The Best True Crime TV Shows And Movies Of 2023

True crime shouldn’t be appealing to watch. Not many true crime junkies (including yours truly) would deny as much, yet it’s impossible to fully sate viewers’ curiosity about the dangers that lurk both in the shadows and in plain sight. This year, the streaming services kept those triggering documentaries and dramatizations coming, and some of these offerings already landed on our Top 50 list. Yet if you are looking for the most addictive true stories to watch in the true crime realm this year, then look no further.

10. Waco: American Apocalypse (Netflix docuseries)

True crime devotees, the time has come for a deep dive into the 1993 Waco siege, which somehow lasted 51 whole days. Decades later, the story of David Koresh’s enigmatic cult-leaderdom still has revelations to yield, and this project promises to reveal unearthed footage that emerged from within the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit, along with raw footage from news coverage that never materialized on TV. Director Tiller Russell (Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer) helms this story, so expect intensity.

9. Boston Strangler (Hulu movie)

Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon star pick up journalist roles in a film that sheds light on the inherent misogyny behind the violent crimes at the center of this notorious serial killer story. In the process, they also battle a few similarly-themed obstacles while attempting to bring this story to justice. Somehow as well, their dogged investigative dives not only found opposition from law enforcement but also their own profession, and this project delivers a scathing view of how this city’s 1960s victims were viewed by those in true power.

8. Get Gotti (Netflix docuseries)

The Fear City gang got together to do a deep dive on John Gotti for the people who haven’t seen all those documentaries from decades past (or his family’s reality shows, for that matter). This docuseries takes glimpses from opposing sides of the legal system, but eventually (yup) one side won, and that would be the FBI. This one engrossed the Netflix audience for a few weeks, so it’s definitely worth a whirl even if you have already brushed up on this mafioso’s history.

7. Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal (Netflix docuseries)

Timing might have been everything with this series, given that a season released in conjunction with the real-life trial that ended with formerly prominent attorney and disgraced heir Alex Murdaugh convicted of murder. That trial recently ended, and a verdict came swiftly regarding the deaths of Alex’s son and wife; this series aims to take a hard look at the evidence, along with damage control from the defendant, who may have been financially motivated, at the very least. The series also takes a grim look at the legal system and those who know how to (again, allegedly) manipulate while painting their own sordid stories.

6. Pain Hustlers (Netflix film)

Emily Blunt portrays a down-on-her-luck single mom who launches a new career alongside Chris Evans’ pharmaceutical sales rep. Not a great idea, ultimately, given that she becomes involved in a racketeering scheme and begins to realize that this company’s rampant success is coming at a ghastly price for humanity. This is a dramatized version of the rise and fall of Insys Therapeutics, which peddled an opioid-based painkiller. That company no longer exists, and you will definitely find out why from this movie. It’s not quite as devastating of a Big Pharma takedown as The Fall Of The House Of Usher, but it comes close, albeit with a different tone.

5. Murder In Big Horn (Showtime limited series)

This year, Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon picked up a somber theme against the Osage, but crimes against the Cheyenne and Crow reservations take center stage here. This project charts the longstanding epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Big Horn County, Montana. Through in-depth interviews of Native families and local law enforcement, Native journalists persist in seeking enough information to secure a rare arrest in these cases. What emerges is a powerful and stirring portrait of communities that hope to heal long-lasted wounds of grieving families, who have been attempting to seek the truth for decades on end.

4. Escaping Twin Flames (Netflix docuseries)

The mere act of dating usually adds up to some type of fiasco. Adding the notion of “twin flames” into the mix can get even messier (see Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly). Do you want to add a cult for an even messier trainwreck? No thank you. Yet that is precisely what happened when so-called “Twin Flames Universe” online community founders Shaleia and Jeff Divine — who are no vision of domestic harmony, as this docuseries reveals — began selling online courses to those looking for their other dysfunctional half. That community still somehow exists IRL, but ideally, this Netflix project will save a decent chunk of people from falling into the ultimate toxic pit coupled with an exploitative couple who actually kind-of hate each other! What a disaster, albeit one that people could not stop watching.

3. Victim/Suspect (Netflix docuseries)

If you’ve seen the dramatized (and insurgent) limited series Unbelievable (2019), then you’ll already understand the heartbreaking theme of this series. A few episodes into this project, there will be no more obvious truth to the view than understanding why most sexual assault victims do not report their crimes, and even if they take that step, prosecution and testimony are a whole other nightmare. The Emmy-winning Rachel de Leon puts her investigative reporting skills to the ultimate test after discovering a disturbing pattern of authorities turning the tables on women who do report these crimes. It’s an infuriating watch and a true experience for countless victims.

2. Love & Death (HBO/Max series)

The second Candy Montgomery series (see also Hulu’s Candy) proves that the ax-murdering adulterer is having a bit of a moment. As well, David E. Kelley seldom misses, somehow turning a gruesome crime story into a riveting piece of entertainment with disturbingly good performances by Elizabeth Olsen and Jesse Plemons as the two-timing spouses. They are both fantastic at being awful, but Krysten Ritter chews up all the Texas scenery as Candy’s confidante as sides line up for and against the character of the accused in the face of an undeniable truth: she killed Betty Gore (portrayed with every ounce of available anxiety by Lily Rabe). This story never pretends otherwise, and Tom Pelphrey’s character milks his courtroom performance in a bid to be the Slimiest TV Lawyer Of The Year. Overall, this is an immersive watch, and you might feel like you are right there in the (cringeworthy) church choir while a horrible soap opera unfolds. Many humans are looking for that missing puzzle piece in life, but two people clearly went down the wrong path while doing so.

1. Reality (HBO/Max movie)

Sydney Sweeney portrays Reality Winner, whose name once attracted as much attention as the prison sentence that she received. The Air Force vet and former NSA translator was a 25-year-old fitness instructor living an uneventful life when FBI agents descended upon her home. The FBI’s actual transcript fuels this film’s dialogue to show what transpired between agents and the accused, and Sweeney begins by toeing the line on whether Reality leaked information about 2016 election interference by Russia to the press. The Euphoria actress’ skills are showcased in a different way than you’ve seen before now, as a seemingly ordinary 20-something whose life will forever be transformed. It’s a fascinating, tension-filled watch as Sweeney painstakingly parcels out a career-defining performance, and the walls close in around a doomed whistleblower.