MAKING A MURDER has had a profound effect on everyone who has watched it, with the Netflix documentary series raising uncomfortable and worthwhile questions about how the US justice system works.
And while Making a Murderer is widely acclaimed, it’s not the first nor the last documentary to shake viewers to their core over real-life, true-crime stories.
If you’re looking for something to watch after Making a Murderer, these are the 11 well-reviewed documentaries to sink your teeth into.
The Thin Blue Line
Perhaps one of the most famous documentaries about wrongful conviction and a botched trial is Errol Morris’s 1988 documentary The Thin Blue Line.
The film tells the story of Randall Adams, who spent 12 years in prison for killing a police officer. Morris’s documentary ended up suggesting five witnesses committed perjury and that the case suppressed key evidence in the trial.
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
The Jinx miniseries made waves in 2015 for its explosive look into the life of eccentric and potentially dangerous real estate heir Robert Durst.
The six-part documentary features recreations of Durst’s alleged crimes and has an ending so shocking it will leave you speechless.
In 2001, American novelist Michael Peterson’s wife Kathleen was found dead at the bottom of the couple’s staircase. Peterson suggested she had fallen to her death while the cops had a much more sinister theory.
The Staircase covers the trial of Peterson for his wife’s murder and has more twists than a Steven King novel. Though it’s been criticised by viewers for not presenting all the facts of the case accurately, the eight-part documentary is still worth a watch.
When a boy came to the Texas-based Barclay family in 1997 and claimed to be the missing Nicholas Barclay, they welcomed him back with open arms. This was despite the fact that he had brown hair instead of blond, brown eyes instead of blue, and spoke with a French accent.
He was also 23 at the time and his real name turned out to be Frédéric Bourdin. This story of deception and grief that spanned two continents is almost too crazy to be true — and yet it is.
Into the Abyss
Capital punishment sets the backdrop for this true-crime documentary about a triple homicide in Conroe, Texas. It follows Michael Perry who received the death sentence for the crime and interviews the victims’ families and the investigating officers.
Some of the interviews in the documentary with Perry, who maintained his innocence during his lifetime, occur just eight days before his execution. At times, this sad and insightful documentary is hard to watch.
The Central Park Five
The so-called ‘Central Park jogger case’ gripped New York back in 1989 when five black and hispanic young men were on trial for raping and beating a white woman. They were coerced into confessing and ultimately were convicted until 2002 when a reexamination of DNA evidence found that a murderer and serial rapist was really guilty of the crime.
The documentary looks at the case and investigates how racism and fear influenced an entire city to convict teenagers, as well as the aftermath of those convictions.
Rent ‘The Central Park Five’ on YouTube.
A mixture of horror and true-crime, Cropsey starts off about a Staten Island urban legend of a boogeyman who scared children into behaving. The campfire tale suddenly became too real, however, when children began to go missing in the 70s and 80s.
Rand, a homeless man who is also potentially mentally ill, was arrested for the crimes. The filmmakers take a look at the murderers, mob mentality, and how local legend impacted the case.
Paradise Lost: Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills
This documentary focuses on the sensational murders of three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, and the three teenagers who were accused of murdering and sexually mutilating them.
The first of three documentaries on the ‘Memphis Three,’ ‘Paradise Lost’ interviews the families of the victims, the families of the accused, and the police. Ultimately, it investigates the motives and confessions at the heart of the case.
West of Memphis
Just like Paradise Lost, West of Memphis is also about the three teenagers who were accused of murdering and sexually mutilating three 8-year-old children.
Released in 2012, the film goes even further to reveal alternate suspects, possible perjury, and alleged misconduct. Though it may seem like just another film in the saga, it’s worth a watch because — as Roger Ebert put it – it has ‘the benefit of hindsight.’
Deliver Us from Evil
This 2006 documentary is hard to watch, but critically acclaimed. It tells the story of Catholic priest Oliver O’Grady who sexually abused children for 30 years as the church turned its back on his misconduct.
It’s a heartbreaking look at paedophilia and its aftermath as well as what happens when pride and tradition become more important than people.
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
Murder is one of the worst crimes a person can commit, but its aftermath is often much more harrowing.
Dear Zachary is not only the story of the murdered Andrew Bagby, but about the child custody battle that raged afterwards between Bagby’s parents and his suspected killer — his pregnant ex-girlfriend.