The Best Murder Documentaries On Netflix
Serial Killer Richard Ramirez Leaving Police Station
(Original Caption) 8/31/85-Los Angeles, California: Richard Ramirez, the man police have arrested as the alleged Night Stalker is surrounded by police officers as he walks out of a police station 8/31. The man police believe responsible for 16 murders and two dozen other brutal assaults was captured by angry citizens when he attempted to steal a car. Ph: Alan Zanger

The Best Murder Documentaries On Netflix

Domenica Smithies March 1, 2022

A weird but widely acceptable topic of interest for millions of people is a good murder documentary. Sometimes, watching a cold killer be apprehended, or seeing justice served, is both satisfying and fascinating. Netflix is famous for having a wide range of documentaries, and their pieces about killers and criminals are unbeaten. Here is a list of some of my personal favourites. If you haven’t seen them, I suggest you watch them. I’ve attempted not to include any spoilers.

The Night Stalker (2021)

One of the most horrific serial killers ever, a man dubbed the night stalker terrorised California for over a year. His victims were random, male and female, of all ages. He committed a horrific number of attacks on a number of people which cannot be confirmed. There are so many ways he managed to evade capture in the months that he was committing these revolting crimes. That was until the police finally identified him.

This docuseries looks closely at his crimes, and to this day there are some details that still haunt me. While I recommend this documentary, I also have to warn you that there are very grisly parts. His eventual capture was one of the most satisfying parts of the programme, which had me feeling immense anger and upset throughout. We get to know the detectives who worked closely on the case, and see archived clips and images which gives the documentary a real nostalgic (and terrifying) feel.

The four hour-long episodes will have you on the edge of your seat. I watched the whole series in one go, because I just couldn’t go another second not knowing what happened. It’s a fantastic, slick documentary that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. I urge you to give it a go.

Catching Killers (2021)

This series looks at a number of shocking crimes which have happened in the USA. Many of the cases are very creepy and violent, so again, you have been warned. Some of the episodes are so interesting, and very suspenseful. This series allows the investigators to tell their story about what happened and how they eventually managed to catch notorious killers, such as BTK and Aileen Wuornos.

I love this series because you get to meet the people who were responsible for putting away some truly horrifying people. I always think people remember killers and criminals more than the victims or investigating officers. This series allows people to see how tiring and complicated some investigations really are. One of my favourite episodes is the Toronto Village Killer, a two-part episode which looks at such a disturbing chain of events. I won’t say anymore. Watch it!

American Murder: The Family Next Door (2020)

This documentary is both fascinating and devastating, all without using any interview footage. The entire piece uses text messages, Facebook uploads and police and surveillance footage to piece together the events leading up to the disappearance of a young mother. Throughout the documentary, a marriage which seemed perfect begins to break down, and we get to see how police figure out what happened.

What I like about this is that the voice of the victim is used throughout the documentary. This allows us to hear her voice and we, as an audience, are able to listen to her story first hand. I think this is important because it focuses more on the victim, which many documentaries don’t do. This piece will keep you engaged, and take you through a wide range of emotions. I love that throughout the film there is a real mysterious vibe.

These are my top three documentaries. However, if you are interested in the kinds that have been mentioned, here are some more:

Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist (2018) – Confusing, crazy and just plain evil. This will leave you feeling an overwhelming sense of unrest.

Amanda Knox (2016) – A young woman is accused of murder, but there is no proof and no witnesses. This will also keep you engaged throughout its entirety, and the mystery of what really happened hangs over your head days after you watch.

When Missing Turns to Murder (2019) – Several episodes that look at different missing persons cases, which all have horrible endings. A British series that will give you chills.

Read next: Inventing Anna: Netflix’s obsession with scam culture

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Domenica just completed a Master's Degree in Global Media and Culture at Keele University, after finishing a BA in Journalism at the University of Chester. She writes and produces social content for Freshered. Her interests include animals, equality, social media, music, food and fashion.