If you’re anything like me, among the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you definitely made sure to take advantage of free time to binge watch true crime documentaries. With most things, the more true crime I have watched, the higher my standards have become for finding quality documentaries. Most streaming services’ documentaries are not up to par and the more I have discovered, the harder it has been to find satisfying movies or series. However, I was determined this holiday season to find the most interesting and binge-worthy docs I haven’t seen before. Armed with recs from like-minded crime lovers (shout-out to New Orleans, Red Stick and Lafayette Moms!), below are my recs across different streaming platforms, so you too can have an eerie but satisfying start to your new year.
1. Murder on Middle Beach, streamed on HBO
I am ashamed to say I have never heard of this particular case before watching the series. Although disappointed in myself, this documentary takes you on so many twists and turns as you second guess who the killer could be. An incredibly loving mother, who was previously married in a wealthy family, is found murdered at her home one random school morning. Her family is torn apart by grief as they struggled to find who could be responsible. Still unsolved, the documentary is produced by her own son, as he is determined to find who is responsible. The series of episodes has a personal authenticity that is unlike anything I’ve seen. You can personally feel the heartbreak as the deceased’s son interviews his mothers closest family and friends. Thankfully the series ended in a way that may be open to more seasons. I, for one, am crossing my fingers so tightly that it will happen!
2. Murder on the Bayou, streamed on Amazon Prime
Based on the non-fiction book published in 2016, and written by investigative journalist Ethan Brown, the documentary sends its audience on a spiraling journey of mystery. This, unfortunately, is another crime that I was shocked to never have heard about, specifically since it is so close to Lafayette. The murders took place in Jennings, Louisiana and ultimately included eight women found dead over a period of time. The reason why many haven’t heard of this particular crime was due to police and law enforcement being quick to label this a serial killer and close the books, so to speak. However, Brown shows us that the deeper he investigated, the more confusing this case became, with many potential suspects coming into play, even one being a high profile politician. This case will get you hooked and leave you shocked at what is uncovered.
3. Evil Genius, streamed on Netflix
Although this documentary was released in 2018, I wanted to add this to the list since many still have not seen this particular series. In 2003, a strange bank heist occurred: a man walked in with a bomb strapped around his neck, demanding cash. Just a little while later, the bomb went off, killing the same man in a nearby parking lot. This bizarre event confounded police and as they discovered more clues, it became more confusing and intricate than they could have imagined. At the strange center of this, is a highly intelligent yet peculiar woman named Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong. All of us crime junkies know that criminals in these cases are overwhelming men, so when a woman is found to be heavily involved, the case becomes even more fascinating. The producer of the film actually maintained a personal letter-writing friendship with Diehl-Armstrong. Because of this, he is able to dive deep in the psyche of this intriguing woman and how she became involved in such a strange crime (and other crimes) that stemmed from this event.
4. Crime Junkie Podcast, streamed on Spotify
Like the documentary above, this wasn’t originally released in 2020, but I discovered this incredible podcast last year. There are many podcasts out there who aim to deliver the best in true crime, but Crime Junkie truly stands above the rest. Narrated by Ashley Flowers, with commentary provided by producer Brit, listeners are transported each Monday to a new case with new questions. Some cases are easily solved, others are still unsolved to this day. Flowers is a natural born storyteller and diversifies her cases between missing, murdered, wanted, conspiracy, and others. You will not be disappointed to give this one a chance. Some of my favorite episodes include BWBRSA: Operation Fireball, Infamous: The Dexter Killer, Serial Killer: Israel Keyes, Missing: Amy Lynn Bradley, Missing: Alissa Turney, Missing: Maura Murray, Murdered: The Powell Family, and Murdered: Jerry Michael Williams.