My fascination with shows that document murder cases started when I was young. My mother would watch Forensic Files and, while it may be questionable, my 8-year-old self would join her. I remember that I didn’t fear monsters in the closet—I was far more concerned about (and simultaneously fascinated by) fellow humans who kill.
As an adult, I’ve only grown to enjoy a wider variety of more dramatized crime documentaries. In the words of South Park, I’ve made a hobby of watching “Informative Murder Porn”. Even as I type this, I’m watching Blood Relatives on YouTube (and I totally recommend it).
If you’re like me, you probably relate to these five signs that you’re obsessed with crime documentary shows.
1. You’ve become a bit paranoid.
Not surprisingly, when you frequently hear stories about people unexpectedly meeting their demise at the hands of others, you tend to be prepared for the worst. If you’ve ever thought about the possibility of being killed for your life insurance policy, you’re probably watching too many crime shows. If you find yourself contemplating the possibility that you’ve been poisoned when you have a stomach bug, you’re also probably watching too many crime shows. The list goes on.
2. You understand that most killers aren’t actually psychopaths
Being a killer doesn’t inherently make someone a psychopath. Actually, many killers aren’t all that different from your average neighbor or coworker. This becomes apparent when you watch a multitude of murder cases unfold. More often than not, the killer is someone the victim knows who is in a state of perceived desperation. The motives generally boil down to money, romance, or revenge. The spouse who would rather kill than handle a divorce, the teenager who kills their parents for forbidding their romantic relationship, the person who kills their ex in a fit of rage when it’s apparent they’ve moved on—they’re all killers, but it’s unlikely that they’re psychopaths.
3. You’re unimpressed when killers make rookie mistakes.
My personal favorite is when someone fakes a burglary but takes nothing of value. Maybe you’ve watched someone break glass from inside of the house and proceed to claim a break in. Maybe you shake your head at the person trying to claim their spouse shot theirself in the back of the head (even better if they say the “suicide” victim got in two shots). You find it unbelievable that someone would forget that their cell phone records will show where they really were at the time of the crime. Again, the list goes on. It’s a good thing killers tend to make such obvious mistakes—it makes it that much easier to catch them.
4. You’ve contemplated writing a crime novel
You know all of the common giveaways and what to look for in a crime scene, so you feel confident you could write a story featuring a main character who does it better. You also know what kind of evidence the police will collect, who they will plan to talk to, and what red flags might be found in an autopsy. You know what a crime of opportunity looks like, as opposed to a crime of passion. You’ve even watched people charm away the suspicion that’s been placed on them, sometimes for years. Knowing all of these things, it’s no surprise that you feel confident you have all the pieces of a stellar crime novel.
5. You can tell where the story is going, but you stay for the ride anyway
At this point, it doesn’t take long for me to identify a motive for murder. It also doesn’t take long for me to pick apart a suspect’s story. I can predict what the autopsy will find before I’m told. I’ve watched my way through several crime shows, and then rewatched episodes. Why? Because when you’re a huge fan of crime documentaries, it never gets old.
Bonus Sign: You’ve been binge watching crime documentaries during the lockdown. I’m guilty as charged.