by Sarah Halfpenny
True crime TV shows seem to really be having their moment! According to psychologists, it allows us to get a glimpse into the minds of people who have committed some of the most fundamental taboos known to humankind, usually murder, extreme violence or large-scale fraud. The true crime genre exemplifies our fascination with the tension between good and evil. Here are some of the most compelling shows from recent years…
1. American Crime Story: The People vs OJ (watch on Disney+)
Anyone around in the 1990s couldn’t help but know this high-profile trial against the pro footballer for the murder of his wife and another man – it was all over our TV screens! Made in 2016, this 10-episode season reveals the whole story, with details you won’t have heard before. It has an all-star cast including Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro, and David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian. It also won several awards including a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries or Television Film.
2. Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer (watch on Amazon Prime)
This five-part docuseries uses archival footage and photographs as well as interviews with survivors, reporters and police. It reframes the murders, trial and execution of serial killer Ted Bundy from a female perspective – that of his long-time girlfriend, Elizabeth Kendall and her daughter, Molly.
3. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark (watch on Binge or Foxtel)
The so-called Golden State Killer was attacking women and girls throughout northern California, beginning in the ’70s. This six-part series is based on the book of the same name by writer Michelle McNamara, and explores her investigation into the dark world of this violent predator. It’s haunting, heartbreaking and truly incredible.
4. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (watch on Netflix)
This 10-episode limited series follows the murders of the infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, aka the Milwaukee Monster. It’s largely told from the perspective of the victims and highlights the many instances of police incompetency that allowed this evil man to go on a multiyear killing spree from the late 1970s to the early 1990s.
5. The Dropout (watch on Disney+)
This is one of those jaw-dropping “How did she get away with it?!” true tales. It chronicles the life of Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, who made a brazen attempt to revolutionise the healthcare industry in the US after dropping out of college and starting her tech company that promised to analyse people’s blood with just a single drop. The performance by Amanda Seyfried is exceptional, especially if you’ve seen any real-life footage of Elizabeth Holmes.