Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich

(Photo by Netflix)

The 50 Best True-Crime Docuseries

While it might seem like the proliferation of true-crime in pop culture has been a trend of the last five or ten years, in reality the genre has been a staple for at least the last 100. The National Enquirer became popular when it printed gruesome details from criminal cases, and the macabre appeal of not only learning about horrific crimes, but also examining the psychology of those who perpetrate them and honoring the victims is more popular than ever.

So today, instead of mega-popular TV newsmagazines like Dateline and other shows holding down the true-crime fort, we also have podcasts, streaming services, and even entire networks devoted to in-depth reporting on real-life cases. Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max are already frequent contributors to the true-crime discourse, and the trend isn’t slowing. Peacock gets in on the action with John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise, which premieres on March 25; IMDb TV will stream five-part docuseries Moment Of Truth, about the murder of basketball legend Michael Jordan’s father James, starting on April 2; This Is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist drops on Netflix on April 7; and on April 18, Starz unleashes Confronting a Serial Killer from Joe Berlinger (Emmy winner for 1996 documentary film Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills). And that’s not to mention the near-daily debut of new specials on broadcast and cable that examine true crime in some way, shape or form.

For this roundup, though, we’ve decided to focus on the true-crime docuseries that dig a little deeper into cases both famous and relatively unknown, from examinations into well-known public figures (Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, Allen v. Farrow, Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer, Surviving R. Kelly) to deep dives into smaller cases (Making A Murderer, How to Fix a Drug Scandal, The Staircase). These are the series that go deeper than a typical episode of Dateline or a two-hour documentary — they spend hours dissecting the people and circumstances involved in the cases that captivate audiences.

The criteria was simple: Each docuseries must have at least five reviews from critics, giving it a Tomatometer score, and that score must be Fresh at 60% or higher. If a docuseries you love isn’t on this list, chances are it doesn’t have enough reviews to meet that threshold — yet. Take a look at the list below next time you’re in the mood for a new true-crime binge.

What’s your favorite true-crime docuseries? Let us know in the comments. 

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: A Wilderness of Errors' investigation of a well-trodden case struggles to justify its runtime - still, those comfortable with ambiguity may find its inconclusiveness strangely appealing.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Don't F**k With Cats offers an intriguing tale, but questionable intent and muddled storytelling make it a hard sell for anyone but true crime completists.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Though it can't help but feel a little incomplete given the circumstances, The Killer Inside crafts a compelling overview of a series of tragic events.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Compelling interviews and a slick style help Fear City entertain, but those already familiar with the case will find few new insights.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Though Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer succumbs to the sensational side of true crime, it paints a fascinating, chilling portrait of a killer and the city he terrorized.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The Innocent Man will satisfy true crime aficionados looking for a slickly packaged mystery, but viewers seeking a more probing deconstruction of the justice system may come away disappointed.
Starring: John Grisham

#43
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Starring:

The Vow (2020)
72%

#42
Synopsis: Following the experiences of people deeply involved in the self-improvement group NXIVM, an organization under siege with charges including sex... [More]
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Though The Family's open ended-ness undermines its impact, it manages to craft a compelling picture of a shocking truth.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Evil Genius makes up for a lack of conviction and nuance with an intriguing sense of discovery and plenty of entertaining insanity.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is a sobering, if at times too sensational for its own good, exposé of a very broken system.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: A worthy Serial supplement that isn't without flaws, The Case Against Adnan Syed fleshes out the life of Hae Min Lee and gives context to in the complicated boon of true crime entertainment.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: It lacks new insight, but by focusing on the stories of survivors Filthy Rich sheds light on the lasting impact of Epstein's crimes.
Starring:

Lorena: Season 1 (2019)
83%

#33
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Fascinating and frustrating, Lorena's ample footage and fresh perspective on a long-mocked moment provide welcome context and vindication to the woman at its center -- even if its reenactments don't quite measure up.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Allen v. Farrow unearths new evidence in a well-known case to craft a compelling - if one-sided - indictment of society's complicity in upholding powerful people over seeking justice for those they've wronged.

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Starring:

Making a Murderer (2015)
80%

#29
Synopsis: Exonerated after spending nearly two decades in prison for a crime he did not commit, Steven Avery filed suit against... [More]
Starring:

Trial by Media (2020)
86%

#28
Synopsis: Trials are examined with a focus on how the media may have impacted the verdicts.... [More]
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: A bizarre true crime story you have to see to believe, Tiger King is a messy and captivating portrait of obsession gone terribly wrong.

Outcry: Season 1 (2020)
89%

#24
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Starring:
Directed By: Pat Kondelis

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Starring:

#22
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Like something out of a movie, McMillions effectively -- if not always artfully -- captures the chaos of this once-in-a-lifetime, very real con and the colorful cast of characters at its center.

