The 11 Best True Crime TV Shows, Ranked

The world’s obsession with true crime has been hotly debated, wondering if our desire to learn about the nitty gritty details of the world’s worst crimes is ethical. But as despicable and tragic as many of these “popular” crimes are, they’ve also inspired some of the best prestige television of the modern era. 

True crime reenactments have become a genre of their own, with at least 50 series and movies that fit into the genre. From series about murders and missing people to corporate scandals and fraud, any sort of true crime story reenacted with Hollywood’s best talent is rife for popularity. While the legality of these series can sometimes get murky, that might be part of the allure. Whether it’s the complexity of the human condition or interest in psychology, many of us are drawn to these series. So we’ve decided to rank 11 of our favorites.

11. Dr. Death (2021)


Inspired by the podcast of the same name, Dr. Death told the story of a spinal surgeon who ended up with countless paralyzed patients and at least six dead ones. The story itself is terrifying to anyone who goes to the doctor — how do we know if we can trust them? But the series fails to go beyond the podcast and in its efforts to dramatize it with flashbacks and flash forwards, the story gets almost too muddled to follow. 

10. Candy (2022)


Hulu’s Candy was the first of two major series in the past few years to tell the story of how Candy Montgomery took the life of her “friend,” Betty Gore. This version simply retells the story without adding much context to the characters’ motives or feelings. It takes the perspective of the cold narrator rather than any of the characters, relying solely on the intrigue of the source material to carry it.

9. The Dropout (2022)


One of the things that made The Dropout so unique was that the ending in reality was still ongoing. Starring Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes, she brought life and multiple shades to a character the media could never quite figure out. But the actual story and scandal is very much in the paperwork and less *dramatic* than its true crime counterparts.

8. Under the Bridge (2024)


Another Hulu series, Under the Bridge dives into the story of Reena Virk, a 14-year-old girl who was murdered by her peers in Victoria, British Columbia. The story itself is interesting enough, and the acting, especially from the show’s young people, is worthy of praise. But the show’s pacing spends much too long on the aftermath of the crime and not enough on the psychology of what really happened.

7. Inventing Anna (2022)


Inventing Anna garnered acclaim from all sides for its adaptation of a well-known story originally told in a New York Magazine article. Anna Sorokin was able to somehow con New York’s wealthiest influencers and power players into thinking she was one of them. This dramatization, starring Julia Garner as Anna, was produced by Shonda Rhimes, so you know it’s going to be gold. What it does well is balance the perspective of Anna with the perspective of the people and the gray areas of the case — was Anna a feminist Robin Hood or was she just a con artist?

6. Love & Death (2023)


After Hulu’s adaptation of Candy Montgomery’s notorious crime, HBO Max decided to tackle it with Love & Death, starring Elizabeth Olsen as Candy. Her portrayal of the character was lighter; the characters’ lives felt fuller; the crime felt both more shocking and more understandable. While Love & Death added more context to the characters in the already-adapted story, it’s still not perfect.

5. Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (2022)


The story of Jeffrey Dahmer is arguably the most infamous serial killer story of the last 50 years. He’s unfortunately a household name, and his cannibalistic crimes made him unique to other killers. So Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story had a lot of work to do to bring in its audiences. From Evan Peters’ performance to adding context to the victims’ lives and families, Dahmer told a familiar story in a new way. But it’s not easy to watch, begging the question, should a true crime reenactment be easy to watch?

4. Welcome to Chippendale’s (2022)


Although it got less attention than other series on this list, Welcome to Chippendale’s was an enjoyable and unique series for its lightness in the face of darkness. It glamorizes the lives of those who were embroiled in the murder of Nick De Noia. A rags-to-riches immigrant story starring Kumail Nanjiani, Annaleigh Ashford, and Murray Bartlett, this Hulu series finds the fun in the fun moments of the story and the horror in the rest of it, while allowing us to understand how Steve unravels.

3. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (2018)


Created on the early end of true crime reenactment stories, Netflix’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace stars Darren Criss as killer Andrew Cunanan. It incorporates the glitz of Gianni Versace’s high-end life, the motives of the killer, and of course the celebrity allure of Versace. It has everything one would want from a Ryan Murphy true crime reenactment, but it doesn’t go beyond what we might expect.

2. The Shrink Next Door (2021)

Apple TV+

Apple TV Plus’s The Shrink Next Door takes a lesser known story and turns it into a psychological handbook on how to avoid getting manipulated by your “shrink.” The casting of Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell allow us to immediately buy into the lives of these characters with humor and familiarity. But as we learn to love them, we learn that there’s something much more sinister beneath the surface. Add in the period piece vibes, and The Shrink Next Door is easily the most underrated true crime reenactment series.

1. ‘Baby Reindeer’ (2024)


Baby Reindeer walks the line of actually being a true crime reenactment series because its main character, Donny, is played by the man he’s inspired by. It’s the only story on this list created by the story’s victim, so perhaps it’s a reach. But true crime lovers will love Baby Reindeer just as much, if not more than, its cohorts. It’s a dramatized reenactment of an amateur stand-up comedian who gets stalked amidst his prior trauma. But what sets it apart as the best is the empathy for every character and how that plays into how the events unraveled. It digs into the characters’ perceptions of one another against reality and how maybe, we’re all perpetrators at some point in our lives.

About the author

Jamie Lerner

Jamie Lerner is a writer, comedian, and musician who’s been writing about television and movies since she reviewed Mean Girls for her fifth-grade school newspaper.