News

11 Riveting True Crime Programs You Can Watch Right Now

by | November 8, 2016 | Comments

The only thing these shows are guilty of is being so criminally watchable. While it’s clear that not all of these hour-long investigative series are considered “prestige” TV, you’d be lying if you said you haven’t curled up on the couch on a Sunday afternoon and binged a few hours of corny reenactments and disturbing crime documentaries. Is it slightly icky to find entertainment value in stories of murder and mayhem? Yes. But is it also helpful to be better informed about stranger danger? Also yes.

With A&E’s next entry into the genre, The Killing Season ― which, OK, you can’t watch right now, but is premiering this week ― Rotten Tomatoes has rounded up 11 currently airing true-crime options worth a look.


1. The Killing Season | A&E (2016)

thekillingseason2

You won’t learn the identity of the storied Long Island Serial Killer in The Killing Season (premiering Nov. 12 at 9 p.m. ET) from Executive Producer Alex Gibney, but you will find out why he hasn’t been found. An exposé of police corruption and multi-case conspiracies, the series follows documentarians Joshua Zeman (Cropsey) and Rachel Mills, who dive in to discover why the brutal 2010–11 deaths of 10 sex workers (and other murder and missing person cases like it) go unsolved today. Plus they debunk widely cited theories surrounding the murders, cutting deep and getting us closer to the truth.


2. Making a Murderer 84% | Netflix (2015)

Making a Murderer (Netflix)

Has any other true-crime docuseries captured the cultural zeitgeist quite like Netflix’s red-hot Making a Murderer? Just about everyone relished the opportunity to play detective last winter in the much-debated case of Steven Avery, the alleged (and convicted) murderer of photographer Teresa Halbach. Look for the sequel installment, currently in production.


3. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst 95% | HBO (2015)

The Jinx (HBO)

This HBO miniseries is unlike any documentary crime series before it in that it sits its main murderous subject down and in the end, gets him to confess. That subject would be 73-year-old Robert Durst, American real estate heir and primary suspect in a trio of early-aught homicides. The final product is edge-of-your-seat riveting.


4. Killing Fields | Discovery Channel (2016)

Killing Fields (Discovery)

“Anywhere in Louisiana, there’s a place to dump a body.” Killing Fields quote properly sets the scene for Discovery’s six-episode series set in a small town outside of Baton Rouge. It follows Detective Rodie Sanchez, who comes out of retirement for a reopened ’97 homicide case that appears to be linked with several other unsolved murders in the Louisiana bayous — aka the Killing Fields.


5. True Nightmares | Investigation Discovery (2015–Present)

truenightmares

If you’re hooked to the true-crime genre for corny melodrama and reenactments, True Nightmares is the show for you. Menacing magician Todd Robinson is on board as the series’ host and narrator, and watching him revisit the true-life mysteries and gruesome murders that give the show its namesake is as deliciously camp as it is nightmarish.


6. Frontline | PBS (1983–Present)

Frontline, Death in St. Augustine (PBS)

There’s a reason Frontline has been on air for over two decades: It has everything. With in-depth documentaries on American politics, international relations, human interest stories, and more, there’s something for everyone. The program also offers a number of engrossing true-crime TV docs. Don’t miss “Death in St. Augustine,” which revisits the suicide of Michelle O’Connell; “The Confessions,” which investigates the Norfolk Four; and “Law and Disorder,” which explores abuse of power within the New Orleans Police Department.


7. Snapped | Oxygen (2004–Present)

Snapped: murder defendants Erik (R) and Lyle Menendez (MIKE NELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

This episodic docuseries stars murderous women who snap and profiles high-profile crimes like the 1994 case of brothers Erik and Lyle Menendez, convicted of killing their wealthy parents. The Oxygen outing interviews friends, family, and law enforcement involved in murder cases to recreate the crime with can’t-look-away intrigue. Its pulpy formula of felonious wives and mothers has kept Snapped going 12 years strong.


8. Death Row Stories | CNN (2014–Present)

Death Row Stories on CNN (Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images)

CNN’s advocacy-minded investigation series has a leg up on TV contemporaries thanks to involvement from Robert Redford (producer via Sundance Productions) and Susan Sarandon (narrator). Sarandon is a particularly nice touch, as she steps back into her Dead Man Walking shoes. Here, weekly stories showcase convicted murderers waiting their lives out on death row, while also examining the political and moral implications of the death penalty.


9. Lockup | MSNBC (2005–Present)

Lockup (MSNBC)

While acclaimed new documentaries like 13th and scripted dramas like Orange Is the New Black unflinchingly delineate what life is like behind bars, Lockup has been doing it for 200 episodes and counting — and it’s built a franchise along the way with Lockup: Raw, Lockup: World Tour, Lockup: Extended Stay, Lockup: Special Investigation, and Life After Lockup.


10. The First 48 | A&E (2004–Present)

the First 48 (A&E)

The first two days into any homicide case are not just the most emotionally exhausting; they’re also the most important from an investigator’s standpoint. This longtime hit series on A&E documents those times with those survived by the victim and the case’s main investigative players.


