The Best True Crime Documentaries to Stream Now
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Courtesy of Hulu
Some documentaries aren't exactly for the faint of heart.
Though many true crime documentaries and docuseries tell a cautionary tale, they can also leave your heart racing and send a chill down your spine. But with so many streaming services to choose from, and several options on each service, it can be hard to narrow down what to watch.
Among financial crimes, mysterious murders, cults and notorious serial killers, here are some of the best true crime documentaries to stream now.
Stolen Youth: Inside the Cult at Sarah Lawrence
Courtesy of Hulu
Stolen Youth chronicles the disturbing case of Larry Ray, a man who lured his daughter's college roommates into a sex cult. Over three hour-long parts, Hulu gets a closer look with personal accounts and unseen footage from Ray and the survivors.
Watch Stolen Youth: Inside the Cult at Sarah Lawrence on Hulu
Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street
Bernie Madoff defrauded global investors for decades, but eventually got caught. Netflix's 2023 docuseries investigates the story of the man behind one of the most notorious Ponzi schemes on Wall Street that defrauded investors of billions of dollars over two decades.
Watch Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street on Netflix
My Lover My Killer
Shedding light on relationship "red flags" to its viewers, the British true crime docuseries reports the stories of those who were murdered by their partners, and features statements from the victims' loved ones and those who worked on the case.
Watch My Lover My Killer on Netflix
I Am Vanessa Guillen
I Am Vanessa Guillen shows what happened after the 2020 murder of U.S. Army soldier Vanessa Guillén. Her death garnered international attention after reports said she had been sexually harassed multiple times by a supervisor. This 2022 documentary features interviews with Guillén's family and their fight for answers and action, including the passage of the congressional "I Am Vanessa Guillén Act", which revamped the way sexual harassment and assault cases are investigated in the military.
Watch I Am Vanessa Guillen on Netflix
Capturing the Killer Nurse
Intensive care unit nurse Charles Cullen confessed to killing at least 40 patients across various hospitals in 2003, but he almost got away with it. This 2022 documentary film gives an inside look into how investigators proved their case. After you've watched Capturing the Killer Nurse, watch its equally chilling dramatization, The Good Nurse, starring Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain.
Watch Capturing the Killer Nurse on Netflix
Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey
Courtesy of Netflix
The rise and fall of Warren Jeffs, the disgraced ex-president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is chronicled in this four-part docuseries. The show includes stories from survivors and former members of the polygamy-practicing group. (The LDS church has said the FLDS has no affiliation with the wider church.) Jeffs married as many as 78 wives, including 24 underage girls, and oversaw the abuse of other women and children before his subsequent arrest and conviction.
Watch Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey on Netflix
The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist
Courtesy of Netflix
The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist chronicles the real-life burglaries at celebrity homes in 2008 and 2009. The story was dramatized in Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring in 2013. Original group members Alexis Haines (née Neiers) and Nick Prugo recall their experiences in this three-part series.
Watch The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist on Netflix
Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer
Amazon Prime Video
Ted Bundy's long-term girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall and other survivors came forward for the first time to participate in this five-part docuseries, framing his infamous crimes from a female perspective. With an emphasis on the victims, Falling for a Killer uses archival video footage, original photographs and new interviews to investigate the serial killer's attitude toward women.
Watch Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer on Amazon Prime Video
My Daughter's Killer
In 1982, French teenager Kalinka Bamberski was killed by her own stepfather. Her father, André Bamberski, set out on a decades-long search for answers — but was largely ignored by authorities. My Daughter's Killer, released in 2022, covers Bamberski's desperate search for the truth and includes interviews with others involved with the case.
Watch My Daughter's Killer on Netflix
Mind Over Murder
The complex story of the "Beatrice Six," a group of wrongly convicted individuals from Beatrice, Neb., is chronicled in this six-part documentary series. Mind Over Murder tracks the 1985 murder of 68-year-old Helen Wilson from the trial to the Six's exonerations and their civil suits.
