Netflix has long been referred to as the home of true crime, and little wonder; with the likes of Making A Murderer, The Staircase, The Innocence Files, and The Keepers under its roof, the streaming platform boasts some of the best ‘whodunnit’ documentaries ever made.
That being said, though, there’s no denying that some true crime documentaries have the unerring ability to make us feel grubby – as if we’re rifling through someone else’s dirty laundry. And there’s recently been something of a backlash against those series that endlessly rehash the stories of Ted Bundy, Peter Sutcliffe, Dennis Nilsen, and other famous serial killers.
Indeed, many critics have insisted that they serve no higher purpose than to glorify the brutal violence of these murderers, granting them a celebrity status that they do not deserve in the process.
Netflix, thankfully, has found a solution to this very real problem with its new wave of true crime documentaries. Because, in a bid to veer us away from the dark and unsettling subject matter we’re so used to from the genre, the streamer has decided to lean into… well, let’s call it the lighter side of true crime.
We’re talking, of course, about the sort of unbelievable cons, scams, and heists that make us sit up and pay attention in a very big way. The kind that makes us binge an entire series in one big greedy gulp. The kind that have us talking to everyone we know, literally everyone, about what we’ve just witnessed.
The kind of true crime documentaries which, in short, channel the utterly addictive magic of lockdown’s greatest TV hit, Tiger King. Obviously.
“Whether you want to dive into the psyche of a con artist, empathise with the victims of a scam, or piece together the puzzle of an investigation, these wild stories are often full of surprising twists and unusual perspectives,” promises Netflix of its new true crime slate.
With that in mind, then, are the five big new-wave true crime series that you absolutely need to watch out for over the next few months. You’re welcome.
Tiger King 2 – winter 2021
As you’ve no doubt guessed already, Netflix is bringing us a second season of its hit docuseries Tiger King, which was binged to the max by a whopping 64 million households in the first four weeks after its March 2020 release. Expect more madness, mayhem, and mind-boggling moments from Joe Exotic and the gang later this year.
The Puppet Master: Hunting The Ultimate Conman – January 2022
From the acclaimed filmmakers behind The Imposter, this three-part series tells the jaw-dropping story of “one of the world’s most audacious conmen who was convicted in 2005 for stealing fortunes and destroying multiple lives,” according to the official Netflix synopsis. “But now, in an incredible twist, the story reaches into the present day, with a desperate family who fear for their mother’s safety.”
The Tinder Swindler – February 2022
If the name alone of this true crime treat hasn’t lured you in, how’s about the fact that The Tinder Swindler doesn’t just tell the jaw-dropping story of a prolific conman who posed as a billionaire playboy on Tinder; it’s largely about the brilliant women who set out to bring him down, too.
Trust No One: The Hunt For The Crypto King – 2022
This true crime film follows a group of investors turned sleuths (naturally) as they try to unlock the suspicious death of cryptocurrency multimillionaire Gerry Cotten – as well as the missing $250 million they believe he stole from them. Big stakes, right? And they’re even bigger if you believe claims that Cotten faked his own death in order to secure his fortune…
Bad Vegan – 2022
Once upon a time, Sarma Melngailis was a celebrity restaurateur and the darling of the vegan world. When she met a man on Tinder who convinced her that he had the power to a) expand her food empire and b) make her beloved pit bull immortal, however, things went downhill. Fast.
This must-watch series documents Melngailis’s transformation from the queen of clean eating to the so-called ’Bad Vegan’ – aka the fugitive who dominated headlines for months – as well the utterly bizarre cult-like methods that were used to drive her to this point, too.
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.
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