The world is a crazy place filled with people you cannot trust. It’s impossible to know whether or not Jim from the local Dollar General is really who he says he is, much less our own neighbors. Do they go home and watch the evening news over a beer, or are they secretly plotting to kill you?
Despite advances in forensics and investigative techniques, serial killers are still a very real presence in our world. Their obscenities are difficult to understand, bizarre, and often, completely beyond comprehension.
Why do they take lives — and how do these people manage to fly under the radar for so long before they are discovered? These top serial killer shows have answers.
- Dexter: Technically fiction, Dexter delivers a keen story about a blood-splatter analyst working for the Miami Police Department. He channels his violent tendencies into murdering the guilty each night, returning to the office by day. Dexter forces viewers to decide (with frequent changes) whether the murders are a form of justice or just a convenient excuse for violence instead. Watch all eight seasons on Netflix.
- Mindhunter: Mindhunter is equal parts documentary and crime drama show. Based on the book, Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker, it explores the intelligence organization’s early attempts to hone modern serial-killer profiling. Each episode of Mindhunter covers a different serial killer and case, covering the chilling psychology driving most psychopaths to take action. It, too, is available on Netflix.
- Making A Murderer: Is Steven Avery a serial killer, or a victim of circumstance and corruption in the justice system? That’s the question asked in season one of Making a Murderer on Netflix. Avery was arrested for two separate murders in the 1980s. Some believed he was a serial killer just getting started, while others believed coercion and attorney ineptitude led to him being convicted despite being innocent. It does an excellent job of revealing why deciding to convict isn’t always easy, even in the face of a mountain of evidence.
- Aileen: the Life And Death Of A Serial Killer: Wuornos shot and killed seven men at point blank range in Florida between 1989 and 1990 after agreeing to sell sexual favors for cash. Parts of Wuornos’ case are disturbing, but the documentary also paints a picture of a very disturbed woman who was severely abused from birth. By the time she was put to death in 2002, she had effectively lost her mind and was completely psychotic. Was this just a play for sympathy before meeting her maker, or was Aileen truly not criminally responsible for her crimes? Find out on Netflix.
- Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer: Also available on Netflix, Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer is equal parts documentary and drama. Each episode follows a female psychologist as she explores the minds of individual serial killers and their crimes. Many contain real footage or interviews from true crime events with just enough dramatization to make it interesting, compelling, and riveting. You’ll learn what drives people to kill, how psychologists determine when and who they will kill next, and how forensics can help stop serial killers in their tracks.