The 10 Best True Crime Documentaries That Came Out in 2024
From stories of swindling to chilling interviews with serial killers, these are the best true crime documentaries to come out this year
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The best of true crime documentaries in 2022
Call it morbid curiosity or the inquiring of cautious minds, but some people simply can’t get enough of the true crime genre. According to a September 2022 poll from YouGov, half of Americans are fans of true crime content, with 13% of respondents claiming true crime as their top genre of choice. Just look at all the true crime documentaries, books and podcasts available—it’s a genre that people are genuinely fascinated by. As such, it makes sense that content creators, including documentarians, bring true crime to the masses. And man, did they deliver, with some truly shocking, yet captivating, true crime documentaries released on Netflix, Hulu and other streaming platforms in 2022.
How we chose the best true crime documentaries that came out in 2022
We chose the best true crime documentaries and docuseries that came out in 2022 based on research into hours streamed and overall critical and audience reception. Get ready—these titles will chill you to the bone and leave you thinking “What the heck?” for days (or even weeks) after watching.
Captive Audience: A Real American Horror Story
This Hulu docuseries is one for the books. Captive Audience: A Real American Horror Story tells the story of the events surrounding the Stayner family, including the kidnapping of 7-year-old Steven Stayner in 1972. Miraculously, he returned home seven years later—and his story caught the media’s attention. That wouldn’t be the last time the Stayner family was in the news, though.
The docuseries does an excellent job of keeping viewers’ attention from beginning to end, keeping a steady pace and telling its story well. It’s a hit with audiences and critics too, scoring an impressive 92% on the Tomatometer and earning an audience score of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes. Get ready to binge this one in a single day.
The Tinder Swindler
The Tinder Swindler took the true crime community by storm in early 2022, armed with a gripping story that made jaws around the world drop. The cautionary romance scam tale is about a man who (spoiler alert) catfished several women, convincing them he was a wealthy mogul while swindling them out of millions of dollars.
The documentary was an instant hit, with people streaming it for more than 110 million hours within the first two weeks of its release. It also spent five weeks in Netflix’s Top 10 Films list and earned an impressive score of 97% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer.
The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman
If you haven’t streamed this true crime docuseries yet, you’re in for one wild ride. The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman is the story of a conman pretending to be a British spy—and the path of destruction he left for his victims. The docuseries entered Neflix’s Top 10 TV list in seven countries and boasts a perfect 100% score on the Tomatometer, along with an impressive 78% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. If you’re a fan of crime shows, you’ll enjoy following this story.
Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes
This is a true crime docuseries that will surely send chills down your spine. You’re only hearing the voice of one of the most notorious serial killers in American history, after all. Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes gives us eerie new audio from Gacy’s interrogation, along with interviews with those closest to his case.
The series scores 83% on the Tomatometer and boasts a 90% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, and it was streamed for more than 58 million hours on Netflix in late April. Even those who think they know everything about Gacy’s crimes may learn something new in this series. If you’re more intrigued by cold cases, read up on these crimes that may never get solved.
My Daughter’s Killer
This may be one of the most slept-on true crime documentaries of 2022. My Daughter’s Killer is the story of a father’s decades-long mission to bring his teenage daughter’s killer to justice. The French documentary (it’s dubbed over in English) grips you from the start, and you can’t help but gasp as more details surface. The documentary was in Netflix’s Top 10 Non-English Movie list for two weeks in July, watched for more than 9 million hours. If you haven’t streamed this one yet, add it to your list ASAP. Then check out these mysteries solved by forensics.
Girl in the Picture
Girl in the Picture is a documentary that stays with you long after the credits roll. It tells the shocking story of how a young woman’s death, and her son’s kidnapping, unraveled the decades-long mystery surrounding her identity. Sounds like something out of a horror movie, right?
Directed by Skye Borgman, who also directed Abducted in Plain Sight, Girl in the Picture captivated true crime fans over the summer, sitting in Netflix’s Top 10 Films list for three weeks in July. It also has an impressive Tomatometer score of 96% and an audience score of 83%. Start streaming now—and get lost in the mystery.
Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey
Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey is a docuseries that leaves your brain in a tizzy. The series follows the disturbing story of Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the horrendous acts he committed while in that position of power.
The true crime documentary earned an impressive 91% on the Tomatometer; it also has a 90% audience score. It was also in Netflix’s Top 10 TV list for two weeks in June, viewed for more than 31 million hours during its first week on the streaming service.
I Am Vanessa Guillen
I Am Vanessa Guillen was just released in November, but it’s easily one of the most powerful true crime documentaries of 2022. Twenty-year-old Vanessa Guillen was a solider at Fort Hood when she disappeared from the Army base in April 2020. She was found dead three months later. The documentary follows the events leading up to Guillen’s death, as well as her family’s tireless fight for justice.
I Am Vanessa Guillen was watched for 7.5 million hours upon its debut, and it’s still available to stream on Netflix. Stream now to learn more about the case that made headlines across the nation.
Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes
This installment of Conversations with a Killer will give you goosebumps. Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes gives viewers a frightening look into the mind of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. It features tapes of Dahmer himself talking about his crimes, along with commentary by those who worked the notorious case.
The docuseries aired at the same time Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story was taking off on Netflix, which likely contributed to its success on the platform. It spent two weeks on Netflix’s Top 10 TV list and was viewed for more than 31 million hours between Oct. 3 and Oct. 9. It also has an audience score of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. Once you’re done watching, see who the most notorious criminal in each state is.
Our Father will leave even the most seasoned true crime fans with their mouths agape. It follows the story of a woman who, after taking a home-DNA test, unravels a disturbing truth involving an Indiana fertility doctor and his unsuspecting patients. To say this story is a roller coaster from start to finish is an understatement.
Netflix’s audience was captivated by Our Father, which was on the platform’s Top 10 Film list for three weeks in May. It scores a 78% on the Tomatometer as well. Watch the documentary and see the story unfold before your eyes.