In one of the first 'true crime' themed blogs that I wrote for FTF Media, I picked ten documentaries and docuseries that I really enjoyed for you all to watch. Many of you seemed to love that initial list and, lucky for you, I've continued to watch a number of documentaries since then. In fact, I've watched so many that, today, I can officially recommend TEN more true crime docs that are sure to entertain you! If you're wondering if I ever stop watching true crime documentaries, the answer is: no way. Just like my initial list, the following programs are in no particular order or ranking and I'd definitely advise you to watch them at your own discretion, as they may contain some triggering or sensitive subject matter.
1. Boy, Interrupted (HBO)
This heart-wrenching documentary, directed by the subject's mother, Dana, takes you inside the life of Evan Perry. Evan was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at a young age and even began to display suicidal tendencies by the time he reached the age of 5. This documentary provides a visual example of what bipolar disorder, depression, and suicidal tendencies can look like in a person. Furthermore, we're given details regarding what the family went through to both cope and work with Evan's diagnoses. I must warn you that this program can evoke a lot of emotions and it definitely made me cry, but it was also very much worth the watch.
2. I'll Be Gone in the Dark (HBO)
From the director of 'There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane,' Liz Garbus, comes a docuseries based on the book of the same name by the late Michelle McNamara. This 6-part series takes you inside the journey of true crime queen Michelle McNamara's quest to find the "East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker," or as she referred to him as: "EARONS." This docuseries takes you inside interviews with survivors of Joseph James DeAngelo's attacks, as well as details how he got the nickname 'The Golden State Killer.' If you loved the detective work and dedication in 'Don't F with Cats,' then I KNOW that you'll enjoy this particular docuseries, especially because of how much dedication Michelle McNamara put in to help find 'EARONS.' Unfortunately, Michelle never got to see the capture, identity and conviction of the Golden State Killer, as she sadly passed away in 2016. True Crime & Chill actually featured the Golden State Killer on its 'Location Names Serial Killers' episode.
3. Audrie & Daisy (Netflix)
This 2016 documentary, directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, takes you inside the cases of three girls who were all sexually assaulted as teenagers. As mentioned earlier, this documentary definitely requires a trigger warning. Although this program is very uncomfortable, it does provide a great visual example of what sexual abuse victims have to go through after they were abused. Daisy, Delaney and Daisy's friend Paige give personal accounts of their experiences, as do some of their family members. I strongly encourage watching this documentary, as it shows how social media can play a negative role in peoples' lives, just like it did for these girls. I loved this doc for sure, but it evokes A LOT of emotions.
4. The Vow (HBO)
This recent docuseries, directed by Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, details the ugliness of the NXIVM cult. This series has a shock factor to it, as it delves into the Multi-level Marketing (MLM) cult. On the surface, this "business" doesn't really appear to be a cult; the more you watch, though, the more you wish you could shake the people who were involved, because they should've known better. Like myself, many people didn't know what NXIVM was until the arrest of leader Keith Rainere, along with member and 'Smallville' actress Allison Mack. Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming True Crime & Chill episode on this disturbing group.
5. The Case Against Adnan Syed (HBO)
This 4-part docuseries, directed by Amy Berg, provides a visual timeline of true crime podcast Serial's discussion of Adnan Syed and his conviction in the murder of Hae Min Lee. After watching this series, many began to speculate regarding whether or not Adnan was actually guilty. This program gives viewers court testimonies, as well as interviews from friends and family. We also see interviews with Adnan's lawyer, Rabia, as she tries to help him win his appeal. If you do watch this series, I present you with the following question: do you think that Adnan is guilty or innocent?
6. The Keepers (Netflix)
Did you read my blog about Hans Schmidt, the "Killer Priest," and wonder if there were any other Priests like Hans? The answer is…possibly. This Netflix docuseries, directed by Ryan White, details the mysterious, unsolved murder of nun Catherine Cesnik. Similar to 'The Case Against Adnan Syed' and 'Making a Murderer,' the viewer must decide who he or she believes is guilty. Additionally, I loved this documentary because it reminded me of a real life example from the Oscar nominated film, Doubt, with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. I loved how crazy and creepy this documentary is, similar to Hans Schmidt's bizarre story.
7. Trial By Media (Netflix)
Directed by the group of Skye Borgman, Garrett Bradley, Yance Ford, Brian McGinn, Sierra Pettengill and Tony Yacenda, this documentary gives you six trials that were heavily covered by the media, including the trial and conviction of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Aside from my own personal memories from the Rod Blagojevich case, I loved learning more about his trial and the five others that were covered in this series. I believe that this series is necessary to watch, because while a lot of high profile cases today are heavily covered by multiple media outlets, information tends to be distorted or gets lost in translation.
8. World's Most Wanted (Netflix)
Do you know who took over for the Sinaloa Cartel after 'El Chapo?' Do you happen to know who the 'White Widow' is? Well, I didn't either, but I learned all about them while watching this series. It contains five episodes total, each detailing one of the five most wanted criminals in the world. Not only does it include a member of the Sinaloa Cartel, but there's mob bosses as well! And who among us doesn't love that?!?
9. Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator (Netflix)
Have you ever participated in Bikram yoga (otherwise known as 'hot yoga') and possibly even encouraged others to participate as well? Much to my own surprise, I didn't know the founder of Bikram yoga had a slew of sexual assault and harassment allegations made against him. This Netflix documentary, directed by Eva Orner, explains all of that. Documentaries such as this one are why I love the true crime genre, because you just learn so much. This program is informative and shocking, as well as a little unsettling, because a well-loved 'Yogi' was actually not quite as zen as some were led to believe.
10. I Love You, Now Die (HBO)
The story behind this docuseries is f*cked up, frustrating and sad. This 2-part series, directed by Erin Lee Carr, takes you through the complicated online love story of Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy. As we see in the doc, Michelle ultimately played a role in Conrad's 2014 suicide. Additionally, this series discusses mental health and the negative influence of social media and technology on today's youth. After Conrad's suicide, the reaction among people regarding Michelle's involvement was very divided; while many believe that Michelle directly contributed to Conrad's suicide, others believed that she was only trying to help Conrad, as she knew he was unwell. This story was so complicated and the case so unique that prosecutors were actually unsure how to charge Michelle Carter. I highly recommend this documentary and will let you decide for yourself: is Michelle guilty or innocent?
Are there any true crime docs that you love and think should have been included on my list? Let me know and I'll be sure to watch them! Who knows, maybe I'll write a 3rd installment?!
- Gabby (@moneybagsgabs)