A Guide to the Serial Killer Specials on TV

I am truly and deeply fascinated by serial killers. It’s a problem. I have seen every documentary, watched every film, read a lot of the stories, and obsessed over every crime show on TV and still, I cannot get enough. Because I am just so well-versed in this area, I feel it would be selfish not to share my opinions on at least a few of the newest and hottest serial killer specials on air. Here are some of my thoughts:

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

This was my personal favorite documentary out of all the ones I have seen. It was so unique in its storytelling by using a clever mix of Bundy’s interview tapes from prison (in which he refers to himself in the third person) and interviews from others on his case. The storytelling and the general nature of his killings were so fascinating that I watched the roughly five-hour Netflix saga (broken up into several episodes) in one night. There is nothing more thrilling and more healthy than eating ice cream from a mug in complete darkness while learning about the detailed murders of a serial killer. A low point? Yes, perhaps. But, this was a hole worth falling into without a doubt. 11/10.

Abducted in Plain Sight

While this case is especially interesting, I cannot stress to you how frustrating this hour and a half Netflix documentary was. It follows young Jan in Idaho who was abducted not once, but twice, by a close family friend, Bob Berchtold. Yes, twice. The facts of the case kept me on the edge of my seat, but my housemate and I yelled at the television the entire time. The naivety of the parents is mind-boggling, and the level of brainwashing is almost unbelievable. If you want to be simultaneously entertained, heated, and driven absolutely up a wall, this is the one for you. Chrissy Teigen has also publicly endorsed it and felt the frustration that I did, if that further sways anyone’s decision. 8/10.

BTK: A Killer Among Us

This documentary on the Investigation Discovery channel was decent. While the story is fascinating, it is told a bit slowly. It was a two-hour special that felt like it could have been told in one. It was also, quite frankly, a bit sickening, because this ‘Bind, Torture, Kill’ killer did just that: bind, torture and kill. No remorse for his actions, just pride and a catastrophic, enormous ego that catches up with him. However, I thought the most interesting thing about the documentary was the interview with his daughter. The personal viewpoint of a family member gives the documentary a unique perspective. If you are looking for an interesting and informative special about BTK and have some time on your hands, this could be for you; however, I wouldn’t make it your number one selection. 6/10.

The People vs. O.J. Simpson

This was another personal favorite, mostly because I think this case is the most frustrating and fascinating of all. While O.J. can’t really be deemed a “serial killer”, he is certainly one of the most infamous, well-known and shocking killers of all time. I think the actors did an incredible job reenacting the events of the case, and I loved that this show portrayed the behind-the-scenes details, which are important but seemingly forgotten about in discussion of this case. It was an informative, accurate, and entertaining portrayal of everything from the murders to the court and everything in between. This is definitely another binge-worthy one to watch. 10/10. 

My mother has informed me that other types of shows do exist, but I have decided to turn a blind eye. I will absolutely not subject myself to comedy or romantics in a time of television gold, where serial killer documentaries are being delivered to my computer screen by the boatload. I refuse.