11. Married With Secrets | Investigation Discovery (2016–)

Married With Secrets (ID)

If you’re prone to trust issues with your significant other, ID’s new eight-part series may not be great for your state of mind, but it sure makes for great TV. Digging up stories of seemingly perfect husbands and wives and the secrets that tear them apart (think: money-hungry love triangles and doctors with a penchant for prostitutes), it proves one case after another that love is indeed a battlefield.

Tag Cloud

Adult Swim Spectrum Originals Rom-Com dragons foreign comiccon sequel movie Horror cinemax BBC America chucky anthology Western Ghostbusters See It Skip It Logo DC Comics Musical TV Land biography ESPN 24 frames breaking bad Photos diversity psychological thriller toy story X-Men christmas movies Classic Film USA TNT Comics on TV 71st Emmy Awards docudrama FXX spider-man Dark Horse Comics comic composers BET Trophy Talk Schedule Travel Channel sitcom thriller ITV Nickelodeon Podcast Reality independent WarnerMedia 007 unscripted TV FOX Paramount DirecTV PBS A&E Film Festival A24 Music true crime Netflix Christmas movies mission: impossible criterion universal monsters police drama singing competition indie Academy Awards Ellie Kemper Comic Book Country screenings VH1 medical drama harry potter cancelled TV series 2020 Countdown American Society of Cinematographers travel political drama LGBT History Freeform Cartoon Network cancelled TV shows First Reviews canceled supernatural Nominations Sundance Now Elton John Holiday DC Universe 2019 2016 HBO Max Interview Pet Sematary Oscars Lionsgate Mary Tyler Moore Shondaland tv talk DGA Star Wars Grammys cancelled Writers Guild of America Apple TV Plus USA Network Shudder Disney+ Disney Plus screen actors guild doctor who OneApp golden globes 2017 Rock YouTube Premium Mary Poppins Returns Universal GoT Stephen King green book franchise TruTV CMT cops Tumblr Anna Paquin television Masterpiece dc Ovation period drama all-time Sneak Peek NYCC ghosts Awards crossover casting 2018 space Apple Disney Discovery Channel reviews Video Games blaxploitation teaser Food Network canceled TV shows Television Academy war joker quibi cats slashers Tarantino TCA 2017 Walt Disney Pictures Acorn TV south america Disney streaming service ratings zombies Turner Classic Movies boxoffice Lifetime Christmas movies SXSW Women's History Month parents FX jamie lee curtis Action Pop award winner Summer Spike game of thrones SDCC Vudu romance Fantasy Calendar WGN dceu 20th Century Fox RT History werewolf Black Mirror theme song spy thriller Set visit Peacock TCA Crunchyroll The Arrangement APB documentary Tomatazos cars Marvel festivals CW Seed nature Sci-Fi Arrowverse TIFF 21st Century Fox Holidays series Super Bowl CBS All Access LGBTQ comedies disaster natural history crime drama crime thriller Family Marvel Television Martial Arts adventure finale Britbox cooking E3 Crackle YouTube Red San Diego Comic-Con Amazon richard e. Grant dramedy Mindy Kaling Best and Worst VICE Winners Infographic anime Film Emmys game show romantic comedy Trailer Biopics Spring TV facebook renewed TV shows CNN GIFs Apple TV+ The Witch First Look Winter TV versus SundanceTV aliens Musicals Amazon Studios Rocky Mystery Chernobyl Rocketman MCU OWN halloween Awards Tour TV renewals cartoon dogs YA Box Office E! The Walking Dead technology serial killer robots science fiction Toys Cosplay discovery justice league National Geographic child's play New York Comic Con video Animation Lucasfilm spain Bravo President TCA Winter 2020 historical drama Star Trek Hear Us Out TLC free movies sports Sundance TV RT21 Superheroe psycho 45 IFC Films mockumentary strong female leads Valentine's Day zero dark thirty Esquire book Hallmark Christmas movies Year in Review Comedy Central Binge Guide Heroines Mudbound Teen 2015 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Thanksgiving TBS dark cults Sony Pictures Showtime politics BBC CBS streaming adaptation Netflix Endgame Fox News Pirates Superheroes Turner Comedy Pride Month rotten movies we love Christmas Amazon Prime Video hispanic concert latino Hallmark Cannes Captain marvel IFC YouTube Trivia cancelled television crime Epix spanish language Sundance The CW FX on Hulu hist Hulu NBC Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt batman reboot The Purge Paramount Network Fall TV Emmy Nominations comics TCM MTV based on movie AMC name the review Nat Geo animated directors Warner Bros. Black History Month Disney Channel stand-up comedy revenge children's TV zombie Amazon Prime El Rey elevated horror a nightmare on elm street miniseries movies ABC Family ABC die hard Certified Fresh Funimation HBO asian-american Opinion Quiz social media talk show transformers Pop TV stoner Drama Disney Plus Syfy Pixar MSNBC PaleyFest Kids & Family best Baby Yoda sag awards Song of Ice and Fire Lifetime critics Extras vampires Marathons Starz scary movies Watching Series mutant Red Carpet Marvel Studios what to watch 4/20 Tubi binge Premiere Dates Avengers Character Guide Brie Larson Election Mary poppins DC streaming service blockbuster GLAAD Creative Arts Emmys Polls and Games Columbia Pictures spinoff Reality Competition witnail kids