Pretty much every man, woman and their cat has sat down to watch the Tiger King documentary over the past month. I was quite late to the party myself but I’m done now.

It’s fun of course, a story you couldn’t make up but I do feel it was over-hyped. I’m so torn by Joe Exotic, who’s so compelling to watch but is also a terrible person, not least for the animal cruelty and controlling behaviours (I want to say more but won’t because *spoilers*).

Honestly, none of the ‘characters’ are particularly good people, including Carole ‘Fuckin’ Baskin and they have no sense of loyalty to each other either, which bothered me way more than it should have.

Anyway, this is my long winded way of saying, there’s some good True Crime shit on Netflix that isn’t Tiger King and I have enjoyed an awful lot of it recently. I thought I’d share in case the grimier side of life is your bag and you’re wondering how to fill your spare lock-down time.

TW: Sexual assault, murder, child abuse & neglect

*Minor spoilers*

Out of Thin Air (2017)

Iceland, 1976. Six suspects confess to two violent crimes. This is the strangest criminal investigation you’ve never heard of.

Two brutal murders take place in Reykjavik, within a tight knit community where everybody knows everybody. Thankfully, six teenagers are convicted of the crimes after the police extract their confessions, despite no bodies, no physical evidence and no witnesses. Years later however, it starts to be become clear that there’s more to the case than anyone originally thought. Could they all be innocent?

This particular case is considered one of the worst miscarriages of justice in European history, and it does pull on the old heartstrings, particularly when it comes to Sævar Ciesielski’s story.

You can read more about the cases here.

The Innocent Man (2018)

The story of Ron Williamson, a man who sat on Oklahoma’s death row for 11 years for a crime he didn’t commit. Based on John Grisham’s “The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town.”

I haven’t finished this one yet but it’s been a compelling ride so far. It outlines the murder of two local women, Debbie and Denice – and the false confessions of several man, including Ron Williamson, who escaped execution by just five days when he was finally acquitted.

It’s not for the fainthearted, as most of these documentaries aren’t. It goes into a lot of detail about the murder and rape of both women. It is a fascinating true story though, one John Grisham says if he’d written as a piece of fiction, nobody would believe.

You can read more about the cases here.

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez (2020)

A three-part documentary series examining what led to the murderous fall and shocking death of former NFL superstar Aaron Hernandez.

I saw this a couple of months ago and binged it in one sitting. The story is absolutely mental and as with all good documentaries, takes you on a journey you could never anticipate. What I really found interesting was the relationship between Aaron and his fiancée Shayanna Jenkins, who at times seemed to be covering for Hernandez (allegedly).

This is a pretty appealing documentary given its glamorous veneer so I personally ate it up. There’s one angle I’m not sure about though so if anyone watches this and wants to chat, let’s do that.

You can read more about the case here.

Audrie & Daisy (2016)

A look at the effects that online bullying has on the lives of teenagers and their community.

Another hard watch as this focuses on the sexual assault cases of a handful of young women. The titular girls, Audrie and Daisy share similar stories which, unfortunately have devastatingly different outcomes.

I shed a lot of tears during this one because nothing about the girls’ treatment is fair – from the assaults and the ensuing cyber bullying, down to the archaic and frankly disturbing attitudes of police enforcement.

All the women featured in this doc are incredible and I just hope they find the peace and happiness they deserve.

You can read more about the cases here.

The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez (2020)

Filmmaker Brian Knappenberger investigates the tragic death of an 8-year-old California boy who endured horrific abuse by his mother and her boyfriend, along with the fractured and complex systems that failed to protect him.

I know watching or reading anything about child abuse and neglect is horrific and not everybody’s cup of tea. It’s not mine either but I thought this was an interesting look at the gross failings within a system designed to protect the most vulnerable while still honouring the lovely boy Gabriel was.

It’s not easy to hear what he went through or to take in the details of his death but it does paint a stark picture. It also features interviews with many people who did care and try to help, some of whom still live with huge guilt today. Devastating.

You can read more about the case here.

Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer (2019)

A group of online justice seekers track down a guy who posted a video of himself killing kittens.

Ah. DFWCs was the Tiger King of Netflix a few months back and is infinitely better in my opinion. It’s bat shit crazy for starters, particularly when the motivation and inspirations of the killer, Luka Magnotta are revealed.

In some ways it irritates me that the doc is so addictive, as it gives the antagonist the notoriety he so obviously wants. It’s also easy to forget that there’s a human being at the centre of this murder and it’s very sad to hear his best friend talk about him after the fact.

Even so, as far as salacious crime docs go, this is up there with the best of them and if you can get past the first few minutes (my husband couldn’t), it’s definitely worth a visit.

You can read more about the case here.

What are you watching on lockdown?