‘The Long Shot’: The grittiest true-crime shows on Netflix for 2020
Netflix has become the place for some of the best true crime documentaries on television. With stories like Making a Murderer whose first season was devoured and discussed, the streaming giant has set itself up as a hub for true crime.
Netflix has dozens of documentaries that can carry us deep into the horrific stories of criminals, their victims, and of course, the die-hard investigators that won’t stop until justice is found.
One of the best things about true crime on Netflix is also one of the worst, as there are so many true crime documentaries that it can feel impossible to choose where to start. Here are some of the best true crime documentaries on Netflix right now.
Roll Red Roll
This story should be required viewing for all high schoolers. Roll Red Roll tells the story of a teenage girl who is gang-raped at a party in 2012. The star high school football players who committed the crime were about to walk away from the event scot-free.
True crime blogger Alexandria Goddard covers the case to expose the culture of complicity, and the blatant cover-up that prioritized a football team over a woman’s life.
Devil Next Door
John Demjanjuk, a retired autoworker in Cleveland is accused of being a German-Nazi prison camp guard known as “Ivan the Terrible.” Arrested, denaturalized as a U.S. citizen, and extradited to Israel in 1981, Demjanjuk was tried as a war criminal in a highly-publicized trial.
Survivors questioned at trial identified Demjanjuk as the Nazi, and he was convicted in 1988 and sentenced to death. However, post-Cold War documents may tell a different story.
Abducted in Plain Sight
This may be the most frustrating documentary of all time, but it’s still gripping. Abducted in Plain Sight covers the kidnappings of Jan Broberg Felt, an Idaho teenager who was abducted by her neighbor Robert Berchtold in the 1970s on two separate occasions.
The story was first told in Stolen Innocence: The Jan Broberg Story, a memoir published by Felt and her mother. Jan Felt herself appeared in the documentary, making it even more impactful through her firsthand account.
The Confession Killer
Henry Lee Lucas was a notorious self-proclaimed serial killer who confessed to committing as many as 600 murders. But, as The Confession Killer shows, most of these claims were lies.
Including an in-depth look at Lucas’ confessions, The Confession Killer also highlights archival footage from news channels and police confessional videos, as well as interviews with law enforcement officials and the families of victims. Lucas’ string of confessions and the police misconduct around his lies cause major fallout for the victims’ families and the community as a whole.
The Long Shot
This story is a wild ride, in a short documentary. Juan Catalan is arrested for a murder he claims he didn’t commit. His attorney is determined to prove his innocence, and thus begins a roller coaster of a journey, leading to raw footage from the show Curb Your Enthusiasm, filling in as the unlikely piece of the puzzle for Juan’s innocence.
Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting An Internet Killer
The limited series follows a group of internet sleuths who launched a manhunt for Luka Magnotta, after he gained international notoriety in 2010 for sharing a graphic video online of himself killing two kittens. Magnotta was later convicted for murdering Chinese international student Jun Lin in grisly circumstances. Sometimes the internet can be used for good, and the results are super rewarding.
The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann
The Madeline McCann case is considered the UK’s JonBenet Ramsey, and those who think they know about Madeleine McCann’s case are bound to be surprised by the details in The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Three-year-old Madeleine McCann vanished from an Algarve holiday apartment at the seaside resort of Praia da Luz in Portugal, in May 2007 while her parents enjoyed a meal with friends 100 yards away. The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann shines a new light onto the story, exploring the media, the investigation, and the McCanns.
Featuring interviews with Amanda Knox, her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, and others involved in the case, the documentary chronicles the murder of Knox’s roommate Meredith Kercher and the subsequent investigation, trials, and appeals.
Her notoriety bolstered by tabloid journalism, Amanda Knox was convicted of murder and spent four years in an Italian prison before her acquittal by the Supreme Court of Cassation.
This completely addictive seven-episode American documentary series, The Keepers explores the unsolved murder of nun Sister Cathy Cesnik, who taught English and drama at Baltimore’s Archbishop Keough High School.
Sister Cesnik’s former students believe her death was the result of a cover-up by authorities after Cesnik suspected that a priest at the school, A. Joseph Maskell, was guilty of sexually abusing students.
Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist
Evil Genius is the story of the murder of Brian Wells, a high-profile 2003 incident often referred to as the “collar bomb” or “pizza bomber” case. The four-part series attempts to determine who is responsible for the 2003 death of the pizza-delivery man who robbed a PNC Bank with a bomb collar strapped around his neck.
He died a short time later, in front of police, when the explosive device detonated. The series spends most of its time exploring exactly who participated in setting him up to enter that bank, including and most notably Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong.