Grisly and gripping tales to get stuck into.

| By Bed Threads | Entertainment

7 True Crime Miniseries To Binge-Watch

Grisly and gripping tales to get stuck into.

We’re living in a golden age of true crime. For fans of real-life mystery stories, there’s never been more options to consume your chosen vice, whether it’s documentaries – and docu-series – podcasts and, our favourite, miniseries.

Many of the true crime miniseries we love are recreations and reinterpretations of the true crime documentaries that you might have obsessed over a few years ago, bringing a new perspective on a story that you know oh so well.

But whereas a documentary can veer all too eerily close to reality, we find that fictionalisations and miniseries provide us with enough breathing space to feel like we’re approaching these grisly and gripping tales from a distance. They help us understand, and give us new understandings of criminal minds.

Here are the miniseries we can’t stop watching right now.

1. Under the Banner of Heaven

Where can I watch it? Hulu

Daisy Edgar-Jones, star of Normal People, plays Brenda, a young Mormon woman who is brutally murdered. The crime shocks and befuddles local law enforcement, especially the investigating officer Jeb Pyre, played by Andrew Garfield, himself a devout Mormon Christian. Set in the ‘80s and based on a real crime, investigated in a book of the same name, this series uses flashbacks to dig deep into why Brenda might have become a target, and ask big questions about who might have wished her harm. It’s an unflinching, but compelling mystery that unfolds with plenty of tension over the course of the season.

2. The Staircase

Where can I watch it? Netflix

When it comes to true crime documentaries, The Staircase, a multi-part series from a French production company that aired on Netflix a few years ago, is one of the most famous. The series followed the mysterious death of Kathleen Petersen on a staircase in her home – and whether or not her husband Michael was involved somehow in her death. A lengthy trial ensued, with children, family members and friends pitted against one another. All of this is excavated with care and precision in The Staircase, a Binge miniseries with a cast that has to be seen to be believed: Colin Firth, Toni Collette, Sophie Turner, Juliette Binoche, Odessa Young, Olivia DeJonge, Parker Posey and Patrick Schwarzenegger. This is prestige true crime television at its most haunting and unforgettable.

3. Unbelievable

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Nominated for multiple Emmy Awards when it was released in 2019, Unbelievable follows the story of two female detectives – played by Toni Collette and Meritt Wever – as they investigate a serial rapist. Running simultaneously to this story is that of a young woman, played by Kaitlyn Dever, who initially reports a rape, and then recounts her story, much to the ridicule and disbelief of her community. These stories are linked, but it takes the whole of this taut and compassionate season to untangle exactly how. Performances from Collette, Wever, Dever and also Australian rising star Danielle McDonald are superb and make this some of the best true crime television in recent years.

4. The Serpent

Where can I watch it? Netflix

This ‘70s-era miniseries tells the true story of notorious serial killer Charles Sobhraj and his accomplice Marie Andree Leclerc, played in Netflix’s The Serpent by Tahar Rahim and Jenna Coleman, of Victoria fame. One half of the series follows the meeting and eventual joining forces of Sobhraj and Leclerc, while another tells the story of a Bangkok diplomat – played by Billy Howle, who also stars in Under the Banner of Heaven as the husband of Daisy Edgar-Jones’ character – who begins to investigate a string of missing persons in his city. The Serpent is eerie and skilfully told.

5. The Girl from Plainville

Where can I watch it? Hulu

In the late ‘00s, a case gripped news headlines: Michelle Carter, accused of manslaughter in the death of her boyfriend Conrad Roy III. The story became known as the “texting-suicide” case and Carter was eventually convicted of involuntary manslaughter. You can watch the events unfold in Stan’s The Girl from Plainville, which stars Elle Fanning in a tour de force performance as Michelle Carter, and Chloe Sevigny as Conrad’s sceptical mother.

6. The Act

Where can I watch it? Hulu

First released in 2019, The Act is the story of Dee Dee Blanchard, who convinced her daughter Gypsy that she was so sick she needed to use a wheelchair in order to maintain power over her. As Gypsy grows older and begins to rebel against the control of her mother, the situation turns dark quickly and ultimately ends in murder. This series was critically acclaimed upon its release and ended up winning star Patricia Arquette, as Dee Dee, an Emmy award, with her co-star Joey King as Gypsy also nominated.

7. When They See Us

Where can I watch it? Netflix

In some ways, When They See Us is the tale of true crime mishandled, as it digs deep into the infamous Central Park Five case of the ‘90s, when a group of five young boys were arrested in New York City’s most renowned park for the rape of a woman that they did not commit, serving considerable jail time in the process. This Netflix series, directed by visionary filmmaker Ava DuVernay, takes an unflinching and serious look at the case and how each of these five boys was misused by the system. The result is harrowing viewing but provides a revealing insight into the criminal justice system in America.

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