The best true crime on Netflix focuses on a plethora of evil doings: conning, murdering, abusing. It's a far cry from shows like Bridgerton and, frankly, not for the faint of heart.
UW Medicine claims we're fascinated by true crime series because they're compelling and cathartic, but that doesn't mean the genre is right for everyone.
Before you start your marathon, do be warned that these stories deal with heavy subject matter. If you want to know more about some of the most infamous criminal cases in the world, read on.
The best true crime on Netflix to watch now:
1. 'Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey'
Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey is one of the latest documentaries to join the canon of Netflix true crime offerings, and it's definitely not an easy watch.
The four-part series is a harrowing recount of the polygamous FLDS cult under Warren Jeffs, the self-proclaimed "one true prophet" who made it a living hell for those under his power. From oppressive garments to hourly prayers, "bad trainings" (sexual acts) and kidnapped and trafficked children, the group shut its members off to the outside world and exposed them to a terrifying lifestyle.
"It happens to everybody, eventually," one victim states in the trailer. "You will come around and see the light, and go, 'What the f***?'"
2. 'Girl in the Picture'
Who is Sharon Marshall? And Tonya Hughes? How about Suzanne Marie Sevakis? Well, they're actually all one in the same, but it takes quite awhile for everyone to figure that out.
The twists, turns and horror all thanks to the evil mastermind, Franklin Floyd. The convict kidnapped his step-daughter Suzanne and her half-siblings Allison, Amy and Philip Brandenburg, while their mother, Sandi Chipman, served a 30-day sentence for writing a bad check.
If you think that sounds bad enough, that's just the start: Floyd sexually abused the young girl when she was as young as 4 years old. He denied her a college education and even forced her to work as an exotic dancer to help him earn money. To make matters even more complicated and horrifying, Floyd changed his name to Clarence Hughes and Sevakis' as Tonya Hughes in 1989, claiming his daughter was now his wife.
Eventually, the story ends with not one, but three horrifying murders.
3. 'Worst Roommate Ever'
Home should be a safe space, but Worst Roommate Ever, Netflix's latest true crime binge, proves it can be anything but
The documentary follows the story of K.C. Joy, Dorothea Puente, Youssef Khater and Jamison Bachman, all of whom conned their tenants into terrible living situations. We're not talking about dirty dishes and messy closets: these infamous names are known for murder, squatting and scamming.
Whenever looking for a new place to live, always get a second opinion—this show is proof that you can never be too cautious.
4. 'Catching Killers'
Oftentimes true crime stories follow the victim's families, who recount the awful tragedies they endured, but Catching Killers flips the script and gives us a look inside the chase.
From Kansas to Canada, Seattle to Florida, viewers follow along with investigators who were tasked with capturing the most notorious serial killers.
5. 'The Tinder Swindler'
The documentary follows three women who dated Simon Leviev (born Shimon Hayut) who conned his way into $10 million from different suitors. He claimed to be part of Israel's exclusive and highly dangerous diamond business, an elaborate tale he weaved to get ahold of each woman's pocketbook.
Though he's been banned from dating apps, and understandably so, Hayut is astoundingly not in jail.
Shedding light on the flaws in the U.S. judicial system, Dream/Kill follows one father's quest to free his son who was wrongly convicted of a crime he did not commit.
In 2005, then 20-year old Ryan Ferguson was sentenced to up to 40 years for a brutal murder that he did not take part in—his friend, Chuck, confessed to murder based on a dream and claimed that Ryan was his right-hand man in the attack.
7. 'Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel'
What really happened to Elisa Lam at the Cecil Hotel? The world may never know.
When a college student from Canada wanted to venture out on her own, she decided to vacation in California—unknowingly selecting a notorious crime-ridden hotel near Skid Row.
Hotel cameras caught the vacationer frantic in an elevator, seemingly trying to get away from someone. The footage looks like it is straight out of The Ring. But when she disappears from the frame, she soon disappears in real life.
Days later, hotel guests began to complain about discolored and foul-tasting water. That's when Elisa was discovered floating in a water tank on the hotel's roof, but no one has been able to determine how she met such a horrible fate.
8. 'American Murder: The Family Next Door'
Created entirely out of archival footage, this heartbreaking story recounts Christopher Watts' confession to murdering his pregnant wife and their two little girls and disposing of their bodies in an oil field.
On social media, it seemed that Chris' wife, Shanann, was living suburban bliss in Colorado, but her husband ultimately chose a "bachelor lifestyle," according to one of her text messages, and did not want to have a third child.
9. 'Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes'
Ted Bundy's story has been sensationalized countless times, but this documentary explores the motivation behind the killer's evil deeds.
10. 'Athlete A'
Athletes have plenty to endure, and when a doctor is brought in to assist with injuries and check-ups, you'd assume there would be reassurance—but not with Larry Nassar. The team doctor of USA Gymnastics sexually abused a number of young female athletes and caused an uproar in the sports community.
11. 'The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness'
New York City was rocked by the horrific Son of Sam murders in the 1970s, and no one knew when he'd strike next.
This documentary follows one journalist's quest to unravel the killer's motives—and if he was acting alone.
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.
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