The ultimate true-crime watchlist

Morgan Jeremy, Reporter

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Whether you are a detective wannabe, mystery lover, or just a fan of crime and punishment, Spinnaker has rounded up the top ten best documentaries, shows, and series for the ultimate true crime fanatic.

Image courtesy of Morgan Jeremy

Dateline NBC

If you are new to crime shows and not sure where to start, “Dateline NBC” is definitely the show for you! Since it originally aired in 1992, “Dateline” has revolutionized criminal journalism as the longest-running prime-time program on NBC, featuring reporting of real cases all across the country. With compelling interviews conducted by “Dateline” correspondents Keith Morrison, Andrea Canning, Josh Mankiewicz, Natalie Morales, and Dennis Murphy, each episode is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat!

“Dateline” is available to watch on Fridays at 10 p.m. on NBC or streaming for free on Peacock.

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Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer

Netflix’s most recent true crime documentary takes you back to LA in the 1980s, documenting the case of one of America’s most infamous serial killers, Richard Ramirez. Featuring interviews from real witnesses and first-hand accounts from the detectives who helped solve the case, Netflix’s “Night Stalker” will grip you with terrified fascination and will have you double-checking your locks before you fall asleep.

“Night Stalker” is exclusively available on Netflix.

TW: This show features graphic descriptions of sexual assault.

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And then… she snapped.

As one of Oxygen’s most popular shows, “Snapped” probes some of the most fascinating cases featuring everyday women convicted of murder. Despite the show’s rather predictable format, viewers continue to be enthralled by the complexity of the cases and the dedication of law enforcement to bring these women to justice. 

“Snapped” is available to watch on the Oxygen network or streaming on Peacock and Hulu Premium.

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Buzzfeed Unsolved: True Crime

For those looking for a more lighthearted approach to true crime, “Buzzfeed Unsolved: True Crime” is the ideal binge. Each episode details the evidence surrounding one of history’s most iconic cold cases, like the JonBenét Ramsey murder and the Black Dhalia, and then presents some of the theories on what happened. The show is hosted by the hilarious duo, Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej, whose constant joking makes this show an instant hit.

“Buzzfeed Unsolved: True Crime” is available for streaming on Hulu or on Youtube.

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Very Scary People

“Very Scary People” features just that, real stories of the most infamous people to walk the earth. In each episode, host Donnie Wahlberg details the lives and crimes of notorious killers like Jeffery Dhamer, Aileen Wuornos, the BTK killer, and Rev. Jim Jones.  

“Very Scary People” is currently available to stream on Hulu premium or on HBO Max.

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Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

This 2019 Netflix limited series is truly one of the most comprehensive true-crime series there is, telling the story of the notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy. Featuring photographic crime scene evidence, interviews from detectives and witnesses, and even commentary from Ted Bundy himself, this incredibly detailed documentary is captivating and will have you binge-watching the entire series in no time!

“Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” is exclusively available on Netflix.

TW: This show features graphic descriptions of sexual assault.

Image courtesy of Morgan Jeremy

Forensic Files

If you are interested in something a little different from the typical true-crime show, “Forensic Files” is the show for you! This show focuses on the scientific aspects of crime-solving, showcasing how detectives rely on forensic evidence to make murder convictions. Plus, the episodes are only around half an hour-long, making them the perfect light viewing alternative to a 2-hour documentary.

“Forensic Files” is currently available to stream on Tubi, Peacock, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, and Discovery Plus.

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Homicide Hunter

“Homicide Hunter” is another classic show that any true crime fan should be familiar with. Documenting the dynamic career of veteran Colorado homicide detective Joe Kenda, “Homicide Hunter” pairs Kenda’s own retellings with dramatic reenactments, painting a detailed picture of detective work. Not to mention, each episode wouldn’t be complete without including several of Kenda’s quippy one-liners and catchphrases reminding viewers that, “If you kill…I will find you.”

“Homicide Hunter” is currently streaming on Hulu.

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American Monster

Showcasing the darker side of true crime, “American Monster” features cases of horrific crimes committed by seemingly ordinary people. With each case, “American Monster” goes into detail about the perpetrator, even including eerie home video clips, demonstrating the truly horrifying fact that sometimes the scariest people could be living right next door. 

“American Monster” is currently streaming on Hulu Premium and Discovery Plus.

Image courtesy of Morgan Jeremy

Criminal Minds

Though not officially considered true-crime, any crime-related binge-watching list wouldn’t be complete without “Criminal Minds”. Inspired by the work of real FBI profilers, “Criminal Minds” explores the process of criminal profiling in an easy-to-watch format. Not to mention, its loveable cast of characters makes the show truly addictive and a fan favorite.

“Criminal Minds” is available to watch on Netflix and Hulu.


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