For better or worse, Tiger King has captured the internet’s attention with larger-than-life characters and salacious murder allegations. Netflix’s documentary series hit at just the right time, and it seems like everyone is talking about Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin. The streaming service is dropping another episode on Sunday — a wrap-up show hosted by Joel McHale — but if Tiger King has you jonesing for more bizarre true-crime stories, there’s a practical avalanche of options, both on Netflix and beyond.
While Netflix seems to be churning out a new true crime series every day, other streaming services have their share of excellent documentaries. To help you narrow down your options, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best documentary series about shocking, sad, or just plain strange crimes available to stream right now.
The Case Against Adnan Syed
The podcast Serial was a phenomenon that kicked off a true-crime wave. Public discourse around the questions that host Sarah Koenig raised about convicted murderer Adnan Syed’s guilt or innocence was so compelling that a Baltimore state court reopened the 1999 case. HBO’s 2019 documentary reexamines the crime over four episodes, with new interviews, a larger focus on the murdered high-schooler, Hae Min Lee, and an update on developments in Syed’s appeals.
Don’t F**k with Cats
If the animal exploitation exposed in Tiger King was too much for you to handle, you may want to skip Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer. The Netflix documentary focuses on amateur internet sleuths who investigate a disturbing video in which a man is seen torturing and killing two kittens. But if you can stomach it (the documentary doesn’t show the actual torture,) the story is a wild ride.
Don’t F**k with Cats is streaming on Netflix.
The story of a bizarre 2003 bank robbery known as “the pizza bomber heist” is explored in the four-part Netflix documentary, Evil Genius. The titular evil genius is Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, whose plan to send a pizza delivery driver into a bank with a bomb strapped to his chest is just one part of an elaborate conspiracy. Produced by Mark and Jay Duplass (who also produced Netflix’s Wild Wild Country,) Evil Genius explores the strange case 15 years later.
Evil Genius is streaming on Netflix.
How to Fix a Drug Scandal
Netflix’s latest true-crime documentary (all four episodes dropped on April 1) tells the story of Sonja Farak, a Massachusetts crime lab employee who was arrested in 2013 for sampling the drugs she was supposed to be processing. The personal drama is interesting enough — why would an successful woman jeopardize her important career by experimenting with meth? — but the systemic issues it raises are even more troubling. After Farak’s arrest, incarcerated felons whose convictions were based on evidence that her lab processed tried to have their cases reexamined. The documentary explores both sides of the story, complete with courtroom reenactments.
How to Fix a Drug Scandal is streaming on Netflix.
If you haven’t yet watched The Jinx (and somehow missed the conversation surrounding its 2015 release), stop reading and go watch it. Spoilers follow.
For everyone else, here’s a refresher: The Jinx is known for its shocking ending in which the subject, Robert Durst, seemingly confesses to several murders, including that of his friend Susan Berman. The FBI arrested Durst immediately after the documentary aired, and his trial was finally set to begin in March 2020. Now that proceedings have been paused due to social distancing around the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the perfect time to revisit the wild story.
Jordan Peele produced this Amazon Prime documentary about Lorena Bobbitt, who became tabloid and late-night joke fodder in the 1990s when she cut off her abusive husband’s penis. Sixteen years later, the four-part series features interviews with both Lorena (who know goes by Lorena Gallo) and her ex-husband, John Wayne Bobbitt, as well as friends and family who recall the 1993 incident and salacious fallout. Documentarian Joshua Rofé attempted to reexamine the human beings behind the scandal, especially shining a light on what life was like for Gallo following her arrest.
Lorena is streaming on Amazon Prime.
The McDonalds Monopoly cheating scandal gets the true-crime documentary treatment with HBO’s McMillions. While the subjects aren’t as wacky as those in Tiger King, McMillions has its share of colorful characters, from a wise-cracking FBI agent to a chain-smoking mob wife. As a caper, the story is pretty wild in its own right, and the documentary’s tone is much lighter than many true crime docs.
OJ: Made in America
ESPN’s five-part documentary in its 30 for 30 series was also released theatrically, and won the 2017 Best Documentary Oscar. The series examines OJ Simpson’s football career, his 1994 arrest for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, and his post-acquittal life. The documentary frames Simpson in the context of race and celebrity, especially in Los Angeles in the 1990s. (And then look out for ESPN’s Michael Jordan documentary, which premieres on April 19.)
OJ: Made in America is streaming on ESPN Plus.
A grieving father who lost his son to a drug-related shooting takes on the pharmaceutical industry in Netflix’s documentary, The Pharmacist. While the opioid crisis can feel too massive to fit the true-crime formula, focusing on Dan Schneider’s one-man crusade helps to ground the story. The four-part series examines how Schneider, himself a pharmacist, channeled his grief into investigating a “pill mill” doctor. The series is all the more tragic when you realize that the investigation took place over 15 years ago and the opioid crisis is still one of the most devastating issues facing Americans today.
The Pharmacist is streaming on Netflix.
ABC’s long-running news magazine show doesn’t always cover true crime, but with three seasons currently streaming on Hulu, there are plenty of true crime episodes to choose from. Especially worth checking out is “The Dropout,” the two-hour episode on Elizabeth Holmes’ Theranos scam, which is getting a scripted TV adaptation (coincidentally also starring Kate McKinnon, who reportedly will portray Carole Baskin in a Tiger King series).
20/20 is streaming on Hulu.