Watch Mind Over Murder on HBO Max
The Most Hated Man on the Internet
In 2010, Hunter Moore, now a convicted criminal, started the website Is Anyone Up?, a porn site that primarily featured stolen and hacked photos. The site became a hub for revenge porn and doxing. Three-part docuseries The Most Hated Man on the Internet follows one mother's mission to take down her daughter's nude photos from the site.
Watch The Most Hated Man on the Internet on Netflix
The Curse of Von Dutch: A Brand to Die For
Courtesy of Hulu
The Curse of Von Dutch: A Brand to Die For is a three-part documentary series covering the rise and fall of the early aughts fashion brand. The series chronicles the controversy behind the iconic trucker hats, including the company's origins and its shady business practices.
Watch The Curse of Von Dutch: A Brand to Die For on Hulu
The Tinder Swindler
Courtesy of Netflix
This 2022 docuseries tells the story of conman Simon Leviev (born Shimon Hayut), who swindled an estimated $10 million from people around the world. Presenting himself as the son of a Russian-Israeli diamond mogul, Hayut used Tinder to manipulate women into financially supporting his extravagant lifestyle, all while pretending he needed the money to escape his "enemies."
Watch The Tinder Swindler on Netflix
The Lady and the Dale
Elizabeth Carmichael rose to prominence with "The Dale" in 1970, a three-wheeled, fuel-efficient car of her own invention. As Carmichael and her company entered the public eye, scrutiny arose about her past and the car's technology. This four-part docuseries includes interviews with Carmichael's family, journalists and the company's former employees.
Watch The Lady and the Dale on HBO Max
Our Father begins with one woman's at-home DNA test, which revealed that she had multiple half-siblings, all with the same father. Former Indianapolis fertility doctor Donald Cline inseminated unsuspecting patients with his own sperm in the '70s and '80s and is confirmed to be the biological father to more than 90 children, many of whom were interviewed for this 2022 documentary.
The Unsolved Murder of Beverly Lynn Smith
This four-part docuseries covers the decades-long search for justice for Beverly Lynn Smith, who was found murdered in 1974 while her 10-month-old baby slept in the next room. Featuring interviews and firsthand accounts, the series also follows a controversial sting operation, which led to more questions about Smith's death.
Watch The Unsolved Murder of Beverly Lynn Smith on Amazon Prime Video
Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami
COURTESY OF NETFLIX
The rise and fall of Sal Magluta and Willy Falcon, childhood best friends–turned–Miami drug kingpins, are chronicled in this six-part Netflix series. Over decades, the high school dropouts ascend to the top of the drug trade in southern Florida, until it all comes to a halt.
Watch Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami on Netflix
John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise
Told through the words of the serial killer himself, John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise chronicles his horrifying crimes. Using 1992 interview footage of Gacy — filmed two years before his execution — this docuseries goes into his past and the investigation that led to his arrest.
Watch John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise on Peacock
This 2020 documentary covers the survivors of abuse by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and how the investigative team at The Indianapolis Star first broke the story. Through interviews with survivors and journalists, Athlete A reveals how USAG covered up Nassar's abuse for years before it was brought to light.
Amazon / Courtesy Everett
LuLaRich is a cautionary tale of one California-based pyramid scheme. This four-part series explores the rise and fall of the infamous multilevel marketing company LuLaRoe, including interviews with the company's founders and former employees. You'll never look at colorful leggings the same.
Watch LuLaRich on Amazon Prime Video
Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal
The 2019 college admissions scandal made headlines with famous names like Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, who were later charged with fraud for their involvement. This 2021 docuseries covers the criminal acts through interviews, wiretap transcripts and reenactments.
Watch Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal on Netflix
The Way Down: God, Greed and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin
HBO Max / Courtesy Everett
This five-part docuseries follows Gwen Shamblin Lara, founder of the Weigh Down Workshop diet program and the new Christian group The Remnant Fellowship. Shamblin Lara, who died in a plane crash while The Way Down was in post-production, was convinced that God had given her "the key to permanent weight control."
Watch The Way Down: God, Greed and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin on HBO Max
Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.
