We're very proud to have crafted a list of 20 best true crime documentaries for our YouTube Channel. This list, not only contained clips from trailers of these documentaries, each documentary is summarized masterfully by Kickin & Streamin's very own Jocelyn. This list has a little bit of everything when it comes to the true crime genre, as it present a wide variety of crimes and criminals, from petty thieves to murderers, to serial womanizers, and fraudsters. This video, while a treat to true crime lovers and fans, it can also serve as an introduction to the genre for those who have never ventured in true crime. We hope you enjoy this video, like it, and share it. If we've missed any true crime docuseries you think was worth mentioning, please let us know and we'll be sure to include it in our next list.
Evil Genius: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist - Netflix
This baffling true crime story starts with the grisly death of a pizza man who robs a bank with a bomb around his neck - and gets weirder from there. With actual footage, audio recordings, and images of the shocking events. Evil Genius details the death of Brian Wells, which occurred during what many refer to as the "pizza bomber" case. It's a story that sounds pure Hollywood fiction, but it's real, and this documentary discusses it from every unbelievable angle.
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst - HBO Max
Robert Durst, heir to NY's billionaire real-estate family, has been accused of three murders over the past 30 years, but never convicted. Brilliant and reclusive, he had not spoken publicly--until this series. "The Jinx" is a fascinating, unsettling character study, made all the more bizarre when Durst suddenly incriminates himself on camera.
The Keepers - Netflix
Who killed Sister Cathy? That is the question that the Netflix documentary "The Keepers" asks over the course of its runtime. This series exposes the murder of nun Catherine Cesnik 1960 – but not her murderers. It instead showcases the ripple effect it had on the people who loved and looked up to Cathy. The documentary features interviews with friends, family, fellow students and key investigators who all elaborate on this disturbing story of the abuse of trust.
LuLaRich - Amazon Prime
Not all true crime needs to focus on murder. Sometimes uncovering deceit and financial theft is plenty. Founded in 2012 by DeAnne Brady and her husband Mark Sitdham, LuLaRoe is a multi-level marketing company that sells women's clothing. However, this documentary series investigates the company's odd business practices and exposes it as a pyramid scheme – or possibly a cult? The series talks with people inside LuLaRoe and people on the outside investigating it.
Murder on Middle Beach - HBO Max
In 2010, Barbara Hamburg was savagely murdered just outside her Connecticut home. Years later, with the crime still unsolved and shrouded in mystery, her son went looking for answers with his camera and a microphone. The filmmaker explores the suspicion brewing inside his own family: Perhaps his aunt or sister had something to do with his mother's death, or maybe his distant, divorced father, a former multi-millionaire accused of financial crimes. Hamburg's murder could also have had something to do with a pyramid scheme called "Gifting Tables." The documentary raises more questions than answers, but is deeply fascinating.
The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman - Netflix
By exploring multiple time periods and slowly revealing connections between them, "The Puppet Master" tells the story of a con artist as audacious as he is deceptive. In 1993, a bartender named Rob convinced a British college student that he was actually an MI5 agent, a friend's suicide was related to a campus terrorist cell, and they had to hit the road for their own safety. Flash-forward a few years and miles away to the Clifton family, where divorced Sandra was romanced by a rich guy named Dave, who bought her a car and drove a wedge between her and her grown children. Yes, Rob And Dave are the same guy – and nope, he isn’t in prison.
Sophie: A Murder in West Cork - Netflix
This is one of many true crime stories so infamous that it made its way into our consciousness here in the United States — despite taking place overseas. French televsion producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered outside her vacation property in the winter of 1996. A shocking story steeped in death and controversy about how a small community was forever changed by one horrific event. Listen to our podcast episode dedicated to this documentary for more of our thoughts.
The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin - HBOMax
The story of Gwen Shamblin is one packed to the brim with deceit, toxic behavior, and rampant controversy. It's a simultaneously fascinating and mind-boggling look at how the cult of personality based around Gwen led to an actual cult. Shamblin was the founder of the Weigh Down Workshop and the Remnant Fellowship, a strange mix of spiritual and dietary guidelines. After Shamblin's death in a plane crash in 2021, we are starting to get a real peek behind the curtain – and it’s shocking.
The Tinder Swindler - Netflix
Every day, countless people use Tinder to find romance. But it can be easy to hide behind some slick photos and smooth chat. That possibly dangerous uncertainty is at the heart of "The Tinder Swindler," a documentary about a con artist who found his marks via the world's most famous dating app. His victims are matched up with a charming, good-looking, wealthy businessman. But it’s all lies and deceit – he isn't really a rich power player – but by the time they find out, he's stolen their money through a series of sophisticated deceptions.
