The Netflix series, ‘The Confession Killer’ is a riveting documentary series that presents the shocking tale of the convicted serial killer, Henry Lee Lucas who confessed to the murder of over six hundred people. The story feels like a fabricated one due to its multiple twists and turns and the juiciest aspect is finding out whether Lucas actually committed those murders or not. This was due to the fact that Lucas lied and fabricated his confessions as he wanted to continue receiving privileged treatment by investigators.
The series provides a coercive look at the ineptitude of police techniques that existed then and how they allowed Lucas to exploit them. If you are looking for similar, eye-opening tales of true crime, you should definitely check out the following shows, many of which are on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu.
7. American Crime Story (2016-)
‘American Crime Story’ is an anthology show that chronicles an infamous real-life crime story every season, highlighting themes and points of discussion that might have missed public debate at the time of their occurrence. For instance, the first season focused on the trial of O.J. Simpson and the show managed to portray the inefficiencies and insanity of the legal proceedings apart from the country-wide media spectacle that it had become.
In this manner, both, ‘American Crime Story’ and ‘The Confession Killer’ are about the country’s jurisdiction and investigative procedures. The show’s second season followed the assassination of Gianni Versace by the serial killer, Andrew Cunanan. The documentary series, especially in the first season, has been praised for its top-notch writing, direction, and acting.
6. Monster in My Family (2015-)
This LMN show takes an inventive approach to the serial killer crime documentary. Instead of documenting the crimes and/or the legal proceedings, this show takes a look at the dual lives that several murderers lived before being convicted. It does this through interviews from families of the serial killers and is interspersed with home videos, journal entries, and other more personal content.
More than just representing the stories on screen, the series acts as a support system for these troubled family members of the criminals and is hosted by Melissa Moore, the daughter of Keith Hunter Jesperson aka the Happy Face Killer. Moore started her mission of supporting those in a similar situation as her, through a memoir which she followed with ‘Monster in My Family.’
5. Born to Kill? (2005-2016)
This British true-crime series takes a look at the story of a new serial killer in each episode and has lasted for seven seasons. The show depicts the serial killer’s childhood, adolescent years and formative phases. By doing so, it aims to decipher whether the serial killers were born with murderous traits or whether it was the effect of the environment or society that they grew up that made them that way. It’s a classic nature vs. nurture conundrum and the show does a good job at tackling this extremely open-to-interpretation philosophical condition.
4. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (2015)
This 2015 documentary series was a ground-breaking piece of work as it was the result of a decade’s worth of research. The show depicted the story of real estate heir, Robert Durst who was a suspect for the disappearance of his wife and the subsequent murders of his family friend and neighbor.
The director and producer of the show, Andrew Jarecki had developed a close connection with Durst and was able to shoot a revealing interview with him. Other than that, the show even exposed police files, interviews with key witnesses, prison recordings, unseen footage, and hidden documents. The documentary truly revealed things that people did not know about.
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3. The Keepers (2017)
‘The Keepers’ was a documentary series about a mysterious case that remains unsolved even today. It tackles the disappearance of a renowned nun and high school teacher, Cathy Cesnik whose body was found two months after her having gone missing in 1969.
Although that would have been a relatively straightforward murder case, it was made more controversial after a former student made a sexual abuse accusation against the high school’s chaplain. She further claimed that the chaplain had taken her to the nun’s then undiscovered corpse and threatened her. The director of the documentary, Ryan White attempts to join the dots and piece the story together with this series.
2. Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (2019)
‘Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes’ is a documentary mini-series that focuses on one of America’s most infamous serial killers, Ted Bundy, who was responsible for the death of over 30 women. The series was created using actual archived recordings of Ted Bundy that were made when he was on death row. The show’s makers analyzed over 100 hours of the recording to piece together this series consisting of four episodes. It highlights the motifs of Bundy behind the killings and what he was thinking of or going through at the time.
1. The Confession Tapes (2017-)
Just like ‘The Confession Killer,’ ‘The Confession Tapes’ is a television crime documentary that explores the failures of the justice system due to false confessions and inefficient procedures that caused such lapses of judgment. Each episode presents a different true story wherein a murder suspect confessed to something but later backtracked. Recordings of these confessions are often provided to provide ample backing, apart from interviews with investigators, lawyers and conviction experts.
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