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True Crime Time: Best Crime Documentaries to Watch on Netflix

With no end to the social distancing or stay at home orders in sight, many of us are at the mercy of our streaming services. It has taken over our living rooms and dominated our source of entertainment in recent months. With movie theaters close and an ever changing release schedule for anticipated films, it’s up to services like Netflix to keep us entertained. Always up to the challenge (for better or worse) Netflix seems to have no shortage of originals with a little something for everyone. Romance, drama, action, and my personal favorite, true crime documentaries. I’ve had a shortage of true crime in my life recently. Much of it is consumed on the road via podcasts while traveling. Thankfully, Netflix has stepped up to fill the void, providing a number of terrific true crime documentaries. Here are a few of my top picks that are available now.

Fear City

Arriving on Netflix recently, “Fear City” is a great watch for any true crime fan. The short series follows the FBI’s systematic and innovative dismantling of the Mob in the 1980s. At the height of their power, the mob quite literally ruled New York. They had their stake in everything from transportation to construction, even being a part of a massive union scheme that created many of the skyscrapers we see today. Ruling with an iron fist of violence and extortion, “Fear City” gives viewers an in depth look at how the most notorious mob bosses evaded capture for so long and the young FBI agents and prosecutors who managed bring them down. “Fear City’s“only downside is that is far too short, spanning only 3 episodes. There are so many fascinating stories to tell here, so it’s surprising that the filmmakers opted to condense the series to such a short time frame.

Long Shot

One of the most unbelievable true crime stories, “Long Shot” is almost too far fetched to be true. It is true, however, and the documentary is definitely one to see to believe. The series follows Juan Catalan, a young man arrested for a gruesome drug related murder he didn’t commit. Proving his innocence seems almost impossible. Juan fits the description and his alibi is full of holes that the prosecution is itching to tear apart. I won’t spoil it, but the way in which Juan is ultimately proven innocent is something that has to be seen to be believed. If you’re looking for a shocking crime that actually has a surprising but happy ending, “Long Shot” is a must watch for any true crime fan.

Unsolved Mysteries

The return of “Unsolved Mysteries” should bring a bit of joy to any fan of true crime. The return of this show is like sci-fi nerds getting a season 2 of “Firefly” for true crime fanatics. Though not as haunting as the original and sorely missing original host Robert Stack, the show is a worthy revival for fans who have missed it. Though the show had been revived a number of times since originally going off the air, the higher quality of Netflix behind its production elevates this new attempt above the previous revivals. If you love to be left with more questions than answers, then “Unsolved Mysteries” revival is the true crime show for you.

Murder Maps

Perhaps one of the more lesser known series on the list, “Murder Maps” has a little something for everyone. The series takes us back in time to some of the gruesome and notorious cases of early 1900s Great Britain. “Murder Maps” has great narration and host, solid reenactments and murders that will leave you wondering why they haven’t all been turned in to films yet. Clearly made for episodic television and a not streaming service, some of their episode breaks and previously on reviews can grow tiresome for the binge watcher. However, the content and the crimes largely make up for the strange conversion.

Honorable Mentions!

Netflix has no shortage of true crime documentaries, and this list could be much longer were I attempting to list all of them. Some honorable mentions are “The Keepers,” “Don’t F*** With Cats,” and “Gray State.” Whatever your true crime fascination is, Netflix has you covered.

What are some of your favorite true crime series on Netflix?