By now, you've probably heard of the Netflix documentary
Making a Murderer and how it's turning all of its viewers into couch detectives. The documentary series focuses on Steven Avery, a man who spent 18 years in jail after being wrongly convicted of rape and is convicted of a murder while suing the police department for corruption. It's an intense look at evidence, the justice system, and the power of the media. If you’ve become engulfed in the docu-series, you may be on the search for documentaries for Making a Murderer fans to get lost in.
Making a Murderer is interesting for two reasons. One, the crime itself is horrific and something you simply can't understand. I think many people have that weird fascination with crimes, so seeing one unfold in the courtrooms is pretty compelling. Two, it gives viewers a look into the flaws of what some deem a “perfect” judicial system. Whether you believe Avery is guilty of the crime or not, I think we can all admit that his trial was biased and that he never got the "innocent until proven guilty" treatment people are supposed to receive. The media portrayed him as a murderer months before the trial began, and his own family was influenced by what they saw in the news. It's an incredible testimony to our justice system, our media, and how quickly we are to throw someone behind bars.
If you're looking for a new crime documentary that is compelling in a heinous way, but also features an in-depth look into the problems with our legal system, these 15 documentaries need to make the list for your next binge.
1 'The Central Park Five'
In 1989, a young white woman was found beaten and raped in Central Park. Five black and Latino teenagers, between the ages of 14- and 16-years-old, were arrested in the attack after confessing during interrogations, yet none of their DNA was found on the woman. This documentary sheds light on the racial discrimination present in their prosecution and the eventual overturning of the conviction in 2002.
Available on Netflix 2 'Paradise Lost: The Child Murders At Robin Hood Hills'
It's obvious in
Making a Murderer that the Avery family is judged quickly by the media. The same happens in Paradise Lost, which follows three teenagers who are convicted of murdering three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Known as the West Memphis Three, the boys are targeted as being satanic worshipers and killing the boys in a satanic ritual because of their love of heavy metal, dark hair, and dark clothing. Available on iTunes 3 'Scenes Of A Crime'
If Brendan Dassey's trial left you feeling outraged, you'll want to watch
Scenes of a Crime. Focusing on the interrogation of Adrian P. Thomas, a man accused of killing his 4-month-old son by head trauma, the documentary shows that his confession to the murder was due to the detectives' controversial coercion in a 10-hour interrogation. Available on iTunes 4 'The Galapagos Affair: Satan Comes To Eden'
For a serious whodunit, this documentary on the unsolved disappearances of the mostly European expatriate residents living on the Galapagos island Floreana in the 1930s will leave you with so many questions.
Available on Netflix 5 'Murder On A Sunday Morning'
Another coerced confession by a teenager, along with the victim's husband identifying him in his wife's murder, is all the evidence pointing at fifteen year old Brenton Butler. This documentary focuses on his legal team as they build a case to prove his innocence.
Available on iTunes 6 'An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story'
Michael Morton was convicted in 1987 for the murder of his wife, and spent almost 25 years in prison before he was exonerated with DNA evidence.
An Unreal Dream offers another incredible look at the corruption that can occur in courts as a prosecutor is convicted of withholding evidence. Available on Netflix 7 'A Murder In The Park' A Murder In The Park follows the controversial conviction and later, exoneration of Anthony Porter, a man who was convicted of murdering two girls in 1982. It's a twist and turn of events and investigations that will leave you wondering who really did it. Available on iTunes 8 'There's Something Wrong With Aunt Diane'
This documentary looks into a 2009 accident that left eight people dead and many wondering what happened to Diane Schuler when she drove a minivan in the opposite direction on Taconic State Parkway.
Available on HBO 9 'The Thin Blue Line'
Recommended by The Innocence Project, this 1988 documentary focuses on Randall Dale Adams, a man convicted of murdering a police officer. After discovering a prosecutor withheld evidence, Adams was exonerated in 1989, a year after the film's release.
Available on Netflix 10 'Aileen: Life And Death Of A Serial Killer'
Executed in 2002 for the deaths of six men she claimed she killed in self-defense, Aileen Wuornos became infamous during her trial. Although the crimes she committed were horrifying, this documentary focuses on how her execution was wrong, based on evidence that she was not of sound mind while committing the murders.
Available on Netflix 11 'The Imposter'
It sounds like a blockbuster thriller, but the story of Frederic Bourdin is very true. The Frenchman impersonated Nicholas Barclay, a 13-year-old Texas boy that disappeared in 1994. Bourdin is able to convince several government officials, as well as some members of Barclay's family that he is the missing boy until a private investigator and FBI agent uncover the truth.
Available on Netflix 12 'Dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father'
Heartbreaking and tragic, this film was created by Kurt Kuenne after his best friend, Andrew Bagby was murdered by his ex-girlfriend, Shirley Turner. Shortly after the murder, Turner announces she's pregnant with Bagby's son and gives birth to a baby named Zachary. The documentary focuses on the custody battle between Turner and Bagby's parents and acts as a virtual scrapbook for the little boy to learn about the father he never knew. Have some tissues ready for this one, OK?
Available on Netflix 13 'The Trials Of Darryl Hunt'
Another film recommended by The Innocence Project is
The Trials of Darryl Hunt, a documentary about the murder and rape of a young white woman and the man wrongfully convicted of the crimes, a 19 year old black man named Darryl Hunt. He serves over 19 years in prison before being exonerated by new evidence, including DNA. Available on iTunes 14 'Beyond The Headlines: Amanda Knox'
Her story made headlines and this Lifetime documentary takes a closer look at the story of Amanda Knox and the prosecution she faced in Italy.
Available on Lifetime 15 'Cropsey'
Urban legends are chilling enough on their own, but when they become connected to real crimes, they become downright terrifying. In this documentary, two men examine the origins of the New York urban legend known as 'Cropsey' before continuing into the story of convicted Staten Island child kidnapper, Andre Rand.
Available on Netflix Images: Netflix; Lifetime