These are the 10 best dramas based on true crime stories you can watch on Netflix

If you enjoyed Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey, there are plenty more

Right now there are a lot of new true crime dramas being added to Netflix, so trying to find which ones are the best and actually worth your time can be a bit of a struggle. True crime dramas combine two things that are a recipe for a good show: A gripping real life crime story, and great actors who play the people involved. So most of the time, they make for great entertainment and rarely miss the beat.

From your favourite actors taking on the parts of serial killers, to others taking on the incredible roles of people who have survived the most shocking of stories. Here are all the best true crime stories that have been turned into film or series dramas for Netflix. Add them all to your watch list now.

Lost Girls

The best true crime dramas based on real life events on Netflix, Lost Girls

via Netflix

Lost Girls is based on the true crime story of the Long Island serial killer. The Netflix film is based on the New York Times best selling book with the same name by Robert Kolker. It focuses on the story of Shannan Gilbert, a sex worker who went missing in 2010. Shannan was found dead in December 2011.


Unbelievable Netflix

via Netflix

The limited series, Unbelievable, is based on the real life events of Marie Adler, a teenager who said she was raped and then told police she had lied. 18-year-old Marie had claimed she was attacked at knifepoint, only to retract it all. The story was written up as “An Unbelievable Story of Rape”, the Pulitzer Prize-winning article by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong, which went viral.

After saying she had lied, Adler was charged with gross misdemeanour and faced up to one year in jail. She said she lied after being forced to go over her horrific story over and over with police who constantly doubted her.

The Serpent

The best true crime dramas based on real life events on Netflix, The Serpent

via BBC / Netflix

This series focuses on notorious serial killer Charles Sobhraj. He operated in the 1970s and was at one point Interpol’s most wanted criminal. He killed at least 12 tourists along the “Hippie Trail” in Nepal, India and Thailand. Sobhraj posed as a gems dealer and plied backpackers with booze, drugs and offered shelter to win their trust before robbing and killing them.

The Serpent is available on Netflix in the US and on BBC in the UK.

When They See Us

The best true crime dramas based on real life events on Netflix, When They See Us

via Netflix

When They See Us is based on the true story of the so-called “Central Park Five”. In 1989 a jogger was assaulted and raped in New York’s Central Park, and five young, black people were subsequently charged with the crime. They maintained their innocence and had been wrongly accused, and the case ignited existing tensions in the city regarding racial bias of the police force.

Dirty John

The best true crime dramas based on real life events on Netflix, Dirty John

via Netflix

The Dirty John anthology is a dramatised series based on true stories. The first season, which is literally about a man dubbed “Dirty John”, follows the story of Debra Newell and serial con-man John Meehan. Debra falls in love with the wealthy anaesthesiologist John, before it becomes clear he might not be as wealthy or even as qualified as he first makes out.

Series two is called the Betty Broderick Story and is all about one of America’s most controversial marriages. Dan and Betty Broderick got divorced after Betty suspected Dan was having an affair with his much younger assistant at work. She was right, and Dan and his new girlfriend began to flaunt their new lives in front of Betty. Betty’s behaviour became irrational and violent and the divorce had to go to court.

The People vs O.J. Simpson

The best true crime dramas based on real life events on Netflix, The People vs OJ Simpson

via Netflix

This dramatisation traces the twists and turns of the O.J. Simpson’s murder trial, examining behind-the-scenes gambits on both sides of the court.

Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey

Series like Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey

via Netflix

If you haven’t already, you should definitely watch true crime drama film Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey. The film recreates the incredible true story of Lisa McVey, who was abducted aged 17 by serial killer Bobby Joe Long, but managed to persuade him to set her free. Not only that, she was then able to recall her ordeal so well, and had purposely left behind crucial evidence, so that police were able to track down the killer.


The best true crime dramas based on real life events on Netflix, Zodiac

via Netflix

Netflix has added the 2007 film Zodiac, which is a thriller movie based on the dark true story of the Zodiac Killer. The Zodiac Killer was prominent in Northern California throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The killer is known to have killed five and injured two others, but they claim themselves to have killed 37 people. They sent creepy and cryptic notes and messages to taunt the local press about the extent of their crimes. The letters were often coded in letters and symbols and contained the infamous Zodiac symbol.

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is an upcoming show staring Evan Peters as serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer was captured in 1991 and later sentenced to 16 life sentences before he was killed by a fellow inmate in 1994. He dismembered and killed up to 20 men and boys between 1978 and 1991.

The release date for this on Netflix has not yet been confirmed, but it is expected soon.

Inventing Anna

Inventing Anna is an upcoming true crime drama series which is based on the “Fake Heiress” Anna Delvey. Anna managed to pose as the daughter of a billionaire and trick New York’s rich and famous (and her own friends too) into giving her loans for a business venture. She told her new friends that her wealth totalled around $60 million, but constantly got them to pay the bills for her expensive hotel stays, holidays, meals and events by saying she had forgotten her cards, all her money was tied up abroad or she hadn’t been sent her inheritance yet.

In the end, Sorokin was convicted of larceny and theft of services and was imprisoned from 2019 until February 2021. There is no release date for Inventing Anna on Netflix, but it is expected very soon.

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