‘Dateline’ is NBC’s reality legal series that was originally conceptualized as the channel’s flagship news magazine. Since its original premiere in 1992, the show has now evolved and currently, follows sensational true crime stories that had taken the nation by storm. The long-running series is a massive archive of in-depth news stories and investigative journalism. It gives insights into real-life mysteries and follows in-depth investigations into cases that involve murders and abductions.
There are rarely any titles that can live up to the ambitious expectations set by ‘Dateline’. However, we will try to help you out with some of the best shows that are thematically and conceptually similar to this popular tv show. Most of these series like ‘Dateline’ is available on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
7. 48 Hours (1988-)
Yet another American documentary cum news magazine television show, ’48 Hours’ airs on CBS. It dropped on January 19, 1988, and is a Saturdays staple on the channel. This newsmagazine delves deep into intriguing crime and justice cases, which also involve mind-bending human experiences. ’48 Hours’ is an eye-opening series since, throughout its run, it has helped in the exoneration of wrongly convicted people and has solved multiple cold cases. Each story is narrated through CBS News correspondents who give detailed insights into the crimes and finally, solve the mystery at the end.
6. America’s Most Wanted (1988-2012)
‘America’s Most Wanted’ is hosted by victims’ rights and missing-children advocate John Walsh. The long-running show’s primary goal is to deliver criminals to justice. Walsh features the perpetrator of a particular crime in the episodes and then appeals to viewers to help him in tracking them down. Later, following its cancellation by FOX, the show was retitled ‘America’s Most Wanted: America Fights Back’. It features reenactments of dangerous fugitives that are portrayed by actors, infused with on-camera interviews, with Walsh as the narrator in the background.
5. The Act (2019-)
‘The Act’ is a true-crime drama and a web television series that dropped on March 20, 2019, on Hulu. It follows the sensational story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard’s murder. Dee Dee faced charges of busing her daughter by feigning illness and disabilities, which she claimed were the direct results of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Starring Joey King and Patricia Arquette, ‘The Act’ is also a winner of one Primetime Emmy.
4. Anatomy of Crime (2000-2002)
‘Anatomy of Crime’ originally landed on truTV on January 17, 2000, and ended on March 5, 2002, after having aired for two seasons. The show, created as a collection of one-hour episodes, takes audiences into the streets and real-crime scenes. It also includes archived footage, featuring cop chases, sting operations, and sex trafficking. The documentary highlights crimes, the reasons behind the same, the impact of media coverage, and the controversies surrounding the featured cases.
3. Law & Order True Crime (2017-)
‘Law & Order True Crime’, created by René Balcer, is a docuseries, inspired by real events. The true crime anthology series was released on September 26, 2017, on NBC. An extension of the channel’s popular, long-running, ‘Law & Order’, it explores the notorious Menendez Murders. The show also features a dramatic re-enactment of the capture and trial of the perpetrators, Lyle and Erik Menendez, who were arrested in 1996 for the brutal killing of their parents, José and Kitty Menendez.
2. Cold Justice (2013-)
‘Cold Justice’ is an investigative true-crime series that originally aired on TNT and currently runs on Oxygen. Helmed by Dick Wolf, it revolves around the former Harris County, Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler, who pairs up with her expert team of investigators as they tackle cold cases. She takes the approval of local law enforcement authorities and seeks their help in reopening the crimes. To date, the series has been instrumental in generating multiple arrests, convictions, confessions, and guilty pleas.
1.The FBI Files (1998-2006)
‘The FBI Files’ opens up real cases solved by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The crimes are narrated through dramatic reenactments and interviews with related experts and forensic scientists who had been involved during the investigations. The show has covered sensational crimes like the kidnapping and murder of Polly Klaas, the arrest and conviction of John Gotti, the infamous Unabomber case, the World Trade Center Bombing, the Sara Tokars murder case, among others.