Baby God – HBO Max
A haunting examination of Dr. Quincy Fortier, a once renowned Nevada fertility specialist who was hailed as a miracle worker. But he has now become best known as being a serial monster who deceived countless women struggling to conceive by using his own sperm--without their knowledge or consent--to impregnate them. This film is a stunning expose of the egregious, previously undetectable truths about Fortier's practice.
American Murder: The Family Next Door – Netflix
Sometimes the most heinous crimes can occur right under our own noses, leaving us none the wiser until it's too late. Told via the use of archived family footage, text messages and law enforcement recordings, we learn the story of the Watts family murders. Altoght most of us know how this ends, the documentary doesn't reveal the truth of Chris Watts — the father — having committed the murders until the latter half of the film. It's a haunting look at just how families can fall apart and the most heinous crimes can occur in the bubble of peaceful suburbia.
Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. – Netflix
A strange, dark story involving large-scale theft, fake identities, elaborate cons, and even a supernatural element, "Bad Vegan" is a hard to believe but totally true documentary series that began long ago in a place of good intentions and stated purity. Sarma Melngailis used to run Pure Food and Wine, a highly regarded New York City restaurant where everything on the menu was both completely free of meat and animal products and organic too. Then Melngailis fell in love and married Shane Fox and brought him into the business. However, he was actually a con artist named Anthony Strangis, who convinced his wife to illegally hand over millions of dollars from Pure Food and Wine's coffers into his personal accounts with the promise of eternal life for her and her adored dog.
The Staircase – Netflix
With an adaption starring Colin Firth and Toni Collect streaming on HBO Max, this Netflix documentary series is a must-watch. The series looks at the trial of Michael Peterson, who was convicted of murdering his wife Kathleen back in 2001. This documentary was given unprecedented access in terms of information — being present for and allowed to film the entirety of the trial.
WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn - HULU
Tech companies often seem to rocket to the top and then flame out in no time, and no company better exemplifies that than WeWork, the co-working venture that billed itself as the future of office work. Founder Adam Neumann considered himself a prophet, and his passion for his vision drew in big investors and gave WeWork an eye-popping valuation… until someone took a hard look at the numbers. The story was so good, Apple TV+ turned it into a scripted series starring Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway.
“The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez' - Netflix
An infuriating, rage-inducing and heartbreaking look into the failures of the child welfare system on all levels, “The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez'' is a devastating watch. Fernandez was abused and beaten to death by his mother and her boyfriend, after years of neglect and slipping through the cracks in Los Angeles’s child welfare system. There were so many chances to save Gabriel, and we failed him every single time.
Lorena – Amazon Prime
You may think you know the story surrounding Lorena Bobbitt, who made headlines after mutilating her husband in 1989. Outside of the late-night TV jokes, “Lorena” offers an in-depth, humanizing look at one of the most infamous pop culture figures of the last century. Please listen to our podcast episode for more of our thoughts on this brilliant documentary.
Misha and the Wolves - Netflix
A woman comes to a book publisher about her extraordinary tale of survival during the Holocaust. A young Jewish girl's parents are deported; she is left wandering the European wilderness and is adopted by a pack of wolves. The memoir is a global success, but as more details emerge, her publisher starts to question its legitimacy and the threads of her story begin to unravel.
Worst Roommate Ever - Netflix
Worst Roommate Ever is a perfect binge-watch for true-crime lovers. Each episode introduces another offender who will probably make even the worst person you've ever lived with look nearly perfect. From murder to financial scams to professional squatters, Worst Roommate Ever will make you think twice about inviting anybody to stay over.
NIGHT STALKER: THE HUNT FOR A SERIAL KILLER - Netflix
Beneath the sunlit glamour of 1985 LA lurks a relentlessly evil serial killer. In this true-crime story, two detectives won't rest until they catch him. This series paints a chilling portrait of a killer and the city he terrorized.
THE DEVIL NEXT DOOR - Netflix
In 1986 an unassuming Cleveland auto worker and grandfather is accused of being brutal Nazi death camp guard Ivan the Terrible. Arrested, denaturalized as an American citizen and extradited to Israel in 1986 where he was tried as a war criminal in a highly-publicized trial. Convicted in 1988 and sentenced to death, his conviction was overturned by reasonable doubt. The documentary interviews several figures from the trial, including the accused’s attorney and family members as well as Israeli and American prosecutors, journalists, and academics. It contains extensive footage from his first trial, including testimony from Holocaust survivors and historical footage from concentration camps – not an easy watch, but an important one to history.