#21
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Wormwood's real-life mystery unfolds in hypothetical tendrils guided by Errol Morris' singular vision and style that will keep viewers engaged despite the four-hour run time.
Directed By: Errol Morris

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Compelling, but challenging, The Devil Next Door can be uncomfortable viewing, but essential interviews and an empathetic eye come together to shed light on an important story.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Investigating an outrageous but true story with restraint, Murder Among the Mormons is entertaining true-crime pulp and a fascinating examination of a community.
Directed By: Jared Hess, Tyler Measom

#18
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Explosive, but never exploitive, Love Fraud tells a thrilling tale of online dating gone terribly wrong with expert precision and a welcome dose of empathy.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Atlanta's Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children's thorough examination of an unsettling circumstance is as gripping as it is chilling.
Starring:

#16
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The Staircase -- in its newly expanded form -- offers a gripping, detailed depiction of the complex justice system, even if the overall narrative lacks objectivity.
Starring:

Surviving R. Kelly (2019)
95%

#15
Synopsis: This documentary series reveals young women emerging from the shadows and uniting their voices against singer R. Kelly. Celebrated as... [More]

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Disturbing themes and an engrossing blend of interviews and dramatizations make The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst a docu-series that merits further pursuit.
Starring: Robert Durst
Directed By: Andrew Jarecki

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Director Liz Garbus smartly centers I'll Be Gone in the Dark around the late Michelle McNamara's passionate efforts, weaving together a heavy, but important tapestry of trauma, obsession, and survival.
Starring:
Directed By: Liz Garbus

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Director Erin Lee Carr expertly blends journalistic edge and empathy in I Love You, Now Die to create a concise, compelling, and refreshingly exploitation-free exploration of a complicated crime.
Starring:
Directed By: Erin Lee Carr

#11
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: The Keepers draws on riveting, real-life terror to expose long-buried secrets -- and tells a brilliantly assembled story along the way.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Wild Wild Country succeeds as an intriguing examination of a forgotten piece of American history that must be seen to be believed.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Starring:

The Confession Tapes (2017)
100%

#8
Synopsis: When is a confession not a confession? When it's involuntary, coerced or downright false. Those are the claims made by... [More]
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Starring:

Free Meek: Season 1 (2019)
100%

#6
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Starring: Meek Mill

The Innocence Files (2020)
100%

#5
Synopsis: The untold personal stories behind eight cases of wrongful conviction that the Innocence Project and organizations within the Innocence Network... [More]
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus:
Starring:
Directed By: Madison Hamburg

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Thoughtful and heartbreaking, Rest in Power acts as both a sensitive exploration of a unthinkable moment in time and an examination of a broken system.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: With compelling firsthand accounts and plenty of expert insights, Seduced is harrowing account of the startling ease with which a cult can consume a person's life.
Starring:

Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: An intoxicating blend of historical footage, candid interviews, and animation that deftly captures Liz Carmichael's incredible life, The Lady and the Dale is a wild ride.

