like a second father to her. But how could such wicked deeds unfold right before her parents' eyes? Skye Borgman gets to the bottom of it all in her viral documentary, Abducted in Plain Sight. A Friend of the Family, a new fictionalized take on Broberg's experience, is now streaming on Peacock.

2. 'Conversations with a Killer' (2019-present)

  • Where to watch: Netflix

Joe Berlinger's series taps into archival footage with the world's most notorious murderers. Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes comes on the heels of Ryan Murphy's fictionalized series for Netflix starring Evan Peters. We hear from Dahmer's attorney, who was 25 years old and straight out of law school at the time of the case—a real-life Clarice Starling. 

3. 'House of Hammer' (2022)

  • Where to watch: Discovery+ 

Where is Armie Hammer now? After the explosive tell-all House of Hammerwith appearances from the actor's aunt, Casey Hammer—it's clear the Hollywood heavyweight is disgraced from the entertainment world and beyond. 

The Call Me By Your Name star came under major scrutiny when abuse allegations against him erupted in early 2021. Alleged texts, voice memos and personal anecdotes from the actor's former girlfriends were revealed in the project, and they were downright terrifying. But if you ask Casey, none of this comes as a surprise. 

"If you believe in making deals with the devil, the Hammers are top of the totem pole. Every generation of my family has been involved with dark misdeeds. And it just gets worse, and worse and worse," she said. 

4. 'The Tinder Swindler' (2022)

  • Where to watch: Netflix

The Tinder Swindler made plenty of women swipe right, but after the serial dater and scammer's true intentions surfaced, the jig was up. Simon Leviev, whose real name is Shimon Hayut, managed to con those he pursued online out of roughly $10 million. (And you thought your coffee date went poorly.) 

5. 'I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth Vs. Michelle Carter' (2019)

  • Where to watch: HBO Max

High school junior Michelle Carter met Conrad Roy while on vacation in Florida, and from there, the two Massachusetts natives began a romance. Things took a turn when Carter incessantly encouraged her boyfriend to end his life via text message, something he claimed he wanted to do. Where does responsibility lie in this case: with the one who committed the act, or the one who supported the unthinkable behavior?

6. 'Keep Sweet Pray and Obey' (2022)

  • Where to watch: Netflix

Warren Jeffs, head of the FLDS, was ultimately sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years for his abusive leadership, which included polygamy and abusing underage girls. Now, survivors of the polygamous sect have sat down in Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey to discuss the group's unimaginable ways. 

Does FLDS still exist? Despite all of the harrowing information that has come to light, there are people who still believe that Jeffs is the one true prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, an off-shoot of Mormonism.

7. 'Girl in the Picture' (2022)

  • Where to watch: Netflix

The Sharon Marshall case, the focus of Girl in the Picture, is unimaginable in every sense of the word, and it's as confusing as it is heartbreaking. 

In short, Franklin Floyd kidnapped Sharon Marshall, whose real name was Suzanne Marie Sevakis, and raised her as his own. Throughout her 20 years, he sexually abused the young girl, gave her multiple aliases, denied her an education, forced her into exotic dancing, married her and, eventually, took her life. 

8. 'The Inventor: Out for Blood' (2019)

  • Where to watch: HBO Max

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes sparked curiosity when she attempted to revolutionize blood testing, a noble quest that is difficult not to support. However, when the mechanisms behind her fraudulent business came to light, the young billionaire's company, and life, quickly turned upside down.

9. 'The Hunting Ground' (2015)

  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Tackling a sensitive yet necessary topic, The Hunting Ground focuses on the rise of rape and sexual assault on college campuses, which simply cannot be tolerated or ignored.

10. 'WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn' (2021)

  • Where to watch: Hulu

Was the ultra-successful co-working undertaking just that, or was there a motive behind founder Adam Neumann's plans? This documentary takes a deep dive. 

11. 'Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives' (2022)

  • Where to watch: Netflix

In Bad Vegan, Netflix follows the story of Sarma Melngailis, a New York City restauranteur who's life unravels when she falls for Shane Fox (né Anthony Strangis). Strangis, who perused the restaurant owner via Twitter, made bizarre promises to the author and chef, including keeping Melngailis' dog alive for all eternity and ridding her of money problems, when it turn he used her success to fuel his gambling addiction.

12. 'Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer'

  • Where to watch: Netflix

1980s was a dangerous place to be with a serial killer on the loose, but Night Stalker focuses on the detective and homicide investigator who attempt to take him down.

13. 'The Vow' (2020)

  • Where to watch: HBO Max

This two-part docu-series focuses on the NXIVM cult and its leader, Keith Raniere, who was found guilty of multiple crimes, including human trafficking, sex offenses and fraud.

14. 'The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness' (2021)

  • Where to watch: Netflix

Couples venturing out in New York City at night had to watch their backs, as an unknown killer targeted many young pairs. The random attacks were soon connected, and authorities discovered the one behind the Sons of Sam killings.

15. 'Victoria's Secret: Angels and Demons' (2022)

  • Where to watch: Hulu

The controversial brand faced its ups and downs throughout the years, but, the luxurious facade has faded.  

"There's a number of red flags...and so many questions," we hear in the trailer of Angels and Demons

The man behind Victoria's Secret's success—billionaire Leslie Wexner—had close ties to Jeffrey Epstein and ultimately ran a company that was known for demeaning behavior, sexual harassment and misogyny.

16. 'Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel' (2020)

  • Where to watch: Netflix

What really happened to Elisa Lam at the Cecil Hotel? How did she end up in the water tank atop of the Skid Row building? Was a mental condition or a wicked crime to blame? It appears the Cecil Hotel elevator footage will never give us closure.

17. 'Love Fraud' (2020)

  • Where to watch: Showtime

Perhaps an influence for the Tinder Swindler, Richard Scott Smith conned the women he began to meet while online dating.  

18. 'Don't F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer' (2019)

  • Where to watch: Netflix

This series follows an online manhunt for Luka Magnotta, a pornographer who gained a moment of viral spotlight for killing his two kittens in a video. That led to his murder of an international student, Jun Lin. 

19. 'The Sinfluencer of Soho' from '20/20' (2021)

  • Where to watch: ABC

Was Anna Sorokin released

The dust from the Netflix hit Inventing Anna has settled, and it seems people have turned their attention away from fake German heiress, Anna Delvey (born Anna Sorokin). But the wannabe artist—who swindled New York City's elite out of thousands—has returned. 

Though she claims she wants to make right now that her time in prison has come to an end, this look at her story proves how greed can take over.

20. 'Our Father' (2022)

  • Where to watch: Netflix

Fertility specialist Dr. Donald Cline didn't warn his many patients that he'd been using his sperm for their treatments. What happens when a woman's at-home DNA test revealed that she had half-siblings she didn't even know about...and the jig is up?

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.