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If you’re anything like me, there is something so interesting yet thrilling about watching true crime documentaries. When I was younger, my mom watched series on serial killers and murderers on the Discovery Channel and although I sometimes felt scared and needed to be reassured that they were in prison, I was always intrigued to watch more. So if you want to know what to watch to get a deeper insight into serial killers and true crime stories, this article is for you!

“Don’t F*ck with Cats”

This documentary follows Luka Magnotta, one of Canada’s worst murderers in a three-part docuseries. Magnotta became “famous” when he uploaded a video onto Youtube where a male (him) is seen abusing and killing two kittens in a torturous way. Since he made sure to keep his identity hidden throughout the video, internet sleuths who wanted justice for the kittens decided to search for clues to identify the torturer. This short docuseries will have you mind-blown at the work of normal people and their help in this case. 

“Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer”

Relatively new to Netflix, this docuseries follows the search for a serial killer in Los Angeles and San Francisco after homes began to be invaded and often ended with rape and murder. The series is conducted through the voice of the detectives who were in charge of investigating the crimes, as well as the perspectives of reporters. It details how a single footprint allowed investigators to connect the multiple crimes into a singular person, coming to the conclusion that they were dealing with a serial killer. This series is more graphic than other true-crime series, so watch with caution.

“Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel”

The vanishing of Elisa Lam at the infamous Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles becomes the central point of this series. With only a bizarre video of Lam in the hotel’s elevator as their last trace of her, investigators try to piece together the mystery of her disappearance. Two weeks into the investigations, she is found dead in the hotel’s water tank. What happened to her? Was she killed or was she followed and had no escape? Take a trip into the history of the dark place known as Cecil Hotel. 

“Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes”

What if you could hear Ted Bundy talk about the crimes he committed himself? This series shares conversations Bundy had with journalists to the public as he speaks on parts of his life and details about the crimes he committed. It follows the timeline of his life through his childhood, his escapes and finally his execution. 


Bonus: There is also a movie based on his life called “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” on Netflix where Zac Efron plays Bundy. 

Crime Junkie Podcast

Yes, I know that this was a list encompassing movies, but this podcast is a must for anyone who truly can’t get enough of true-crime. This podcast covers different stories, including stories that became well-known in the media worldwide. It’s available for streaming on Spotify and I definitely recommend it.

Although many of these documentaries focus on the murderer and their crimes, it is important to note that these people should not be glorified. Rather, these stories are an opportunity to learn the history of their crimes, the role of law enforcement and the public. True-crime documentaries are definitely not for everyone and that is okay, but if you are into them, enjoy these recommendations. Happy streaming!

Currently a senior at UMKC studying Communications/Journalism & Political Science with minors in International Studies and Criminal Justice, Daisy looks forward to working in urban policy and nonprofits to help her local community. She enjoys learning new languages, visiting local shops and restaurants, and having picnics with her friends.
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