Tag Cloud

Spring TV women E! adventure Opinion Biopics Prime Video Western true crime scary movies Anna Paquin BAFTA quibi spider-man Instagram Live Mystery dogs ghosts cancelled TV shows summer TV preview CBS sopranos MTV PBS Amazon Bravo biopic french 2020 Tubi Box Office San Diego Comic-Con blaxploitation 4/20 Winter TV Crackle Christmas The Witch streaming latino Pirates jamie lee curtis canceled TV shows YouTube Red Netflix Christmas movies scorecard canceled Travel Channel historical drama Pet Sematary renewed TV shows Comics on TV anthology Women's History Month franchise Holidays Film comedies Oscars Superheroe nature Quiz Disney Film Festival royal family venice TNT Set visit Interview parents Rock VICE new york ViacomCBS Rocky rt labs 72 Emmy Awards 1990s police drama video reviews screen actors guild series FOX Paramount universal monsters Countdown First Look Toys Walt Disney Pictures godzilla Photos deadpool Summer rotten live event Star Wars FXX travel remakes art house fresh versus The Arrangement Sneak Peek BBC zombies ABC Signature dreamworks Turner werewolf A24 Pixar YouTube Premium mission: impossible stop motion emmy awards Certified Fresh kong adenture cooking spain Paramount Plus Infographic Academy Awards Marvel Television all-time game show Musicals MSNBC TCA Columbia Pictures ABC Family mcc Horror streamig chucky TV First Reviews Alien comiccon 007 2017 LGBT 79th Golden Globes Awards Marvel Studios football asian-american social media Masterpiece mob sequels medical drama boxoffice tv talk Spectrum Originals Mary Tyler Moore doctor who halloween tv animated El Rey pirates of the caribbean BBC America teaser festival psycho Captain marvel legend Dark Horse Comics Disney Plus diversity Mindy Kaling 94th Oscars Premiere Dates BET Awards Pop TV blockbusters BET italian Sony Pictures Star Trek facebook Classic Film HFPA Tarantino cults Superheroes zombie critic resources dexter GLAAD romantic comedy SXSW worst movies rom-coms richard e. Grant comic book movies Paramount Pictures Nickelodeon Holiday jurassic park documentaries WGN anime Syfy 71st Emmy Awards basketball GoT revenge Amazon Prime 99% stoner romance Oscar Paramount Network LGBTQ classics Lifetime ESPN IFC X-Men CNN zero dark thirty Broadway comics History Cosplay crime thriller 21st Century Fox Fall TV book adaptation Brie Larson obi wan Extras prank MCU talk show witnail Television Academy Funimation Acorn TV films indie period drama Super Bowl golden globe awards rotten movies we love miniseries Stephen King The Purge japanese comic monster movies AMC Plus japan Musical based on movie Legendary YouTube name the review OWN NBC political drama razzies politics Starz 2021 Amazon Prime Video A&E toronto sequel hollywood children's TV toy story Emmys justice league Podcast Hulu hispanic heritage month Wes Anderson President Hallmark what to watch cops theme song Disney streaming service supernatural black green book Vudu Mary Poppins Returns Best and Worst posters sitcom ID hispanic 24 frames Animation archives Family award winner GIFs Grammys fast and furious USA stand-up comedy Freeform directors Amazon Studios festivals Lucasfilm scene in color hidden camera sag awards documentary Reality Competition Best Director Image Comics technology best space spy thriller nfl binge indiana jones 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards trophy HBO Go Polls and Games Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Arrowverse Best Actor Tokyo Olympics composers OneApp king arthur Sundance Now comic book movie book transformers blockbuster Black History Month Awards Comedy Central new zealand Country NYCC The Walt Disney Company 2016 genre superhero Reality 93rd Oscars foreign television casting DC Universe Writers Guild of America Ovation USA Network TruTV Endgame The CW war sports AMC Apple Disney Channel olympics concert YA Fox News spider-verse Winners DirecTV Comedy Tomatazos SDCC vampires PaleyFest marvel cinematic universe Exclusive Video broadcast 2018 summer preview Teen know your critic heist movie Trivia Television Critics Association mockumentary discovery nbcuniversal Epix Thanksgiving slashers Kids & Family South by Southwest Film Festival news comic books dragons DC streaming service cartoon Elton John Food Network telelvision suspense satire TV Land dramedy popular critics twilight TCM Universal independent Esquire saw TCA Winter 2020 Britbox criterion cats natural history streaming movies RT History young adult international Adult Swim science fiction leaderboard Apple TV Plus Shudder Fargo golden globes Netflix Red Carpet a nightmare on elm street trailers robots screenings Crunchyroll Cannes The Walking Dead disaster 2015 movies Nat Geo 73rd Emmy Awards kaiju VH1 Cartoon Network unscripted 20th Century Fox Drama ITV australia TV One christmas movies dceu halloween cancelled television BBC One Sci-Fi Peacock die hard E3 45 vs. Trophy Talk Neflix action-comedy SundanceTV IMDb TV ABC kids cancelled TV series laika scary new star wars movies Ghostbusters Mudbound TLC VOD IFC Films TCA Awards debate Awards Tour FX on Hulu Rocketman Hallmark Christmas movies joker Character Guide DC Comics worst CW Seed Marathons 90s APB docuseries Year in Review cars Comic-Con@Home 2021 target Heroines aliens TIFF CBS All Access CMT Baby Yoda Creative Arts Emmys Pop TBS Calendar spanish rt labs critics edition docudrama Best Actress black comedy crime dark Tags: Comedy strong female leads wonder woman Music lord of the rings Lifetime Christmas movies thriller DGA Pride Month American Society of Cinematographers reboot Fantasy 2019 Turner Classic Movies free movies Watching Series hist Logo Universal Pictures HBO Max New York Comic Con slasher PlayStation Showtime Spike Black Mirror Election Disney+ Disney Plus Avengers south america Martial Arts FX crime drama spinoff biography Ellie Kemper singing competition Shondaland ratings Nominations Binge Guide Video Games WarnerMedia cancelled The Academy MGM rt archives RT21 psychological thriller king kong finale NBA superman Song of Ice and Fire breaking bad Mary poppins TCA 2017 feel good movie Tumblr spanish language adaptation Focus Features summer TV Comic Book See It Skip It dc serial killer elevated horror Warner Bros. james bond Chernobyl live action Lionsgate game of thrones obituary Action Best Picture child's play cinemax TV renewals Hollywood Foreign Press Association Apple TV+ mutant crossover Discovery Channel batman Schedule Sundance TV Chilling Adventures of Sabrina gangster Marvel marvel comics boxing Emmy Nominations Trailer Hear Us Out aapi Rom-Com National Geographic harry potter SXSW 2022 TV movies Valentine's Day high school Fox Searchlight Pacific Islander video on demand Sundance HBO