13 Riveting Crime and Mystery Dramas on Netflix to Binge-Watch Next
Netflix has no shortage of crime thrillers to help scratch that insatiable (and let’s face it, kinda creepy) itch we all have for dark and sinister entertainment.
From a true crime docuseries reboot to a British anthology series with big-name guest stars, here’s a mix of fictional flicks and true crime documentaries on Netflix that’ll make you want to keep the light on at night.
(And if you do need a palette cleanser, here are seven feel-good reality shows to lighten the mood before bed. We got you.)
This 2020 revival of the classic '80s TV show comes from Stranger Things executive producer Shawn Levy. The new and improved Unsolved Mysteries seeks to solve cold cases and paranormal phenomena, with a new one each episode, but gone is the over the top spooky vibe of the '80s original—for better or worse. If you like your true crime with a side of spooky, this one's for you.
Every episode of Criminal is a bottle episode, meaning most of the story takes place in one room over a short period of time. Most episodic TV series do bottle episodes from time to time—they're cheaper to produce but can end up becoming one of the best of their season. (Examples: Seinfeld's "The Chinese Restaurant, Friends' "The One Where No One's Ready", Breaking Bad's "Fly"...) The approach works well for this tidy British police procedural. Each episode has the core cast of likeable British detectives interrogating a different suspect, each one played by all-star guest actors such as David Tennant and Kit Harington.
If true crime weighs too heavy on your psyche and you’d rather get your crime fix from a fictional source, American anthology crime drama, The Sinner, is a good place to start. The first series, titled Cora, stars Jessica Biel in her most captivating role, whilst the second instalment tells the story of Julian, world’s creepiest 11-year-old cult member.
Gossip Girl alum Penn Badgley stars alongside Shay Mitchell (Pretty Little Liars) and newcomer Elizabeth Lail in this cult hit that skyrocketed to popularity when its first season aired in 2018. Badgely plays Joe Goldberg, who in season two moves from New York to Los Angeles and gives himself a new name and identity. His love interest, aptly named Love, who is played by The Haunting of Hill House / Bly Manor's Victoria Pedtretti, and a series of fresh antics that will have you on the edge of your seat until season three hits the platform on Friday 9 April, 2021.
Shockingly, this gripping drama is based on true events that occurred between 2008-2011 in relation to serial rape cases in Washington and Colorado. The show's main character, Marie Adler is at first accused and subsequently charged for lying about her own rape. Without wanting to give anything else away, we'll just say prepare to devote a whole weekend to this one.
Between 1978 and 1995, a domestic terrorist by the name of Theodore John Kaczynski mailed and delivered homemade bombs throughout the US. For 17 years, he instilled panic and fear among Americans, killing three and injuring 23 others. If you’re looking for a thrilling, fictionalised look into the case and subsequent search, this miniseries starring Sam Worthington and Paul Bettany is a binge waiting to happen.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Starring Zac Efron as serial killer Ted Bundy, this biographical crime thriller is as unsettling as the title suggests. Based off Elizabeth Kendall's memoir (who was Bundy’s girlfriend during some of his murder spree), The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy, the film does a pretty good job of showing how sociopaths are able to convince themselves and everyone around them that they are innocent.
Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane
Everybody has a theory about what Northern Beaches water polo player Keli Lane did with her newborn baby Tegan. In 2011, she was sentenced to 18 years in prison for her murder, though she maintains her innocence. In this three-part documentary series (which originally aired on the ABC) journalists Caro Meldrum-Hanna and Elise Worthington search for answers.
Shadow of Truth
This four-part docuseries follows the 2006 murder of Tair Rada, a 13-year-old Israeli girl who was murdered in her school bathroom. It’s a really chilling, goose bump inducing story that will leave you questioning everything—and scouring Reddit threads for days.
In this true crime series, what starts as an investigation into the murder of Catholic high school teacher Sister Cathy Cesnik quickly turns into a sexual abuse high school cover up in the 1960s, lead by Brothers in the community.
The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann
Arguably the most famous missing child of all time, the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has captivated the world for over 12 years. This eight-episode series explores literally every theory, suspicion and piece of evidence presented in this unsolved case, yet still leaves you reeling for answers.
Time: The Kalief Browder Story
Kalief Browder’s story is such a gross miscarriage of justice that it’s honestly hard to get through this documentary without succumbing to fits of rage. Falsely accused of stealing someone’s backpack when he was just 16-years-old, Browder was left in limbo for 800 days in solitary confinement at Riker’s Island—New York’s notoriously rough jail. Warning: you’re going to need the tissues for this one.
Don't F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer
As teenager Luka Magnotta went on a spree of uploading videos of himself torturing and killing cats (!) the internet reacted by taking things into their own hands and going on a vigilante hunt to find him. Before he was found after fleeing from Canada to Berlin, things... escalate dramatically. You'll be gasping in disbelief throughout this shocking docuseries.
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