This four-part documentary series follows the downfall of Sarma Melngailis, once the chef and owner of the popular New York City vegan restaurant Pure Food and Wine, before she met and married a con artist. Anthony Strangis, who went by Shane Fox, coerced Melngailis into transferring $1.6 million to him from the business so they could become "immortal," leaving the business nearly bankrupt.
Watch Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. on Netflix
Why Did You Kill Me?
The 2021 documentary follows Belinda Lane, a determined mother who uses MySpace to track down those involved in the 2006 murder of her daughter, Crystal Theobald. The insightful story shows just how far this mom will go to get justice for her child — especially if the police won't.
Watch Why Did You Kill Me? on Netflix
Allen v. Farrow
HBO / courtesy Everett
The four-part docuseries Allen v. Farrow revisits the allegations of sexual abuse against Woody Allen by his daughter Dylan Farrow, whom he adopted with actress Mia Farrow. The director has denounced the series, which also documents his fallout with Mia and their custody trial, as well as his relationship with Mia's daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, whom he married in 1997.
Watch Allen v. Farrow on HBO Max
In 1995, Sally McNeil, a former bodybuilder and marine, was found guilty of second-degree murder for the death of her husband, Ray McNeil. In this three-part docuseries, McNeil tells her side of the story after serving almost 25 years in prison and maintaining that she shot her husband in self-defense.
Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes
The life and crimes of Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who killed at least 12 young men between 1978 and 1983, are documented in this series. The murderer and necrophile, who died in 2018, narrates his story through a series of audiotapes recorded in his jail cell.
Watch Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes on Netflix
After Patricia Hall disappears from a small town near Leeds, England, in 1992, her husband Keith Hall becomes a suspect. This 2022 docuseries explains what happened after Keith fell in love with someone new, bringing details of his wife's mysterious disappearance to light.
Watch The Confession on Amazon Prime Video
Girl in the Picture
After Sharon Marshall is found dying after a hit-and-run accident in 1990, an investigation reveals that her death may not have been an accident at all. Years later, it became clear that Marshall wasn't who she said she was. Girl in the Picture unfolds a decades-old secret to reveal the woman's true identity.
Watch Girl in the Picture on Netflix
Sins of Our Mother
Courtesy of Netflix
Lori Vallow was a devoted mother — until she met fifth husband Chad Daybell, who indoctrinated Vallow with extreme doomsday beliefs. Lori and Daybell have been accused of murdering two of her children, Tylee Ryan and J.J. Vallow. In this three-part series, Lori's friends and family, including her son Colby Ryan, open up about the events leading up to Tylee and J.J.'s death.
Watch Sins of Our Mother on Netflix
Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer
In mid-1980s Los Angeles, serial killer Richard Ramirez lurked at night for victims to torture and murder. The crimes and eventual arrest of Ramirez, known as the "Night Stalker," are documented in this chilling four-part series.
Watch Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer on Netflix
Captive Audience: A Real American Horror Story
Produced by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, this three-part series will leave you feeling spooked. Seven years after disappearing from his California home, 14-year-old Steven Stayner escapes his kidnapper and returns to his family. Years later, the Stayner family were again thrust into the spotlight following the horrific crimes of Steven's serial killer brother, Cary Stayner.
Watch Captive Audience: A Real American Horror Story on Hulu
This Is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist
The most famous art heist in history remains unsolved. This four-part series brings a fresh perspective to the 1990 theft of several million dollars' worth of art, including works by Rembrandt and Vermeer, from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Watch This Is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist on Netflix
Murder Among the Mormons
This three-part series explores the crimes of Mark Hofmann, one of the most notable forgers and counterfeiters in history. Hofmann took his forgeries, related to the history of the LDS movement, a step further when he planted bombs in Salt Lake City, resulting in two deaths.
Watch Murder Among the Mormons on Netflix
Hulu / courtesy Everett
When investigative journalist David Holthouse visited a cannabis farm in 1993, he heard a story that haunted him for years: Three men on a nearby farm were torn apart in a savage attack. Twenty-five years later, Holthouse revisited the area to discover the truth in this 2021 docuseries.